10 years ago today, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Versions were released in North America.
Pearl was my first Pokémon game, and my first game with a story. I was a kid then, and I will never forget the sense of wonder and terror and joy I felt realizing there was a vast, dangerous, unknown world to explore. That I could be the hero of a story was completely new to me.
Diamond and Pearl are something of a point of contention for their slow pace, but in my view that is a strength: I like taking my time and exploring. They have a unique dark, atmospheric look and feel that no other games in the series share. I cannot put my finger on exactly what it is, but the dark, mountainous terrain, and somber music come together to have an effect that is not easily forgotten.
10 years later, my favorite thing about games is still their power to create worlds that are not like ours.
Diamond and Pearl also made one of the most important additions to the Pokémon series' gameplay mechanics: splitting individual attacks into either Physical or Special category instead of having them divided purely by type as was done in the past. This made a large number of Pokémon more viable in battle.
They also introduced some of the best-looking Pokémon and human character designs. That the starters' secondary types help balance them against each other was a well-thought-out idea. The addition of Dusknoir, Magmortar, Electivire, Lickilicky, Gliscor, Yanmega, Mamoswine, and Porygon-Z made several underpowered older Pokémon much more valuable.