Ask the Members

Interview with Darren, Johto Times

Fact Checking Gardevoir interviews Darren, the creator of the Johto Times newsletter!

FCG: Hello everyone! Fact Checking Gardevoir here, online with Darren, the creator of the Johto Times newsletter!

D – Hello there! Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this interview.

FCG – It is my pleasure!
So, Darren, can you introduce yourself and your colleagues?

D – My name is Darren, known as Latios on PokéCommunity, and I created this Pokémon newsletter back in February 2023. At the time of writing, I have three proofreaders assisting me called Josh, Dragonfree and Roy. It has been a lot of fun so far!

FCG – A team of fellow journalists! I am happy to see there are more people out there devoted to bring information to the many! But first, how about we go back to when it started?

How did you join Pokémon’s fandom?

D – I first became a fan of Pokémon in 1999, when I first heard about the series from my classmates. There was no escaping Pokémania in the United Kingdom, just like in other parts of the world. I remember my first Pokémon item was a “Gotta Catch Em’ All” Pokémon poster featuring the first one hundred and fifty monsters. I then bought stickers because they were cheaper than the cards, and eventually I ended up with a few of those too. It kinda grew from there!

FCG – Oh! I remember I do have a poster too, just like this one, but in blue and with the anime main characters at the center! And indeed, I remember that time pretty well. Game Boys with Red or Blue versions all around. It was such a craze! All of my friends back then had one, and I did not stop begging until I got one too!

D – We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so it was a further two years before I had a chance to play the video games, when my mum bought me a Game Boy Color and a copy of Pokémon Blue. Soon after that, I got Crystal. In late 2002 I got an internet connection at home and started to explore Pokémon websites, forums and online communities.

FCG – I am sorry to hear you had to wait that long. But I hope you enjoyed playing and discovering what the fans had to offer!

Was it at that time you arrived on PokéCommunity?

D – I joined PokéCommunity on November 26th, 2003 but I used it mostly to lurk and I didn’t engage with it as a user very much, as I mostly used chatrooms. I stopped playing Pokémon around the fifth and sixth generations of the series, and stopped visiting Pokémon communities all together. I returned to PokéCommunity in 2022 and make the occasional post about the good ol’ days of Pokémon, and also made a couple of friends. I massively appreciate that the community is still going strong after all these years, and i’m amazed it has been nearly twenty years since I first signed up (at the time of writing).

FCG – I can relate! After the third generation, I drifted away from Pokémon’s games and anime, but I never truly left, and now, here I am! I feel joy when I see so many people from my generation are still here, and new people still coming after so long. All of the fans having fun together, still playing, drawing art, making fan games, writing news, …
Which brings us to your newsletter!

What can you tell me about Johto Times?

D – Johto Times is a weekly newsletter that mostly focuses on the late 90s and early 2000s era of Pokémon, which I grew up in. We publish opinion pieces, memories, collections and interviews, We share the latest Pokémon news, and content from our readers as part of our mailbag.

FCG – I saw! The articles I read were quite interesting, like that one on Nintendo’s reluctance to have Pokémon based toys being sold! Yet, these toys were proven successful!

D – Thanks! It was such a great opportunity to interview Chris Nicolella (former Senior Game Producer at Tiger Electronics/Hasbro Toys) who worked on the original electronic Pokédex toy!

I created the newsletter in an attempt to reach more fans who may be interested to hear the opinions and memories of a long-time fan of the Pokémon series, and share content that they might be interested in. Our content has appeal to all types of Pokémon fans, whether they grew up in that era, or younger fans who are curious to learn more about the early days of the franchise.

In the first three months of the Johto Times newsletter, we had over 200 subscribers taking an interest in what we have been doing, and our articles have been shared on some news websites centered on Nintendo, and even on a national newspaper in the UK! We’ve got a good range of content being prepared behind the scenes, and continue to search for new opportunities to reach even more people.

FCG – And I have no doubt you will! Thank you for your time, Darren. I look forward for more articles from Johto Times!

D – Thank you for accepting interviewing me! I am thankful to see the Pokécommunity forums still alive and well after all these years, and I hope it continues on for many more years to come. Fans of Pokémon, check us out for more classic Pokémon content (interviews, opinions, and more)!

FCG – And that’s it for today, everyone! See you later, for our next interview! Stay tuned!

And if you’re interested in taking part in an interview – or being the interviewer – let us know in the comments!

Header image art and second image’s source :
Third image provided by Latios.
Edited by bobandbill and confused_piplup.