Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which we celebrate here as Charms Day, celebrating the anniversary of the site’s launch. This year’s Charms Day is particularly special one: Ten years ago today, in 2003, Doctor Oak created small but dedicated Pokémon fansite called “Pokécharms”. Ten years on, we've seen people come and go, several generations of Pokémon games and consoles announced and released, and all of us here have made firm friendships. In celebration of our milestone, each of our staff kindly took the time to share their memories of Pokécharms - you can find them below the cut.
For the past week I've been pondering what to write for this year's Pokecharms Day. I've always been big fan of Charms Day - only a tad biased, really - and with this being the 10th anniversary of the website I've wanted to write something bit more special than usual. Me being myself however, I ended up giving things bit /too much/ thought and, before managing to write anything, time got away from me. So here I am sitting in an airport (it's March 13th today), writing this message on my iPad while waiting for my second flight of the day.
10 years of Pokecharms. Damn guys. That's almost 1/3rd of my lifetime on this planet spent working on this website! (*Insert "Katie's old!" jokes here*) I've been part of many web communities throughout my internet career, several of which that I avidly haunted for extended periods of time, but none of them compare whatsoever to my appreciation for Pokecharms. I've also been a diehard Pokemon fan since the video games first hit North America, but that too is only a sliver of the reason for why I love this place. For me, my connection to Pokecharms goes far beyond the fandom it's based on.
We've never been a huge community, and countless people that I came to call friends have come and gone, but throughout it all I've always felt like part of something here. Maybe that's bit of given being part of the staff, but nah, it's more than that. I've grown up on this site. When I look back at the me from 10 years ago I see many similarities but also many differences. I'm much less shy than I used to be, more out-going, more confident, and I know that good portion of that comes from my time spent on 'Charms. Some of my closest friendships are owed to this place too, although that's not as much of a surprise. One of the best parts of Pokecharms, if not the heart of the site itself, has always been its community: my fellow staff members, my friends who aren't staff members, my various acquaintances, and everyone else who I don't yet know well but would like to know better. This is the web community that I've long called home and hope to continue dubbing as such for many, many years to come.
I'm likely starting to ramble now so I'll wrap this up; gotta catch my next flight shortly as is. I wish all of you lovely folks an awesome Pokecharms Day and I wish Pokecharms itself a very happy 10th birthday. To my friends who've gone: I miss you all and hope you're doing well. And to my friends who still haunt these corridors: let's keep this party going, straight into the 6th generation of Pokemon and beyond! All the best, guys. You deserve every bit of it.
There were four of us - Alex, Nemesis, Katie and Myself. Through dangerous combination of cyber-necromancy, the ritualistic sacrifice of NG-TK, an ancient, esoteric tongue of website coding known only as SHTML and one particularly intense rooftop Katanabattle when the moon was full (okay, I admit, Katie and I did the latter for the -eff!- of it, because that's just the sort of thing we do), an ancient proto-website has been summoned from its resting place in the nethervoid and born anew.
... And then Alex decided to give the whole thing miss and start Pokécharms instead. Just to be contrary, of course.
In several ways was the fledgeling website different to other Pokémon fan-sites. For one, it would set its membership standard to be that of quality, rather than quantity. Smaller than other sites, it nonetheless managed to draw a solid community of intelligent, mature individuals - or at least, intelligent and mature enough (a relative rarity in our rather child-infested fandom). Another difference was its purpose: while coverage of new Pokémon games on their way to release would happen, that was not its highest priority. Rather, its mission was focus on the creative content of the fan community - a mission that somehow managed to culminate in the Trainer Card Maker. Ironically, this application would lead to a boom in the website's popularity in spite of its somewhat cookie-cutter nature.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself.
Since the website's inception, on that fateful day ten years ago, much has happened in the world of Pokémon: generations came and went, regions rose and fell, game mechanics mutated, legendary Pokémon got more and more over the top, voice actors changed, spin-offs spun out of control, Eevee sprouted even MORE evolutions and a non-reptillian Grass-type starter was released. (Yes, I am still WTFing at the last one more than all the rest).
Much has happened in Pokécharms itself, as well: Members came and went. Servers crashed and moved. Over nine thousand relaunches, redesigns, renovations and other things starting with 're' passed by. Soon, our ranks were bolstered by new and awesome staff members, keeping the order and protecting the site and its community from the ravening hordes of mindless, rule-shattering n00bs with one half-rotting neuron between, say,ALL of them.
As is to be expected in ten years, we've all changed and grown - not only as community but as people as well. I, personally, managed to complete three-year military service, make it through university degree, travel across the world and back and whole mess of other things that no one will give single microdamn about. I've made and lost friends, fell in and out of relationships, found new interests and fell out of some old ones - and found my true passion in life as an armbladed, biomechanical construct of death, destruction, puns and SCIENCE! (only two of the above were news to anyone). But in spite of all these changes, Pokécharms remained huge constant in my life - and is still the one place online I feel I can truly call home - and hope to continue doing so for many, many years hence.
Over time, due to a variety of technical difficulties and ill-fated ventures (some of which never saw the light of day, some of which should have never seen the light of day in retrospect) we sort of lost our artistic focus (barring small but dedicated community of writers and RPers). The future will see change to that - a sort of return to our roots in whole new way - a 'creative rebirth', as certain Game Freak higher-up once said about Generation 5. As that particular 'creative rebirth' brought us what I believe to be the best Pokémon Games until now - I can safely guarantee that ours, too, will leave us better than ever. There is great deal of awesome in store for Pokécharms in the future - to go along with the awesome we already have simply by being ourselves.
Happy 10th Pokécharms Day, folks. Stay Crazy and Proud!
... Or you'll have to answer to my armblades.
I'm really proud to be a member of this site. Although I've only been here for half of the site's lifetime - I joined in August 2007 - I was instantly struck by how friendly and intelligent the community was. That's why, when given the opportunity to create something really special for Pokécharms, I jumped in with both feet. The new Pokécharms is the result of several months of work - not just from me, but from all of the staff at Pokécharms, who have been instrumental in helping me shape the design of the whole site so it's the best it can be for all of us.
In essence, the name of the game here is to do two things for 'Charms: One, bring it back to its roots with the Creative Corner, so we can become the best Pokémon fanart community on the internet. Two, to make Pokécharms a definitive social hub for Pokémon. Your Pokécharms profile should be reflection of you as person and Pokémon player - with extensive personalisation support, the ability to write on your and other peoples' profiles, and potentially even provision for organising trades and battles from your profile. And, of course, as a portal to everything you've created on Pokécharms - a central area for people to discover your Creative Corner works, forum posts, role-plays, and everything else.
But above all that, I want this XenForo-powered relaunch to be the best relaunch ever, and to make us the best Pokémon fansite in the world. This one is for you.
Most of you probably don't know me. I lurk around, browsing the forums and chatting in the chatroom, but for some reason I'm also an admin. For nearly ten years, I've felt like part of this community - not major part, but something that's connected to other important parts and plays small role in what happens. Ten years ago I was shy, unassuming and extremely young person with passion for pokemon. I stumbled across a pokemon forum, Pokeschool, whilst looking for decent fanfiction, and discovered that I wasn't the only one who hadn't outgrown what lot of my friends called a childish game.
Like a lot of other people, once Pokeschool collapsed I migrated here, and have never regretted it. I've met up (in real life!) with Yoshimitsu, baratron, Teapot, Magpie, KoL, Sem and so many others, and the shy young girl of ten years ago has grown up into slightly less shy, slightly more confident person with a passion for the Pokémon community. I've helped organise tournaments, I've danced around in the chatroom as new games, features and Pokémon are announced, and I've generally arsed around with tons of people who are far more amazing than I could ever hope to be.
Of course, I've also met and fallen in love with this site's creator, which always helps. We live together. It's awesome.
So, to everyone on this beautiful Pokecharms Day (also the day before my birthday. Just sayin') I wish a good day, happy game-playing, and generally have an awesome time! It's most definitely worth it.
I joined Pokecharms in the spring of 2004, having bought myself a Game Boy Advance SP and Pokemon Sapphire for Christmas 2003. My reason for picking Pokecharms rather than any other site was that I'd read that it had "slightly more mature approach" than other Pokemon sites. I still turned out to be almost decade older than most of the regulars, but that hardly seemed to be an issue. It was just so nice to be around older teenagers and young adults rather than little kiddies .
I've never had terribly large post count here, even before the Great Server Crash of 2008 which lost about six months worth of posts, and the Great Server Move which made us start over with new database. I've mostly been involved with behind-the-scenes modding, competition voting and prizes (when I've had money), and our #pokecharms irc, a.k.a. The Chat Room. Snapdragon- if you still exist somewhere on the internet, I still have your prize from that competition you won about 4 or 5 years ago, and I feel guilty about it! Get in contact with me and I'll send it to you now!
Most of my great Pokecharms memories involve meeting people in real life. I remember meeting Doctor Oak and Nemesisfor the first time (July 2005, says my computer). They'd just turned 18, I was 29, but it didn't seem like big deal. We made cakes, played with plushies, and Nem "acquired" the Pokemon Emerald that I'd just bought in the US, since I knew I wasn't going to have time to play it for while. I still have photos of Very Young Alex and Nem online, and somewhere he still has video of me making chocolate rice krispie cakes. How embarrassing.
I also remember meeting Magpie, KoL, and Toru in Liverpool where we were going to get Level 100 Regibigass (sorry, Regigigas) from some event or other. Also present were Havok and his girlfriend, and few other Pokemon World people. We wandered around GAME, HMV, and CEX, and went to Pizza Hut. It was long way to go for day of wandering around shops that exist in any major town centre, but was sooo worth it.
Another time, Alex had a birthday while Sem and Chadwyck were working on project in Northern Ireland. They came over to Manchester and we all went to Namco to play video games. I remember going out for Chinese food, going to an anime store, me being mistaken for being under 21 because I was with everyone else, and Sem winning at bowling despite having one fewer eyes than the rest of us. I also remember Alex running into everyone on purpose on dodgem cars . And Magpie made awesome cupcakes for everyone with our favourite Pokemon on:
Last year (May 2012), Alex had another birthday party, I finally met Yoshimitsu and Teapot for the first time despite having known them both online since they were 13, and we all sat in the same room on #pokecharms irc watching the Eurovision Song Contest with Dark Soul, Corey, and Dwayna.
(In order: Teapot, Yoshimitsu, Doctor Oak, Prof. Cinders)
I personally don't have any big plans for the next ten years of Pokecharms. I hope that the people who are around at the moment continue to stick with the community, because I consider most of you my friends. There's an awful lot of people who come through here, become regulars for couple of years, then vanish. I miss QuagsireQing, TheBlueAvenger/Hypotenuse Man, lots of others. Also at some point I need to meet Linkachu and StellarWind, because it's crazy how long we've known each other yet I've never met either of you in person!
I joined 'Charms way back in early March 2008, seeking people to trade with. I'd not played or even thought about Pokemon since the original Gold and Silver, but for some reason I'd got myself back into the game and acquired DS and copy of Diamond. Being at college, none of my friends liked Pokemon and thus, to complete my 'Dex I knew I'd have to bite the bullet and go online. I remember really wanting the Generation II starters, especially Cyndaquil, so I pretty much tapped 'Cyndaquil trade' into Google and got linked to a thread here. The owner of the thread was very friendly and helpful to complete newbie like me, considering that I'd never traded via WiFi, or really joined forum before xD Sadly I can't remember their name, but it was short and began with W. And that's how I found 'Charms I think I settled in pretty easy, even though at first I just used to join chat and never say anything because I was too shy xD
Moving along some, almost exactly year later I became a Moderator, taking over the Pit of Creativity from Sami when she left. Due to becoming a mod, I then went along to help out in Manchester when 'Charms held the first ever Pokemon Tournament in Gamerbase. I'd never travelled anywhere completely alone and I'd certainly never met anyone from the internet before, so it was big step for me but one of the best decisions I ever made was going. KoL was the first person I ever met from 'Charms, closely followed by Doctor Oak, Prof. Cinders and Yoshimitsu and together we had an awesome day, resulting in a Pizza Hut tradition. I then went on to meet Baratron and Toru in Liverpool,Sem and Chadwyck in Manchester and then good oldBalakai in several places after that, and rather often to this day I'm sure I'll meet many more of you in the years to come too!
The staff who helped Doctor Oak with his first tournament, back in 2009
(Prof. Cinders, Yoshimitsu, Me, KoL)I'm so small
'Charms to me started out as pretty much being 'Pokemon first, people second'. I'd come here with the intention to trade and then leave because I honestly didn't think I'd enjoy the process at all. However, it very quickly became 'People first, Pokemon Second', as I soon made some wonderful friends (Stark, Cody, Sir Red, Demelza, Stel, Teapot and Linkachu to name just few and the rest of you know who you are) and will hopefully continue to do so here. Through joining 'Charms I also got involved with other Pokemon communities and have since travelled around the UK and even to Paris with the amazing people that I've met over the years. I've made some wonderful, life-long friends here, met my boyfriend through 'Charms and have certainly had some of the best times of my life thanks to the Pokemon and 'Charms community. 'Charms has now been around for ten years, many of which I've been around for and I hope to still be here in another ten! There are some brilliant and exciting new things heading our way shortly in terms of features and layout, so here's to the future! I'd like to become more active, mainly on chat and I keep meaning to be, so watch this space
I joined back in June of 2006 - I was young and 16~
I crawled here from the ruins of PokeSchool, fansite that only few remember now. I believe I was mainly looking for more active RP forum (Lol). I dabbled around for a couple weeks, joining The System and getting my feet wet. Soon I wandered into the chatroom and was greeted by our lovely Baratron, who was playing Animal Crossing at the time. So many hours of my life wasted spent in that chatroom, chatting the nights (and mornings) away.
I quickly made friends with many of the members, such as Linkachu, and Stellarwind. I remember playing hours of Starcraft with them and losing practically every time against the game's AI. (GOAT!) Speaking of games, this was also where I first learned of The Game, which means I've been loser since 2006 ;/
I got to witness the site slowly evolve into what it is today, and was lucky to be able to be part of that. I remember when the TCG first rolled out, and we were the hottest thing since sliced bread. That whole thing brought us many of the members we still have today. Carmen came somewhere then, also PokeSchool refugee, and we quickly became friends
Back in 2010 I was able to meet DoctorOak, Prof. Cinders, Baratron, and Magpie over in Manchester for a weekend, and that was blast.
I've had lots of good memories here, and, as inactive as I can be nowadays, I'm hoping to continue to get enjoyment out of being here =)
King of Lucario:
It was many years ago that I realized that sharing my knowledge of Pokemon would be a Just Cause, and thus I responded to the Call of Duty in March 2008, spreading my teachings to the Dark Souls of PokeCharms and ushering in new Age of Empires.
A year later I would become Moderator, and I think many would agree that Anarchy Reigns in the MadWorld known as the Clinic now that I am in charge of 'Charms's Borderlands. With my new powers I ensured my teachings would continue to spread, while protecting the Clinic from the Dishonored few who would bring awful advice and SPAM from the Dark Void of the n00bs.
In real life I came to meet many of the Demon Souls of 'Charms. Ferne was the first person I met from the 'Charms community, and it certainly came as a System Shock to many when we became couple several years later. I definitely wouldn't consider anyone else I met to be Bad Company either, and all of you are definitely a Far Cry from the Darksidersliving at Serebii.net, thankfully.
I hope my stay at 'Charms will continue to remain pleasant, although I won't go into too much detail on my future here because I've run out of game puns to shoehorn into this awful blurb.
IT'S A LIVIN' AAAAAAAHHHHH!!
It's Pokecharms Day again, and one of the biggest we've ever had. For the people that have been reading these posts wondering just what the hell is going on, firstly I'll clarify what Pokecharms Dayis. Starting waaay back in 2004 (meaning this is actually only the9thPokecharms Day, but let's not split hairs), Pokecharms had been running for almost half year and had built up steady and solid community from number of sources. To give back to that community, we put on range of competitions, including fan-favourite that's still overdue proper return: The, tough as nails, Pokequiz - on this, the most Irish of days. Why St. Patrick's Day? Well, given that I am Northern Irish, the 'Charms' part of the site was always a nod towards that Irish heritage, so taking over the festivities seemed like a logical choice.
But really, this Pokecharms Day is more about celebrating the site's 10th year as an on-going entity. By 2003, I'd been doing a few small fansites here and there for the previous couple of years - and in doing so had built up small network of friends that were extremely creative people in variety of ways. few setbacks with those previous websites, however, left me little disillusioned with the idea of doing any more of these fan sites. Instead, I revived the concept of Pokecharms (one of my first ever attempts at making website back in 2001) and set out to make it little more than a hosting space for our Pokemon fan works. It quickly grew beyond that, but it was still a major facet of the site for many years. This, the creative side of the community, was the core intention of Pokecharms in 2003, and in 2013 it's where we're heading back to after a confusing few years trying to find our place in the wider Pokemon community.
Despite the falters the site has taken over the past few years, though, I still couldn't be more proud of what we've achieved in this time. The community is still very lively and still one of the most creative in the wider community. As a direct result of Pokecharms, I now work full time as a web developer, working on websites for some of the biggest names in the UK and beyond, and still, this website is always going to find a place in my heart as one of my proudest and best achievements. The fact that it's got people that care about it enough to still be here 10 years later and posting comments like those above is enough to say to me that all the hard work and all the server trouble (and all the money...) has been more than worth it.
So, with 10 years behind us, that just leaves wide-open future before us. This year is going to be one of the biggest ever for both the Pokémon franchise (whole new Generation - finally delivering the full 3D Pokemon adventure people have been waiting for) and for Pokécharms. As well as all the fun and games from X&Y's release in October, Pokécharms will be going through two major changes this year - changes that will set us up on our path for the next 10 years to come.
In the next few months, to prepare for X/Y's release, the site will be moving from the kludge of separate software it currently runs on to the rather good XenForo - a transition being handled very adeptly by our own Teapot. This will allow us to deliver you the latest news you expect, in a way that should be both easier for us and nicer for you. It will give us a chance to refocus on the creative side of Pokécharms by making the Creative Corner the primary point of call for the site and will essentially be the most bad-ass Metapod transitioning from the site's current Caterpie form.
Later in the year, though, comes the Butterfree that we'll be releasing into the wild to give Pokécharms the back-end stability it's been craving for years and the users all new ways to connect with the site. For the past year now, I've been working on piece of software we'll be calling AkornWeb - taking the best elements of a blog, forum and wiki and meshing them together into a single, coherent system that will function together as none of this software ever has before. This will be the future of Pokecharms (and all of my current and future websites) and will give us the stability and focus to be able to grow even further for the next decade. AkornWeb will be going into beta testing this Summer, and will be running on Pokecharms towards the end of the year. Updates on this will follow in the months to come.
So, really, today marks the opening of the festivities for this year's landmark anniversary, so there's plenty, plenty more to get excited about over the rest of the year.
In the end, though, my central view for the success of this website over the past 10 years has boiled down to this: "Even if there was only one other person visiting and enjoying this site, I'd still do it - because the site itself is one of such great character that I could never let it go". Fortunately, we get thousands more unique visitors than that one other person, but the viewpoint remains the same. Despite my career, Pokecharms never feels like a job, and with the community we have behind it, it never will. I may have been the originator of the site, but every time I get to post something like this, or bring something new to the table like AkornWeb, it just makes me feel very privileged to have the opportunity to do so.
Happy (Official) 10th Birthday Pokecharms. Here's to another 10.
Thanks to all the staff for their entries! If you want, feel free to leave comment on this article with your memories of Pokécharms, and your hopes for the future - even if you’re lurker, we’d love to hear what you think!
Also, be sure to check out our announcement on the future of Pokécharms - you’re not going to want to miss it!