First Impressions to Newcomers (About Skins)
Yeah, I know I've been away for a while, hanging out at Serebii. Spending some time away kind of clued me in as to what this place is missing and where it might be going wrong. I'm not even sure why I'm back here, probably because something just wouldn't feel right if I thought of something that could be done to help it and I just decided to keep it to myself.
So... about first impressions...
Guess it took cookies being deleted for me to ultimately be reminded of what the default skin for PE2K looks like, and what guests and all potential new members are seeing for the first time when curiosity seizes them and they gaze upon the PE2K forum for the first time. And I saw how bad it is. I've watched quite a bit of Restaurant Impossible and HGTV shows to realize how freaking massive a first impression has on people. It's almost scary.
When I applied that to PE2K, I realized to people visiting this forum, I could really begin to see what's been driving them away.
Call me crazy, but...
To me, BlueCommune is as bare bones of a skin as you can possibly get, and as a guest, it's the very first thing people see. It's barely even Pokémon, and uses those weird, funky, very un-Pokémon like alien heads to designate new posts for the boards. Meanwhile, the head banner is plain old text with a picture of Kyogre (old 3rd generation Pokémon at that) slapped on the top against a pure white background, like Kyogre's been left out in a barren, snowy tundra. Very no frills, just very... very... dry.
And when you log in (which seems to take a while), the skin swaps to vBulletin Style, another white and blue skin which actually seems to imply vBulletin is sponsoring PE2K and the forum is obligated to show their name and logo on the main banner. It's weird and I never really liked it for that reason. I know this banner was made years and years ago by a member who left long, long ago. Trust me, I don't think it would be a tragedy if we took it down.
In the meantime, the buttons, the new posts icons, and general layout is the default skin of every vBulletin forum out there. Ladies and gentlemen, that's... bad. That's boring, and it implies PE2K's too lazy to make a good, default skin or doesn't know how, BOTH of which are totally wrong.
OKAY, SO WHAT SHOULD BE THE DEFAULT FORUM SKIN?
Either Version Reshiram, which is a KICKASS skin made by RocketMeowth featuring an awesome main banner as with fresh, 5th generation Pokémon, or Your Adventure Awaits by Pokémon Trainer Sarah, which has that good old nostalgic Pokémon feel and actually brings COLOR AND LIFE to my eyes and reminds me beautifully that I HAVE NOT GONE COLORBLIND. If for some sudden, tragic reason I could only see in monochrome, BlueCommune and vBulletin Style would never let me know something went wrong!
BOTH of these skins look WAY, WAY , WAY better than the default junk. Version Reshiram drop kicks BlueCommune in the back of its stupid head while Your Adventure Awaits beats the boring vBulletin Style to a bloody pulp right in front of its own mom. But to a new guest member, they don't see these awesome skins on the drop down. Sadly, before they've discovered them and their awesomeness, they've probably left thinking PE2K is just a bland forum of nobodies with no creative talent. They've left because vBulletin Style just tells them "hey, PE2K just... has to use... something for a skin" rather than something impressive. And BlueCommune says "yeah, keep on lookin'. No creativity here."
What About the Other Skins?
Pokémon Post-Apocalyptic - Keep. I know, I made this one, but from what I remember, people liked it.
Eon Twins - Another one of mine, but I've never heard anyone complain about it. But if most people were in agreement to chuck it, I'd be fine with that.
Lake Trios - This skin is outright gorgeous, it's a keeper.
Pokémon Urban Street - I know, it's mine. General consensus told me most people like it, but again, if people don't, no need to save it just because of little ol' me.
Christmas 2010 - Really should be renamed as "Pokémon Christmas" since there's nothing 2010 about it. To me, it still looks good.
Smooth<Insert color here> - I really think we need to trash all of these. Yes, all seven of them. They're dry, they're boring, uninteresting, and there's a whole slew of them that are pretty much just carbon copies of each other with a different color. Who still even uses these anyway? We have skins that are so much better.
SilentGhost - Besides the Castform squeezed all the way up in the top (which isn't even a ghost Pokémon!), there's nothing Pokémon about this one either. And it's got... the weird eyes as the new forum post icons. I'd say drop this one too.
AlienSkin - PE2K does have a weird fascination with aliens, doesn't it? Again, drop this. It's boring black and white, it's a skin that says "no creativity, no effort" and that's never a good thing. And don't ask me what that new forum post icon is supposed to be, I haven't got a clue.
ASDial-Up Ugh, "Dial-Up" even implies it's slow and old! And it is. Kingdra may be on the top, but besides that, there's nothing much Pokémon about this one, and the new post icon is barely even there. Drop this one, I highly doubt anyone will miss it.
GreenLeaf - Yeah, another bare bones skin that could go and would probably go unmissed.
Intiview - Flygon's cool, but this skin really doesn't do him justice. And it's another New Post icon that I can't tell if it's a magnifying glass or someone's lollipop that's so without flavor it's completely clear.
I-Bulletin - Ugh, there's NOTHING POKÉMON ABOUT THIS ONE! That drives me crazy. It's totally gray and white, you couldn't possibly make a skin more boring than this one.
I-Bulletin <Insert Color Here> - All three of these can go kiss a trash can in my opinion. Same reasons as above.
Fancy Gray - The top banner layout is a little interesting, but no. We've got way better than this. Trash it.
Firaun - I'm mixed about this one. The top banner is cool and it has a neat Egyptian theme, but I don't get why an Eye of Horus is used as the new posts icon rather than something Pokémon. And the hieroglyphics could be replaced by something with Unown to give it a cooler Ruins of Alph feel. I wouldn't trash it, but it could use a bit more Pokémon in there and then would be a decent skin.
Future Vision - Latios is okay, but the rest of this skin is a bore. Any Latios and Latias fan would probably way rather use Eon Twins rather than this thing.
Future Vision III - Again, like many of the others, there's really not much Pokémon about this one. This one could go too and I doubt a tear would fall for it.
Girl Talk - Really not a BAD skin, but if we really wanted to make a cute, colorful, mellow, and sugary-themed skin, we could do it easily in a way that would make this seem like grandpa's soiled underwear. I'd say drop this one too. I single-handedly could make a skin that accomplishes what this one was trying to do and then some.
Kirsch - I'm not even sure what a "Kirsch" is. Regardless, this skin just seems to be just like all the others. Another one I doubt would be missed.
PS3 Style - PS3 on a Pokémon forum is like donkeys on a Republican site. Besides, I've owned a PS3 for years, it doesn't look anything like that. Really, drop this one.
Sosumi - Yeah, this is another no-thrills skin as well. Belongs in the garbage.
Yes, I realize this would leave us with only eight skins, but that's not bad. It's better to have a few really good skins than to have a whole truckload of boring, plain, and talentless ones that give newcomers the wrong impression.
Feel free to add your opinions on this, but the old and the boring isn't a tradition worth keeping.