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My eyes opened to a typical Californian night, alarm clock ringing, moon shining, crickets chirping. Ugh, the freaking crickets. "No way I can go back to sleep with them," I thought to myself. "Up it is!" After dressing up and getting prepared for the rest of the night, I noticed a particular letter on the table. It was from a mysterious person and it read, "Jellicent floated away over the oceans and is nowhere to be seen. We need a replacement interviewer. You should take over." I yawned sadly like a grizzly bear being struck down by a hunter and stretched outward. This would be my first time interviewing and I didn't know if I was more excited or scared. I think both. Keeping tabs on "the list," it seems that Joim is the next person scheduled to be interviewed. "Wait a minute... isn't he from the other side of the planet? Oh gosh..."
I immediately ordered a top secret jet online for my trip, but as I'm apparently "too new" for the job, I am only able to get a jet with barely functional wings. At least this jet has a hover system that allows it to fly just barely above ground. I... I think that works, anyways.
As I crashed my way into Madrid, Spain, I jumped out of the seat and, like a professional spy, sneaked out to find a metro. It was just some random area I crashed into anyway, so I'm sure NO ONE MINDS. Out in the blazing sun, I saw an entrance to an underground area, with two statues facing each other. This is either an entrance to a metro or a gangster hideout. I don't know, I can't read Spanish.
With ultimate bravery, I walked like a true (wo)man through the underground area and saw flashing lights and human figures. In the background were trains that rushed side by side, sometimes stopping by to pick people up. There were a couple of seating areas for passengers to wait at and more seating areas for... casually sitting. And there I noticed a man patiently sitting down, looking around as if he's expecting someone. There was a name tag on his shirt, which read "Joim" and is very technologically advanced... for a name tag. This sure was looking to be the right place and I think to myself, "this is the man I'm looking for." Like a little girl who has just found her one true love, I shyly waved and awkwardly sat down next to him. I tried out secret interview technique #1, eye-contact, but I ended up looking at his shirt instead. I began regardless.
Hello, Joim! I'm glad to be interviewing you today, and I hope I don't make you too uncomfortable on your seat! Let's get started. Some time ago, you came out of nowhere and made a big name for yourself. Who exactly are you? Location? Occupation? Still in school? Anything of that matter you would like to say?
Good morning, Flora! Who am I? That's both an easy and a difficult question to answer. Isn't that the question we ask ourselves daily? Philosophical jokes aside, I'm a 24-year-old Spanish web developer who lives in Madrid. Working in front of a computer for so many hours is what led to my ability to spend a lot of time on Smogon!
What did you want to do when you were a kid? Did you ever achieve that goal or did you branch off into something completely different?
Well, I always wanted to be a programmer. At first I wanted to work at games, but then the always-active world of web development caught my attention, so here I am. I could say I achieved that goal, but I can't say the same of my other lifetime goal, which is to become a writer. I do write novels, though. I just don't publish anything.
I also wanted to go to into space and to visit all the countries in the world, and that one's still in process... haha.
A German Shepherd, covered with banners representing every country in the world, shuffled through the walking area, with space food in its mouth. I can tell this dog had already managed to complete Joim's last two dreams. I smiled and waved farewell to the dog while quickly turning my attention back to Joim.
Ooo, the big dreams! Okay, moving on to your actual work. You've done a lot of technological work on both Pokémon Showdown! and Smogon. How did you find Smogon and why did you start your technological adventure for both? When did you learn to program? Do you enjoy this kind of work?
Actually, I found Showdown first, or rather I got Showdown shown to me first. I organized Pokémon tournaments on a Spanish website I visit frequently, and one of the participants found the sim. Then, we decided to start using it for our tournaments, as it was more suitable for everyone to play on.
I already knew about Smogon due to some friends who got in the competitive world in the past, but I was too busy playing World of Warcraft to get actually interested. But after starting to use Showdown daily, it was just a matter of time since I stopped lurking, registered my account, and started contributing.
Suddenly, a wild troll warrior appeared with a sign that says "Play WoW" and taunted everyone who saw it. I fear for their lives.
When I was promoted to Driver on the sim, I got even more proactive, wanting to lend a hand on the development of the sim. As a result, I started learning Node.js—the engine the server uses, so to speak—at the same time. From then on, I collaborated as often as I could. At the same time, my daily work got me a moderator position.
Later on, my technical help got me a Leader position. The big moment came when Smogon and Showdown started getting hit by DDoS attacks, though.
A period of silence arises among everyone as we ponder the DDoS attack as if it were a real terrorist attack. Many prayers were said. Moments later, we reconvene.
I helped on the sysadmin part on Showdown, since I knew some ways to mitigate the DDoS attacks, and I also helped with the new forum software on Smogon, XenForo, putting all my free time to helping Showdown and Smogon get past those offline dark times.
Due to that, I got admin position on Smogon and on the sim shortly thereafter. Woah, that was a long wall of text. I'll personally congratulate whoever reads it all!
As for programming, I started at age twelve and learned from time to time when I was not wasting hours on games, and I absolutely love it!
That's quite the story! Do you have any information to share about what you and / or other programmers have in store in the future for Pokémon Showdown! and Smogon as a site and forum? Or is this information too high-profile or something?
Well, Showdown development is quite transparent. Our aim is to have a bugless sim, which is harder than it seems, and to implement all known mechanics for all generations to provide the most accurate Pokémon simulator on the internet. It's also said that a friend list might be added soon™, amongst other often requested features.
As for Smogon, we have to keep updating the forum software, as it's a paid software that comes with upgrades when they're available, but also there's a lot of tweaking to do to meet the needs of such a big on-line community. My first thing to finish is quite a big thing: to connect PS and Smogon accounts, so you can see a person's ranking on their Smogon profile.
From outside, many cheers and screams of "hooray" can be heard. I don't know if the people are eavesdropping on this interview and celebrating this new-found information, or what. We shrugged and patiently waited for the distracting sounds to disappear before we continue.
I just hope to find some free hours for that. I must admit, Showdown has taken up most of them lately!
Definitely hope to see those features soon! Not only are you associated with programming, but Smogon Doubles and Other Metagames seem to be a part of your life at Smogon as well. Which of the two is your favorite? How active are the forums and communities? Is there anything you would like to see improved for the two, and how do you see both metagames coming along in the future? In the case of Other Metagames, just try to describe it as a whole, but you can pick out specifics if you want.
Well, asking whether I prefer Other Metas or Doubles is like asking a father which son he prefers. I discovered Doubles precisely due to my involvement on OM, and now I like both parts of Pokémon just as much. I'd say that OM is slightly less active nowadays, but that's because Arcticblast and I decided to put new metas on hold until after Pokébank.
Additionally, Doubles people concentrate totally on Doubles nowadays, which is great, as they are a hard-working crew that make Doubles what it is.
I'd like to see continued growth for Doubles, which has seen an exponential increase in battlers over the months. Who knows, some day we might battle with OU and Random Battles to get the most battles a month!
Two trains hastily make their way past each other, a pair of twins walk across the pavement and noisily chat about how much they resemble each other, and the set of statues facing one another continue to guard the entrance to the metro. I don't think these events are coincidental.
As for OMs, they're in a great shape at the moment and I'd say they got a fair share of attention. Both Seasonal Ladder and Other Meta of the Month have helped Showdown people to get interested in Other Metas and we have fairly active Metas like Tier Shift and the famous Balanced Hackmons. We could say OMs has transformed from its past fad metas niche to steady metas that are developed by their players. I invite all readers to try out Doubles or any of the available Other Metas. It's easy to get involved and I'm sure they would have a lot of fun with us!
I hope both metagames continue to flourish in the future! So, a branching question here, why did you choose those metagames and not, say, standard OU?
Well, I used to play OU and NU a fair bit when I got into competitive Pokémon. But then the first Seasonal Ladder and Balanced Hackmons got me into reading there. When you play literally hundreds of OU battles, it becomes a little boring; but OM opened infinite possibilities with the diverse metagames, and then you can make your own.
I set up a server where I implemented all the Other Metas I could. Later on, The Immortal also helped with this. Now you can play OMs on different servers, and that opens endless possibilities to players that want to try something exciting and different.
I guess it's just the little hipster in me—OU was too mainstream for my taste. I still play it and I most certainly like all the standard metas, but OM is a fountain of creativity I'd like to see continuing to flow. Then, inside OMs, Doubles called my attention over the rest due to its complicated tactics. You have more possibilities on the field, and battles are faster and, in my opinion, more exciting.
It certainly caters more to a hyperactive person like me!
Hehe, yeah, I've definitely experienced the staleness of repeated OU battles myself. Is there anything else on Smogon that you would like to get more involved with, or are you perfectly happy with what you’re doing?
Well, I've written some articles for The Smog and I'd like to keep doing so, even though I've found my wit stale as of late, but I hope to keep writing soon. I'd also like to get more involved in the whole C&C process in Doubles, get back to writing articles as I did before. I most certainly lack the time to do all that I wish to do!
Well, that's all I got for work-related questions. Since you are a well-established Spaniard here, I'm sure the incoming questions will be cake. What is the lifestyle like at Madrid? I hear there's something called "nightlife," which is supposedly the main attraction at Madrid. What's that, and is it true?
Madrid has a lot of different lifestyles. There's nightlife in several areas of the city throughout the week. You can see young teenagers and college students drinking in groups outside in places like Templo de Debod, an activity known here as "botellón", there's parties going on in several discos in different neighborhoods, and then there's a world-famous gay area where you can find most of the gay nightlife as well. But I'd say the main attraction of Madrid isn't the nightlife, as that can be found in several Spanish cities.
Since I'm more of a movie-at-home night guy, the main attractions of this city for me are its historical center, its gigantic museums, like El Prado, and all the things to see both in the city and nearby: Plaza del Sol, Gran Vía, Cibeles, El Escorial...
As he rambles on and on, I notice a newspaper lying around. It must have been left behind by a passenger of the past. I quickly pick it up and notice that it contains exactly the words my interviewee is mentioning. "Botellón" means "big bottle," a definite alcohol reference. The El Prado art museum stores over 4,800 Spanish paintings and also contains sculptures, drawings, prints, and decorative arts (which includes furniture and royal treasure). My eyes quickly skim through the newspaper in anticipation until I realize that I am conducting an interview. I drop the newspaper back where it was.
I'd say Madrid has a lot to offer to different tourists and visitors. If you ever have the chance, make sure you visit the city!
That's splendid! I'm sure Oglemi would love to swing by. Do you have any other hobbies besides programming, gaming, and Pokémon? Sports, perhaps? There's bullfighting in Spain, right?
Haha, I don't really like bullfighting but it'd be a manly thing to do, standing alone with a sword against a non-drugged bull. :P Anyways, besides that and the aforementioned writing, I love music, reading, and learning about mostly anything, especially history. I've taken a liking to anthropology and linguistics lately as well.
I used to play football (soccer for the American readers) and then I also swam, but I've given up sports for now.
Aw, so much for famous bullfighter Joim. But yes, the study of the human past as well as language is still pretty cool! Now, let's talk about FOOD! What kind of foods do you eat? Would you recommend any dishes or types of restaurant to any visitors to Spain?
Food is definitely what I like most about my country. I eat mostly pasta, rice, some meat, vegetables, and fruits from time to time.
Any Spanish place is good to eat at. There are a lot of restaurants that offer typical Spanish food, from delicious tortilla de patatas (omelette) to cocido madrileño and the delicious chorizo and morcilla. We have a lot of different sausage-like stuff that nearly everyone would love! There's also a lot of seafood on the coasts, but I don't really like that stuff so I can't help with that.
The distinctive smells of a particular meat and bean soup, pork sausage, and blood sausage rise up in the air. Although... the idea of a blood sausage does send shivers throughout my body.
Ooo, I could definitely go for some tortillas right now! What's the story behind your username? My head doesn't really click at any references when I read it lol… maybe that's because I need to get out more. <_<
It's just an invented name. It has no background or meaning at all. I invented it back when I was eleven—that was thirteen years ago—and it's been my online nickname ever since.
I see. Alright, let's start wrapping this up with the first of the last two questions. What's your favorite Pokémon, and why?
Zapdos. I love its design, I found its typing awesome back in Gen 1, and I really liked how useful it was in link battles against my friends and neighbors. It is just badass.
A wise choice indeed! Do you have anything else you want to say before we end the interview?
If you've read everything I wrote, which is admittedly a lot, thanks! Other than that... "kids, don't do drugs"? Oh, I could use this chance to jab at the imperial measuring system again. It's becoming kinda a pet peeve of mine. It makes no damn sense!
Hahaha! Thank you for your time! I'm sure everyone appreciates it. Take care!
Thank you for the interview and have a nice day! :)
After a long day of what seemed to be non-stop talking, we got up from our seats and said our "adios" to each other. Being the busy man he is, he takes his leave and vanishes into the outside world, most likely going to his mega computer to whip out some programming voodoo. I take this time to bow as he leaves, lie down on the seat, and ponder who exactly is my first interviewee and to consider my first experience of interviewing. I know two things now: he is a Spaniard of great honor, and I have nothing to be afraid of when interviewing people with such traits. A screeching train just so happens to arrive moments later... but it is not the right one. I don't think trains that take me to California even exist here. This looks to be a very long journey home.
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