Nintendo 3DS XL

Premium Gold Edition

Pokémon 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

Designed to celebrate the release of Pokémon X and Y (you'll see a pattern there with a number of the 3DS XL designs), the Premium Gold Edition was released exclusively in Japan which is a shame because it's stunning.

Just take a minute to soak in all of the detail on that outer casing. You've got Xerneas and the Gen VI starters on the front and then you flip this tasty little number over and boom! there's Yveltal on the bottom. Yep, this was a good 'un and we're a little envious of everyone who managed to get one.

Xerneas & Yveltal Blue Edition

Pokémon 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

A return to the usual brightness of the Pokémon special edition designs, this blue model again places the X and Y legendaries front and centre.

The Pokémon themselves look neat enough, but what is going on with that huge "X" and "Y" lettering in the background? At no point with previous designs did we think "you know, I like it, but I just wish it said 'DIAMOND' in huge letters across the back." Come on guys, we know which Pokémon game the special edition is from...

Xerneas & Yveltal Red Edition

Pokémon 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

"Do it the same but make it red!" That's how design meetings go, right?

Eevee Edition

Pokémon 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

Ooo now we're onto something interesting. This Japanese exclusive does away with putting the design's titular Pokémon in the limelight and instead focuses on getting the vibe of that Pokémon down. For Eevee, that's a series of stripes that match the colour palette of any dad's wardrobe, apparently.

You know what? It still kinda works. And we're always pleased to see the designs get mixed up a little (even if an image of Eevee still does appear on the bottom of the console).

Charizard Edition

Pokémon 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

Another Japanese exclusive and it's a return to the black and gold (but boy is it a nice one). As you flip this device over it reveals a flame coming out of Charizard's mouth and onto the bottom of the console. Now that's some smoking design ideas.

Pikachu Edition

Pokémon 3DS XL
Image: Alana Hagues / Nintendo Life

This might just be one of the most well-known Pokémon designs out there. Everyone saw one of these at some point, we're pretty sure. And how could you miss it? With that bright yellow and very close Pikachu, it's not one that you'd forget in a hurry.

Nintendo 2DS

Special Edition Sun & Moon Light Blue 2DS

Pokémon 2DS
Image: Nintendo

The square design of the OG Nintendo 2DS often takes a bit of a beating (sometimes with good reason), but even we have to admit that this Sun and Moon design is pretty sweet.

Sure, it might not be the most Pokémon-inspired design out there, but we rate the colour changes on the buttons against the light blue casing and there is a Pikachu, Rowlet, Litten and Popplio silhouette on the front and back so it ticks enough boxes to make this list.

Pokémon Blue Edition

Pokémon 2DS
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

Ah yes, we're back on the primal rush of seeing the interior workings of our console thanks to the wonders of transparent plastic. It can't overcome the shortcomings of the 2DS' squareness, but it's surely moving in the right direction.

New Nintendo 3DS XL

Pikachu Yellow Edition

Pokémon New 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

A member of the DS family of consoles? With a Pikachu on the front? Whatever will they think of next??

Yes, this might have carried over the theme that we have seen on many occasions by this point, but we like the sketch art style of the titular 'mon here and there is also something strangely satisfying about how he fits nicely on the lid without spilling over onto the console's back.

Solgaleo Lunala Black Edition

Pokémon New 3DS XL
Image: Nintendo

This edition was released in conjunction with Pokémon Sun and Moon and it continues the design idea of "Legendary Pokémon, but make it classy".

Proudly putting images of the Gen VII legendaries front and centre, this model uses that level of simplistic black-and-white artwork to really make the design pop that we have seen elsewhere. It might not be gold or silver (much to our disappointment), but it's still a nice change from the brightness of Pikachu.

New Nintendo 2DS XL

Poké Ball Edition

Pokémon 2DS XL
Image: Nintendo

We are still pretty shocked that it took Nintendo this long to come up with a Poké Ball design for one of its consoles. That's surely some low-hanging Razz Berries, right?

Well, we finally got one with the New Nintendo 2DS XL and it is just as bright and red as we would have expected. Nintendo would surely tone it down a bit for its next design, right...?

Pikachu Edition

Pokémon 2DS XL
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

Wrong! We're back on the big ol' Pikachu designs. With only the face taking up the lid's entire outer casing, this has surely got to be the biggest Pikachu on any of the special editions. The snout (assuming you'd call that area of a Pikachu its snout) also bulges out of the lid a little, creating a nice 3D effect — noteworthy for a console that is, by definition, not 3D.

Nintendo Switch

Let's Go, Pikachu! & Eevee! Edition

Pokémon Switch
Image: Nintendo

Ah, remember when special edition Switch designs used to be reasonably restrained? Those were the days.

Released worldwide to promote Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu & Eevee!, this model is a pretty nice one. You've got the brown and yellow Joy-Cons to represent the titular stars and a funky little bit of detailing on the back showing off some more 'mon silhouettes.

If we had one complaint, it would be the size of the full-colour Pokémon on the Switch Dock. But just play it in handheld and this is easily forgotten. You can't win them all.

Nintendo Switch Lite

Zacian and Zamazenta Edition

Pokémon Switch Lite
Image: Nintendo

Used to promote Pokémon Sword and Shield, this is another example of Nintendo being relatively restrained with its designs — what was happening with the world at this point?

Sure, the bright red and blue buttons are a little out there, but the Zacian and Zamazenta images on the reverse are pretty sleek (if not a bit hard to see with that white-on-white doing the design no favours here).

Dialga and Palkia Edition

Pokémon Switch Lite
Image: Gemma Smith / Nintendo Life

Well, well, well. Mr Clooney called and he wants his Switch Lite back.

There's something about the black and gold (and silver) designs that really get us throughout the entire Pokémon collection. Perhaps it's because most of the other designs are so bright that it's recommended you don't look directly at them, but this range just has that touch of class that many of the others are sorely lacking.

Nintendo Switch OLED

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet Edition

Pokémon Switch OLED
Image: Nintendo

Speaking of a touch of class, this one doesn't have it.

Look, the all-out colour fest of an OLED design might have cut the mustard on something like the Splatoon 3 special edition, but for the relatively restrained Pokémon franchise by comparison? Perhaps we could tone it down just a little...

It's too much, too fast, all at once. Maybe we should have taken this as a sign of how Pokémon Scarlet and Violet would end up playing.

Honourable Mentions

There were some designs that we couldn't throw into the above list on account of them not being proper consoles in their own right, but we thought that they deserved a mention anyway.

The GameCube's Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness Decals couldn't be more 2000s if it tried. What better way to let your mates know your love for the franchise than covering your console in dark and edgy lightning stickers?

Pokémon Cover Plates
Image: Nintendo

A similar (albeit more cute) way of customising your console was achieved by the New Nintendo 3DS Pokémon cover plates. There was a boatload of these out there with designs ranging from Pikachus (obviously) to a giant Charizard or Blastoise. If you opted for one of these instead of forking out the money for a whole new console, we tip our Poké-caps to you.

Well, there you have it. All of the Pokémon-themed consoles that were at least partially available outside specific stores, laid out in beautiful list form. Which one is your favourite? Fill out the following poll and then take to the comments to let us know which one has you saying "I choose you" — and tell us if we missed anything!

Which Nintendo console has the best Pokémon design? (745 votes)

  1. Blue Pikachu N6410%
  2. Light Blue Pikachu N64  0.1%
  3. Orange Pikachu N64  0.4%
  4. Pokémaniac N64  0.9%
  5. Yellow Version GBC7%
  6. Pikachu and Pichu GBC2%
  7. Gold and Silver GBC1%
  8. Clear Green GBC  0.9%
  9. Clear Blue GBC1%
  10. XD Gale of Darkness GameCube  0.8%
  11. Pikachu GBA SP3%
  12. Pikachu Game Boy Micro  0.7%
  13. PokéPark DS  0.3%
  14. Mew DS  0.5%
  15. Pikachu DS Lite  0.1%
  16. Dialga and Palkia DS Lite3%
  17. Pokémon Black DSi7%
  18. Pokémon White DSi1%
  19. Premium Gold 3DS XL5%
  20. Xerneas & Yveltal Blue 3DS XL3%
  21. Xerneas & Yveltal Red 3DS XL2%
  22. Eevee 3DS XL1%
  23. Charizard 3DS XL3%
  24. Pikachu 3DS XL4%
  25. Sun & Moon Light Blue 2DS  0.7%
  26. Pokémon Blue Edition 2DS1%
  27. Pikachu Yellow Edition New 3DS XL  0.9%
  28. Solgaleo Lunala Black Edition New 3DS XL1%
  29. Poké Ball New 2DS XL11%
  30. Pikachu New 2DS XL3%
  31. Let's Go, Pikachu & Eevee Switch6%
  32. Zacian and Zamazenta Switch Lite4%
  33. Dialga and Palkia Switch Lite1%
  34. Scarlet and Violet Switch OLED13%