Five Things I Learned from Changing my Avatar Every Day

By Oglemi. Art by the artists of the internet.
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Almost 3 years ago, I decided, in an attempt to keep me coming to the forums at least once a day, that I would change my avatar every day, starting with Bulbasaur and working through the Dex to (then) Genesect at 649. As crazy as it may sound, I have kept pretty close to that initial goal, and have decided to extend it to the end of the XY Dex. As I'm nearing the end of my journey, which I started in the August of my sophomore year in college and now enter the summer of my senior year, I decided to write an article of 5 things that I've learned from changing my avatar every day. Yes, even something as mundane as changing an avatar on a Pokémon forum on the Internet has provided 5 life lessons. Go figure.

5. People strongly associate a user with their avatar on forums

I learned very quickly how easy it is to parade around as another user, simply by stealing their avatar. Some of the most prominent members on the forum have held the same avatar for years. This kinda changed when we shifted forum software and most of the old avatars were deleted, but some of the senior users that are still around just changed right back.

I still get giddy at the thought of seeing another post from him.

I was surprised by how much people associate avatar with user though, considering how many other identifying features we have on the forum including username, join date, post count, custom titles, and most prominently, badgeset. Of course when you combine an avatar with any of the other features it's nearly impossible to catch the difference on a first or even second glance.

This was especially easy to do when I first started out on my avatar-changing journey and I had a more common badgeset. I will always remember the day that I was able to parade around as macle and some were convinced that he had actually turned gay and were confused to hell as to why I was posting about my love of frogs.

The face of a gay frog-lover for sure.

Of course now that I've been doing this for three years, people have learned to associate me with the random mons no one else would like enough to use as an avatar. But it's still kind of fun to parade around as a user known for using a particular avatar every once in a while.

4. People are astounded by the fact that I do it daily

I will never understand the actual exasperation people express when I tell them that I have changed my avatar nearly daily for the past three years. Like, it's somehow a monumental achievement that I was able to use Google every day to find an image of the next Pokémon and edit my avatar on the forums.

I already spend like 4 hours a day on the computer minimum, some days much, much longer. It's really not hard to imagine that I can take a total of 10 minutes to go on Google and search for a good avatar for the next mon on the list.

Truly exhausting when you have no hands I guess.

3. Finding cute avatars for every Pokémon is nigh-impossible

There are obviously some Pokémon that have mounds and mounds and mounds of cutesy artwork dedicated to them because they are cute to begin with. The level of Pikachu artwork alone could probably fill the Louvre to the brim in yellow rat cuteness. There are even some underrated cutemons that still get a surprising amount of attention like Sewaddle.


And then there are the mons that literally everyone either forgets about, or hates. And it is so frustrating to see the complete lack of artwork for some of them. Google "Stantler" right now into Google Images, and about 12 Christmas-themed images come up and hardly anything else. I can't believe that the Internet, in all of its unending gloriousness, has not produced a single cute Stantler picture worthy of being an avatar. That just completely boggles my mind.

You'd think that someone, somewhere, who is a decent artist would have been hipster enough to have picked at least Stantler or another oft-forgotten Pokemon like Glalie to do a cute picture of and post it on the Internet.

Sadly that is not the case.

So unloved.


I quite literally cannot express this enough.

Rule 34 exists, and is most palpable when trying to search for a good avatar of a Pokemon with the SafeSearch feature off and the Pokémon happens to be both bipedal and furry. Seriously, right now, go to Google, turn off SafeSearch, and type in Lucario. I absolutely guarantee you there is a soft-porn image of Lucario on the first row.

And as if that weren't bad enough, the kind of Poké-porn is unbelievable. I had absolutely no idea that "extremely fat/overweight furry creatures stroking their genitalia" was a porn archetype until I started doing this avatar thing, and man was it ever a wake-up call. And yes, I can confirm without you having to look for yourself that Miltank is the worst perpetrator of this, the images are forever seared into my mind's eye.

But what I really don't understand is, how are people masturbating to this stuff? I can sort of understand the furry craze of yiffs and scriffs or whatever the hell, because to me that's just a fetish that people have, and they are ultimately having what can be considered "sex" since it involves actual people. But Poké-porn? Do you actually want to have sex with Pokémon? Or look at them mid-masturbation? Or watch them drink their own milk?? Really? REALLY???

And people thought we were ruining Pokémon by making it competitive.

1. The avatars I find legitimately seem to affect my mood for that day

This one seems like I'm just pulling a fifth category out of my ass, but it's totally true. I've made some of my snarkiest comments while I had some pretty sassy looking Pokémon as my avatar.

You're joking right?

And I've been in an incredibly good mood when using particularly happy, cute-looking Pokémon as my avatar. I remember the day I asked someone out for one of my first-ever dates, I had changed my avatar to a really cute picture of Totodile that morning. The week I filled out the applications to get into the School of Education I had been using avatars of legendary Pokémon.

While it's obviously not a perfect correlation between the avatar and my mood, in general they do affect how I post and how I feel over time.

Overall, my journey has been as fulfilling as doing something as simple and superfluous as this can be.

Images (from top to bottom): pokébot, Eagle4, iStock, SubaruSumeragi, Red-Flare, Mahiruno
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