Pokémon nostalgia came back strong in 2022 with the end of Ash Ketchum’s 25 year long journey to becoming the world’s top trainer, as well as the buggy but surprisingly successful launch of the latest entries in the video game series, Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet. The Japanese franchise was a big deal for 90s babies, but it was equally prominent for a Gen Zer like myself.
In a desperate attempt to share in some of my nostalgia with a fellow fan, I reached out to one of my favourite music makers online, YouTuber and streamer extraordinaire GlitchxCity—best known for her amazing video game soundtrack remixes. The creator is also notable for her amazing reworking of the beloved Pokémon soundtrack into Lo-Fi tunes that you can, you know—relax/study to.
Let’s put on some headphones, unplug from the chaos of Twitter, and get to know Glitch as she continues to pave the way for a welcoming, music-filled gaming world.
Endless reruns of the original Pokémon cartoon threatened to turn my eyes square when I was younger and Glitch had a similar experience, having fallen under the animated spell thanks to her daycares endless supply of “Pokémon VHS” tapes. I for one would give anything to rewind one of those chunky boxes again.
So for Glitch, her passion for gaming began with Pokémon. Old VHS tapes naturally led to them getting their hands on a Game Boy Colour the following year, “lime-green” she tells me (every gamer remembers their first handheld warmly) complete with a copy of Pokémon Gold. Glitch confessed that at seven she “didn’t really know how to play the game at the time and would always get stuck in Cherrygrove City after getting my first starter which was Chikorita”—another important memory for any gaming obsessives.
“Back then there was a lot of magic with the combination of pixels, great music, and a huge sense of adventure.” It was at the formative age of nine that the act of gaming finally clicked for Glitch, who told me that she played “the heck” out of Pokémon Sapphire. Who can blame her.
The lovable, creature hunting franchise that has since spawned countless animated spin offs and films—as well as a trading card game—has been a big part of Glitch’s life ever since and remains one of the most influential titles in their life. It’s not just Pokémon however, ”another game I really love is the Kingdom Hearts series. Both of those things offer the same thing: a sense of adventure!”
Glitch is best known for their successful career as a music producer, having accumulated over 176 million views on her YouTube channel, as well as over 13 million streams on Spotify. I was surprised to learn that, despite their impressive reputation, her start in the world of music came a bit later.
“When I was 13, I attended a family reunion and met an aunt who had a piano in her home. I sat down and started playing tunes from the games I played by memory, and my aunt straight up said to my mom, ‘you need to get this girl some piano lessons.’”I hated piano lessons as a kid and it seems Glitch was the same, who continued to say “I had one piano lesson, told my mom I didn’t like the teacher and said that I wanted to learn on my own.”
Like any self respecting teen with an unrestricted access to the internet, Glitch told me that they were really invested in YouTube during high school—the main content they consumed were your classic viral videos, but also Pokémon news and the hilarious and surreal YouTube Poops. There was a specific channel that always stuck out to her though, and it was called PokeRemixStudio.
Glitch spoke of her love for the aforementioned channel, a user that she has since surpassed in her rise on the video sharing platform. PokeRemixStudio mentions the gamer in their about section, a nod from a childhood hero that would make anyone well up.
What followed for Glitch was a desire to start her own YouTube channel. “I wanted to start up a YouTube channel that surrounded Pokémon, but didn’t know how to go about making videos.” She carried on by saying “I tried everything from new coverage, lore, let’s plays, and then decided to try out making Pokémon remixes myself. I can say without a doubt, this was the one that stuck with me!”
I went on to ask a little bit about what it was like growing up in the early internet as a woman and person of colour—characteristics that so often attract prejudice and malice online, especially in the early days of the internet and considering the lack of diverse representation we often see in the games themselves. Glitch recounted that “It was definitely a challenge navigating the space as a black woman, and for the longest time, I actually didn’t show my face in my content!”
In a revelation that unfortunately shocks nobody, Glitch went on to say “my audience always assumed I was a white male because that was the norm on the internet.” Thankfully, I was told that despite the hate comments, she actually received a lot of support in the early days thanks to how welcoming the Pokémon music space was.
Gaming is a powerful tool for friendship and community, a medium that has allowed Glitch the opportunity to “make lifelong lasting friendships.” When asked if games have positively impacted her life, the musician turned streamer said that her entry into the world of Esports brought out her “competitive side, and most importantly, introduced me to my partner.”
In a touching testimony that warmed my nerd heart, Glitch finished with “I wouldn’t be who I am today without games.” When asked if she had any words of advice for other gen Z gaming fanatics wanting to make a name for themselves in the industry, the self proclaimed “team Liquid hypewoman” reflected with “don’t be afraid to express yourself and explore your passions, I guarantee you that there is someone or a group of people that share that same level of excitement!” You heard her!