Background: The informant is a 25 year old male who lives in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. The informant has been playing video games for about 15 years, is on video game chat platforms, and watches videos reviewing games over the year.
Context: The informant and collector was discussing new video games over the year when at the informant’s apartment. The conversation shifted to Pokémon, given the release of the new Pokémon game.
Me: So, you mentioned Lavender Town? It sounds familiar but what is it?
MC: Basically, Lavender Town is an area in Pokémon Red and Green, you know, like the first of the games. This town is, as you might guess from the name, completely in shades of lavender and has music, as each town has unique music in each Pokémon game, that had very high frequencies. I think it was something along the lines of only children and teens were able to hear the high pitch because we lose the ability to hear certain frequencies as we grow older.
Me: And, this town has a special significance in the game?
MC: Not for good reasons.
Me: What happened?
MC: After the game was released, in the 1990s, there was a sudden peak in suicides for younger children, around elementary school. Of course, there was a huge fan theory that it as the lavender high tone that was affecting children, causing them to commit suicide and develop illnesses, terrible headaches and stuff. This would always happen right after the children reached the town. So now, Lavender Town is infamous for, well, causing children to die.
Me: And, did Pokémon do anything about it?
MC: Yeah, I believe they changed the music, lowered the tone. But, the idea of the original Lavender Town is still out there. Ask any person who played the original Pokemon games, they will know the Lavender Town Tone. Even newer players, most likely.
Informant: From his words, he never expressed that he didn’t believe in the idea of the Lavender Town Tone. In fact, he seemed to readily accept it and not question it, and is confident that other gamers also know.
Mine: The Lavender Tone is a longstanding legend about the Pokémon Red and green games. Nobody knows if it’s true or not, but it caused enough damage that they did change the frequency, perhaps admitting to some truth value in the matter. While gaming folklore commonly fades away, especially with the plethora of new games being released each year, it’s amazing how the Lavender Tone has remained for nearly three decades. Still, after searching online, it remains part of the gaming history and consciousness. It’s interesting how folklore can arise based on authored material, simply because of the effects in the real world or the massive outcry a game causes. In my opinion, I could see the frequency being a complete mistake by the sound designer as they wouldn’t be able to hear the sounds. I’m not sure if the game simply happened to be released at the wrong time and was blamed, or if the tones did play a role in the matter? I suppose that’s why it’s a legend – the truth value is questionable.