By Amanda L. Kondolojy
The decreasing popularity of these movies was further proof that the franchise was quickly losing popularity. But those who counted the franchise as all but completely gone were in for a surprise.
After a two year slowdown in all things Pokémon, 2003 saw the series reinvented and subsequently resurrected. It began with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire for the Game Boy Advance. These continued the Game Boy RPG series and built upon the series' already solid formula of RPG gaming. This time the Pokémon count was increased to a whopping 386. There were also some additions to the game that came in the form of the Pokéblock system, which enhanced certain Pokémon abilities using a Berry Blender. This added an even more in-depth level of strategy to the game, as certain berries used to build the various Pokéblocks were quite rare and required quite a bit of effort to get.
However, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire was not the only game that came out during this era. This era saw the release of ten new Pokémon games. Among the most noteworthy of these games was Pokémon Colosseum for the GameCube, the spiritual successor to the Pokémon Stadium series.
This title differed drastically from the Stadium titles, however, and placed a higher importance on the RPG elements of the game. In addition, it didn't feature any mini-games. It did have all the Pokémon available for use at the beginning like the Stadium series However, the game suffered because it was very difficult to attain a sizable number of Pokémon in the game if you didn't already own the Ruby and Sapphire titles.
Pokémon Colosseum did enjoy modest success, and it was followed by Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. However, this game received much criticism because it was so similar to the original Pokémon Colosseum, and even used many of the same environments and animations.
But not all the games from this time period were as formulaic. The Pokémon franchise did something very unexpected in 2006 and released two roguelike Mystery Dungeon tites. These titles were very unique because there was a decided lack of dungeon crawlers in the market, and it was a considerably risky move, especially since roguelike games have only historically appealed to the hardcore sect. But the Pokémon franchise took this once-closed genre and made it appealing to the masses.
In addition to the resurgence in Pokémon games, this era saw resurgence in the Pokémon card game as well. An organization christened the Pokémon Organized Play Association came into existence in 2003, and began organizing highly structured card tournaments around the country. And while earlier organized tournaments suffered from low interest and participation, the POP was able to reinvigorate the card game, and thanks to their clever promotions and events, they are still running successful Pokémon tournaments to this day.
The Pokémon TV series also received a much needed reinvigoration in 2003, and began a whole new chapter in the series, Pokémon: Advanced. Pokémon: Advanced saw a real maturity come to the series. Misty and Brock were replaced with newcomer May. Fans really enjoyed the change in pace for the series, and it brought some of the lost viewership back.