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A Decade In Retrospect

by Psycho Monkey

Psycho Monkey Do you know what today is? it is December 19, 2017. What is so important you may wonder? December 19, 2007 was the day I first joined Pokécharms. This is my memoir for the last ten years where I reminisce about the years gone by and how the community has grown and changed and how I've grown and changed with it. I'm sure there are somethings I might have forgotten or misremembered so if any of you old folks have any corrections or input, let me know. That said, enjoy the ramblings of this old man!
December 2007 seems so long ago now. Back then I was a spry 18-year-old finishing his first semester of college. I don’t remember how it happened anymore, but somehow I stumbled upon a Pokémon fansite going by the name of Pokécharms. Immediately the Pokémon Role Plays caught my attention and I became intrigued as to what this crazy yet proud community could offer me. I don’t quite recall how long I lurked on the site, a few days maybe. I read a number of the RPs looking for any that interested me and to get a feel of what would be expected of me if I did. I read the rules too. No one needed to tell me to, it was just the sensible thing to do. Who wouldn’t want to know what they were getting into?

To be honest I was hesitant at first. The rules were quite daunting and required a hell of a lot more compared to other online RPs I had joined in the past. It didn’t help that a lot of the ones I looked at had StellarWind Elsydeon and former mods Sem and Yoshimitsu berating n00bs for breaking rules and handing out warnings like candy. Kind of like how things are now. I guess somethings never change. As I continued to lurk, read, and learn, I saw just how much better quality RPs were when the rules were followed.

Then finally, on December 19, I made up my mind to officially join Pokécharms after seeing an RP that had really piqued my interest. In hindsight however, the RP probably wasn’t all that special as I remember nothing about it. Not the plot nor my fellow players. It was also clearly so forgettable that the archives didn’t even bother remembering it. Seriously, I looked. In any case, the RP suffered the same fate as most of the RPs on this board. People got bored and it died. So I went looking for the next RP. And the next. Eventually I too got bored and wandered off.

I poked my head in from time to time just to see what was new but I didn’t stick around long. That is until the summer of 2008 when I returned to stay for good. I was drawn in by an RP that I remember very well called The Festival of Stars. The plot, a tournament taking part during a large street festival, was crafted by a fine gentleman by the name of Kalseng, or Kal as we called him. Even though it died like the rest, it was in this RP that I actually began making my first friends on Charms, Kal, Cody, and Chibi, all of whom have long since vanished from here, consumed by the existence we call life.

It was also around this time that I began to branch out to explore other aspects of the forums instead of limiting myself exclusively to doing RPs. The Forum Games were my first targets as a way to socialize and get to know the other denizens of the community like our friendly neighborhood football aka Shiny Lyni or Shiny Eevee as he went by back then. It wasn’t long after that that I turned my attention to the Artist Gallery and Written Works sections, now combined into the Archives, where I truly got to experience the creative side of Charms from engaging fanfics written by Carmen Lopez and Sem, detailed sprites made by Shiny and Jeydis, or spectacular pictures drawn by StellarWind and Dwayna DragonFire. It was all so beautiful. It was inspiring. I wanted to get in on the action myself. But not yet.

By December I was both surprised to have survived my first year and at how many people I had acquainted with. I was on almost every day checking on RPs I was in or looking for new ones, posting in games, checking out the updated chapters or artworks, and posting in the other boards like Small Talk and Pokémon Talk. I also wanted to investigate the Pokécharms chatroom but couldn’t. My computer, or I guess I should say my parents’ desktop, wasn’t equipped to handle it and we didn’t have Wi-Fi at the time so I had no internet on my laptop if I wasn’t at school. Well, not unless I went outside to be close enough to my neighbor’s house to steal theirs. No way in hell was I going outside in winter though.

All that time indoors, especially during winter break gave me time to think. To plan. By the turn of the new year it was ready. On January 8, 2009 I posted my own fic, The Rise of Team Neos. While I had hoped people would read the story and like it, I was unprepared at just how popular it became seemingly overnight. To get an idea of its influence, one of our members, Sir Red, joined Charms just so he could comment on RoTN to tell me how amazing he thought it was. Little did I know at the time that this would end up becoming my life’s work. During 2009 I posted the first 25 chapters only for the next 25 to come out sporadically over the following eight years and I’m only half way done! For those of you who haven’t read, I won’t spoil the plot here so go check it out yourself if you’re curious. Shameless plug I know.

In the spring and summer of 2009 it was finally warm enough that I could take my laptop outside, connect to the neighbor’s Wi-Fi, and join the Chat at last. Many were glad to see me finally appear so they could hold an active conversation with me. I quickly found myself bombarded with questions, particularly from Shiny and Carmen. I also became familiar with some of our memes that I didn’t understand before such as rocket lawn chairs, 222 being Sem’s unlucky number, Shiny being a football and forever 12, and the Charms Family Tree which is far, far too elaborate to go into here.

That December, shortly before my second anniversary on the site, I graduated community college with my Associates degree which meant in January I would be transferring to a larger university. With that change in scenery came on-campus housing with free Wi-Fi meaning I could hangout on the forums and on chat with impunity. Those were great times. I had fully established myself in the community, made awesome friends, and was having all kinds of fun. I thought nothing was going to change. And then it all vanished in an instant. I came home in May and found out we had gotten Fios meaning I could get internet on my laptop without mooching on the neighbors. I tried it out, got on Pokécharms, and nothing. The site was gone. No notice about maintenance. Nothing. It was like Charms never even existed at all. I had no idea what was going on. Then one day instinct told me to check back. I did only to find a bare-bones skeleton of a forum, a shadow of what it once was. If I’m remembering this correctly, there was a malfunction when transferring servers which caused everything to be lost. Doctor Oak and Teapot had to build a brand new site but it was up to us regulars to rebuild the community. We even made an RP where we played as our online personas reacting to the desolation of our community, looking for survivors, and doing what our real selves were trying to do; recreate Pokécharms anew. Obviously we succeeded. That event is remembered in our history as the Fallout of 2010. Eventually an archive of Pre-Fallout was recovered and posted for posterity.

One of the new features to come out of the Fallout was the Discussion Boards for RPs so that we could properly plan them and recruit members to reduce ooc nonsense in the RP or people posting once or twice and then leaving. One of our first experiments was a Digimon RP that got way out of hand day one. Over a dozen participants signed up and a dozen more were on a waiting list as people dropped in and out. I remember my character being in a scuffle with someone else who dropped out midbattle so I got the dubious pleasure of killing off their partner Digimon. It was well within character for my OC but that’s how bad things were. Eventually the whole RP collapsed under its own weight. This is why most of us older regulars impose a five to six player limit.

Around this time Pokémon Battle RPs also became very popular, especially with me for some reason. I started two with two different people because the battle would die and then they’d want to start a new one only for that one to die too. However, I managed to find myself two dedicated partners to battle and surprise, surprise, we actually finished them! The first one was with Rex where his OC Isaac faced off against my OC Brian. In the end it was Isaac who won the battle. Not only was that my first complete RP, but it was one of the few RPs, if not the first, to be completed on Pokécharms. My second finished battle was with Tailon where Brian prevailed in a narrow victory over Tailon’s Dean. So far these remain the only RPs I’ve seen through to the end.

Over the next few years I managed to find my way into the Charms Family Tree, first and foremost by being Sir Red’s father by way of being the reason he exists here. Then Red started adopting offspring left and right making Tailon, Karu, Shiny, Tonibytes, and Cloveria my grandoffspring. Karu however has been excommunicated from the Monkey Family for burning down the house. I also became a knight of honor to Lady Dwayna and senpai to my latter three grandkids. Don’t ask. I already explained how the tree was convoluted.

September 2013 marked yet another page to the history books with the move to the current server allowing for the introduction of profiles, trophies, status updates, and the Creative Corner. My first entry to the Corner would have been RoTN but series support wasn’t a thing yet so I settled with a short story for a character I would be using in an upcoming RP to set up his involvement in the plot. Regrettably, its fate seems to be going the same as all the rest despite our best efforts. But that’s what happens when you’re still on the first act four years later I guess. Regardless, series support eventually appeared on the Corner but at that time I still wasn’t ready to post RoTN. Volume 1 was almost finished so I decided I was going to wait to binge post all 50 chapters at once. Instead I began posting a Let’s Play that I was writing about my Alpha Sapphire playthrough. I had made sure to take careful notes so that I wouldn’t miss anything and would be able to add foreshadowing if necessary. Alas that too is still a work in progress because there just isn’t enough time in a day for me to tackle all of my lofty goals. I mean let’s face it, if it weren’t for Summer Writing Camp 2015 which required 20,000 words to be written for the same story, I probably would still only have the first Entry posted.

The release of XY allowed me to participate in one aspect of the community that I hadn’t yet and that was the multitude of tournaments hosted by KoL and trading with people on the Wi-Fi boards. I figured the dawn of Gen VI was the perfect time to get involved. The first tournament I joined was called Insane Calculation and was the only one that we actually played on our 3DS. The conditions of the tournament were 3-vs-3 Singles where participants were given random parameters by KoL and we had to choose Pokémon who fit those parameters. I lost the second round pretty easily but I had enough fun to want to try again in future tournaments. Every one since however has been on Showdown for the sake of convenience. Otherwise we’d either be breeding new Pokémon for each one or recycling old ones. I’ve also done a number trades both to fulfill the requests of others and occasionally making my own requests for Pokémon I couldn’t get on my own.

The beginning of Gen VI also breathed new life into the forums. During the Gen V era the forums began to stagnate. They just weren’t the bustling hub they were when I first joined or immediately post-Fallout. Members dropped off and new RPs were only posted once a month if that. I checked the forums every day as usual but most of my time was spent on Chat because that’s where everyone was. Then XY came out and boom! We got a ton of new members and the forums were an active place all over again. Then during Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, the RP forums exploded. I am not kidding, I checked. As of this writing there are 34 pages in the Pokémon Role Play section. If you go to the last page you will see RPs from April 2005. Going forward from there, page 24 has the first RPs of 2016. That means pages 1-24 encompass two years worth of RPs while the last ten pages hold a decade’s of RPs. Now go to the Discussion Board for PRPs. It’s 19 pages. The oldest date on the last page is September 2010, as that was the year the Discussion Board was made. By going forward again you’ll see 2016 on page 17. Five years of discussions are only on two pages while seventeen pages belong to the last two years! The same can be said for General RPs and Discussions as well. Like I said, they exploded!

Now how has Charms affected my life? Well for one, I am a hell of a better writer compared to a decade ago. Whether this would have been natural progression as I matured or not is left to debate, but I know for certain I wouldn’t be writing nearly as much as I am now if I hadn’t joined the community. This memoir, for example, wouldn’t exist. My grammar and standard for grammar has also greatly improved to the point that I’ve told all of my real-life friends I will not answer their texts if they write to me in chat speak. I only make exception for my supervisor because the thought of telling off my boss for typing ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ feels a bit awkward. To that I just grin and bear it. I’ve also made countless friends here over the years, more so in fact than I have offline. Some are long gone but many others remain which makes it worthwhile to stay. I can also blame my love of Vocaloids entirely on Shiny and RX. I knew what Vocaloids were and I knew who Hatsune Miku was but that was it. Then RX introduced me to Matryoshka which has since become my favorite song. Shiny also helped further immerse me into the madness so thanks for that. And really that’s all there is to it. I’ve spent an absurd amount of time here already and I have no intention of leaving any time soon. This place is home. So here’s to another ten years my crazy and proud friends!
E.K.A.N.S., Mockingchu, Aura and 4 others like this.
  1. ZRoberts555
    ZRoberts555
    I've only been here for about 3 years now, so good job on staying with it for a whole decade!

    Edit: Now it's 11 years, so good job!
    Jan 12, 2019
  2. E.K.A.N.S.
    E.K.A.N.S.
    Vanished into the existence we call life? Dude I CRIED ;_;

    Handing out warnings like candy? Dude I LAUGHED :D

    The archives didn't even bother remembering it? I thought the board shows every RP that's ever been made here since 2004. Dude I SCRATCHED MY HEAD :?
    Oct 9, 2018
    Psycho Monkey likes this.
  3. Secad MS
    Secad MS
    Geez, I think I've been around 10 years as well, but I've been absent because real life keeps dragging me down. I do love the time and care you have put into this post though. You have been one of the people I think most about when it comes to the creative corner, with Team Neos and all. ^^
    Mar 17, 2018
    Psycho Monkey likes this.
  4. Psycho Monkey
    Psycho Monkey
    @Aura I've been Psycho Monkey since the day I was hatched. One of the reasons I stayed here was because everyone, including you, are like-minded lunatics making it real easy to fit in. 8)
    Dec 22, 2017
    Aura likes this.
  5. Aura
    Aura
    Congrats on the 10 year anniversary old man! Honestly it’s pretty interesting reading about some of the site’s history, seeing what I do and don’t remember. I have one question though: did Pokecharms help make you crazy or we you just born insane? :p
    Dec 21, 2017
    Psycho Monkey likes this.