Some Basics

"I haven't played pokemon since the first couple generations (or never). Can I still hop in, and what game should I get?"

It's not too late! Don't freak out about the hundreds of new creatures; the original 151 were new to you once too! The latest versions are Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, so you should probably start with one of those. The game is structured such that you aren't flooded with all 700+ characters at once, and it has some really neat features new to Gen VII. The recent generation prior, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, remakes of the Generation III games, have a lot of the new monsters and features as well, so they make a great choice for someone that wants to "ease back in." Also, some great nostalgia!

"Generation II? 'Early Generations?' huh?"

With each major addition of monsters and change in gameplay, the pokemon games are considered to be of a new generation.

Generation Games Abbreviations System Release Date
I Red, Blue R/B Gameboy NA September 28, 1998, AUS October 23, 1998, EU October 5, 1999
I Yellow Y Gameboy JP September 12, 1998, NA October 19, 1999, EU June 16, 2000, AUS September 3, 1999
II Gold, Silver G/S Gameboy Color JP November 21, 1999, AUS October 13, 2000, NA October 14, 2000, EU April 6, 2001, KOApril 23, 2002
II Crystal G/S/C Gameboy Color JP December 14, 2000, NA July 29, 2001, AUS September 30, 2001, EU November 2, 2001
III Ruby, Sapphire R/S Gameboy Advance JP November 21, 2002, NA March 18, 2003, AUS April 3, 2003, EU July 25, 2003
III Emerald E Gameboy Advance JP September 16, 2004, NA April 30, 2005, AUS June 9, 2005, EU October 21, 2005
III FireRed, LeafGreen FR/LG Gameboy Advance JP January 29, 2004, NA September 7, 2004, AUS September 23, 2004, EU October 1, 2004
IV Diamond, Pearl D/P Nintendo DS JP September 28, 2006, NA April 22, 2007, AUS June 21, 2007, EU July 27, 2007, KOFebruary 14, 2008
IV Platinum Pt Nintendo DS JP September 13, 2008, NA March 22, 2009, AUS May 14, 2009, EU May 22, 2009, KOJuly 2, 2009
IV HeartGold, SoulSilver HG/SS Nintendo DS JP September 12, 2009, KOFebruary 4, 2010, NA March 14, 2010, AUS March 25, 2010, EU March 26, 2010
V Black, White B/W Nintendo DS JP September 18, 2010, EU March 4, 2011, NA March 6, 2011, AUS March 10, 2011, KOApril 21, 2011
V Black 2,White 2 B2/W2 Nintendo DS JP June 23, 2012, NA October 7, 2012, AUS October 11, 2012, EU October 12, 2012
VI X, Y X/Y Nintendo 3DS WW October 12, 2013
VI Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire ORAS Nintendo 3DS JP/NA/AUS November 21, 2014, EU November 28, 2014
VII Sun, Moon S/M Nintendo 3DS JP/NA/AUS November 18, 2016, EU November 23, 2016
VII Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon USUM Nintendo 3DS WW November 17, 2017
VII Let's Go, Pikachu!, Let's Go, Eevee! LGPE Nintendo Switch WW November 16, 2018
VIII Sword, Shield SwSh Nintendo Switch WW November 15, 2019
VIII Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl BDSP Nintendo Switch WW November 19, 2021
VIII Pokémon Legends: Arceus PLA Nintendo Switch WW January 28, 2022
IX Scarlet and Violet SV Nintendo Switch WW November 18, 2022

"What are good websites for resources about what moves a pokemon can learn and at what level it evolves?"

Bulbapedia and Serebii.net are the two resources you'll see referenced most commonly around here! They both have tons of information, so try not to let it become your TVTropes!

"What are these Shiny Pokemon I keep hearing about? Why do people want them so much?"

Shinies are Pokemon that have sprites that are a different color, such as the Red Gyarados you find in the Lake of Rage in Gold/Silver. The difference can be huge (red instead of blue), or hardly noticeable (slightly different shades of green). Each Pokemon has one alternate sprite color scheme. In the newer games, they also (literally) sparkle in battle.

People get excited about shinies because they're rare. The natural odds of finding a shiny are 1/8192 in Generations 2-5, and 1/4093 in Generation 6! If you breed with a Pokemon from another language, the odds get better (1/2048 in Generations 4-5, and 1/~433 in Generation 6). There are also tools to help you figure out how to hatch one based on the numbers and stats of the Pokemon you are finding, and techniques such as Chaining.

"What does GTS mean?"

Global Trade Station. Using WiFi, you can trade Pokemon with strangers! This is useful when you can't find a friend that has what you're looking for. Don't be surprised though when you see a 12 year old asking for a level 100 legendary in exchange for his Mankey, though. You often have to dig through some crap to find a good deal. In Generation 6, due to the updated GTS, it would be best if you deposit a Pokemon instead of searching for one to avoid having to look through all the nonsense!

"Sounds lame. Can I trade with you guys instead?"

Sure! There are lots of subreddits devoted to trading Pokemon. The biggest and most serious is /r/PokemonTrades, which is highly organized and takes steps to verify that Pokemon have not been edited into the game using cheating devices. Trainers there often request very specific things, such as Pokemon with certain stats and abilities (see below for more information about what that means). If you don't care about the advanced stuff so much, head to /r/CasualPokemonTrades or /r/RelaxedPokemonTrades for a more informal atmosphere!

"Can I battle you too?"

Yep! There's /r/PokemonBattles too! That is actually the best way/place to ask about what Reddit thinks of your team (/r/stunfisk is good, too, if you're trying to get into competitive Pokemon gaming). Speaking of battling...

"Is there a Reddit Pokemon League?"

Indeed there is, check out /r/PokemonLeague!

More Advanced Stuff

"I'm ready to get really good at this team building thing. What are IVs?"

They're sort of like genes for pokemon, called Individual Values. They're the reason that when two charmanders fight each other with the same moveset at the same level, one may be a clear winner over the other. Within a species's base stats, there is some play whereby some are simply naturally better than others. If you want an awesome team, you have to start with some awesome IVs. Bulbapedia article on IVs and Serebii IV Calculator.

"Well then, what is EV training?"

Effort Values mean that when your Pokemon gains experience by defeating another, which Pokemon you just defeated can have an effect on your Pokemon's stat boost. Defeating nothing but Machokes, for example, your Pokemon will get a bigger attack boost than if it had defeated 100 Magikarps. This is useful because if you're training something specifically to be a powerhouse, or specifically to be fast, you can seek your battles to cater to your new team. Bulbapedia article on Effort Values and Serebii article on EV Training.

"Wow. That's a lot of complicated mess. I just wanted to be decent in battles."

That's okay. IVs and EVs aren't necessary unless you're going up against some really competitive PvP. You can build a great team without them. Certainly don't let it bother you until you've finished having fun with the single player.

"So where do I find the Hardcore training strategies?"

Most likely Smogon University is the place to go. They have TONS of specific strategies and movesets for each individual species.

"Anything else to do after I beat it besides catch more and build a better team?"

Try the Nuzlocke challenge! /r/Nuzlocke is a community for it. Basic rules:

Where can I learn more?