If you're not ready to say goodbye to Ash Ketchum and the crew as the 10-year-old's 25-year journey through the Pokemon anime comes to a close, there's a very cool way to keep the adventure going: Pokemon Fire Ash, a fan game that aims to recreate the entire anime storyline.
I say 'aims to,' but Fire Ash already covers the story through the Alola League, making it current with all but the most recent seasons of the Pokemon anime. The game doesn't fully recreate every bit of dialogue from the show or anything, but in the opening minutes you will wake up late on 'get your first Pokemon' day, pick up a grumpy Pikachu as a companion, fight Spearows on your way to Viridian City, and encounter Team Rocket at the first Pokemon Center.
@moopstentv ♬ original sound - moopsten
The map is similar to the original games' layout, though it's altered to include notable bits from the anime, like the corral behind Professor Oak's lab. Of course, since this covers the entire anime, it also squeezes over 50 gyms and over 800 Pokemon into a single package, and includes regions like the Orange Islands that were never seen in the original RPGs.
Pokemon Fire Ash is built with RPG Maker, a long-running line of game creation engines that let you build games in the mold of classic Japanese RPGs. RPG Maker's user-friendly nature makes it a popular tool for fan game developers, and a specific set of assets called Pokemon Essentials replicates creatures and gameplay systems from across the series' history in the Gen 3 GBA style. There are many other fan games built using Pokemon Essentials - Fire Ash just happens to be one of the most impressive in scope.
The devs are planning one more big update to introduce the Galar region to the game and catch up with the final anime episodes featuring Ash, and that update is expected to land around May or June of this year. From there, the project is winding down, both because Ash's story is ending and because the game is reaching the upper limit of the number of maps an RPG Maker title can support.
We might have to reconsider our ranking of the best Pokemon games...