Pokémon Ruby Version and Pokémon Sapphire Version are the eighth and ninth Pokémon games released in Japan, beginning Generation III on November 21, 2002. Like their predecessors, they are paired versions based in a new region, Hoenn, each having Pokémon exclusive to one game or the other.
Like Gold and Silver before them, Ruby and Sapphire introduced many new Pokémon, with 135 new Pokémon released bringing the total to 386. However, Ruby and Sapphire are not compatible with previous games, due to the difficulty of communications between Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games. Due to this, many internal aspects of Pokémon were able to be expanded, with natures now altering stats, an expanded IV system, and a new cap on a Pokémon's stats based on EVs.
Ruby and Sapphire introduced Pokémon Contests, which allow Trainers to use their Pokémon in a manner aside from battle, and introduce another Battle Tower for competitive play. Like all paired games beforehand, Ruby and Sapphire were followed by a third version, Emerald, two years later, and together became the best-selling Game Boy Advance games of all time.