Ranked: Pokémon Main Game Soundtracks [Straight Outta Kanto]

trumpets

Alola, PokéNerds! Welcome to this week’s Straight Outta Kanto blog post. Straight Outta Kanto is Ireland’s number one spot for Nerd Culture, Nostalgia, Nightmares and… more!

This week, we’ll be briefly discussing and ranking our personal favourite Pokémon soundtracks from the main RPG series. Lightly covering all eight generations so far to see if everything really was better in the old days, or if the modern soundtracks can hold their own against our collective nostalgia.

This is by no means definitive, and entirely personal, so please, enjoy!

(8) Pokémon X & Y:

kalos

Coming “last” in our list is… Gen six! I have a lot of love for poor old Kalos, unlike a lot of Pokémon fans out there. Compared to the epic and intense family dramas of both Gen five and seven sandwiching it, X and Y really does fall flat in comparison.

While the Kalos soundtrack is pleasant, charming and whimsical enough in it’s own right – compared to the unique and original soundtracks of the other games, the music feels like the storyline – safe.

Little sound effects in the themes mimic the environment the player is in (ie. the clock sounds in Anistar City etc.), adding a heightened immersion in the game. Sadly this is still not enough to make X & Y any more memorable than its other comrades in the franchise.

Best theme from the game? Lysandre’s cafe theme:

 

(7) Pokémon Black & White:

unova

I know I’m placing this at seven, but I do really love the Gen Five soundtrack. It’s darker and more sweepingly epic. The N and Ghetsis storyline was the most intense and plot heavy storyline Pokémon had to date attempted. The entire game was more mature and catered for an older audience – and the soundtrack reflected this.

Keeping the quirky Nintendo-esque game music where applicable, regal choral vocals and crashing organs abound in this magnificently melodramatic soundtrack.

While the themes from N’s childhood bedroom and the Ghetsis Battle Theme would be up there as fan favourites, my personal favourite is:

(6) Pokémon Sword & Shield:

swsh

Gen Eight is coming in at number six! I don’t know whether I’m just blinded by how good everything sounds on the Nintendo Switch or if the music of Galar really is just that good. The themes sound more like full numbers rather than just accompanying music and the diverse range of instruments and effects prove for a really stand-out sonic experience. We will have to wait and see if it stands the test of time as a classic Pokémon soundtrack, but it looks promising. I think everyone’s favourite piece of music from Galar is… :

(5) Pokémon Sun and Moon:

alola

Gen Seven gets a lot of slack from the online community at large but personally I found Alola to be rich in history, lore, humour and activities. I found Team Skull one of the more engaging ‘evil’ teams, thought the Lusamine storyline to be on par with the Gen Five Ghetsis/N one and found Alola to have some of the most post-game content and mini-games out of all the games. Also. Dat musicc tho.

I find the Hawaiian themes and overtones extremely uplifting and the over-all listening experience a very therapeutic one. Rural and laid-back in places, ominous and atmospheric in others – there’s something for everyone in Alola.

My favourite theme? It’s ya boi…

 

(4) Pokémon Gold & Silver:

johto

Still torn about whether or not to leave this as is or put it in the Top 3, but I need to pick a pot and piss – so here it is.

Gen Two. The Gen that brought us “…”  The only Gen with a multi-region function. That beautiful retro sound, the Japanese influenced motifs – the soundtrack for Gold & Silver really is heart-wrenching and memorable.

Dramatic and atmospheric in places, unique and surprising in others. The sweeping piano laced laid-back music for Goldenrod Park, the joyous and serene Surfing theme and eerie as feck Ruins of Alph soundtrack.

This is weeby nostalgia at its finest. And guess what I love!? That’s right:

(3) Pokémon Diamond & Pearl:

sinnoh

SEND… IN… THE… … … WHAMMY BARS!

I love Gen Four so much. I feel the soundtrack embodies everything charming and wonderful about the original early Pokémon game soundtracks. Which as Gen Four was meant to be a love letter of sorts to the earlier generations, it makes sense. Jaunty and hopeful with enhanced sound effects and atmosphere due to the greater capacity of the Nintendo DS’s sound system. And of course, the whammy bars. Some great little power rock numbers in these games (and I don’t just mean Geodude…!)

My favourite track of all time from any Pokémon game ever has got to be (oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz):

(2) Pokémon Red & Blue:

kanto

The generation that started it all! One of gaming’s single most well-loved, endearing and iconic soundtracks of all time. Every single last one of them standing the test of time and even incorporating themselves agelessly into the newer games.

The literal soundtrack to my childhood… teenage years… and twenties. And let’s face it. It’ll soundtrack my thirties too.

Here is the single most dramatic and nostalgic music my little nerdness can summon up for you. The ab. so. lute. tension:

(1) Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire:

Hoenn_774211

TRUMPETS BROTHER! HARK! THE TRUMPETS!

My. Arceus.

Where do I even begin!? The most playful and jubilant soundtrack that just sucks you in for a full Hoenn immersion. AND THE TRUMPETS! MY GOD! The trumpets.

I tried to keep to just the original main games with this post but I can’t mention Hoenn without mentioning the absolutely stellar soundtrack from the Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire reboots. They took the original themes and enhanced them magnificently with the improved technology at their disposal for the 3DS.

From the epicness that is Wally’s Theme, the Apocalypse Theme, Zinnia’s Theme, the Hurtling Into Space on A Rayquaza To Battle Deoxys With Your Cosplay Pikachu Theme, the rapturous Slateport City song even all the way down to the lowly Hiker’s Battle Music – Gen Three is just bursting with numerous classic anthems.

I think we should honour our fallen little warrior wally with this:

 

There we have it, nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys! I mean, skies!

For more information on Straight Outta Kanto, feel free to follow our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StraightOuttaKanto91/

Listen out for the Straight Outta Kanto Podcast Radio Show

Join our Pokemon Fan Club Ireland group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623889321229114/

74891506_581707469268268_2080470523115995136_n

Pokémon Sword & Shield Top Ten! [Straight Outta Kanto]

download (5)

Alola, PokéNerds! Welcome to this week’s Straight Outta Kanto blog post. Straight Outta Kanto is Ireland’s number one spot for Nerd Culture, Nostalgia, Nightmares and… more!

We hope you all found last week’s blog post about handy convention tips and tricks useful and can’t wait to see you all at our “Horror in Pokémon” panel at Akumakon 2020 this coming weekend!

It’s been a jellies-shakingly exciting time here at the S.O.K HQ. Producing, recording and editing our very first and very own Straight Outta Kanto Podcast Radio Show – launching Tuesday 14th of January over on the Nerd To Know Media site on iTunes, Spotify etc. This will be a weekly magazine show all about nerdly news, nostalgia nods, spooky spots, hard-hitting petty fandom grievances and and weird things we’ve learned about Japan during the week. So do keep a cheeky ear out for that…!

It’s also been an emotional roller-coaster here because of last week’s Pokémon Direct announcement. Not only are we getting a *drum roll* brand new Sword and Shield Expansion Pass “Isle of Armor” and “Crown Tundra” we are also getting… *inhale* A BRAND NEW POKÉMON MYSTERY DUNGEON GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME!!! “Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX” will be released March 6th 2020.

Pokemon-Mystery-Dungeon-RT-DX_01-09-20

No, it’s not a Gen 4 remake announcement. And YES. We would have preferred a Pokémon Ranger instalment. BUT. Taking everything into consideration, a new Mystery Dungeon and extra content that will hopefully complete an incomplete game, things are certainly looking up.

There’s once again been tremendous controversy over these new Expansion Passes. Paying $30 for access to content that should have already been included in the games? It sounds dreadfully mercenary. It does. Yet. It’ll be cheaper than a new third Galar game (such as Red/Blue then Yellow, Gold/Silver then Crystal etc.) but it will be interesting to see whether or not Game Freak keep up this trend of pay-to-play or if this will be a once off. The great Sword/Shield divide sadly continues to tear the PokéCommunity apart.

However. I’m willing to give Game Freak the benefit of the doubt. This opinion in the past has had me scorned, ridiculed and called a “shill” by the Pokémon community at large, but Pokémon has been there for me these last 22 years. I will weather this storm. My loyalties aren’t so easily cast aside.

To counter all this anti-Game Freak and Sword and Shield hate, let’s celebrate the positive aspects of the game with a little… “Sword and Shield Top Ten!”

PSS-expansion-pass-1280x720

10. No HMs:

Let us raise a salute to the many fallen Bidoof of past Gens. In Galar we are living in a free world where unsuspecting Normal types are no longer taken under our dirty wing for the sole purpose of corrupting their youth and innocence. As our HM (Hidden Machine) slaves.

This frees up our teams meaning we can focus on building a full team of six with four fully functioning moves, thus improving competitive battling and game play. It also improves game play by making the Corviknight Taxi Service a fun new function. Plus, we get to ride our bikes on water now. Which is very, very cool. (In your face, Professor Oak…!)

9. CURRY!!!

In recent Pokémon games there’s been a non-essential function that allows a more pastoral and nurturing interaction with your ‘mon. Camping is Sword and Shield’s function. It allows you to heal the health of your Pokémon without items/Nurse Joy, raises EXP points and can boost friendship – which is essential for certain evolutions and can be handy in battle. Wild Pokémon can also wander in to your camp and join your team, which is very sweet. (And incidentally pretty much how Mr. Mime wandered in to the life of Delia Ketchum.) You also get to make… curry! And have a “Curry Dex” – which is a hilarious little side game and challenge.

8. Jedward of the PokéWorld:

maxresdefault (2)

Swordward and Shielbert (or make that “Shillbert…) are the two post-game villains and I love them. They are as camp as Christmas, slightly incestuous, have bizarre hair and are double-entendre dropping weirdos with delusions of grandeur. Standard Pokémon character design, basically. They also remind me horrendously of notorious X-Factor twins: Jedward.

7. Challenging Gyms:

gordie-melony-gym-mission

The inclusion of formal Gym Missions as well as an increased difficulty from the Gym Leaders themselves – higher levels, harder stats and more challenging move sets – meant more engaging game play. Each gym required more time investment and a more tactical approach to battling. Type-Advantages will always be a thing, but the Galar Gym Leaders weren’t going to let you get away with that old trick so easily…

6. Greater Game Differences:

It’s only been in later years that the differences between the two Pokémon games has become more pronounced. Initially the difference was slight Pokédex variations (to encourage trading), Legendary ‘mon, and a corresponding different hue tinting the exact same game. Later games increased the differences between the games, Black and White being the prime example with Black City/White Forest. In Galar, not only do you get the different Pokémon variations, you also get different physical Gym Leaders depending on what version you have. This leads to a richer and more varied fan experience.

5. You Came To the Wrong Neighbourhood:

download (10)

I think the Wild Area is fantastic. The variety of wild Pokémon, the camping, the PokéDens for Watts and Dynamax Raid battles, the Rotom Challenge, CURRY and, of course, being chased around in the open by wild Pokémon! This last point in particular I find encourages a more realistic trainer experience for the player. I think being chased out of a patch of grass by EIGHT Stufful guarding a flipping berry tree is an enormously realistic situation an actual Pokémon trainer could find themselves in…

4. Challenging Evolutions:

Sirfetchd-750x400

Don’t get me started.

Just get Googling.

Game Freak certainly aren’t spoon feeding you the new Pokémon Evolutions for certain ‘mon anyway, that’s for sure. No one can accuse them of being too lazy in that regard…

3. Responsible Adult:

people_leon_2x-crop.jpg

The number one thing for me with any new Pokémon game is the story. I love a good over-the-top villain (or two) and some end-of-the-world drama. But that’s just me.

I struggled with the story for Sword and Shield. It had no real evil team, per say, and there wasn’t really anything majorly apocalyptic, nothing spectacular, anyway. Any of the main “action” was mostly managed in the background by Champion Leon and other appropriately aged and experienced adults.

While I would have liked a more hands on Dooms-day journey in the game, it’s actually a more fitting and realistic scenario to have the Champion take care of things without handing it all over to a ten year old. The focus for your character is the Gym League, the actual core purpose of the games.

2. Galar Pokémon Designs:

872Snom

The Galarian forms, evolutions and the new Galar Region ‘mon are fantastic. Charming, adorable, surprising and endearing. You look into the eyes of a Snom and tell me otherwise. I DARE YOU.

1. THE SATISFACTION OF DESTROYING “HAU 2” :

maxresdefault.0

While I appreciate that the Rival set-up for Gen 8 is pretty much the exact same Rival set-up as every other game (bar Gen 2) … Come on.

There’s just something extra, extra satisfying about literally not only tearing down Hop’s dream every step of the way but also fulfilling his exact destiny right before his very eyes.

His one sole purpose in life was to knock his brother off the top spot as Champion. That’s a hardcore family odyssey right there and what did you do!? What did you do you smug bastard!? You DESTROYED Hop and everything he ever knew and loved and lived for. This rivalry was almost as grotty feeling as defeating Little Orphan Wally in Gen 3.

Grotty. But oh so satisfying. Because he was so bloody annoying. And a carbon copy model of Hau. Hop was basically just born to be hated from the get-go.

images (3)

There we have it, nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys! I mean, skies!

For more information on Straight Outta Kanto, feel free to follow our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StraightOuttaKanto91/

Listen out for the Straight Outta Kanto Podcast Radio Show

Join our Pokemon Fan Club Ireland group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623889321229114/

maxresdefault (1)

Top Ten 90’s Theme Tunes from your childhood! [Straight Outta Kanto]

 

Alola, PokéNerds! Welcome to Straight Outta Kanto, your brand new Irish blog for nostalgia, nerd culture, nonsense and… more!

Today we have a dirty great steaming vat of 100% proof undiluted nostalgia for you to wallow in. Following on from a lively, heated debate with a family member this week about which childhood era had the greatest T.V. theme tunes I decided to make this blog post and prove them wrong! For surely, my fellow Millenials, you too agree that the 1990’s had the greatest T.V. theme tunes… don’t you?

Well, if you don’t that’s fair enough, but let me try to change your mind. So step right up to the nostalgia machine and strap yourself in. Buckle up. IT’S THE 1990’s!

(10) South Park:

South Park here gets a mention as it heralded in a new age of truly adult cartoons. While The Simpsons on the Tracy Ullman show back in the day was the original “adult cartoon”, South Park’s envelope and boundary pushing characters and storylines smashed through our poor 90’s T.V. sets and in to our filth-ridden hearts.

(9) Saved by the Bell:

Ah. Zack and Kelly. The original Ross and Rachel. Between the “hi-tech” opening graphics, the chunky brick cellular phones and the outfits that fashion forgot (but can forgive) – I think I can safely say that Saved by the Bell is one of THE most painfully 90’s theme tunes.

(8) Sailor Moon:

I love badly dubbed, weirdly drawn, strangely plotted but deeply nostalgic 90’s Japanese-to-Western anime. And you do too. Bit of a crush on Tuxedo Mask too.

(7) Teletubbies:

Well… It IS. You can’t argue with me there. One of the most iconic children’s T.V. themes of the 1990’s and started a new trend of almost cultishly shit kids televisual viewing that could never quite stand up to the idolatry of the auld ‘tubbies. I’ll say no more and move on to the next one…

(6) Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers:

GO! GO! POWER RANGERS!!! One of THE most metal kids theme tunes EVER. Fight me. I was absolutely OBSESSED with this show back when it first came out.Every new episode I would watch religiously after school every week and then immediately afterwards proceed to break either a body part of piece of family furniture re-creating the episode I had just seen. Everything about this show just spoke to me.

The dodgy Japanese scene-inserts, the spandex costumes, Tommy, a giant floating bald head in an ooze-tube – WHAT MORE COULD A 90’s KID ASK FOR!? I had the absolute pleasure in 2017 of attending a panel of the original Power Rangers at MCM Comic Con in Dublin and we all got to do the “It’s Morphin’ Time!” thingy together WITH the original Power Rangers and it was delightful.

(5) Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

I used to secretly watch this every Friday night on Sky One whilst pretending to my mater that I was watching a late night episode of Home & Away. (That’s also how I got away with South Park.) She never doubted me. Bless. But Buffy, man! The Buffy/Angel/Spike love triangle, the 90’s outfits, Giles, the new monster mash every week. Gosh. It just thrilled me to my spooky little bones. Who doesn’t get a chill when they hear this!?

(4) The Fresh Prince of Bel Air:

Who else tells people at parties that they can rap all of this perfectly then completely ail when attempting it!? Mise!

We’ll leave all the dark and disturbing internet theories about how the entire series is just a fantasy of the comatose Will Smith ’cause he really did get shot at the start of the series in that playground and just focus on the wholesome 90’s joy that is… Will Smith.

(3) F.R.I.E.N.D.S:

Ah come on, lads! This is an iconic, albeit over used, slice of pure 90’s nostalgia that would be distasteful to ignore. F.R.I.E.N.D.S is like a slice of life time-capsule perfectly preserving a very unique part of both the 1990s and it’s ever changing attitudes to a multitude of of-the-day topics but also of every 20-something (me!) year old’s lives, friendships and relationships. I know this makes the list on nearly every 90’s list out there, but it deserves it, it really does.

(2) Rugrats:

Out of ALL the incredible 1990’s Nickelodeon children’s T.V. theme tunes to choose from (and my god, there were SO many to choose from) the one that kind of started the whole Nick Generation in my opinion and was one of the classics IS the Rugrats. The unique toy-piano tune with the goofy kids noises made it a charming and stand-out stalwart of our 90’s childhoods. No. It didn’t have the slick, highly polished lyrics of say, the Spongebob Squarepants theme tune or the snzzzy costume changes montage of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but it was a wholesome, honest tune. And I love it.

digimon-1079295-1280x0.jpeg

Now. We move on to Numero Uno. And I’m not just picking this as the number one telly tune of all time because I’m a million percent biased towards this show, I’m picking it because not only am I a million percent biased towards this show, it is one of the most triumphant, dynamic and air-punching-ist theme tunes ever with one of the highest singability rates out there. Fill your lungs and prepare to Sing ’em All, I am of course talking about…

(1) Pokemon:

 

There we have it, nerdlings! Keep watching the skeys! I mean, skies!

For more information on Straight Outta Kanto, feel free to follow our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/StraightOuttaKanto91/ or join our group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623889321229114/

Follow us on Twitter: @KantoOutta.

memea