|Run||2003 - Present|
|Date opened||July 15, 2003|
|Creator||Jon Sahagian, a.k.a. Water Pokémon Master|
PokéBeach is a Pokémon fan site run by Jon Sahagian, better known as "Water Pokémon Master."
After teaching himself web design and working at other Pokémon websites for several years, Water Pokémon Master opened PokéBeach to the public on July 15, 2003 when he was only 14 years old (although he had been working on the site privately since 1999). In his grand opening post, he promised that he would "never abandon PokéBeach." Since then, the site has become one of the most popular and influential Pokémon fan sites on the internet. Sahagian himself has been labeled as one of the Pokémon community's "Big Name Fans" on websites like TV Tropes due to his contributions to the franchise for over 15 years. As of 2015, the site claims to receive over 100,000 visitors a day, and WPM himself oversees a staff of over 50 staff members from all of the website's different departments. Day to day, WPM personally researches and writes all of the news stories for the front page, of which there are thousands spanning over a decade. Although WPM personally writes all of the news stories himself, he is always "on call" to post breaking or developing news whether it's day, night, or he's on the road, so news coverage always happens at any hour of the day.
Although PokéBeach focuses on all aspects of Pokémon, of which WPM is a fan, it's more often known for its coverage of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The site features the latest Pokémon TCG news and insights, scans of Pokémon cards, card translations for new sets, and guides for how to play the game. Because of how quickly and consistently Sahagian has updated the website since 2003, the website is often considered the keystone of the TCG community, visited daily by TCG fans, collectors, tournament organizers, players, distributors, stores, and even officials working at the company. Before it shut down in 2013, the official Japanese Pokémon TCG Facebook page even listed PokéBeach as one of their only "likes," one of the few times, if ever, that the official company has acknowledged or linked to a fan website.
In 2008, Water Pokémon Master sought out Masamitsu Hidaka, the original director and storyboard artist for the Pokémon anime, and held a historical interview with him. In the interview, Hidaka revealed much previously unknown information about the anime, including the writer's decisions behind certain plot points, the nature of the series, and what goes on behind the scenes. For example, the interview revealed why Brock was replaced in the Orange Islands, the nature of the GS Ball, if Misty would ever return to the series, Ho-Oh's relation to Ash, the show's cyclical nature, and much more. Hidaka also personally invited WPM back for a second interview where he revealed even more information about the anime. Both interviews are the closest any fan has gotten to someone who works on the raw anime and their revelations are still discussed by fans to this day.
In 2009, while attending film school in Japan, Water Pokémon Master was able to go to the early screening of Arceus and the Jewel of Life in Tokyo even though he was not picked for the special rally from CoroCoro magazine. He is the only known foreigner to have seen an early screening of a Pokemon movie in Japan.
Upon the release of Pokémon Black and White, PokéBeach was the first of three Pokémon fansites to receive a cease and desist order from Nintendo for posting images of Pokémon Black and White while covering the games. The incident received media coverage on larger gaming websites, some of whom questioned Nintendo's actions and posited that such image use falls under fair use. However, PokéBeach chose not to pursue the matter from a legal perspective due to monetary limitations. Instead, as a joke to protest Nintendo's actions, PokéBeach temporarily changed all pictures from the games to pictures of Ditto, changed their name to "PokerBeach," and put the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld in their website banner with a slogan that said "NO B/W IMAGES FOR YOU!" The issue was quickly resolved thereafter and the website has since gone back to using the name PokéBeach.
In November 2012, the site's forums revamped its rules and changed its content policy to PG-13 to better cater to older fans. Moderation policies also went through a strict review and were revamped, as was usually the case every few years. According to the forum's rules page, because Water Pokémon Master grew up on Pokémon forums and was sometimes bullied, the site staff has a "no asshole" policy and does not tolerate any staff or members who bully others. The staff is also known for giving banned members a chance to come back to the forums if they write an apology in the "Ban Appeal" forum, which is stipulated in the forum rules. As of 2015, PokéBeach's forums have over 5 million posts, and all of the forum staff report directly to the admins and Water Pokémon Master.
On May 11th, 2013, PokéBeach disclosed information from a supposed "insider" about Pokémon X and Y, although they were unsure if the information was real. Over the coming year, most of the information slowly revealed itself to be true, such as the new Fairy type, Mewtwo having two "formes," Pancham's evolution, the unusual method for evolving Inkay, and more.
PokéBeach went through a massive redesign in May 2015 and relaunched with a brand new layout, new forum software, custom-made forum integration, an article program, an artist/storytelling program, an activities program, a TCG simulator, a Showdown server, expanded coverage of the anime, and several other major features. The move lead to an unprecedented increase in community activity and engagement. Water Pokémon Master stated he had secretly been working on the new website for two to three years, and that the project took long due to the sheer amount of staff members and programmers involved, the complexity and depth of the new features, and the secrecy he wanted to maintain. WPM stated that the new website was a considerable monetary and time investment on his part, forcing him to put his life on hold in the year leading up to its relaunch. However, he stated in his grand opening video that "the journey was worth it," and that he hoped the new PokéBeach would bolster the Pokémon community and its fans.
In preparation for relaunch, a mysterious anime character appeared on the website in front of a series of coffins and teased that something big was coming (later revealed to be the new website). The text beneath the character displayed in Hebrew and Armenian, occasionally changing messages. Discussion of the character and what was happening spread to Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and other fan websites, with fans trying to decode the visual and textual clues in the image. The character was later revealed to be created by WPM and part of the new artist/storytelling program. Since then, PokéBeach's site banner is drawn by new artists every week, further progressing the fan story like a comic strip, introducing new characters, and advertising each of the artists and their portfolios to the general public. WPM stated in his grand opening video that as a filmmaker, he loved to tell stories and collaborate with others, and his renewed website was another outlet through which he could do this.
- Water Pokémon Master - Head of PokéBeach
- Shining Raikou - Head of PokéBeach Forums
- Ice Arceus
- Machamp The Champion
- Prince Dedenne
- Brave Vesperia
- Heavenly Spoon
- Ice Espeon
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