Catch them Zzzs with Pikachu: Pokémon Sleep will let you play while snoozing – Screen Shot
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Catch them Zzzs with Pikachu: Pokémon Sleep will let you play while snoozing

On Monday 27 February 2023, also known as ‘Pokémon Day’ as it was the date that Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green debuted in Japan in 1996, Nintendo gave Pokémon fans a smörgåsbord of announcements.

Alongside a nostalgic new set of Pokémon cards and initial details about downloadable content (DLC) for the most recent mainline games—Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet—the long-anticipated Pokémon Sleep was finally given a release window. There was also news of a new and original television show, Pokémon Concierge, a stop-motion animated series in development with Netflix, which looks incredibly sweet.

What is ‘Pokémon Sleep’?

Pokémon Sleep has been in the works for years. Nintendo regularly schedules live news broadcasts, named Nintendo Direct, and each time, the mobile game has been anticipated but never formally announced. Until now.

It was first announced back in 2019, when the president and CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, explained: “The concept of this game is for players to look forward to waking up every morning.”

Effectively, it’s a sleep-tracking app that incorporates various Pokémon into the software. The mascot is obviously Snorlax, a rare first-generation Pokémon famous for its capacity to sleep. Each night, placing your phone by your pillow will track the length and quality of your sleep—as is expected from such sleep-tracking apps, which have been popular for years now.

With Pokémon Sleep though, the longer you sleep, the higher your score will be come morning. And a higher score means more Pokémon will gather around your Snorlax avatar. Each night, your sleeping pattern will be classified as dozing, snoozing, or slumbering—different sleep styles attract different Pokémon.

Compatibility with other apps and devices (Pokémon GO, for example) has yet to be explained. Will you be able to battle with these new friends, or simply snooze alongside them?

Certain Pokémon have specific and unique sleeping types—whatever that might mean—and over time, you can collect them. Gotta catch ‘em all, right? The game (if that’s even the right word for this slightly dystopian perspective) takes place on an as-yet-unnamed island, where the player is called on to help Professor Neroli carry out research into how Pokémon sleep.

It’s a confusing and convoluted premise, sure, but then again, Pokémon is a global phenomenon and has never aspired to logic or sense.

Is the aim to get children sleeping more, and having lie-ins, or to achieve a higher quality of sleep? It’s hard to tell at this stage. And, no doubt, keen (adult) gamers will be hacking and finding ways to cheat the system within weeks. Pokémon GO, which was partly intended to encourage children to spend more time outside and get exercise—quickly saw workarounds and unintended, sometimes disastrous, accidents. Although it’s unlikely anything similar could happen with a sleep app… I hope.

Nintendo also announced a new and wholly unnecessary piece of hardware, confusingly named  Pokémon GO Plus +, that uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to link to the app on your phone and offers more accurate sleep tracking.

It also provides the option of having Pikachu give you “cute prompts” when it’s time to wake up, or sing you lullabies. That sounds either frightening or absolutely adorable, I can’t quite decide.

Pokémon Sleep will be available on iOS and Android, with a worldwide release expected this summer. A specific date is yet to be confirmed. Pokémon GO Plus + releases on 21 July.

Meet GlitchxCity: the Pokémon obsessed gamer making your favourite lo-fi remixes

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.

How did GlitchxCity get started in the world of gaming?

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.

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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!”

Navigating music and gaming as a POC

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.

Looking to the future with GlitchxCity

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.”

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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!