What is it about feeling that more competitively-minded rival characters make for better rivals which you hate so much? Can you elaborate? The way I see it, while it's technically possible to have a rival which is completely unemotionally invested in defeating you (as opposed to merely winning; there's a nuanced difference there which I think distinguishes an opponent and a personal rival) I just don't see how a smile and a handshake is supposed to get anyone hyped to see their rival again. "Gee golly, he's sure got a firm grip!" doesn't exactly instill any degree of fervor in me anyway. This is why I think a more passionate and intense rival is simply more interesting. But again, I'd like to hear you elaborate.I just can't like Gens 1 & 2. I appreciate them setting the foundations for the rest of the generations but playing them feels like a chore.
Blue and Silver are boring rivals. "Why would I want to fight someone who makes excuses for their losses? The only thing I get from them is a sense of pity. Blue is more appealing after the events of his initial journey (for me his character was fun in Gen 7: both the Alola games and LGPE) than as a rival. Silver is just boring to me. Much prefer rivals like Barry & Cheren who aren't worshipping you but don't antagonize you. Heavily hate the idea that not being a jerk means you're not as good of a rival.
Despite Gen 2 being my least favorite, I love the sprites. Probably my favorite in the series. Retro games tend to have more appealing artstyles for me. So I can give it that.
In terms of plots, I couldn't care less about Gens 1 and 2. The formula of "antagonistic team uses legendary for goal" may be tired out to some, but I take that over getting involved with the mafia. I want to play a fantasy setting with outlandish ideas. Flooding the earth? Resetting the universe? That's cool.
I think Pokémon has always had a great sense of mystery and hasn't changed at all. The world building has gotten better and the subtle details are fun to look for.
Music: Old gen is so much less enticing when listening to their modern remixes. Granted new technology gives them better results but I think FRLG more than HGSS/B2W2/LGPE's renditions of the Gym Leader theme so time isn't always a factor.
I get these games are childhood nostalgia fests for some but they haven't aged all that well and I don't see a reason to revisit them
I like your perspective on the plot though, you make pretty good points.