Classic Soundtracks Revisited — POKEMON RED & BLUE

Image by GT4tube

Image by GT4tube

Whether you were along for the ride in the backseat of a car, hanging out with your friends, or just holed up in your room for hours, there’s a good chance that Pokemon Red or Blue on the Game Boy was a huge part of your childhood. While it’s possible that it appeared you were merely twiddling your thumbs on a gray brick with purple buttons and a monochrome screen, you were on a personal journey with these iconic creatures that grew to become powerful companions, as you battled your way to become the Champion of The Pokemon League.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the glorious chiptune tones that established the soundscape of these infectious compositions. Listed below are some audio gems that aided you in those memorable and exciting adventures of your youth (or even luckier, your adulthood as well.)

As you traveled to various towns, the road presented all manner of Pokemon battle scenarios that made the gameplay highly addictive and rewarding. Online today, you can find many links to this particular number that perfectly embodied adventure and discovery.

The melody is expertly suited for repetition and just doesn’t wear out. An amazing arrangement, especially when you consider the primitive sound tools used to create such a melodic work of mastery. Years later, you can find renditions of this timeless work, proving its impact carries with us for years to follow, such as here:

When it was time to test your abilities as a Trainer, the beautiful complexity and intensity of this song was the perfect support for battle. Countermelody and a constantly flowing bass line amped the mood in all the right ways, despite the tinny on-board speakers. Once again, you hear the melody making the action happen in spectacular fashion.

Something that is talked about a lot on the Internet, and of course I’m going to bring up here as well, is the creepiness of the sounds of Lavender Town. This introduced the concept of death to the series, a very surprising turn for the tone thus far in the game.

It was a tough theme for Pokemon players to encounter for the first time as the shrill qualities of the synth melodies established a dark and unsettling atmosphere for what would be the introduction of death in this universe.

Pokemon Red and Blue for the GameBoy is the perfect example of early electronic music tools put to effective use in helping create an imaginative and addicting gameplay experience. These simple arrangements laid the foundation for fully orchestrated symphony renditions, arrangements we can enjoy while attending concert halls for productions like this one in Chile.

This is one of the most impressive aspects of the music in Pokemon Red and Blue. The fact that once upon a time there was this monophonic margin to compose within, but those melodies were so distinct and so powerful, that years later here we are experiencing them with full orchestral renditions in packed concert halls. Even though chiptune is wonderful and is absolutely here to stay, it is fascinating to see how it laid the groundwork for these fully fleshed out orchestral pieces. This early audio tech paved the way for us to experience these arrangements in concert halls as a community that not only remembers them from our portable gaming adventures, but also have them as the soundtracks to the history of our lives.

What is your favorite track from the Pokemon series? Let me know in the comments below.

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