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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Official Pokémon DP Sound Library (and thinking about The Wonderful 1237)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Well this brings back memories... of 2016.

Amidst upsetting stories of mass music takedowns on YouTube of prominent Nintendo soundtracks, The Pokémon Company has decided to publish the music and sound effects for the Pokémon Diamond Version and Pokémon Pearl Version games... and they made the sound available for download, calling it the Pokémon DP Sound Library.

They tried to do some additional value addition besides just being a dump for music to listen to (stream) and download by putting the music in curated playlists, along with offering some new and custom samples that sound kinda... iffy. You can also make your own playlist of up to six songs, which doesn't sound like a lot (and it's not), but hey, it's three more than the music player in Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, and that was a paid product. My top six are the Game Corner, the Team Galactic Eterna Building, the Team Galactic HQ, Route 216 (Day), Trainers’ Eyes Meet (Sailor), and Trainers’ Eyes Meet (Black Belt), but there are several songs that I think are exquisite that aren't in that. Like, what the heck, why didn't I put Route 210 (Day) on there?

Anyway, it's very important to note that this is the soundtrack for the original Nintendo DS games, not for the remasters that were just recently released on the Nintendo Switch. And Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have very good remasters of this music. (Hopefully you know that and didn't permanently fall for the pre-release misinformation campaign about the music quality.) That said, the original music is fantastic and has a lot of meaning for me.

Specifically, KoopaTV's 2016 videogame, The Wonderful 1237, uses Pokémon Diamond/Pokémon Pearl for much of its soundtrack, since the game is designed around the concept of Super Contests being applied to presidential primary politics. The Poffin theme during the vast majority of the candidate-themed minigames, the Contest: Results Announcement theme while the results of that week's primary play, the Contest Hall theme when you're on the action menu and can select what campaign tactics you want to do that week, and if you're fortunate to reach the end of the game and win, the Contest: Winner theme. Those first three play a LOT in the game (since it's purposefully formulaic and cycles through them, unless you're weird/doing a gimmick playthrough and just never play the minigames), as well as Pocket Card Jockey's Rhapsody in the Training Center music during the dialogue intermissions. Oh, and the level up! jingle plays too during the political rallies you can do.

There are a number of terms of usage if you want to download the music from the Sound Library. Most truly non-commercial (meaning anything with money, including at-a-loss endeavours or charities) uses are allowed... except for using the music in any kind of videogame, application, or software, even if it's a non-commercial game. The Wonderful 1237 is obviously in violation of this rule. (Though, since it was made in 2016, I just-as-obviously obtained the music somehow without downloading it through this official method!) Actually, that's not the only rule it breaks. They also prohibit “[u]se in anything that makes a specific ideological, religious, or political claim;” Now, The Wonderful 1237 doesn't make a... specific political claim. There are... several political references (the entire game is satirising the 2015–2016 Republican presidential primary contest) but whether you'd make claims to there being a central political ideology is... Well, I wouldn't say there is one besides saying the primary process was (is) ridiculous, but maybe someone else (like a The Pokémon Company International lawyer) could argue differently.

So perhaps I should keep quiet about this whole thing?

Looking back at The Wonderful 1237 for the purposes of this article (and apologies if you expected more commentary about the soundtrack to Pokémon), I'm still impressed at how well I designed that game! (And the writing/dialogue is amazing.) I'm wondering how I found time in those first several years of KoopaTV to write articles AND program and develop videogames, since that's not something I'm able to do now. Unfortunately, our development platform, Scratch, upgraded to Scratch 3.0 three years ago and broke our games to varying degrees when they were converted from Scratch 2.0 to 3.0. (The reason they changed this is to get ahead of Adobe Flash Player's end-of-life.) I said three years ago that “I'll be trying to fix everything I can soon.” Instead, I didn't fix anything and gave up on game development altogether. I'm wondering if I made the wrong decision there and I really should go back and try to “remaster” the games as best I can.

But I'd probably need to take some time off doing something—like writing articles—to find the time to remaster those old (but still awesome) KoopaTV videogames. Game development and successful “porting” is very time consuming to do with high quality expectations. I dunno if trading articles for remastering games is a trade-off people (you reading this) want me to do. But I do think that it's really unfortunate to NOT provide optimal access to the Best PC Game of 2016.

I'd keep the music the same, by the way. I wouldn't “upgrade” it to the remastered versions. (And I really do think the soundtrack got better overall in the remasters.)

If you have opinions on any of the issues covered in this article (such as the game soundtracks being officially available, the other game soundtracks being removed from sites like YouTube, or Ludwig talking to himself about videogames he developed several years ago), please express your views in the comments section! Also feel free to recommend specific songs.

Unlike the No More Heroes 3 OST, this official upload doesn't appear to have a limited time duration.
Ludwig returned to game development in 2023, releasing one last videogame (in Scratch 3).


  1. So does this mean sound effects are copyrighted too? Maaaaaaaan, are a lotta videos gonna be removed. Just kidding(?)

    This is a pretty interesting decision they’ve made. Are we gonna get the same for the forth Pokemon games. What’s even the point? It would make more sense to do this before Brilliant/shining was out. I mean I like it, but there’s gotta be some anterior motive.

    1. Of course the sound effects are copyrighted!

      It makes sense to do so after Brilliant/Shining were out. I mean, what if you didn't buy them because they offered this music from the old versions?


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