Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Changes to the station effective 1/1/2016

Note: At the time this article was originally written, Live365 had not put out an official statement regarding the changes, thus some details are based on limited information. The article will be updated as final details become available.

Updated 12/30/2015 4:30 PM CST: Added details from the Live365 release regarding the matter. As before, I am planning on continuing the station in an alternative form-see below the embedded video.

Every four-to-five years, a board of judges at the federal level sets the US base rate of performance royalties for internet radio (1). The most recent rates came out on December 16th, and as a result of the changes, Live365 (the hosting provider for the station since its inception in August 2000) is discontinuing its personal broadcasting packages when the rates go into effect on January 1st (2), and at that time, the PIRN stream on the service will cease broadcasting. Live365 itself may only continue providing streaming audio at all through the end of January 2016.

At one point (before all plans were removed from the Live365 website), I had the option of switching to one of their comparable professional plans, which would have cost approximately $40 a month more than what I'm currently paying (for reference, I've been paying just under $70 a month to broadcast). While I could have afforded the difference (the changes I'm making are more about what audience I can reach than personal cost), it became difficult to justify given the typical amount of listening the station got per month. Historically, listenership peaked in the summer of 2005, and despite attempts to advertise the station, I've never been able to surpass that mark. Also, while there are a few other services that allow individuals to run their own internet radio station, I doubt that I could get significantly more listening time by being on them (also, I'd want to have things in the industry settle before moving to another streaming provider).

Why is it so difficult to court listeners? Well, the truth is that the station's target audience is generally under 30, and thus gets its music not from a more traditional radio paradigm, but on demand, and mainly through YouTube (which, you may notice, launched in 2005). About a week ago, I attempted to take an hour or so of a playlist and see how much I could find on there, and this was the result:

Given the circumstances, I've decided it's a better use of my time and resources to curate video playlists on a daily basis and link to them from here. This should serve a wider audience, and give me more time to focus on original content. In this new format, I'll attempt to adhere to the following principles:

Maintain a structured playlist: Like with the current station, my goal is to balance music between generations, styles, and origin countries using musical categories and a clock wheel system (3) . I feel this keeps the playlists more interesting and less repetitive.

Use official/officially monetized videos when feasible: One of my goals is to support the industry where possible, so I will try to find official videos or ones that have been claimed and monetized by the song owner.

This will be an evolving process, so keep an eye on this blog for updates.

1. This rate covers non-interactive broadcasts where music is streamed continuously in a manner similar to a terrestrial radio station, not services that provide specific songs from a library on demand to a user like on Spotify or Apple Music. 
2. The specific reason for the removal of the personal plans appears to be the discontinuation provisions aimed at reducing costs for smaller stations. More information about the overall situation can be found in this article.
3. See the video for how the station is programmed for more information about how clock wheels are used in radio.

New music for the week of 12/28/2015

As usual, two new tracks from Super Mystery Dungeon:

-Let's Go to School!
-Partner's Theme

Happy Listening!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hoopa and the Clash of Ages DVD releases in the US on March 8th, 2016

Amazon US recently posted a listing for the DVD of the 18th Pokemon movie, Hoopa and the Clash of Ages. The DVD is set to be released on March 8th, 2016.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DVDs, Blu-rays of first three Pokemon movies releasing in February 2016 in the US

Update: A Blu-ray pack of all three movies has been added, to be released on February 9th. Original article follows.

Amazon US recently posted new listings for DVDs for the first three Pokemon movies:

Pokemon: The First Movie
Pokemon: The Movie 2000
Pokemon 3

The movies are set to released in February (the 9th for The First Movie and the 16th for the second and third) for $14.98 each. While the descriptions do make reference to the theatrical shorts, they also appear to be placeholders and it is not known for certain if the discs will contain these or any other special features. It is also not known if these movies will be coming to Blu-ray or digital distribution in the US, though the recent trend of releasing the 8th, 9th, and 17th movies digitally suggests that possibility for these films.

The first three Pokemon movies have been out of print in the US since the 10th anniversary of their original US theatrical release dates, the result of an apparent expiration of Warner Bros.'s rights to distribute them. Since then, they have made occasional appearances on television and the Pokemon TV service, and were released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia earlier this month. These new US releases come very shortly before the 20th anniversary of the original Pokemon games' release in Japan.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

New music for the week of 12/14/2015

We get our first tracks from Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon this week:

-Main Theme
-Lush Forest

Look forward to more from the game in the coming weeks.

Happy listening!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

New music for the week of 12/7/2015

One new track this week:

-Pokémon Center

This is a jazz rendition of the theme from the main Pokemon games. If you like the song, you can buy it on iTunes or Amazon.

Happy Listening!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Music Returns to the Station

As is customary this time of year, holiday music has returned to the station. The selection may not be huge, but in the next few weeks, you can look forward to hearing those seasonal tunes!

Happy Listening!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

New music for the week of 11/2/1015

One new track this week:

-Vs. Kanto Trainer

This is a remix by Kamex, and you can check the track out here:

Happy Listening!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Daylight Savings Time Ends Today

Just reminding you that Daylight Savings Time ends today in the US, so the station has moved back one hour from -5 GMT to -6 GMT. If you don't have DST where you live, programming will be one hour later.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Unboxing Pokemon Music from Australia, Brazil, and Japan

After returning from a recent business trip, I found that I had gotten a trio of packages containing Pokemon music from various countries. First up, we have some CDs from Australia and Brazil:

Though the discs in the video above may not seem Pokemon-related at first, rest assured they are.

If that wasn't enough, the third package had some music from Japan, both from the TV show and adapted from the games:


Part 1:

Alright. Hi, folks. Steven here with another unboxing video. I was out for a little bit on a business trip. And, when I came back, I actually have a few things to open. They should all be Pokémon music-related, even though some of them may not seem so at first. And, we’ll take a look through each of them.

First of all, let’s take a look here. This one, you can see, is from Australia-AU Post. Like I said, came to me while I was out. Looks like a CD case, and I’m pretty sure it is. So, let’s see. Open this up.

Alright. So, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with Pokémon? Well, this is a single from, I guess, Australia for “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” by Aaron Carter. And, as you might have guessed, it has the song from the Pokémon: The First Movie soundtrack, “(Have Some) Fun with the Funk”. This was found on most of the foreign editions of his album, and also this single. The one project I have going on is that I’m trying to find how many of the songs from Pokémon: The First Movie I can get outside of that album. That’s sort of the little contest I have with myself. And, you may be seeing more of that. We’ll see what happens here.

But, in any case, not a lot else to see. This is just a slimline single, nothing too special here. The only thing I kind of wanted to note with this one is that one of the guys who did the PokéRAP does beatboxing on that song as well. Which, may explain why it’s on the soundtrack.

In any case, let’s move on to the next package. This one, if you take a look here, is from Brazil. This one is a little bit different. But, let’s go ahead and open it.

It’s got some stuff around it. Alright, give me a second here. This is a WEA promo disc. You’ll notice there’s a lot of names on here. There’s two you should notice near the center that seem kind of familiar. WEA is Warner’s music arm, at least it was back when this was published. And, back in the day, they would send CDs out to radio stations and stuff like that to promote their music as one big CD. That was how they got stuff out back in the day, sort of. But, in any case, these two names sure look familiar, don’t they? Well, as it turns out…another slimline case. This is not opening very cooperatively. Alright, taking a quick look through here.

So, on the back here you have-let’s see, where is-there’s M2M “Don’t Say You Love Me”. That, you can find in a lot of places. Warner sent out a ton of samplers. The rare one here is Billy Crawford “Pokémon Theme”. And, you notice under each of these it says, let’s see, something in Portuguese, I assume, since this came from Brazil. It’s either that or Spanish. It mentions Pokémon O Filme, the first Pokémon movie. So, it mentions that on there. As far as I know, this is the only other place besides the soundtrack that the Billy Crawford version of the Pokémon theme has been published. So, that makes this kind of interesting. I just spotted this on eBay and was like, “Oh, what the hey.”

Part 2:

One more. This one is from Japan. However, it is not from the place that I buy my CDs from when I get the stuff from Japan normally, the new releases, from there. This is another eBay seller. It just happened to go through the Japan post. So, let’s see here. Let’s open it up here.

I believe there’s two things in here-I think I bought two things from the same person.
Oh, and one of them is quite large. See, we’ve got some bubble wrap here.

That probably looks a little bit familiar. Then, I’ll get the other thing out. We’ll go over each of these. I’m debating with myself whether these are— it seems like the original packaging. Which, is pretty crazy. I know that Japan tends to keep stuff pretty good condition. So, when they send it-But, in any case.

So, let’s start off with this one since it’s smaller. Some of you will recognize the guy on there despite the doodle type drawing there. That’s Imakuni?, who you will recognize from a large number of early TCG and song stuff, and the TCG game for Game Boy. He’s in all of that. And, this is-let’s see. I need to open one more flap here. There we go.

This is “Can You Name All the Pokémon neo?” So, this is the second generation Pokémon-basically the Japanese equivalent to PokéRAP. So, I guess that would make it the equivalent of PokéRAP GS. But, this is the one that comes there. So, let’s see, what do we got here? Alright.

Got a little poster here with the lyrics and on the back side we have a bunch of different Pokemon. And, probably most if not all the Unown. So, we’ve got that. And, it came with this card, which was drawn, at least this picture-by Imakuni? himself. And, you know, I just noticed he’s leaping out of the picture. This could actually be the first example of a Pokémon card where the subject of the card picture actually leapt outside the boundaries. Not 100% sure on that, but maybe this could be it. In any case, this is obviously some sort of joke card with 2000 HP and stuff like that. Which, I guess, Imakuni? decided to put a little note on the card with there. But, it has the old school Pokémon Japanese card back, which looks different than the newer one. And then, you have this little itty bitty 3 inch CD. These never really took off. In Japan, they were popular for a while. But, anyway, that’s what you have in there.

Alright. Well, let’s move on to the other thing there. Looks like this has seen some use, but someone had resealed it. Bottom here. More tape. This is, I think, the translation is something like, “Can You Play Pokémon on Musical Instruments?” So, here’s the little thing that goes on top. Like I said, they never throw anything away in Japan. But, it comes with, let’s see, nothing inside of this. There’s a track list on the back that you can see there. It’s a spiral bound book, kind of like some notebooks you might have seen. Unfortunately, I cannot read Japanese worth much of anything. Nibi Gym over there, which of course is Pewter.

So, we’ve got actual sheet music. I guess it’s from the games. I assume as much. I’ll have to show my mom this some time. You may remember, you may have heard from mom in the Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions review. She’s an orchestra teacher. This would be kind of a neat thing to show her. I don’t remember if it comes with anything else. Oh, it does come with a CD. That’s what I thought. In the back here. And, it comes with this little card, which has some stickers that you can put down there. I don’t know if you’re supposed to practice everything and once you master it, you put everything in there.

And the Old Amber, a couple different Badges, Master Ball, some items. That looks like false teeth. I’m guessing that’s probably not what that is? Oh, I know what that is now. That’s the false teeth for the guy in the Safari Zone that you have to give to him to get the HM. That’s what that is! Okay. So, that makes sense. They have a sticker for the false teeth.

This is really neat. It’s kind of equivalent to the 2 B.A. Master sheet music book I have. I also have sheet music for “Don’t Say You Love Me” and there might be a few others you can find sheet music for. But, this is pretty neat. I wish they could make a digital version of this for sort of the modern era. I know it’s nice to have the actual thing here, but of course, getting it digital would get it in the hands of more people. Some of the pages actually fold out like this. This is pretty neat. Alright.

I think there’s got more of the gym leaders in here. Like I said, wish I could read more Japanese. But, that is a really neat bound book they have here for the sheet music. But, that’s what I’ve got there. I do, actually, have one other thing, which I kind of wanted to unbox. I just picked this up today. But, it looks like we’re running pretty long on the video anyway. I bought the Wii U version of Guitar Hero Live. But, I’m sure you can find another unboxing video of that somewhere.

Alright, folks. Thanks!

Transcript by GetTranscribed.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New music for the week of 10/19/2015

One new track this week:

-Normal Battle (Pokemon TCG)

This is an arrangement (created by Dr. Pez) of the song from Pokemon TCG for Game Boy. You can listen to this version here:

And on a side note, be sure to check out our latest installment of Pokemon Colosseum:

Happy Listening!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pokemon the Series XY volume 2 DVD set releases January 19th in US

Amazon US has recently out up a listing for the second volume of Pokemon the Series XY on DVD, to be released on January 19th, 2016. No cover art or number of discs is currently listed, but it is likely to be a four-disc set based on recent US releases.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New music for the week of 10/12/2015

One new song this week:

-Treasure Town

This is a jazz rendition of the town theme from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky. This version was done by Sab Irene, and you can see a video of it here:

Happy Listening!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

New music for the week of 10/5/2015

One new song this week:

-Pokemon DPPt - Route 216/217

This remix was created by A Cloud Called Klaus. You can check out the remix here:

Happy Listening!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

New Mewmore interview following tomorrow's Top 25

I recently had a chance to interview Mewmore, a prominent video game remixer (who happens to currently have two songs currently on the station).  That interview will debut following tomorrow's Top 25 Countdown, which starts at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central.

If you like, you can also listen here:

Editor's note: Mewmore and I had to kind of guess how to pronounce "Lisia", since we couldn't find an official listing.


Steven: Hi. I’m Steven Reich, here at the Poke Press studios in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m on the phone with Mewmore, who is a video game remixer, and does a variety of things. You may know that he has done a couple songs that are on the station currently. “I Wanna Say Goodbye” which is from the Mystery Dungeon games. And, Lisia’s theme from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Before we get to those, Mewmore, where are you from and how did you get into doing music?

Mewmore: Hello, guys. I’m Mewmore and I’m from Finland, North Europe. And, how I got into music, I think I was like got into it pretty late. I think I was like 12-13 years old. My dad used to be a professional drummer, playing in this one band. And, I think he tried to get me into music when I was little, but I wasn’t too interested back then. But, when I was like 12-13, I started to take piano lessons and then started to play guitar too. And, I understand that music, hey it’s pretty fun, it’s pretty interesting, I like it. And, from there on, music has taken my heart. And, besides guitar and piano, I also play drums and bass. But, for me, composing and producing music is more of my passion. I don’t like playing as much. Making what I want is more my thing.

Steven: How did you get into doing electronic music? How did that get started?

Mewmore: Well, I got into electronic music at the same time as I got into remixing. It was late 2010. I was at my friend, Dasgust’s place for the new year. And back then, he used to make these Pokémon remixes with this program called FL Studio. And, I thought it was pretty awesome. I mean, with electronic music, you could do quite a lot of things you couldn’t do with instruments. And, I decided to give it a try. I made this remix of Pokémon Gold and Silver’s song called Union Cave. From there on, I’ve been making this Pokémon remixes. But also, I’ve been branching out to make original electronic music, for example.

Steven: Alright. Yeah, that’s pretty neat. Now, you mentioned Pokémon there. You were actually a little late in coming to that. You had watched the TV show, but how did you actually get into the games?

Mewmore: That also was because of Dasgust. He used to have, I think it was Emerald on Game Boy. And each time I was in his place, like back in 2005-2006, I used to play it quite a lot. And, before that, was only like the TV show for me. But, then I realized that the games, they were awesome. And as soon as DS came out, I think I bought it and then I bought Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. From then on, I’ve been playing the games as well.

Steven: Alright. That’s neat as well. So, there’s two songs that we have, of yours, that are on the station right now. The first one is Lisia’s theme. Lisia is from the contest portion of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Can you kind of explain how you ended up remixing that song?

Mewmore: Yeah. I think it was back in December. Back then, I used my Alpha Sapphire and I was at the part when the contests were introduced the first time and you got to meet Lisia. And, I thought that her theme was quite good. It was a bit all over the place, but the main melody was pretty cool. And, I decided to remix it because there was something good in the song. I wanted to bring it out. It’s quite a quick remix. I made it in the same style as I made this Battle Hall remix from Platinum. Both have these kind of piano chords and crispy bass, house beats and vibraphone as a lead. I think it turned out pretty fine.

Steven: Yeah, it is pretty good. It’s definitely gotten some good feedback on the station. And then, the other one you have is actually a collaboration with Dasgust, which is the “I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye”, which is from the Mystery Dungeon game. How did that come about?

Mewmore: The demo of the song was made back in the beginning of this year, was Dasgust’s remix which he made before he went to Army. Then, on the summer time, me and Dasgust met. Usually, when we meet, we want to make music together, because we don’t meet as often. And, we were thinking what should we remix? Then, I said that you use to have that “I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye” remix which you made. We could maybe take that. And he was like yeah, let’s do that. And yeah, we changed quite a lot of instruments. And of course, produced it a bit better. The cooperation usually with us goes like [we] send the song to each other and we like work. And usually, we do it in turns. Like, Dasgust makes something then he says now it’s your turn. I’m done with this. Then, I do something. Then, I send it back to Dasgust and so on. And, I think Dasgust mixed it and mastered it, because it has better plug-ins for that. And, he’s a bit better, I think, in production-wise.

Steven: Alright. And, of course, these are just a few of the songs you’ve done. Some of them, Pokemon related. But, also some other stuff. Why don’t you talk about some of the other songs you’ve worked on that you really like over the last couple years?

Mewmore: First of all, I want to mention Driftveil City from Black & White, which I uploaded just a week ago. I think it’s, so far, my best work in terms of production. It’s pretty good, I think. Of course, it’s just a week old, and it’s Electro-house type of music. And, I think it’s the best kind of view of what I’m capable of doing right now.

Then, I’ve got also this remix, also from Pokémon Black 2 & White 2, called Virbank City. And, I think that is my best work, composition-wise. Of course, since it’s made in 2013, it’s production of the song’s not as good as most of my others. But, I think it’s just something in the song.

Steven: Yeah, definitely. In the games, they do a very good job of giving each city its own character with a theme song for it. Which, is a great feature there. What other games have you done remixes of that aren’t Pokémon related? You’ve done a few out there.

Mewmore: Yeah. Recently, I thought about keeping Mewmore just as a Pokemon channel, Pokemon remixes. But lately, I’ve gotten into remixing music from other series as well, such as Zelda, Mario, Professor Layton, Animal Crossing. I’ve also remixed a song from Castlevania. And, on this other channel of mine, which was before Mewmore, I used to have songs from Final Fantasy, Earthbound, as well. But, Pokémon has usually been the game in which I work on the most.

Steven: That’s really neat. Obviously, it’s good to branch out. But, really like to hear things like that. Alright. Well, you mentioned your YouTube channel. You have a few other social media outlets. Why don’t you go over those right now?

Mewmore: Okay. First of all, Twitter, it’s @mewmore. I use Twitter quite a lot, and I think that’s the best way to contact me if you want to. I usually update about my future remixes, other stuff I’m going to do, on there first. So, be sure to check it out. And I also have SoundCloud where I upload some other songs. Usually song ideas, remixes of other songs than video game songs. I’ve got about 90 songs there. If you want to check that out as well, go on SoundCloud and type ‘Mewmore’. I’ve also got Tumblr, which I don’t use as much. I usually just post links on my YouTube songs there. And, I also think I’ve got Ask.fm. That’s also under the name Mewmore. If you want to ask me a question there, just go ahead. I don’t get too many questions in the first place. But yeah, those are pretty much the social accounts I use.

Steven: Well, hopefully you’ll get some more feedback in the future, after this interview. But, alright. Thank you very much, Mewmore. This has been Steven Reich from the Poke Press studios in Madison, Wisconsin on the phone with Mewmore, a remixer of video game music.

Transcript by GetTranscribed.com

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Missed Pokemon Integration?-"Punch-Out!!" Wii

Would the 2009 "Punch-Out!!" game for Wii have been improved if it included a character from Pokemon? That's the topic we explore in this week's video:

If you're interested in learning more, you can read the Kotaku article mentioned in the video. It doesn't specifically address Pokemon, but it does mention the developers were trying to keep things closer the "Punch-Out!!" core cast of characters. Was that a good idea? Let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pokémon World Championships 2015: Seniors VGC Winner

Mark McQuillan
The following is an interview with Mark McQuillan, winner of the VGC Seniors division in this year’s Pokémon World Championships.

Where are you from, and how did you get into playing the Pokémon video games competitively?
I’m from Edinburgh, Scotland, in the UK and I started playing competitive Pokémon in 2011. I saw something online about the UK National Championships in Birmingham and had managed to persuade my parents to take me there. I had been playing Pokémon casually since 2007 but I knew nothing about competitive Pokémon at that time (I didn’t even have a properly EV-trained team). Even so, I ended up reaching the top eight of that tournament, which got me an invite to the 2011 World Championships in San Diego. Between Nationals and Worlds I learned more about the game and I was able to build a much stronger team for Worlds, where I ended up getting tenth place. That tournament was a very enjoyable experience, so I’ve been playing Pokémon ever since and have now played in a total of five World Championships.

How did you end up with the team you did? Was there an overall strategy? 
The team idea came from a Korean player that I battled online. His team featured a Skill Swap Cresselia alongside a slow Charizard (designed for Trick Room), and he defeated me relatively easily. I took the team of six which I had faced and changed some of the moves as well as made some of my own original sets. One of the main changes was Toxic replacing Psychic on Cresselia-I did this to strengthen my matchup against Milotic and opposing Cresselia, as well to deal important chip damage to Pokémon such as Rotom-Heat (which gave my team a lot of trouble). I also had a hard choice between Conkeldurr and Machamp since the player I faced on Battle Spot never brought his own Machamp to our set and therefore I wasn’t sure what it did. I decided on Machamp because I found in practise that it makes it hard for opponents to switch due to the threat of a Dynamic Punch confusion. It also gave me a better matchup against Charizard with its 100% accurate Stone Edge. Landorus was important on the team since Intimidate support can be crucial at many points during a match, and it provided ways to hit common Pokémon such as Kangaskhan, Charizard and Heatran for at least a two-hit KO. Heatran was good as it could knock out Aegislash in one hit with Overheat and make use of Charizard’s sun with boosted Heat Waves. Sylveon was my least-used Pokémon on the team since I only brought it to one match, but that was mostly because I didn’t play against very many Mega Salamence at Worlds.

Using Skill Swap on Cresselia meant that you had to have a good knowledge of what your opponent’s Pokemon’s abilities are, despite the fact that many Pokémon have multiple possible Abilities. Did you have to prepare a lot?
Actually, there’s not much diversity in the abilities of most of the common Pokémon in VGC. For example, Heatran is guaranteed to have Flash Fire so it is perfectly safe to Skill Swap that ability away allowing Charizard to freely use Heat Wave or Flamethrower. There are barely any Pokémon which have two equally viable abilities; so Skill Swap was not usually a risky play to make.

What’s the most interesting Swap you got in the tournament?
My favourite Skill Swap was when I was able to predict my opponent’s switch into Tyranitar (in an attempt to remove my sun) and use Skill Swap on my own Mega Charizard Y. This meant that I could keep sun up (“switch in” abilities swap before they can activate) and hit the Tyranitar with a Solar Beam, knocking it out in one hit. Another interesting swap was when I was able to take away Flash Fire from a Heatran and give it to my Charizard. This meant that Heatran could not damage My Charizard since I was immune to all of its attacks. I then got a Flash Fire boost which meant I could knock out both Kangaskhan and Landorus-Therian in one hit before winning two vs. one against his Heatran.

What was your overall strategy for the finals? 
I knew in the finals that I needed to put Trick Room up in order to get momentum against my opponent’s faster team. I also knew that he had no reliable way to get rid of my Cresselia and so I could virtually freely set up Trick Room. The Pokémon I was most worried about were his Aegislash, which undersped a lot of the Pokémon on my team, and his Assault Vest Landorus which I had been told was very Specially Defensive. He did not bring his Aegislash to either of our games, possibly fearing my two fire-type Pokémon. I was able to inflict a lot of damage onto my opponent’s Landorus in game one when it switched in on my Cresselia’s Ice Beam and My Charizard’s Heat Wave. He decided not to bring his Landorus to the second match, a decision which helped me considerably as his Sylveon was not as threatening to my team.

You read your opponent extremely well in that match. Was there anything that helped you figure out what your opponent was going to do?
My friend, who had lost to my finals opponent in the Top Four, showed me a replay of the third game in their set. I noted that my finals opponent was very much inclined to double-targeting one of the opposing Pokémon when he felt a Protect may be coming from the other. This aggressive playstyle choice was the reason I opted not to use protect with my Charizard on the first turn of the first game. This paid off for me and I was able to hit his Zapdos with a Flamethrower and put up Trick Room on the same turn. I knew that on turn two he needed to preserve his Landorus since I was threatening it with an Ice Beam. I had played that situation many times when practising with the team and so I knew to Skill Swap and Heat Wave on the switch. If he had stayed in with Landorus then I still would have been in a good position as I would have been able to Skill Swap his intimidate putting him to minus one attack, meaning he would not be able to OHKO my Charizard with Rock Slide. In game two, when I went for Dynamic Punch on his Zapdos I knew he would probably have Kangaskhan and Heatran in the back so if he switched I would get a KO, and if he stayed in he may be confused. The lead matchups were very positive in both games, and therefore I was able to play very offensively, forcing my opponent to switch. This was good for me as one of the main objectives of the team was to punish my opponents’ switches.

Are there any improvements you might make to your team if you used it again?
If I had the opportunity to change my team, the only Pokémon I would consider swapping out would be Sylveon, since I only brought it to one match. However, it was definitely an important Pokémon in that match and it really strengthened my overall matchup against Mega Salamence (despite that particular Mega Evolution not being very popular at the World Championships).

What’s it like winning the world championship?
Winning the World Championships felt like I was redeeming myself after losing in the finals the previous year. Coming so close to winning in 2014 was exciting and felt like a great accomplishment, but falling at the last hurdle was heartbreaking and (slightly) hurt my confidence. I don’t feel that I played very well in that match and the heavy defeat did not make me look good, especially on-stream. Winning the World Championships has been a goal of mine since I began to drastically improve at the game (around 2013), and finally doing it this year, in my final year of seniors, felt like a lot of hard work finally paying off.

Did you do anything else interesting in Boston?
Despite not having very much time in Boston with the tournament taking up three days, I did thoroughly enjoy my time there. My parents and I went on a walking tour along part of the Freedom Trail which was quite interesting. We also went to Fenway Park to watch the Boston Red Sox. This was my first experience of baseball and the game was very exciting and fast paced. My family also spent a week in Cape Cod prior to the event which was really enjoyable: We went to Provincetown, saw the impressive Pilgrim’s Monument and cycled to the many beaches on the cape. Cape Cod was a nice, relaxing holiday but I still made sure to practise consistently during that time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

New music for the week of 9/14/2015

Two new tracks this week. One from movie 18:

-The Light of Hope-Arceus's Theme

And one more:

-Route 104

This is a selection from "ACROMACH: A Hoenn Tribute", a new fan album. You can pick up the album on Loudr or iTunes to hear more, or watch a preview here:

Happy Listening!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Real Pokemon: The First Movie Blu-Ray Appeared! In Australia...

Turns out the Aussies are getting the first three Pokemon movies on Blu-ray just in time for Christmas. Find out what we know (and don't know) about this collection, and what it could mean for the wider world:


Hi, folks. Steven here. Just wanted to put up a video discussing one of the news stories from earlier this week that I think could use a little more attention. So, some of you may remember that last year I put up a video about a fake Pokemon: The First Movie Blu-ray that appeared on eBay. And, this is sort of a follow up to that.

Now, since then, I’ve seen fake Blu-rays of second and third movies, fake DVDs of the first three movies and Mewtwo Returns. A fake “repress” of the 4-7 Blu-ray, Origins and even the Zoroark movie. But, what’s happened this week is that we found out that Australia is getting a Blu-ray pack of movies 1-3. You may remember that this has been out of print for years. First Movie in 2009, second in 2010, third in 2011. So, there hasn’t been a legitimate way to buy these.

But, in any case, this 1-3 Blu-ray collection is coming out on December 2nd. And, if you would rather get them on DVD, they’re available individually on that same day. We don’t know a ton about these collections. We can’t actually see the backs of them, so we don’t know if they’re going to have the shorts or special features of any sort. Now, you may remember that the first three Pokemon movies have been cycling through on Pokemon TV. As of recording this, they have the third movie up there. And, none of them, as far as I know, have the shorts associated with them. So, it remains to be seen if they’ll be on these. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t.

And, as far as special features, to be honest, I’m not expecting a whole lot. It would be nice if they could at least bring the special features from the original releases forward. That would be very nice. So, with this release, I’m sure a lot of you are wondering, is this going to be importable? Well, as it turns out, these are labeled as Blu-ray Region B, which covers Australia, New Zealand, and a good chunk of Europe. Which, is a different region from Region A, which covers the US, Canada, Japan, and a few other places. So, technically speaking, unless you had a region-free Blu-ray player, you wouldn’t be able to use these.

However, as you may know, the Magna and Beyond Blu-ray for movies 12-15 that came out in Australia-the same distributor for this-would also play in Region A players. There were a few caveats. You might want to check out my review of the movie 14, the Victini movie Blu-ray that we did a couple years ago, sort of discusses some of that.

These might also play in Region A players. We really don’t know. And, my advice, if you don’t have a region-free player, is just to wait until they come out and then look for some confirmation online about whether they support Region A. And then, I guess, you could find a way to import them.
So, next question you’re probably asking, what does this mean for the US? Are we going to see these eventually? I suppose there’s a small chance that we could get something announced for this year. But, I think we’re much more likely to see something next year. And, just to kind of forewarn you, this could be a Blu-ray, or it could be just digital distribution of these movies on iTunes, Amazon Instant, and the like.

Part of the reason for this is that we’ve never gotten, in North America, a Blu-ray of Pokemon from Viz, who would probably end up doing this type of distribution. No real reason why Australia has gotten this but the US hasn’t. Maybe Viz thinks it’s economically unviable. One idea that I have-pure speculation on my part-is maybe Viz has some sort of cap on how many Blu-rays they can produce in a given year and Pokemon would use up too much of that quota. Like I said, total speculation on my part. Just putting that out there.

So, with that said, hopefully some time within the next 6-8 months, we’ll find something out that something is coming to the US. But, until then, I’m just kind of curious, what are your thoughts, idea, comments on this? Are any of you thinking about getting this from Australia? Or, what’s the deal with that? Alright, folks. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

New music for the week of 9/7/2015

Two new tracks this week, both from movie 18:

-Patching Things Up
-Hoopa Unbound

Happy Listening!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Pokémon World Championships 2015: Juniors TCG Winner

Rowan Stavenow
The following is an interview with Rowan Stavenow, winner of the TCG Juniors Division in this year’s Pokémon World Championships. Rowan used a Landorus/Bats deck in this year’s tournament.

Where are you from, and how did you get into playing the Pokémon TCG?
I am from the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada. I first got into Pokémon with my friends at school-they were trading the cards and I though they looked really neat. My brother Grayson also thought they were cool, so we started to learn how to play at home. When we went to the local card store (Comic Connection) in Oakville, we found out that they had a league on Saturdays and some players there helped us learn more.

What made you choose to use this deck for Worlds?
I am familiar with Landy Bats and have played it for about eight months. I like decks with options, and I feel that my deck has lots of them. For example, I can snipe Pokémon on the bench before they evolve, or I can deal heavy damage to the active. Also, I thought the meta would have lots of Manectric, which of course would be a good match-up for me.

What did other folks think of your choice?
One of my friends was talking to my dad at the beginning of the tournament. He asked about what deck I was playing and said “Did Rowan bring ‘Old Faithful’?” Another friend was always saying “I can’t believe you are playing Landy Bats”, or “you are playing Landy Bats again?” Well, I wasn’t the only one to bring Landy Bats to worlds-turns out it is a pretty good deck.

“Bats” decks have to make sure they place damage counters when and where they will be most effective. What are some general rules you use to decide whether to evolve?
I generally ask myself these three questions:
1. Will the bat get knocked out if un-evolved?
2. Does my opponent have a large threat (something with potential to do a lot of damage) in play?
3. Can I get a knock out if I evolve the bat (bench snipe)?

If the answer to any one of those questions is “yes”, I will generally evolve the bat.

In the finals, you were paired against a Primal Groudon deck. What was your overall strategy for that matchup?
Well, to be honest, I didn’t really expect to get to the finals. In the Top Four I was matched up against one of my friends. He is a great player, and he was playing Toad/Bats, which is a really hard deck for me to face, but I managed to get past it.

Now, as far as the finals matchup, during Swiss matches on Saturday I encountered two other Primal Groudon decks. My overall strategy was to snipe the Groudon while they were on the bench and before they became active. When they did become active my hope was that they would have enough damage on them so that my Hawlucha could one-hit them. I also didn’t want the Groudon to knock out any of my EX Pokémon. Giving up two prizes was something I wanted to avoid, and since Hawlucha can do so much damage for a single energy while only giving up one prize, I felt that was the way to go. I won both of those matches, so felt I had a good strategy in place, and it worked for the first game of the finals as well. I was going to use that strategy in the second game, but didn’t really need to because my opponent drew dead, and his Computer Search was prized.

Your finals opponent defeated a deck similar to yours in the Top Four. What did you do differently to get the win?
I tried to use Hammerhead as soon as possible, before he could get a Hard Charm on his Groudon.
The Top Four player attacked with Bunnelby. Dealing damage to the Groundon while they were still on the bench is a key strategy to win the match-up. While Bunnelby is attacking, no damage is done to the Groudon.

Any other tips?
The ability of Wobbuffet (or Silent Lab) to turn off Shaymin’s Set Up Ability was a difficult part of the match-up. The Set Up Ability is a great help in drawing cards and increasing the overall consistency of my deck. There were a few times that I couldn’t use Set Up, and had to hold my Shaymin in my hand. During the tournament, I saw other players making the mistake of benching Shaymin, while its Ability was shut down. I tried really hard to be aware of this.

I notice that when taking multiple prizes for knocking out an EX, you usually take prizes that are not adjacent. Is there a reason for that?
In some cases my deck may have been clumped, meaning two side-by-side prizes could be the same.

What does it feel like to be a world champion?
It feels unbelievable to be a world champion in my first year playing Pokémon.

Did you do anything else at worlds (or in Boston)?
On Friday, I was fortunate enough to win my first three matches. After that, I didn’t have to play anymore, so I could spend the afternoon playing in side events with my friends. I also went to the fifth floor of the Sheraton hotel as often as I could to trade cards and test matchups. On Sunday, after the closing ceremonies, I went on a Duck Tour of Boston with my family.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

New music for the week of 8/31/2015

As usual, three new tracks this week. Two from movie 18:

-In the Morning Sun
-Teaching the Shadow About Hoopa

And one more:

-Brother, My Brother (Pokémon: The First Movie - Soundtrack)

This is an acoustic & electric guitar cover of the song from The First Movie. I strongly recommend picking this new version up on Amazon or iTunes if you like it.

Additionally, there's only about a week left to vote on our poll regarding some of the songs from Pokemon 2000. Weigh in if you haven't already!

Happy listening!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pokémon World Championships 2015: Masters TCG Winner

Jacob Van Wagner
The following is an interview with Jacob Van Wagner, winner of the TCG Masters division in this year’s Pokémon World Championships. Jacob used a deck that combines Blastoise with Archie’s Ace in the Hole.

Where are you from, and how did you get into playing the Pokémon TCG?
I’m from Happy Valley, Oregon. I got into the game when my little brother discovered a league close to our house. I was reluctant to go but once I went the first time (now six years ago), I was hooked immediately.

What made you choose to use this deck for Worlds?
I had tested the deck a bit prior to the event and wasn’t comfortable with the chance of dead hands, however my good friend and teammate Travis Nunlist thought that after the results of US nationals, this deck would be a solid play for worlds. I was still somewhat reluctant but decided I’d have more fun with this deck than anything else, and ended up playing the same list as him for day one.

This idea has been floating around for a while, but most players decided it wasn’t reliable enough. What changes did you make to the deck to improve your chances?
We (my testing team and I) wanted to focus primarily on consistency and just add in a couple of things for the matchups we expected. We were expecting a larger amount of night march so we included the copy of Wailord and Articuno. The day one list also included a copy of Bunnelby, which was helpful in getting back Superior Energy Retrievals, Computer Search, etc.. It also had the potential to deck someone out if their deck ever got done to just a few cards, but that situation never occurred.

What were some of the other Pokémon in your deck, and what were they used for?
The deck included Keldeo EX, Wailord EX, Articuno ROS, and Mewtwo EX as attackers, two copies of Exeggcute for their Propogation Ability, and two copies of Jirachi EX and Shaymin EX for added consistency. Wailord EX and Articuno were included as techs against Night March and Raichu variants. Wailord has a lot of hit points and can hit for 120 damage, which will knock out all of the Pokémon in both of those decks. Articuno’s Ancient Trait allows you to take two prize cards when you knock out a Pokémon, and flipping a single heads lets it deal sixty damage, which knocks out most attackers in Night March and knocks out Zubat/Pikachu in Raichu variants. Mewtwo EX is primarily helpful vs decks that also utilize Pokémon with large energy costs, such as other Keldeo EX, primal Groudon EX, and Mewtwo EX.

If you couldn’t get Blastoise out on the first turn, what did you wind up doing? Did you generally have to concede those games?
If I knew I wasn’t going to get Blastoise out that turn, I’d try to just get at least the water down on a Keldeo so I could start powering it up manually, and either try to prepare my hand for the Archie’s Ace in the Hole the next turn, or play a different supporter such as N or Professor Juniper. If neither was an option then I can’t imagine I’d win that game.

In the second game of the finals, you had to go through a lot to get Blastoise out on your first turn. What was your thought process?
I wanted to leave myself with more options to discard conservatively if I drew weird combinations of cards, such as Ultra Ball and Superior Energy Retrieval. After not hitting the Archies off of my first draw with Shaymin’s Set Up, I realized I just had to hope for some good luck and see an Ultra Ball or the Computer Search, as either of those would give me the options I needed.

Do you think a variant of this using Primal Kyogre could work in XY-On, or does the deck lose too much in the rotation?
I think the deck really thrives on the "unlimited" damage cap with Blastoise and Keldeo EX. It doesn’t seem to me like it’d have as much strength in XY-on.

What about Expanded? Do you think this deck will see play there?
I do think it has potential in Expanded. It would basically have the same weakness as it does now, the need to go first so you can get your combo off before your opponent has the chance to mess it up for you.

How does it feel to be a world champion?
It feels amazing. I’m honored that I’ve gotten to represent my country at the highest level and earn the title.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New music for the week of 8/24/2015 + new poll

Three more new tracks this week. Two from the Hoopa movie:

-The Curtain Rises on the Legendary Battle
-Countdown to Restoration

And one more:

-Verdanturf Town

This is a piano rendition of the song by Jonathan Aldrich. You can check it out here:

I also added a poll asking a question prompted by a recent interview-as it turns out, not only was "Wonderland" apparently supposed to be used in the second Pokemon Movie (judging from the information I was given, I assume it was designed as the intro song to the short), it was originally supposed to be performed by Dream Street rather than Angela Via. As such, I've created a poll with the three options to find out which you think you'd have liked best:

-"Wonderland" performed by Dream Street
-"Wonderland" performed by Angela Via
-"Comin' to the Rescue" performed by O-Town

Happy listening!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New music for the week of 8/17/2015

Another three tracks hit the station this week. Two from movie 18:

-Let's Head to Desert Tower!
-We'll Fight Too!

And one new remix:

-Decisions (Battle! VS Champion Cynthia)

You can check out a video of this one here:

Happy listening!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Songwriter Interview: Pam Sheyne

Pam Sheyne
The following is an interview with Pam Sheyne (pronounced “Shane”), co-writer of “Wonderland”, “The Extra Mile” and “One” from Pokémon 2000.

Where are you from, and how did you get into writing music?
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and relocated to the UK when I was seventeen years old. I started out singing and playing guitar in a hotel band in London then eventually moved into doing session work and touring. I toured as a backup singer for the Pet Shop Boys in 1991 which was an amazing experience but a real cross roads for me as I didn’t want to continue being on the road. In 1992 I decided to concentrate on writing songs full-time and got my first publishing deal. (My husband Nigel Rush was my first publisher which is how we met). I wanted to be an artist but I started having success with songwriting first and realised that it was more suited to me. I am most definitely at home being in the studio writing and producing.

What were some things you worked on before Pokémon 2000? 
I love collaborating and particularly enjoy working with a producer and artist in the room. In the mid-90’s I teamed up with Eliot Kennedy (Spice Girls/Bryan Adams/Take That) and we co-wrote/produced for Rebbie Jackson (Michael’s big sister). She came to London to work with us after we recorded “Yours Faithfully” for her in LA. My first big success in the UK was with an artist called Billie Piper and a song called “She Wants You” which went to No. 3 in the charts and from there I went on to work with a bunch of acts like Louise who was in girl band Eternal, Norwegian girl duo M2M and Haley Westenra from my home country New Zealand. I started doing more regular writing trips to LA, New York, Nashville and Stockholm to broaden my network and eventually moved to LA in 2008.

How did you get involved with writing songs for the movie?
It was on a writing trip to LA that I had a meeting with Darren Higman at Atlantic Records for the first time. Darren mentioned he was looking for songs for the upcoming movie soundtrack and he asked me if I wanted to write something for it. When I went back to London I called writer/producer Matt Rowe as we had been working together on a few projects. Darren sent us the visuals to write for one spot in the movie.

What was your experience with Pokémon prior to this?
I had never watched Pokémon before and had only seen the huge impact it had on kids and how popular it was all over the world. 

What was the writing process like?
Matt and I wrote “Wonderland” and “One” specifically for the film and soundtrack. I remember us sitting in the studio with a blank page and watching the film without music for the first time with these cute little characters all falling down these tunnels and thinking, “I love working to picture, this is going to be a blast!”

How did “The Extra Mile” get written?
“The Extra Mile” was written with Tina Arena and Andrew Frampton originally for the Sydney Olympic Games as Tina was asked to sing a song at the opening ceremony. She didn't end up singing the song at the games but Laura recorded it for her Italian and Spanish albums and then it additionally made the Pokémon Soundtrack album.

Were the songs intended to be used in the movie, or just inspired by it?
“Wonderland” was written for a specific scene in the movie and “One” was just written for the soundtrack.  “Wonderland” was not used in the film itself however because there were publishing clearance issues.

Two of the songs (“Wonderland” and “One”) have Spanish versions. Were you involved in either of those?
My husband and I flew to New York to produce the vocal with Angela Via at the Sony Studios (it was actually originally intended for Dream Street, but was changed at the last minute). We then flew down to LA to produce the Spanish version with the translator Jorge Piloto, and then flew back to New York to mix full length versions of English and Spanish versions. Vocals for “One” were produced by David Foster-he added to Matt’s production and produced the Spanish vocals (translated by Claudia Brandt) with Denisse Lara at 143 Studios near LA.

Was an Italian version of “The Extra Mile” ever considered? Also, what was recording that song like?
There was talk about doing an Italian version but they wanted it to be only English language songs on the record for some reason. Nigel, Ben Robbins and I flew to Milan to produce Laura Pausini’s vocals. It was such a pleasure to work with her and she was very detail-oriented and such a trooper- we spent hours getting the pronunciation right. The mix was done at RG Jones in Wimbledon in the UK.

What else have you written?
I co-wrote “Genie in a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera, “He Loves You Not” for Dream, “Irresistible” for Jessica Simpson, “When It Happens To You” for Corinne Bailey Rae, “You Get Me” for Seal, “Old Blue Jeans” for Miley Cyrus (as Hannah Montana) and “For Love Alone” for Cece Winans. Others include songs by Demi Lovato, the Backstreet Boys, and Lindsay Lohan.

You recently spent some time in Europe teaching music composition. What was that like?
I was asked to mentor at a songwriting retreat with and for my friend Martin Sutton (The Songwriting Academy which is based in London) at the end of May this year. Martin has been doing this for a few years now and on this occasion we were four mentors and 32 songwriters. We didn’t teach composition as such but did masterclasses on the craft of songwriting and lent our experience on the business side of it. It was a week-long camp in co-writing sessions with the songwriters each day and because we were all staying in the same place we also got to socialise and hang out so it was a lot of fun. I have also been mentoring a lot of artists from South Africa and some have travelled to LA to work with me over the past couple of years. I am looking at doing more of this in the future as I enjoy working with young artists and teaching them some tricks in writing songs. Watch this space!

Where can folks find your web site, and do you have any social media that you post on?
My website is www.pamsheyne.com, and I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

Special thanks go to Pam’s husband Nigel Rush for helping verify information for this article.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New music for the week of 8/10/2015

Three new songs this week. Two from the Hoopa movie:

-It's Still Early
-Hoopa's Also a Part of the Family

And one more track:

-Mt. Coronet

This is a jazz rendition of the song from Diamond/Pearl/Platinum. You can check it out here:

Happy listening!

Saturday, August 08, 2015

New Pokemon TCG Ancient Origins interview following tomorrow's Top 25

At a recent Pokemon TCG Ancient Origins Prerelease, I had a chance to interview a player about a couple of cards in the set. We discussed the cards mechanically, as well as artistically. That interview will debut following tomorrow's Top 25 Countdown, which starts at 4pm Eastern/3pm Central.

If you like, you can also get it here:

Or, if you want the audio-only experience:

Cards discussed:

-Mega Tyranitar EX
-Gyarados (Prerelease Promo)


Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich, here at Pegasus Games in Madison, WI, at one of the Pokémon Trading Card Game Ancient Origins Prereleases. I’m here with Joel Henry, who is one of the participants in the Masters Division of today’s prerelease tournament. And Joel, we’ve picked out a couple cards, this is what we usually do, and we’re going to talk about them.

So, the first one you’ve picked out is Mega Tyranitar EX. Obviously, it will evolve from the regular Tyranitar EX. It’s got one of those Ancient Traits. What does it do, and what else do you like about the card?

Joel: The Ancient Trait is a [Theta] Double, so it allows you to put two Pokémon tools on it. Which, definitely will be a big help. And, the attack, Destroyer King, it does 60 more damage for each damage counter on your opponents active Pokémon. So, I think that can be a huge advantage just to knock out Pokémon, just one after the other.

Steven: Yeah, I could see this potentially working as sort of a sweeper in some sort of a spread deck, potentially. The main thing it has going against it though, is its attack requires four energy there. What kind of strategies do you think people might use if they want to use this card in a deck to sort of get that much energy in there?

Joel: The Double Colorless Energies would help it out a lot.

Steven: Yeah. Mega Turbo is also potentially useful here. But, only time will tell. The next card he’s picked out is the Gardevoir from this set. We’ve seen Mega Gardevoir before, but this is a regular old Gardevoir. It’s got a couple different things on it. What do you like about it?

Joel: I like the ability, which is Bright Heal. So, once you’re in your turn, you can heal 20 damage to it. Also, the attack, Telekinesis, which does 50 damage to one of your opponent’s Pokémon. It’s 3 Colorless. So, I think that can be a huge advantage. For example, if you have a Fairy/Psychic deck, or something, you can easily stack it up and attack with it.

Steven: Yeah, it potentially is splashable in some cases, as well. But, with 3 Colorless Energy cost. Of course, Bright Heal, that will stack if you have multiple ones out. So, that’s something to watch out for. Alright, the next, and last, card we’ve picked out is Gyarados. It also has Theta Double. This is actually the prerelease promo, if you’re going to one of these prerelease tournaments. So, it’s not too hard to find. You really like the art, don’t you?

Joel: Yeah, definitely.

Steven: What do you like about it? What qualities to it really stand out?

Joel: It looks hand-drawn. So, I really like that about it. It’s also got like a little fisherman in the corner, trying to catch it. So, it adds a little humor to it.

Steven: They definitely put some effort in there. It may see some play. The full retaliation lets you do damage based on how many damage counters are on your Magikarp in play. Which, is a pretty risky play. So, it may not see too much tournament play. But, the art is absolutely stellar on this one. Definitely, at least, a good choice for the prerelease promo, if you ask me. Alright, well, thank you very much, Joel. This has been Steven Reich from Pegasus Games in Madison, WI, at the Pokémon Trading Card Game Ancient Origins Prerelease.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

New music for the week of 8/3/2015

As the recent unboxing may have suggested, this week we get our first music from the eighteenth Pokemon movie:

-Super Hoopa Appears
-Legendary Pokemon

Happy listening!

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Unboxing the Pokemon Movie 18 Score

The score to the latest Pokemon movie may not come with a poster or a Tretta chip, but there are still some neat things to look at.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pokemon: The Johto Journeys - The Complete Collection Releases November 10th

Amazon has recently put up a listing for Pokemon: The Johto Journeys - The Complete Collection to be released on DVD November 10th. "The Johto Journeys" is the third season of the Pokemon anime, which originally aired in the US from 2000-2001. This set follows the Orange Islands collection released earlier this year.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Roaring All Stars + Tweedia

Following up on last week's unboxing, this week I do a review of the recently released Japanese Pokemon singles. Do these songs from the 18th movie measure up favorably?


Hi, folks. Steven here with a review of Roaring All Stars and Tweedia, the two new Japanese Pokémon music singles. In case you don’t know, last weekend I put up a video of an unboxing, which I recommend you definitely take a look at. I’ll put a card in here. But, the thing is, they come with some really interesting stuff, you know. The Pokémon editions of those singles. And, really, do want you to take a look at that. Here, we’ll be just doing a review. And, just so you know, I’m not claiming to be a professional music reviewer. I don’t have any training or anything like that. But, give it my best shot here. And, I should also point out, in case you didn’t know, I have very limited Japanese knowledge. So, I’m not really appreciating these songs on a lyrical level, so much as just listening to them as music and sort of judging things there. So, with that said, let’s go on to the review.

Let’s start off with Roaring All Stars. In case you didn’t know, this is the current ending theme to the Pokémon TV show in Japan. It’s also associated with the short from the 18th movie. The first time I listened to it, I really didn’t like it all that much. It just seemed a little dizzy and loud. It really just did not strike my fancy, I guess you could say. But, I thought about, what is it about this song that makes me not really like it? And, what I did is I thought, maybe it’s too loud. It might be percussion and instruments. So, what I did is I went into Audacity and I took the regular version, instrumental version, lined them up and made it so that the instrumental version would cancel out the regular version. And, I just sort of played with the volume and stuff like that to get some of the instruments removed. And, it actually struck me a lot better there. I’m not sure exactly what it was. Maybe the vocals started to come out more and that’s what I like. Because, I think Little Glee Monster did a good job singing it. That may have been just enough to make me appreciate it a little bit more. It was kind of interesting. And, as a result-this is not currently on the station, yet-but, I am experimenting with releveling it and seeing what I can do there to make it, maybe, a little bit more radio friendly. At least, in my opinion.

The only other real criticism I have of this song-I think it’s good overall, especially, like I said, with the releveling to bring up the vocals a little bit more-is that there’s this speed up sequence towards the end, where it sort of repeats and then gets faster and faster. The song’s kind of over at that point. I think we could cut out maybe one or two of those and the song might be a little bit structurally better for it. Otherwise, like I said, first impression wasn’t that great, but I think it’s a little bit better in my mind now. So, definitely glad to hear some of that.

Let’s move over to Tweedia, which is the ending song to the 18th Pokémon movie in Japan. It actually kind of reminds me, now that I’ve listened to it a couple times, of ONE from movie 12. You may remember, that was the Shaymin movie, in case you’re forgetting. But, that was the Japanese ending song. And, they have kind of similar, I guess you could say, space with instruments sound. Where they have the vocals, of course, and then there’s sort of this ambient— ONE uses more strings, whereas Tweedia uses strings, but also there’s a piano part, and they both have drums and all that stuff.

Overall, I would say I like ONE better. I think it has better flow and a more interesting melody, and it’s more catchy. Definitely more energetic. And, at the same time though, I don’t feel like Tweedia is redundant or not needed, or something you don’t need to really care about. I think it’s still worth listening to. Tweedia is on the station right now. We’ll see what folks think of it. In any case, I don’t have a whole lot else to say about Tweedia. That’s sort of the main point of comparison I could come up with. Not too much that really stands out, not much that really detracts from it either. I think that it’s an overall good song.

But, of course, part of the point of putting this video up, I want to know what you think. Do you like both songs? Do you have similar criticisms? Do you have different criticisms? Please, let me know. Post a comment. Or, give us an email. And, like I said, if you listen to this station, go ahead and rate the tracks that are on there. It really helps me determine which tracks stay around and get promoted, and stuff like that. Alright, folks. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pokémon VGC US Nationals 2015: Seniors Winner Interview

Ben Piercy
The following is an interview with Ben Piercy, winner of the Seniors Division of this year’s Pokémon VGC US Nationals.

Where are you from?
I’m Canadian, from Calgary, Alberta.

How did you get into Pokémon in general, and competitive battling in specific?
I started Pokémon when I switched schools before the start of grade four, where many of the kids on the school bus had one of the early generation four games (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum). I would spend most bus rides watching the other kids play, until I got my own DS and Pokémon Pearl for my birthday. As for competitive battling, I knew I wanted to try it after watching the 2013 World Championships online. The thought of playing for a crowd excited me, and the prospect of having actual commentators and interviews seemed interesting.

What was the team you used at nationals?
My team at nationals was Mega Salamence, Focus Sash Breloom, Expert Belt Scizor, Sitrus Berry Volcarona, Choice Scarf Latios, and Life Orb Nidoqueen.

Why did you choose your uncommon Pokémon?
The problem with common Pokémon in VGC is that opposing teams become very intent on working to find ways to reliably beat them. The solution to this, in my opinion, is to use obscure Pokémon that are still competitive when run properly. Nidoqueen is a good example, as it has tons of potential, but still sees very little use. Opposing teams will have no pre-planned counters to my Nidoqueen, and oftentimes they are completely unprepared to face off against it-most opponents won’t remember base stats for these Pokémon going into battle, and I’ve also had more than one opponent tell me during the game that they forgot Nidoqueen’s types (Ground/Poison) and thus can’t predict its move set or know which types are super-effective against it.

What was your overall strategy for the finals?
After seeing his team, I knew that I immediately had to target his Breloom. Breloom knows Spore, and should be faster than four of my Pokémon. It also often carries Focus Sash, meaning it can’t be taken out in one hit. I decided he’d recognize Breloom was important and send it out as a lead in game one. I was able to take it out from game one before it could get any serious damage off, so I decided going into game two that he wouldn’t lead Breloom again, so I sent out Nidoqueen and Volcarona, which had a bad matchup against Breloom, but can take out any combination of his other five. Luckily I was correct, as he led Kangaskhan and Thundurus, without using Breloom at all.

Are there any improvements you might make if you used this team again?
One of my Latios’ moves was Heal Pulse, which wasn’t helpful. Not only did I never use it in the tournament, I never even used it in practice. The move I wanted was Draco Meteor, but I didn’t have time to acquire it in-game, considering I had to play through Omega Ruby just a few days before to even get Latios at all. I also should have replaced Salamence’s Dragon Claw with Dragon Dance (a fact I realized about a month before nationals). The only problem is that Dragon Dance is an egg move for Salamence, and I decided I would rather just use my Dragon Claw Salamence instead of breeding for and raising a new one with Dragon Dance.