Track of the Week: Lavender Town (Pokémon Red and Blue)

We kick off our week on gaming urban legends with the most sinister theme in Pokémon history.

By Kevin Knezevic. Posted 05/18/2014 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Before the Internet became a ubiquitous source for information, gamers primarily relied on word of mouth to hear the latest gaming news. Outside of dedicated publications like magazines and strategy guides, which were often prohibitive to younger fans due to their cost, gaming tips were most commonly traded on the schoolyard, which became a breeding ground for misinformation. And yet, despite the frequent outlandishness of the “secrets” we learned from our classmates, these urban legends did much to color our experience of a game. So for this week’s track, we thought it would be fitting to highlight a theme that inspired countless of its own legends…

Pokémon fans who grew up alongside the series will no doubt recall vivid memories of Lavender Town. Nestled at the foot of the Rock Tunnel, a challenging network of caves made all the more arduous by their impenetrable darkness, Lavender Town was the first opportunity weary Trainers had to regroup after their travels. But rather than finding respite, as every city up to that point in the adventure had provided, players were instead greeted by the most ominous melody in the series’ history, which set the tone for the supernatural foes they were about to face.

Given the pervasive atmosphere, not to mention the eerie presence of the Pokémon Tower, which loomed over the city like a vengeful specter, it’s no surprise that Lavender Town became the subject of many urban legends outside the game itself. That the town was able to instill such a palpable sense of dread in young players, especially on a platform as technologically primitive as Game Boy, speaks volumes to the strength of its theme, which remains one of the most haunting and iconic tunes in Pokémon.

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