With a brand new Pokémon Snap game coming to the Nintendo Switch, Bandai Namco and The Pokémon Company are invoking a wave of nostalgia for fans who revere the 1999 Nintendo 64 title. In the intervening two decades since the original Pokémon Snap, there have been 739 new Pokémon created for the series, making the list of possible options a daunting task to pick and choose.
Instead, we have narrowed down what would be the absolute best Pokémon over all the generations since Red and Blue to include in a Pokémon Snap sequel. They may be here because they would make for great gameplay, or there might be an entire category of Pokémon that needs attention for their photogenic qualities. Regardless, it is time for Pokémon Snap to help us truly live in a Pokémon world.
There aren’t many things Sudowoodo is made for, but Sudowoodo is made for Pokémon Snap. The tree-like Pokémon is, in fact, made of rock and only looks like a tree to fool passers-by and other Pokémon. Not only would it be difficult to identify, it might mess with you for fun. Just imagine trying to line up the perfect shot of a Scorbunny kicking a rock and then suddenly a tree just blocks your way, and then laughs at you. Your self-esteem would plummet.
Stunfisk is the Pokémon success story that no one ever talks about. Despite being a deflated balloon of a Pokémon, Stunfisk is weirdly popular and is one of the few non-starter and non-legendary Pokémon frequently used in all sorts of Pokémon merchandise. The popularity of Stunfisk might have to do with its blithe personality, where its Pokédex entry brags that sumo wrestlers can step right on top of it and the indifferent Pokémon will just continue smiling. We really just want to throw a pester ball directly in its face and watch it stare back at us, unblinking and unphased.
Since the first generation of Pokémon, there have been five new Eevee evolutions, and Pokémon Snap somehow managed not to include any of the originals. This presents the new Pokémon Snap with not only an opportunity to incorporate Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon, Leafeon, Glaceon, and Sylveon, but also offers the unique chance to make that evolution part of the gameplay. What if you had one Eevee per level to throw at a lone fire stone you find inside a hot spring, making it a Flareon? Or you throw your Eevee down a snowy hill to evolve into a Glaceon similar to how it evolves in Diamond and Pearl? I mean, that example’s kind of horrific, but still, there’s potential there.
Whenever someone has a criticism of modern Pokémon designs, Klefki is the first example pulled out. The key ring Pokémon finally has a chance for redemption by doing the one thing keys do best: being impossible to find. Klefki might stand out in the middle of a jungle or perhaps in a dank cave, but you could be looking right at it on a kitchen table and not see it. Even Professor Oak will be forced to admit your skill when you snap a photo of a Klefki, once he figures out what he’s actually looking at.
According to Porygon-Z’s own Pokédex entries, this Pokémon is a loose cannon of bad patches and incompetent programming. It is not clear exactly who the Pokédex writers were trying to drag with this one, but now that description is a canon part of its existence, and that opens up plenty of options to do cool things with a cyber Pokémon with no limits. A Porygon-Z should be able to hack your camera to put Snapchat filters on everything, delete your WiFi uploads, and send your selfie roll to your entire contact list. It also can and should turn pictures you have taken in to the misshapen and abstract sprites of Pokémon Red and Blue.
Introduced in Pokémon Sun & Moon, the Ultra Beasts are Pokémon from a different universe that occasionally slip into ours. Putting aside the possibility of wormholes and the potential for that smarmy Professor Oak to not think photographic evidence of Ultra Space is worth full points, the actual beasts themselves are a whole different level of weird. Ultra Beasts, like the bee-bodybuilder Buzzwole, are the closest the series gets to having monsters that actually look like monsters. Waking up a Celesteela to burn down a forest and make it easier to get an unobstructed picture of a Wimpod sounds like exactly the kind of edge Pokémon Snap needs in 2020.
In the original Pokémon Snap, you could make certain Pokémon evolve by creating a situation that forces an evolution, like knocking a Charmeleon into a volcano a la Heihachi to take pictures of the newly-evolved and very upset Charizard. This is a prime opportunity for Garbodor, the literal garbage Pokémon, to shine. You can finally make use of all those Pokéballs that failed to catch Pokémon by gathering them together and just waiting for a Garbodor to show up so you can snap a picture of it.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, regional variants of existing Pokémon were introduced, taking early Pokémon and giving them strange and often fundamentally different body chemistry for being in a different area. It would be a shame if Pokémon Snap’s sequel did not take some of the original game’s original Pokémon and scramble them up with newer versions. A Raichu that literally surfs by on its tail, a rainbow Muk coming up from the sewers on a rainy day, or an Alolan Exeggutor that cannot be entirely captured in the frame at once, there are a number of possibilities.
Mimikyu is a Ghost-type Pokémon that wears a disguise to look more like Pikachu, Pokémon’s lovable mascot, so that it can make friends and be loved. It is also a Ghost-type Pokémon that, according to the actual Pokédex entries, violently murders anyone that sees its real form underneath the disguise. This conflict in motivations would make Mimikyu essentially the Mr. X of Pokémon Snap. It would constantly want to be in pictures and jump in front of the frame, but it would be completely fatal for the photographer if they accidentally snapped a shot of it.
Sirfetch’d is the Galarian version of Farfetch’d, where it has become a stoic knight with sword and shield in hand. This gives Pokémon Snap an opportunity to recreate one of the most cherished tourist traditions: taking a selfie with a British Royal Guard. People of all nations and personality types love to walk up to the guards, who are famously stationary and unreactive, and take selfies in their personal space. Pokémon Snap should allow the player to do that, then post it on social media for your friends to compare their photos of doing the exact same thing.
Dracovish is just an abomination. Everything about this Pokémon screams that it is not supposed to be allowed in this world and yet somehow it is. This makes Dracovish perfect for Pokémon Snap, as it proves to Professor Oak you’re not just in this for the cute ones or the impressive ones. You’re willing to go down and dirty and get the photographs of things that the other Pokémon photographers are too scared to do. Sure, it may fill you with unending nightmares, but future generations will thank you.
The original Pokémon Snap did actually have a final boss, a one-on-one contest with the legendary Mew, which could only be photographed for a brief few seconds after breaking down its barrier. Under that same reasoning, a new Pokémon Snap should feature Pokémon that are also extremely difficult to photograph, and the most logical answers for that are God or a ninja. While I think it would be impressive to photograph Arceus, the legendary creator of all things in the universe, it also seems equally impressive to take a photo of a Pokémon whose entire purpose is not to be seen.