This is just a quick head’s up stating that we are now partnered with the website, Zelda Movie Blog. There are a site dedicated to writing exclusive articles on their ideas for a live action Zelda movie. They also give some info and media for projects such as Legend of Neil, The Zelda Project and more. I suggest checking them out!
Welcome to the second portion of our new series of articles, Zelda community history. This particular fan site is said to be the founder of all Zelda websites and in fact originated in 1996. This was an era of a highly anticipated Zelda game known as Ocarina of Time, which at the time was referred to as Zelda 64. And not only was this website unique, it was very popular for its time. Let’s start off with the site’s origins and masterminds and then I will go into detail on what I think made ZHQ so unique and original.
Created by Niels ‘t Hooft in 1996, ZHQ was then known as the unofficial Zelda Headquarters and focused on a small amount of Zelda content. Plenty of positive feedback and views towards the site made the owner to let it grow even more. Once 1997 started to roll around, they were up to date on anything new relating to Ocarina of Time and the site then grew even larger with more help from people such as Conrad. He would soon become second in command as webmaster and help produce some extensive Zelda content. ZHQ basically being the only decent Zelda site online at the time made it hard for some hard competition. But what exactly made this place so great?
Not only did the founder of ZHQ have some amazing exclusive pieces of site art to contribute, but so did a new member by the name of Maartan Bakker. These two have created a lot of unique pieces there were used all over the website to make each and every section their own exclusive, something you just do not see these days in fan sites. Much of this artwork is still even being ripped and used these days on no names fan sites, given they do not know exactly where it originated. Why not check out some of their amazing pieces below?
Something Zelda fan sites have rarely tried since ZHQ, featured fan music. Many of you may remember a time in the web scene where a lot of fan sites would include automated background music for each of their pages, something that got rather annoying at times (especially without a stop/pause/volume buttom) Sadly, ZHQ was among one of them. But that is not to say experiencing ZHQ was the same, because it was not! Every page you would visit would include either their very own remixed version of a Zelda track or better yet, something brand new with a very Zelda “ish” feel that they created themselves. I swear these guys could have worked for Nintendo and produced these tracks I am bout to show you in future titles. So, check out a few of their exclusive ZHQ tracks below.
The Zelda V or (Zelda 64) remix was created during the development of Ocarina of Time.
Zelda 64 Content
I will be honest, I still look through this site’s archives for old Ocarina of Time content. Being one of the only websites on the ball at the time made it very informative then and now. OoT being the most hyped Zelda title in the 1990s also made this already popular website thrive to the top. I remember during this time, I mainly obtained by OoT info from publications and magazines, but ZHQ helped me get my Zelda fix aside from all that. Some of you may recall a time when the internet did not exist and the only help we could get to complete a Zelda game was through Nintendo Power or sending a letter to Nintendo, yes kids, no email feedback existed in the late 80s and early 90s.
ZHQ was one of if not the very first Zelda website to exist. To be honest I do not think the internet archives go back before 1996 . This website also marked the classic era of the Zelda series, something I personally cherish and proud to have been apart of (I even have VHS videos of the Zelda cartoons that I recorded in 1989 ). ZHQ has been a big inspiration for me and dozens if not hundreds of other Zelda webmasters out there.
Quick tip: ZHQ II and the Hylia
Former webmasters and authors of ZHQ did in fact attempt to bring this classic website back to life with websites such as ZHQ 2 and the Hylia. You can still visit old archives of ZHQ at the web archive.
Welcome to a new random featured article here at Zelda Chronicles, a look back at the Zelda community history. Every once in a while we will choose an old site of our liking and basically review it and make them more known to everyone else that may not have been around in the early ages of Zelda websites. And to kick things off I decided to start with the original Hyrule: The Land of Zelda.
Note: You can actually still visit HtLoZ to this day, however it is basically a dead site ran by new owners that basically pulled a ZHQ 2.
Website owners and creators Falco-X, ZeroFoxie, Wolfhang and the rest of the crew made their mark with HTLOZ with the website’s creation during the release of Ocarina of Time. This website was founded known as Hyrule Land in early 1998 using the old famous tripod services. This website soon became very popular due to the old Zelda 64 Triforce rumors and made the site pretty famous around the community.
Here is an exact history quote written by the new owner of HTLOZ.net:
HTLOZ was originally founded as “Hyruleland” on Tripod in August, 1998, as part of the first generation of Zelda websites. The original staff consisted of Falco-X, Zerofoxie, and Wolfhang van Kraus. Visitors were quickly drawn to the site thanks to Wolfhang and Falco’s “Dark Art” section and the artwork used in the site’s presentation. With the site’s popularity increasing, Falco-X expanded his staff to include Goldenboy7 and Ultima9999. Ultima9999 maintained HTLOZ’s first forum, an “Inside the Web” board, where user registration was not required. Not much is known about this period because most of the users from that time period have vanished. The only lasting legacy of the Inside the Web forums was the infamous “TRIFORCEGUY” and his Triforce hoax. By October 1998, the site had taken on the name “Hyrule: The Land of Zelda,” and moved to n64gamer.com. Shortly after this move, Spots joined the staff.
In February 1999, when speculation about the Triforce in Ocarina of Time was at its peak, HTLOZ unleashed a killer story: A reader by the name of Ariana Almondoz claimed to have found the Triforce, and had convincing screenshots to back it up. The result was explosive: Every Zelda site around the net came to focus on the story. The Odyssey of Hyrule in particular posted a full page on the story without permission, which gave rise to the first tensions between HTLOZ and The Odyssey of Hyrule (This would later be repeated with the publication of the Crooked Cartridge trick, but with fiery results). Within a week, a reader caught a giveaway in one of Ariana’s images. Link’s sword was sheathed on the wrong side of his back in a screenshot depicting him playing the “Overture of Sages.” The entire story fell apart almost instantaneously, and community backlash towards the fraud was harsh. Ariana Almondoz’s infamous hoax brought about the end for Ocarina of Time Triforce rumors. READ MORE >>>
HTLOZ was one of the first Zelda websites to have an interactive based flash designed website to make the site user friendly and very fun to visit. The amazing artwork used to capture the Zelda series in their layout could only be explained as epic and it was something entirely new for the community. Following the trend of ZHQ, they create their artwork to use around the website that they called “Dark Art”. Check out some samples below.
Along with their artwork they had up to date Zelda related news and interesting Zelda articles to keep everyone entertained for hours. Along with that they had their infamous “It’s Real! It’s Real!” articles which were all rumors created for entertainment purposes only. HTLOZ was without a doubt a Zelda website that marked the “golden age” of the community and is still a nostalgic experience to this day. But this was soon to all come to an end when the site closed its doors. In 2002, there was a hacking attempt and bad blood between other websites in the community for reasons that shall not be named. The crew eventually went to other websites such as Ganon’s Tower and Hyrule.com.ar.
Other attempts to revive the dead website came with HTWOZ and the newly founded HTLOZ II, but neither would suffice enough to be as good as the original HTLOZ. You can actually still view the collected archives of HTLOZ thanks to htloz.net here. I suggest briefly looking over all their dark art and flash applications and their unique website designs, especially if you were around in this age of the community.
Have a site in mind we should feature next time? Why not discuss in the comments below!
Note: All images and information is credit to the staff of HTLOZ. These articles are only meant for entertainment purposes only. If you have an issue with the content we have provided then by all means contact us here.
Holidays usually encourage Zelda fans to create something for that special occasion and this year is no exception. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and whether or not you have the day planned with a special someone or just with the family, you may find this fan creation rather interesting. These Zelda Valentines Day cards are a clever way of showing someone how you feel, by providing them with a heart container, I mean your heart (or a piece of it just in case). Check em out!
Starting December 27th, the website marathonman.net will be performing a live 96 hour Legend of Zelda marathon. They will be collecting donations throughout the marathon for the Humane Society of the United States! This event is similar to the recent Zeldathon and although it is for the same type of cause, I believe this Zelda marathon is a lot more unique. I suggest checking them out as their website has already launched and I urge you all to check them out on December 27-31st!
It is always fun to witness Zelda fans attempt to finish most if not all Zelda titles in a straight marathon, especially when they donate for a good cause!
Believe it or not, but there are people in this world who are unaware of the Legend of Zelda series. Kotaku was actually sent a question in regards of this fact, and in response to this reader, they replied with their very own answer to what “Zelda” actually is. It is quite an interesting read, so you should give it a read yourself below.
There is a moment in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker when you’re sailing across a vast sea and you see a speck in the distance. It could be a small island close by or a vast one far away. You sail toward it, wondering, not knowing if you’re about to find a speck to inspect of a mountain to scale. That’s Zelda.
In Ocarina of Time, or in any game in the series, really, you find yourself in a dungeon, possibly unsure how to open a locked door. You can trust that the people who made the game only allowed you to enter the dungeon because you had everything you needed to get through it (except for one key item that will be in that dungeon and will probably then allow you to access new places outside of that dungeon). In the dungeon, for a moment, you may be stumped. How in the world does that door open? Eventually you will sort it out and find your path… a path that leads you to a room inside of which is a monster. The monstrous boss may kill you, sending you back to the beginning of the dungeon. Your time wasn’t wasted. You will discover that something you did while puzzling through the dungeon had opened a path—you hadn’t realized this before—and now you can trot from the beginning of the dungeon to the boss battle, none of your time squandered thanks to that masterful architectural clockwork you’re inside of. That’s Zelda.
In the original Zelda, if you burn a certain bush, you’ll hear a memorable chime and find that, where that bush grew, a staircase to a surprise. You find it by accident. The next day, at school, you tell your friends about it. That’s Zelda.
In just about any of the games in the series, you will find the boomerang. Again. And the bow and arrow. And the bombs. You have to rescue the princess, ride the horse (ok, that one’s not so frequent), collect the jars, fight Ganon and be reminded how much a red rupee is worth. That’s Zelda.
In The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, you spend three game days helping the farmer, the postman, the kid and the mom, the innkeeper, the bartender and, as the clock ticks down and the world is seconds away from destruction, you help two people finally get married. And then… you must turn back the clock and try harder, because that’s not heroic enough for a boy named Link, who is destined for even greater things. That’s Zelda.
So, going by this, what is Zelda to you? Discuss in the comments. There are so many other ways to write “what Zelda is” going by this standard.
Zeldathon is an annual Legend of Zelda gaming marathon where the volunteers attending will be playing Zelda games for 96 hours straight to help raise money for the American Red Cross. And Mases (owner of Zelda Dungeon) is making an appearance this year and the Zeldathon has now started. You can visit their streaming page or continue reading to check out the live video stream. If you wish to donate and money then you will have to visit their streaming page or at Zeldathon.net.
And during this marathon, there will also be a ton of prizes given out to the viewers and people that donate money.
This is the start of one of our new weekly features, a weekly poll. Roughly once a week we will take a Zelda related poll and post the results the following week, sometimes with some extra content if it is relevant to the poll that was taken. And to start things off, the first poll is “What Dungeon in OoT 3D Are You Looking Forward to Play?”. Cast your vote below and discuss in the comments why you chose that dungeon!
The website, Dorkly Bits, has posted up a new Zelda parody video up today. This one pokes fun at Link’s demise in the game A Link to the Past with Princess Zelda mourning the hero in which she ponders how exactly he died, when the result was obvious.
And here’s an older parody by them about the original Legend of Zelda.
Unlike several other websites that will be posting obvious fake news articles, we will be listing what we think are the best Legend of Zelda pranks that have occurred over the last few years. From a certain IGN epic to some well done community pranks. Continue reading to find out what we listed!
3. The Wind Waker Remake (EGM)
In 2005, the magazine EGM posted a fake article about a new version of The Wind Waker. Fans would get this game if they pre-ordered Twilight Princess. This remake used the same graphics engine as Twilight Princess.
2. Legend of Zelda: Valley of the Flood
It 2008, a screenshot leaked about a supposed new Legend of Zelda game entitled Valley of the Flood. This game was said to set place in a “Steampunk” world (steam powered sci fi world). A lot of fans actually bought into this rumor and speculated it as a real future Zelda game.
1. Legend of Zelda Live Action Movie (IGN)
Youtube user RwanLink has posted up the first of many 3D animated fan fiction films. This new web series is entitled, “The Legend of Zelda: Past and Present” and seems to follow the storyline of both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. Despite several grammar mistakes in the video, it is truly epic and very impressive. You can watch the first part of this 3D animated video here!
Game Spite has posted a pretty nice and in depth article review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. The article does a great job describing the inspiration from this game and how it basically created the formula for the Legend of Zelda series. You can read the entire review here!
The Zelda series walks a precarious tightrope. Many decry the lack of innovation recent entries have shown and demand that future entries try something different. On the other hand, the games that are held up as the best in the series are the ones that embody the formula completely. It’s not that there haven’t been any games that diverged from the norm. After all, Majora’s Mask was a completely weird mix of Zelda and Shenmue that tends to be regarded in hindsight as a divisive experiment, even though it was mechanically similar to Ocarina of Time.
Zelda II, however, is maligned precisely because it threw out the mechanics from the first game in favor of a side-scrolling adventure. It is seen as the black sheep precisely because it is viewed as being too different to be a Zelda game. It is fitting, then, that The Adventure of Link is arguably the most influential game to the series at large and an engagingly offbeat game in its own right.
NES development was a hotbed of experimentation. Designers were throwing things against the wall to see what stuck, often mashing together different gameplay styles. This is why you often saw sequels that were wildly different than their predecessors. Castlevania II, for instance, took the action platforming of the first game and opened the design to non-linear exploration. But much like Zelda, it quickly reverted back to the gameplay style that brought the series to the dance in the first place and abandoned its failed experiment as a mere footnote. Of course, you saw Castlevania return to the non-linear concepts of Simon’s Quest with Symphony of the Night, which was enough of a kick start to help the series endure even today. Zelda, on the other hand, clung to the template established by A Link To The Past even when it was experimenting in Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker.
Meanwhile, Zelda II never gets its day in the sun to evolve into something more polished, as Nintendo never saw fit to give the style a second look. And only a handful of developers outside of Nintendo bothered to try, with Faxanadu and Battle of Olympus being the only notable successes. What would have eventually become its own genre evaporated before the Super Nintendo even gained traction, which is why you see people referring to Zelda II when trying to describe this type of gameplay.
Zelda II cements itself as an outlier right away by recasting overhead segments as a traditional RPG map, random encounters and all. In fact, the general flow of the game mimics the RPG formula almost exactly. The town-dungeon-town pattern you see in most games of the genre is upheld almost perfectly. You still have to clear all the palaces like in the first game, but dungeon items are used mainly as a means to move on to the next part of the map. Magic spells fill the utilitarian niche that items did in the first game, but this too more closely resembles RPG Magic Point systems.
Magic and maps were not the only part of the game that resembled RPGs, though. Zelda II’s most striking mechanic was the fact that you could level up Link’s stats through experience points. Up until this point, you never really saw anything other than hardcore RPGs utilizing a character growth system, let alone a side-scrolling platformer. This was a far cry from the original Zelda, where your power was solely dependent on a few swords of differing power and a bigger shield and set the stage for other games to try leveling systems in genres that didn’t traditionally have them, like Crystalis and Symphony of the Night. Most importantly, it provided the opportunity to skip bosses until you were sufficiently powerful enough, something hinted at in the first game but broadened here. Not only can you wait until you have more life bars, but you can come back to a boss with more attack power, more defense, or more magic spells.
Even the game’s continue structure resembles RPGs like Dragon Quest, though it seems fairly conventional at first blush. You begin with a set amount of lives and losing a life will start you back at the beginning of the room you died in. But if you lose all your lives, you are promptly kicked back to the beginning area. However, all your progress remains. This means that accomplishing certain goals acts as a checkpoint, allowing the player to tread new ground almost immediately. The non-linear nature of the palaces helped immensely, as a key would often be in a completely separate part of the palace than the boss. Dying right after picking up a key meant that the player was free to explore a different portion of the palace without treading familiar ground. Picking up the palace item opened the next section of the overworld, meaning the player could leave and work on another palace, all the while building levels in preparation for a tricky boss. If you really stretch, you can make a vague claim of a roguelike element to the game, as Link loses all unspent experience if he runs out of lives.
It’s pretty clear to see that Zelda’s developers looked at contemporary RPGs with envy. After all, the very sense of exploration and progression that the first game represented was being replicated on a more epic scale than Link’s humble freshman outing. Better still was the fact that RPGs approximated an entire world, something the first Zelda had no claim to. But while it seems like shameless mimickry on the surface, it actually serves to expand the original mission statement of the Zelda series, enriching the setting by actually establishing it as a fully realized world and bringing with it all the benefits of a traditional overworld.
That’s not to say that all of Zelda II’s innovations were aped from role-playing games. It also did some really fun things with combat in the side-scrolling perspective. Namely, it increased the complexity of battling by simply increasing Link’s moveset. The fact that he can now duck means that he can attack from two height levels, something that forms the basis for the flow of combat through the entire game. Enemies begin to employ shields, meaning that you can’t just mindlessly hack away at the enemy. Spells and combat skills help to make battling even more varied. You can attack with projectile fire that flies across the screen, bounce enemy projectiles back at them, or even skip a screen altogether by turning into a fairy and flying off to the next screen. And let’s not forget the down-stab, the special move that is guaranteed to be the most fun you have with combat. Anyone who has played DuckTales knows the joy of bouncing on the head of an enemy over and over.
You would think that the legacy of a black sheep would stop at the game itself, but you’d be wrong in Zelda II’s case. Many of the tropes that exist in the Zelda series began life in The Adventure of Link. The RPG-like overworld ended up forming the basis for the structure of the world in A Link To The Past, setting the tone for the entire series. Where there were once NPCs tucked away in caves there are now vibrant worlds complete with towns, houses, and unique NPC types. Link’s increased versatility in battle thanks to magic and combat skills have also been expanded on, with magic meters making an appearance in many of the sequels along with a greater emphasis on useful combat alternatives in items. And though purists mourn the loss of the pure open ended design of the first game, Zelda II introduced a more focused structure that still left some room for players to decide how to tackle the world. Zelda as we know it would not exist without The Adventure of Link.
And though its game design never blossomed in into its own genre, Zelda II still influenced a handful of 2D games that strived to be more than your average platformer. A handful of side-scrolling games picked up the RPG flag and bent it to their individual wills. Games like Symphony of the Night and Odin Sphere ran with the idea of RPG elements in a 2D environment, but more striking was the unusual perspective Zelda II offered. Metroid proved that you could do more than just move right constantly. In much the same way, Zelda II proved that you could do more than just stick to one perspective or gameplay type. The experimental nature of NES games like Zelda II meant that future games weren’t afraid to follow suit, especially given how many modern games mix and match gameplay with the greatest of ease.
The popular opinion on Zelda II is hopelessly split, but that doesn’t stop it from being an enduringly influential game. The Zelda series at large certainly wouldn’t be what it is today without the developments that The Adventure of Link brought. Its wild experimentation lead developers to take more chances with game design. But removed from history and influence, it’s just an impossibly interesting game with a unique structure that hits a lot of enjoyable notes in one fell swoop.
That it succeeded in the NES era with so many different concepts thrown against the wall is nothing short of amazing.
So what did everyone else think of this classic Zelda game? Discuss in the comments below!