Pokemon is one of the longest-lasting video game franchises of all time, spanning multiple generations for both games and gamers alike. Along with an extremely simple yet addicting premise, Pokemon is also known for its soundtrack.
Whether it is the welcoming tones of Pallet, New Bark or Littleroot Town, or the uber-serious melody that plays when you face Champion Gary for the first time (spoiler alert), legions of fans have a specific tune in mind whenever Pokemon arises in conversation.
That’s why when I discovered Pokemon lo-fi, I was astonished. But more importantly, I came to a simple conclusion: it is legit.
Growing up, Pokemon was an integral part of my early childhood. One of the earliest memories I have of playing Pokemon was on my older brother’s translucent GameBoy Color in the early 2000s. I remember we were visiting relatives in the northeastern part of the United States and after a long day of sightseeing, I stayed up all night until around 4AM playing Pokemon Crystal.
I tried to find a light source bright enough to illuminate the screen while at the same time hiding said light source from everyone else so I didn’t wake them. More than anything, I was just surprised the battery did not fully run out on me after all those hours playing.
From then on, I was hooked. When we got back to Ireland – where we lived for a time – I begged my parents to get me a GameBoy as well so I could continue my quest to be a Pokemon master. Lo and behold, within a few months, I got my own GameBoy Color.
Not only did I now have my own GameBoy Color, it came with its own copy of Pokemon Crystal. Suffice to say, I was pumped. And so, when I started my own adventure in Johto, not only was I greeted by a fantastic game, the incredible soundtrack that exploded from the speaker said “hello” to my ears as well.
There are so many tracks from Pokemon Crystal I remember so vividly, but one stands above the rest: New Bark Town. New Bark Town just felt like it was the start of new dreams and hopeful beginnings. It is soothing and homey, in a way only Pokemon can convey.
When I started playing Pokemon Emerald, Littleroot Town became my new New Bark Town. Although it was tonally different from New Bark Town, it gave off a welcoming sense of adventure and relaxation, as if to say that no matter what happens, Littleroot Town will always be a place to wind down.
As I grew up, I slowly fell out of Pokemon, with Generation Three being the final generation I put immense time and energy into. Particularly, Pokemon Emerald and its incredibly horn-heavy soundtrack stick with me to this day.
Nevertheless, as life started becoming more of a priority, Pokemon fell by the wayside, along with the memories I had of playing the game and its amazing soundtrack. However, Pokemon’s soundtrack would enter my life through unexpected means: college stress.
Like all college students, I had a stressful experience. As is the case with most student journalists – or students in general – it was fairly difficult for me to get the motivation to sit down for a few hours and finish a specific article or paper.
As such, I turned to YouTube for some solace and inspiration. First, it was “Lofi hip hop mix – Beats to Relax/Study to” by ChilledCow. Then it was some variation of “lofi” versions of songs before I eventually stumbled onto Pokemon lo-fi. I thought it would be some beats layered on top of the songs I knew, but it became more than that.
Listening to these songs and the multiple compilations from Kanto, Johto and Hoenn – the regions from the first three generations – brought me back to a place of calmness and relaxation, which in college, is incredibly rare to find. Not only was it peaceful, but it allowed me to be productive too, as just listening brought me to a zen-like state.
After I graduated college, I gradually fell out of Pokemon lo-fi yet again. However, once the world got ravaged by the pandemic and everywhere I turned to was on fire, I needed a place to just escape the glumness and slight desolation I was beginning to feel because of the constant flow of negativity.
Again, in need of a way to cleanse myself of the negativity, Pokemon lo-fi came to my rescue. Just listening to the Hoenn lo-fi compilation is especially calming – in particular, the Littleroot Town lo-fi remixes – since Generation Three was my favorite set of games growing up. It brought me back to a simpler time, before numerous recessions and a pandemic soured my youthful approach to life.
To that end, everyone has had an incredibly rough go the last few months, so why not put on some Pokemon lo-fi compilations of your favorite generation? If you’ve never played Pokemon, why not give the lo-fi remixes a shot? I can attest to the fact that Pokemon lo-fi is indeed legit.
Who knows, you might just find something that you like. Besides, it might just be incredibly calming and relaxing to listen to your favorite Pokemon tunes and just tune out the world for a while.