If you ask me why I originally joined Pokécharms then the answer is simple - I was brought on to help with coverage of the latest Pokémon news. This is a role I’ve filled since 2011 and still handle 7 years later, but it’s fair to say that in the time I’ve been here the site (and its community) have changed a lot. I’ve seen people come and go, as well as new features launched and changes to the site made. In this time my fondness for Pokémon has also been quite on and off, too. ORAS almost killed the franchise for me again, Sun and Moon revived it, and Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon threatened to throw me off the deep end again. So with all that said, I’m sure you’re wondering why I still stick around.
The short answer is friends. The most compelling reason I stick around is because some of my closest friends have been made through the site and they’re all still here too. My lingering attachment to Pokémon helps too, but realistically beyond doing the news I’m not that involved in the site anymore. None of this is helped by the fact the user base for the community is now several years younger than me and I just don’t have a lot in common with most people here now.
Having said all that, I’m glad this site is still around and I hope we’re all still here in another 15 years. I’m sure by the time we get to that point a lot more will have changed about the place and a whole new community will have popped up, to replace the older generation, but as long as my friends are still here then so too will I be.
It's incredible to think that we've been crazy and proud for a decade and a half now. Fifteen whole years. As of last August, I've been here for over ten of them – all of my adult life, plus more besides. Lots has changed in all that time, of course – when the site started, we were in the third Pokémon generation. This year, we're entering the eighth.
When we started, we had just over 300 Pokémon to catch. Now we're at 807.
In 2004, we played Pokémon on a 2.9", non-backlit screen. This year or next, you'll be able to play Pokémon on a bright screen twice that size... or on a TV.
Around us, the internet has changed beyond measure. Websites we once thought eternal, like MySpace and GeoCities, are long gone. New technologies have sprung up to fill the gaps: after all, in 2004 the iPhone didn't exist yet, and Facebook was barely an idea.
Our community has changed too – as old members have left, new faces have joined, each with their own stories to tell and their own mark to leave on our site. And that's how it should be – we wouldn't be who we are today without the ideas, creativity, and talent of everyone who has been a part of Pokécharms over the last 15 years.
Some things haven't changed, though. We've always been a creative community – initially starting as a place for a small group of friends to host their fan works, we've grown into a 200,000-strong community of bright, creative people. We've got nearly 200,000 posts in our role plays, over five million trainer cards created, and 33,000 original creative works in the Creative Corner.
I couldn't be more proud of the community we've all helped create together. It's not perfect, not by a long shot, but it's ours.
To the next fifteen years!
15 years. Where does the time go? No one knows. But there are probably blue, screaming pencil-headed metal dinosaurs involved (That's how Roar of Time works, right?).
Chronology, as I've stated in previous retrospectives, is not my strong suit - and maybe that explains why it feels like it's actually been a whole lot longer. So much has changed in this the past 15 years - both in the real world, in the community itself, and in my life specifically - but over all this time, Pokécharms has been such a fixed point in my life, that it honestly feels like it has always been here.
Maybe it's the sense of responsibility I have as an administrator and as one of the founders of this place. Maybe it's all the awesome people I've met here (or met elsewhere, but exist here now) and I'm very glad to have as a part of my life (or at least occasionally passing through my general sector of the multiverse). Maybe it's the concept of a creative community centered around (but by no means limited to) Pokémon - a universe that means a hell of a lot to me for various reasons. Maybe it's just plain old craziness. All I know is that over the course of my bioshell's journeys through the wonderful cyberspace humans call the 'Internet', I have maintained a brief presence in numerous communities and faded out of most of them for various reasons - but something about this place just makes it feel like home, even after all this time, and something tells me that is not going to change.
Here's to many more years of being Crazy and Proud, folks.
Here we are at 15 years. Gosh. Doesn't time fly?
I started to write about my relationship with Pokemon and how I joined Pokecharms, then clicked through to our Staff Retrospectives of previous years and realised that I was about to rewrite my 10th Anniversary post. Yeah. You don't need to hear that again. Anyone who's forgotten or who wasn't here back then can simply follow the link themselves
So what's changed over the past 5 years? For one thing, I'm not as enthused about the main series Pokemon games as I once was. I'm not sure I could even name a single Pokemon from Generation 7. But this is because I lack the time and energy to learn about new Pokemon, their Types, and movesets. It's hard to keep up with changes to the meta game when you're busy and/or exhausted.
I'm also increasingly inclined to believe that it's normal for people to enjoy their first Pokemon game/s more than any others. It's not only nostalgia for a simpler time when there were fewer Pokemon to remember, but also the memory of how exciting it was to start your first Pokemon journey, and to come into a new fan community and start making friends. And that's true whether you play your first Pokemon game at 7, 27, 47, or 67. Whether you start with Gen 1, 3, or 7.
But you know what? The fact I haven't got around to playing Sun/Moon yet doesn't make me any less of a Pokemon fan. I still love Ruby/Sapphire, and Platinum, and Black/White. I still have plushie Pokemon sitting on the shelf above my bed. I play a whole load of Pokemon Shuffle. And if I was in the same place as one of you younger, more recent Pokemon fans, I'd happily sit and listen to your tales of your first adventure in Kalos or Alola.
That's what makes us fans together, and what makes us a community. The ability to listen to each other and learn from each other. I can't ever have my first Pokemon adventure again (unless I get hit on the head and have amnesia, and I'd really rather not - I don't think it works in real life the same way that it does in movies). But you can. Every day, new people join Pokecharms wanting to talk about their experiences with one of the games, or the anime. Every day, our community grows. And some of the people stick around for so long that they become part of the furniture, and it's difficult to remember when they weren't here.
I've had the privilege of watching quite a few Staff members and other long-term members grow from teenagers into young adults, and begin adult relationships and careers. When we meet up, it doesn't seem to matter that there's 20 years between the oldest and youngest person in the room. Gaming is for life. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
It’s really amazing to think that Pokécharms is hitting 15 this year. That’s older than many of our members! But what’s even more amazing to me is that I’ve been part of this community since day one.
Before Pokécharms existed as we know it today, Doctor Oak, StellarWind Elsydeon, a fellow called Chibi Tai, and an old admin of ours named Nemesis, ran a website called “Nintendo Gamer”. While Stel and I were already close friends at the time, it wasn’t until I joined the Nintendo Gamer forums that I befriended Doctor Oak as well - namely due to my obsessive forum posting. There’s a reason why I currently have over 9000 posts on Pokécharms…
Time passed, and when Doctor Oak decided to reboot/rebrand Nintendo Gamer as a Pokémon-focused website – Pokécharms - he offered me the position of administrator. Or maybe he just surprised me with the shiny promotion. Can’t clearly remember – it was over 15 years ago, dang it! But long story short, becoming a Charms admin was without a doubt one of the best milestones of my teenaged life.
Even if I don’t frequent Pokécharms as avidly as I once did (full-time work is both rewarding and an energy vampire), I owe many of my favourite memories and achievements to it. The majority of my closest friendships exist solely because of Pokécharms. Heck, I’m in the process of planning my fourth trip to the United Kingdom for that very reason!
Charms also gave younger me an outlet to ramble about Pokémon, to RP, and to share my personal writing when nowhere else quite felt as comfortable/welcoming. I’ve been part of various online communities over the years – Pokémon-focused, anime themed, or just general video game sites – but none consistently felt like ‘home’ the way Charms always has.
Pokémon is a great franchise to be a fan of, and these past 15 years with Pokécharms made that even better. The age of our website is also a reminder of how old some of my friendships are. I’ve known some of our members for over – or just about – half my life, and it’s likely safe to say that many of these friendships will continue on throughout rest of my life, too. The internet really is an amazing thing for bringing people all around the world together.
So here’s to another Charms Day and our 15th anniversary! May there continue to be many more anniversaries to come.
And there you have it! What's in store for the future? What else has been done to commemorate 15 years aside from staff retrospectives and historical screenshots hammered into the form of a Pokéball by a time-stressed biomechanical abomination? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen Dunsparce*? Watch this space!
* What do you mean - a Johto Dunsparce or a Sinnoh Dunsparce?