Looking Back
How the NPLU was Born

It has been ten years since I first opened this site.

The internet is not the same place it was back then.

I joke a lot and say that the NPLU is a relic of an older age, but that's not untrue. The NPLU is a remnant of the older days of the internet, before Livejournal, Facebook, Myspace, or the entire Web 2.0 fad. Before the dot com bubble burst.

It's difficult to explain if you weren't really there, but the general culture and atmosphere around the web and individual websites was different.


The first opening image
for the NPLU.

Back in the day, it was difficult to an extent to have and make your own webpage. There weren't any easy free services like Myspace or Facebook that would make something like that for you. You had to sign up with a free service like Geocities, Tripod, or Angelfire and either use their pregenerated HTML or write HTML yourself.

A lot of people still had 28.8 modems. Mp3s were just coming en vogue, but they were still too large for people to reliably trade them back and forth. Downloading large files took forever, and image heavy pages took ages. Uploading lots of images took time and patience.

Photoshop was still in its early stages, and there weren't any torrents or filesharing sites open yet, so pirating things usually required getting actual burned discs (you know, if your friend had a CD burner, which a lot of people didn't). Thus why a lot of early art on the NPLU is done with a mouse in Paint, like the first header for the site.

Having your own website back in the day was something that seemed very cool to me. It meant you had a presence outside of message boards or mailing groups or email, that people could find you if you really wanted. A lot of the bigger sites didn't exist yet, most filesharing was still in its infant stages, and there was no fanfiction.net or deviantart. If you wanted people to see something you'd made, generally a webpage was your best bet.

I made the NPLU originally because of an old Pokémon Message Board I used to visit a lot. People loved to post "Rate My Team" posts all the time, and they always tended to have the same Pokémon on them. Someone posted a list of Pokémon that they thought were neglected, and I decided that a way to make my site stand out from other Pokémon sites would be to have a clear mission statement. I liked a lot of those Pokémon on that list.

So I put my three existing Pokémon pages together (The Raticate, Raichu, and Parasect shrines) into a simple little hub, and I called it the NPLU.

Most NPLU pages came about more as a matter of convenience than anything else. I put the List on a separate page so I could link people to it. I put the Glitch info on a page so that when people posted on the board asking about MissingNo, I could just post a link.

Webring was still big back then. The threads connecting people's sites were thin. No digg, no "blogosphere", no reddit, no feeds. You just visited when you thought someone had updated. You found people's sites by following links to other sites. Thus, affiliates and webrings. And awards.

Awards used to be big back in the day. Simple little Mspaint things, but they were another way for people to link sites to each other, and pimp their own site at the same time. So I made my own awards, and kept others.

Nowadays, Webring is all but dead, although affiliates still exist with some sites, and awards are gone.

Since I rarely touched most of the pages on the NPLU after I made them, while the rest of the internet changed, the NPLU did not.


The old awards page
header.

Back when information was difficult to come by, I would sit and painstakingly transcribe information from my Pokémon Strategy Guide for each shrine.

Back when screencaps were hard to make because movie files were too huge and unwieldy to transfer between people, I collected any screencaps I could find. That's another thing that's somewhat died - the screencap site. It's easy for anyone now to make a screencap out of a high quality movie file they torrented onto a 200 gig drive. It was not so for most people back in the day.

Back when it was hard to find a place that would host art or fanfic without you having to make your own page, I hosted other people's fanart and fanfics for them.

Back when information on the Japanese side of things was scarce and general info sites on Pokémon were still in their infancy, I tried to collect any info I had about Japanese CDs from the few sites that talked about them, and imported ones I could find.

Even the understanding of Pokémon itself as a game was different.

Glitches were fascinating and mysterious - the stats behind Pokémon barely understood. Arguing that someone should use a Pokémon fell on vagueness and generalities. This Pokémon has good speed, why not use it?

STAB I don't think had even been identified, and might not have even been in Red and Blue. Gold and Silver hadn't even come out when I started the NPLU. 151, that was it. Eggs were impossible. Breeding was impossible. You had one chance with your TMs, and they were gone forever.

The equations that work out how much damage a Pokémon can do hadn't been discovered. The game's code hadn't been pulled apart and studied. Discoveries went by word of mouth. Rumors about secret Pokémon ran rampant. Mew and the Truck, Pikablue, Charcolt, fake Pokémon couldn't easily be disproved because few people had really dug into the ROM to understand what was going on in there. Few people even had ROMs, the emulator scene was just starting up.

Nowadays, information on every single thing about a Pokémon, to its hexcode and what defines its stats, how their stats work, the Poffins and EV points and their natures, all of it has been completely catalogued and studied. Possibilities for any Pokémon in any battle situation have been run into the ground.

The NPLU can't really provide that. I don't know enough about how the game works to study it that in-depth, and honestly, I can't bring myself to care that much about whether or not all my Pokémon's points are in the right stat, or if it has the right nature.

So there are other sites that can cover that for you.

There are other sites that have screencaps, more of them and more recent ones from new episodes I haven't seen, and ones that are better quality then ancient ones I pulled off a Geocities site back in 1999.

There are other sites that have well-thought out treatises on the strengths and weaknesses of every Pokémon, and whether or not they'd be useful to you in battle. There are other sites that chronicle every single Glitch in the game, down to what code causes them and why it does what it does.


The second NPLU
header.
There are sites that host your fanart and fanfic without any delay or fuss, and with more exposure than this site.

So there's no real need for me to do that now.

There are sites that cover walkthroughs for each of the new games, and sites that list every Pokémon related CD in existence, along with lyrics.

So even there, there are other sites that can do a better job of it than I can.

The NPLU really doesn't offer anything that another Pokémon site can do better nowadays. The shrines are all from at least five years ago, as is a lot of the art, and are mostly pointless. There are few screencaps of old episodes, scraps of dated information, and the only thing that seems remotely current is the Song page, mostly growing thanks to information from other people's websites. What little it was that made the NPLU a useful resource is now dated and irrelevant, and other sites have left it in the dust.

A relic of an older age.

So why is the NPLU still open?

Continued