I recently realised that for the last 7 years most of my spare summer time was spent on either playing Pokémon games or managing my Pokémon website but I know I am not the only one out there enjoying the Pokémon universe for such long. I keep no diary so trust me, it was quite an effort to form such a flashback in my mind…
I first got into Pokémon back in 1999, when a good friend of mine “forced” me to watch the animé; it was around episode 5 here in Greece if I remember correct. This year’s Christmas I got a Game Boy Color and Pokémon Red. I had neither a computer nor internet back then so I didn’t know much about Pokémon at all; my only source was the Anime. I was lucky to have a couple of friends that had also bought either Red or Blue thus completing the Pokedex was quite easy, though a long task to be honest. I was only missing Tauros and Kangashkan when I got a computer and dial-up internet back in 2000. I remember www.pokemon.com being the first website I had ever visited in my life, with Yahoo being the second. Soon after I discovered the once glorious Pokemasters. I joined both the IRC chatroom and forums but my slow connection made me hate forums forever; I still frequent that particular chatroom.
Then sometime in 2001, Pokémasters went down for a pretty big amount of time and I decided to make a website of my own. It was fun trying to decipher all those japanese gaming sites. Those days of being a newbie were fun too; I didn’t have much to bother about. However I credit a lot to Pokémon and my time spent on internet for the daily english “training” they provided me thus helping me to succeed in my english certificate exams. The very first years of my website were also marked by another event in my life: I was contacted by PokémonCenter some day by the end of 2001. They asked me to put an advertisement banner in exchange for a special Pokémon t-shirt. I accepted, and besides the t-shirt I was also one of the lucky webmasters that got one Pokémon Mini. I also joined the Serebii.net chatrooms during this period and met many many people with which I am still friends with.
I soon realised that most of my interest went into making layouts and but things were moving slowly till 2004 when inspired by Meowth346, I decided to study PHP and proper HTML (I was using NetObjects Fusion before that) and then I discovered a whole new world, plus a new hobby: web design. PHP made next year’s programming course in school a piece of cake. However I may now be an (X)HTML/CSS expert but I still have a lot to improve in my PHP programming skills.
In the meanwhile, I succeeded at my final lyceum exams (equivelant of highschool) and got into the Architecture department of the National Technical Univercity of Athens; creating new things from scratch had always been my dream and everyone said I was talented in art anyway. That quite proves that geeks do have a life…
What I deem most important is that I was able to make a lot of good friends worldwide; I have already met some of them and I do hope to meet most of them sometime in the not so distant future and what I am proud of after all is that I was able to add some drops into this glass of water called the Pokémon community and I’ll continue doing so, as long as I am interested in this amazing world of Pokémon and have time to spare.
I hope that Diamond/Pearl’s online functions will help overcome all the distance borders that seperate the Pokémon fans; everyone with internet access will be able to trade/battle with old friends that live far far away or simply make new friends. That’s exactly what the creators of Pokémon had in mind when adopting the Link Cable technology back in the Red/Blue era.
I am glad that other webmasters/old-timers accepted the invitation to join me in this walk along the path of memories. A big thanks goes to all the people that have offered their time to the Pokémon community, a bigger thanks goes to the fans that support us with their continious feedback and the biggest thanks goes to Nintendo and Gamefreak for creating the games we are all here to talk about.
There’s one last thing that I want to develop into some short article of itself sometime in the future. It mostly concerns Diamond and Pearl but it also applies to all older (and future) games. Gamefreak’s programmers spent months over months working on those games, and me along with some more-capable-than-me “hackers” extracted most of the games secrets, two days before its official release in Japan. This is quite a taboo topic and many don’t like talking about it, but let’s face it. Nintendo officials do know too and from what I know of they’re not really happy about it. I am not attempting to speak in behalf of all Pokémon hackers, but our aim is not to spoil the games but unveil the way they work and thus further understand the nature of the games plus we’re actually producing knowledge that helps both new and experienced players improve their skills.