PokeBeach Turns 20 Years Old!

I opened PokeBeach to the public 20 years ago today — on July 15th, 2003!

I was 14 and about to enter high school with my new dial-up laptop. MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and smartphones didn’t exist yet.

Pokemon was dead in the U.S., forcing Nintendo to take back the TCG license from Wizards of the Coast. The Pokemon websites I worked at since the Red & Blue days had shut down due to inactivity. Pokemon Leagues in California were extinct. Pokemon merchandise was no longer in stores. Kids in school didn’t care about Pokemon anymore. If you openly liked Pokemon, your peers made fun of you.

Being a shy (and closeted) kid, it was hard for me to relate to other people. It was through Pokemon I bonded with my peers. Without it, I felt like I lost part of my voice.

Against that backdrop, I started PokeBeach because I wanted to help bring the community back together. I wanted to enjoy this franchise with other fans who understood its imaginative and social power — and I wanted others to join in!

And boy let me tell you, it became a LIFESTYLE to run a website like this! Trying to juggle an education while sneaking out of class to post news stories, countless late nights covering Japanese reveals on top of finals and essays, staying glued to my laptop wherever I went… eye yi yi!

The online landscape was completely different back then; we were living in the Wild Wild West! We didn’t have social media, instant notifications, or WordPress websites. Official news was rarely fed to us. Pokemon USA didn’t promote news or resources like they do today; they relied on fansites to get the word out to the community. It was SO much harder to do everything! As such, my life became centered around PokeBeach. But it was worth it, because every day I could come home and bond with my extended family over Pokemon.

Today I’m 34. I’ve now been running PokeBeach for 60% of my life — through my years in high school, at UC Irvine as an undergrad, at USC in grad school, and now while pursuing my film career. Running PokeBeach has proven to me that following your passions and staying persistent pays off. Working on this website has given me countless creative and technical skills that will benefit me for the rest of my life. Not to mention all the lifelong friends I’ve made along the way!

I can never let go of PokeBeach. Mainly because I don’t think it’s ever reached its full potential. Over the next year I hope to make vast improvements that will make the site even more useful to Pokemon TCG fans. But for now, I’m just gonna eat some cake and celebrate my child’s 20th birthday!

I also want to thank my staff who have helped make the website what it is, many of whom have been here since the site’s early days! Bangiras, Shakespeare, PMJ, JustInBasil, Shining Raikou… the list is much longer than that! And to my family, who always supported me — even when they didn’t really understand what I was doing!

Thank you to everyone for all your love and support over these 20 years! ❤


Congrats! This website has meant a lot to me for a very long time (joined in 2013), and even when not playing Pokemon, it's been my go-to website when I just want to have fun. Thank you for everything!


The only Scarlet player
Congrats! I visit the site almost daily, just to keep up with the Pokemon TCG, and I don't know how I would be as knowledgeable as I am about the TCG without PokeBeach. Once again, congratulations!


Aspiring Trainer
Congratulations but

Pokemon was dead in the U.S., forcing Nintendo to take back the TCG license from Wizards of the Coast.

lol what? That's not what happened at all. WOTC mishandled the license for like 5 years straight, was a terrible business partner, and rightfully lost their money printing machine.


Ice/Fairy Stan Account
Congrats WPM! Sticking it out on the Internet for this long is definitely an achievement! (Source: person who is an admin at a majorly outdated and dormant Pokemon site.) My favorite memory of Pokebeach is how, whenever a new expansion was released, I used to practically live in the card scans section back when that existed.

Pokemon wasn't literally dead in 2002-2003 since RS did bring new kids into the franchise, but the fad stage for older fans was definitely over. For people who started during Gen 1, if there were ever a time where it was considered uncool to publically like Pokemon, it was around the time WPM started the site.


Aspiring Trainer
Okay I have a bit more to say.

For people who started during Gen 1, if there were ever a time where it was considered uncool to publically like Pokemon, it was around the time WPM started the site.
I've was a highly independent-minded kid so I was oblivious to that sort of thing. What I liked about the nadir of the franchise's western popularity during Generation 3~5 was that anyone still into the franchise actually liked Pokémon for Pokémon, and not to keep up with a fad, or look cool, or get to flex their cards, or whatever. It was the period of time where online Pokémon conversations were interesting, constructive, and fun. I don't remember exactly when I found Pokébeach but it was definitely during that lull and I have a completely different impression of that time. It felt like what I imagine someone who hates crowds feels like the day after Black Friday at a mall – "oh, thank goodness they're all gone, now I can actually get some shopping done."

Just like I don't really have any fond memories of Pokémania as a kid – 4Kids dub inherently rubbed me the wrong way from day one, there was less ability to enjoy trading cards at school than to worry about them getting banned or stolen, and conversations with friends were just idiots making up blatantly asinine rumors like "Mewthree" or "Pokégods" – I really don't have much nice to say about the second wave of popularity over the last few years. Aside from the novelty of the first week of Pokémon Go ("hey, are you playing Pokémon?" "yeah, are you?") it's been an atrocious period of time full of scalpers, midwit commentary, algorithm abuse on social media platforms, social virtue signalling in a franchise where it has no place, etc. etc.

Pokébeach's success probably owes itself, at least partly, to being created during the period of time in question back in 2003. There's no need to be overly pessimistic or miserable about it or anything. The folks who met each other online at that time all tended to be in similar mindsets in terms of their sincere enjoyment of the franchise – it's about as much as a 'bond' as you could've been able to forge on the internet at that time. I'm not alone in being one of those people who (albeit even I wasn't there from day 1) found it at that time and have been coming to it fairly regularly ever since.

There were tons of TCG fansites that fell by the wayside at that time and only a couple I miss. There's been a decent amount of fansites that stuck through that time and took a number of shortcuts, cheats, manipulations, contrivances to do so. Of the ones who stuck around without even any breaks*, WPM is the only bearable Pokémon fansite admin, and Pokébeach is the only site that's not a total embarrassment to acknowledge browsing.

Like, congratulations dude. Not just your site, but for being an even-better-than-decent dude with neat interests, in a corner of the internet where it's rare to find. Wishing you success in your film endeavors and future plans for the site.

* Nick15 of Pokémon Aah also mogs, but that site feels like it went on extended hiatus.


The demonic Shadow Lugia/Mystical Raven Witch
Happy anniversary, man! I've been checking this place out since the mid-00s for Pokémon news on a more-or-less daily basis, so it's sweet that it's still going strong after all this time!


Just call me, the Pokemon Master!
Congratulations on 20 years!!

Happy Anniversary!!

I have been using Pokebeach to keep updated on set reveals, leaks and everything to do with the Pokemon Tcg since I got back into the game around the start of Sun and Moon Era.

I was really worried when the site got hacked and everything was lost. I am so glad that WPM didn't call it quits there.


happy thoughts
Forum Head
Articles Head
Elite Member
Advanced Member
I'll just wait patiently for Chimecho3000 to come and one-up me as one of the very few people who've been here longer than me, but it feels pretty good having been here since January 2006 (my user ID is 166, as in the 166th person to sign up for the forums when they opened). It has definitely been quite a ride - I've been involved with just about every aspect of the site, whether up front as a forum moderator or behind the scenes working on different projects for the site.

Always a pleasure to work with you, Jon - congrats on 20 successful years. Here's to 20 more.


Aspiring Trainer
I've been diving here in an out over the past decade or so ever since the Noble Victories days, but as a fellow old-timer that grew up in the days of PokeMania-seeing the US premiere the anime with the SS Anne two parter on UPN for some reason, watching The First Movie when it released at his local Movies 8, going through school during that awkward time Pokemon cards were banned.....and all the things we have seen with the franchise since those days, I appreciate your service for making a place to gab about the TCG.