Silver first appears in the Generation II games, lurking outside of Professor Elm's lab, looking through the window. When talked to, he will deny everything and push the player away. During the player's journey to Mr. Pokémon's house, Silver makes his move, stealing one of Elm's two remaining starter Pokémon (coincidentally always the one that is strong against the player's choice). He will meet with the player on the outskirts of Cherrygrove City, battling to get through. A policeman will later ask for the name of the rival, and the rival will be called the name the player gives for the rest of the game.
Silver shows a strong dislike of Team Rocket. He considers them to be weak, and vows to take them, as well as any other weak Trainer, down. He steals a Sneasel from a Trainer in Cianwood City and while Ethan/Kris/Lyra attempts to take down Team Rocket in Mahogany Town and Goldenrod City, he interferes to prove himself. It is in the Mahogany hideout that he meets with Lance, Champion of the Elite Four at the Indigo Plateau. Silver challenges Lance and is easily defeated by the dragon trainer, who then proceeds to berate Silver for his callous ways towards training Pokémon. Though Silver is outraged for losing to someone with such an attitude, the loss and Lance's words ultimately set him on the path to becoming a better person. When Team Rocket takes over the Goldenrod Radio Tower, Silver first blows the player's Team Rocket disguise, unaware of the player's plan to sneak in by pretending to be a member of Team Rocket. He later follows the player to the Goldenrod underground and they battle Team Rocket, hoping that Lance will reappear and he can request a rematch.
By the time the player reaches the Indigo Plateau, Silver battles against the player not out of malice, but to prove that he is a good Trainer. He is defeated and departs to continue training. The player battles Silver on Mt. Moon, and though he loses he claims he can feel his Pokémon getting stronger, and resolves to train at Dragon's Den. When battled the seventh time at Indigo Plateau, Silver seems to have finally learned to care for his Pokémon properly, as his Golbat has evolved to Crobat, which only occurs when Golbat is very happy. This is further expressed in Generation IV when his starter Pokémon starts to follow him around, much like the player's Pokémon; Professor Elm even expressly states that Silver's Pokémon have come to trust him when Silver returns to the lab, presumably to return the starter he stole.
Following Silver's final encounter with the player and after the player has become Champion, Silver can be found training on Tuesday and Thursday in the Dragon's Den, where he is not battleable, and will appear at the Indigo Plateau on Monday and Wednesday to challenge the player to a battle, should he or she appear. He does not appear at all on the weekends, indicating that he may in fact take the day off, resting his Pokémon. In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Lance and Clair will appear in the Dragon's Den and challenge the player and Silver to a tag battle following the battle at Mt. Moon.
In terms of personality, Silver is the darkest of the rivals in the series. While most other rivals are generally good-natured, or at least zestful enough to crack a joke at the player, Silver is (at first) cruel, hateful, power-obsessed and even physically abusive, pushing the player character around several times. Even after he starts to become kinder, he remains a rather serious individual. He does, however, express genuine happiness when Elm allows him to keep the Pokémon he stole.
Giovanni and Silver's relationship is revealed in HeartGold and SoulSilver when a fateful encounterCelebi is brought to Ilex Shrine. Celebi takes the player back in time three years to witness Giovanni abandoning Silver to go into seclusion because of his defeat at the hands of Red. Silver's hate for Team Rocket apparently stems from the failure of his father.
The starter Pokémon that Silver has will depend on which Pokémon the player chose to bring on Professor Elm's errand at the beginning of the game. As with most rivals, it will be the Pokémon whose type weakens that of the player's starter.
Like Template:Ga and Template:Ga, he played no role in the anime, despite being a main character in the games. Similarly, his only appearance in the anime is a brief cameo, in the original Japanese opening of The Legend of Thunder! (A New Oath), where he was shown with defeating Template:Jo with his his Template:P, only to be defeated later on when Jimmy's Cyndaquil evolves into Typhlosion.
While not appearing directly, he has a counterpart in the Pokémon Adventures manga, Template:Adv. They share several similarities, such as stealing a starter from Professor Elm (in the manga's case, Totodile), owning a Sneasel, and being Giovanni's son.
In Generation II, if Silver's stolen starter is Template:P, he uses Template:P at level 16 in his second battle, despite Totodile only being able to evolve from level 18 onwards. This error is corrected in Generation IV, where his stolen starter is at level 18.
Two of Silver's Pokémon in his final team received evolutions in Generation IV. These two Pokémon are also the only members of his team that did not evolve twice.
Neither of these Pokémon's new evolutions are available in HeartGold and SoulSilver until after the National Pokédex is obtained, as their evolution methods require certain forces external to the Pokémon (rather than knowing a move, as the five new Johto Pokédex additions do).
Despite the fact that Silver's poor management of his Pokémon is a main point of the games, his Template:P evolves via happiness into Template:P. However, it doesn't become a Crobat until after battling Silver at Mt. Moon, at which point Silver has realized that he needs to treat his Pokémon better.
Silver is the only rival to start with a starter Pokémon whose final team does not differ at all aside from the starter itself.
A 1997 pamphlet describing Template:2v2 mentions that the rival character lives in the same town as Template:Ga. This aspect of his character was apparently discarded by the time of the final release, however, as his hometown was not elaborated upon in the games, and it is also implied to not be New Bark Town since he remarks while looking at Professor Elm's lab at the beginning "So this is Elm's Lab..." before driving the protagonist away.
In Generation IV, Silver is depicted with two different eye colors. His eyes are gray in his Generation IV artwork while they are red inside the HeartGold and SoulSilver games, as seen in the opening animation.
In the original Gold, Silver, and Crystal games, when battled at the Indigo Plateau the Champion theme is played instead of his rival theme. The reason for this is unknown.
The English script of the Celebi event in HeartGold and SoulSilver never states that Silver is Giovanni's son, unlike the Japanese script.
Silver has achieved a high score of 2000 at Pal Park, which serves as the default high score. He shares this with Template:Ga, the Sinnoh rival.
Silver is the only character who can be battled without a known name.
Silver is almost universally used in the fandom as the official name for this character, since it is his default name (the name the game chooses when the player doesn't enter a name of his own) in Gold and Crystal, and is also his name in placeholder data in Template:2v2. However, his default name differs on other games, and he's also named Gold (in Silver), Soul (in HeartGold), and Heart (in SoulSilver). Of course, he can be called almost anything, since, like several rivals in the main series, his name is chosen by the player.