November 11th, 1999
Zelda Domain was founded by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc on November 11th, 1999. It was a website dedicated to The Legend of Zelda. The site enjoyed some minor success over the span of 8 years before finally biting the dust. It now is co-owned by Nathaniel Coughran (EA) and Nathanial Rumphol-Janc (Nathan). After closing down the owners of the site decided to create a brand new website, Absolute Zelda. The site opened its forums in 2008, but the main site remain under construction. It was announced later that year that the Absolute Zelda project would be merged together with ZeldaInformer. An official release date for the fully merged site is yet to surface.
- 1 History
- 2 Features
- 3 Community
- 4 Zelda Domain Design Revisions
- 5 Notes
The History of Absolute Zelda is represented in a timeline format.
1999 - 2001 The beginning
Zelda Domain opened its doors on November 11th, 1999. As the brainchild of founder Nathanial Rumphol-Janc, it was an aspiring fan site that was joining the fray shortly into the Zelda fansite boom that ensued after Ocarina of Time's release. With zero coding experience, and only being thirteen years of age, Nathanial tried his hand with the free site builder. While it was limited, it served its purpose at the time as there were very few high-quality Zelda sites available.
While this meager attempt at a fan site lead to several great things occurring, you can't hide the demons of the past. This beginning iteration of Zelda Domain is most known for the great GameCube Giveaway scam that nearly ended the entire site on the spot. Nathanial, in an act of desperation to save a dying site, started a fake GameCube Giveaway contest. It worked, in the sense that viewership increased tenfold. Yet at the same time, it utterly failed. Not only did he go so far as to select a "real winner", he even lied to said winner in saying he was sending the package and went as far as to get the mailing address. What most don't know, is the winner was in a poor family who were excited they won a Gamecube and his only Christmas present that year was a GameCube game. When Nathanial finally confessed the lie, he was heartbroken. It took a full year of mending before the friendship was able to continue, and Zelda Domain was able to move past the darkest moment in its long history.
Clearly, there were many lessons to learn. Maxine MagicFox urged him to never give up and guided him not only in the right way to be a webmaster, but in the ways of writing actual HTML code.
2001 - 2002 Zelda Games and Lost Woods
With Nathanial's new knowledge of HTML, and wanting the freedom of a better URL, Zelda Domain moved to Lost Woods with a fresh new subdomain. Along with this move, brought Nathanial's very first attempt at coding and creating his own layout. It was a vast upgrade and quickly, in large part to the new hosting, interest in the site began to rapidly rise.
For those who are unaware, Lost Woods was a site that was hosted on the ultra mega Zelda Games Network, by far the biggest and most successful Zelda Gaming network to ever exist. While it was short lived in its glory, one of the major sites to survive its downfall and continue to prosper is http://ganonstower.com.
Unfortunately a mere year into our new home, Zelda Games mysteriously crashed. Panic ensued as several of the biggest Zelda sites to ever exist were now offline. Zelda Games never did return, and the owner never left any explanation or reason for mysteriously disappearing. Many attribute the rapid popular rise of http://zeldauniverse.net in accordance with this event, as they were one of the more well-established sites to not rely on the hosting benefits of Zelda Games.
(Note, the GameCube giveaway updates in the layout picture were carried over updates from geocities.)
2002 - 2003 Iceman Network
While Zelda Domain was thought to be in the fray of lost sites, Josh from the Iceman Network swooped in and offered Nathanial a hosting spot on his network. We returned with a new layout, and because all the old content was lost, fresh content. Maybe the biggest concept to come out of this move was the introduction of our first forums. Henry of http://zeldadimension.net helped Nathanial set up Zelda Domain's forums as sort of a gratitude for us hosting his site to help get it off the ground. As many of the veteran members will recall, our forums have become infamous for the endless rolling restarts. In this first iteration alone, the forums were completely wiped three times in the span of a year.
Along with the Forums, a staff member named Lance was added to the ranks as a content writer to help ease Nathanial's workload. He exclusively wrote all the The Wind Waker content for us at the time and became a stepping stone for our future as Nathanial looked to get more help down the road.
Josh then mysteriously shut down his hosting service temporarily, and Nathanial felt it was time to move into a better realm of possibility.
2003 - 2004
Ultra Gaming, an up and coming general gaming site, offered reliable hosting with a subdomain, along with more space and bandwidth than the Iceman Network. It was hard to turn down such an offer, and thus the 4th iteration of Zelda Domain came to be. Unfortunately, this hosting period was one of the shortest in Zelda Domain's history, as it lasted only three months. The new layout that was launched is lost to the winds of time, and what prospered during this time is largely unknown.
What is known, is that shortly after being dropped by Ultra Gaming for unknown reasons, Zelda Domain made a return at Shogun Total Gaming, Nathanials other new site made for general gaming purposes. While the site itself was hosted at the free host Netfirms, Nathanial chose to host Zelda Domain briefly under the Shogun Total Gaming URL. Why he chose to do this is largely a mystery, and Zelda Domain was only there for a meager two weeks.
2004 - 2005
A great time of change transpired as Nathanial finally got Zelda Domain back on its feet. He returned to the Iceman Network and this time, with meaning. During his ventures through affiliates, he met Doh, another aspiring webmaster. The significance of this meeting mattered greatly as Doh became Zelda Domain's layout designer for the next few years. Thus, the 5th iteration of Zelda Domain brought about a more professional fan site attitude.
Nathanial during this time was staffless, save an Administrator known as Enderwiggin and a Moderator known as Fianna on the forums. Nathanial had several staff join the team only to leave within the month simply because they lacked the knowledge of coding. This is when a revelation occurred, and Zelda Domain finally took a much-needed step into what as now become a standard: Content Management Systems.
2005 A Time of Change
http://everalert.absolutezelda.net/history/06%20zeldad-com%20layout%202.png Fianna becoming a Moderator, whom Nathanial met via the #zelda chat room, ended up becoming a major stepping stone. While the site was changing over to a new CMS, with Doh still creating and implementing the layout, a major Staff change was occurring. Fianna was brought on as more than just a forum powerhouse, she became a Co-Webmaster. The reason her contributions became ever important is mostly because she herself was a fan favorite. The forum members, and fan base in general, all liked and respected her greatly, and Zelda Domain prospered quickly for having her on board. We garnered several active staff members in this time for various positions, and she was able to quickly adjust to our CMS program, IGaming CMS.
Fianna instantly became a major workhorse, spitting out content like her life depended on it. Of course, she wasn't alone in her work. Nathanial was still steadily providing his own work, and several other staff members were contributing regularly. Nathanial Coughran, aka EA, took over most of the moderating duties at the forums. Lost Lee became not just a moderator, but an editorial writer for our Hyrule Express feature. Turismo came on board to also write editorials for the Hyrule Express. TZM came on board to write mostly Wind Waker material. Alex and Jeff were also on board to write a content piece here and there when needed. Hero of Time was also on board writing a few pieces of random content, as well as handling our Screenshot and Audio contests for some time.
We suddenly went from a struggling fan site with no reliability, to a vastly growing community that was highly successful. The forum resets returned as we changed from PHPBB to VB, and things were looking up. Zelda Domain was becoming a household name in the community, and was no longer considered just another fish in the pond. Zelda Domain expanded during this time into other Nintendo related games in an effort to broaden our gaming coverage in general.
2006 - The Death
With the spur of a new year upon us, the spur of a new look came about. We decided to rededicate our selves to strictly Zelda, and thus dropped all our non-Zelda related game content. With the refocus on what we're best at, our viewership steadily increased. We added a Coppermine Image Gallery, and actually successfully had the VB forums up, without wiping, for over the one year mark, something that was unheard of. Everything appeared to be going our way and Zelda Domain was surely on its way to becoming a top Zelda site.
Then... it happened again. Our host mysteriously went away. Something that has seemingly occurred over and over again throughout our history. All the staff dropped from the site as they lost interest in trying to bring Zelda Domain back again, and Nathanial was once again left on his own. He made a short-lived attempt to bring Zelda Domain back in October of 2006, but the strain was too much and he soon gave up. It appeared Zelda Domain was gone forever, and that what was shaping up to be a great run had finally come to an end.
2007 - The Failed Relaunch
Nathanial contemplated for months on what to do about Zelda Domain. He wanted to bring it back, but knew he couldn't do it alone. With no support around, Doh long-gone, and Fianna moving on to more important parts of her life, Nathanial was in a tough spot. He then approached a man known as EA.
EA was someone of great intelligence, and top-tier work when he wanted to. He was a far superior coder then Nathanial, and his graphics capability made Nathanial look like he was finger painting at age two. Nathanial boldly approached EA and not only asked him to help, made an offer that would alter the course of Zelda Domain forever. In December of 2006, EA officially became Co-Owner of Zelda Domain.
We relaunched on January first of 2007 with absolutely no content. We had broken links abounding, and the only saving grace seems to be that we acquired Press access with Nintendo. The forums returned at first as punBB, then quickly converted over to IPB. Audio updates were introduced and became the main attraction. A couple content pieces for Twilight Princess were complete, but Nathanial realized that not only was the launch a failure, the red layout was not popular with the crowd. The lack of content was a big turn off for returning visitors, and the forums just were not lively enough to support themselves.
The site then went down briefly for maintenance, and at that time Nathanial and EA agreed that the launch was a failure, and that time was needed to do it properly. The site was then delayed until Winter, or so was the plan. Ideas began spinning out of control as concepts for a site that no one has ever dreamed of began dancing in our heads.
Shortly after our announced downtime, Nathanial thought that renaming the site, to not only rid themselves of Zelda Domains ever deterring reputation, but to represent a new era in Zelda sites was greatly needed. EA came up with the name Absolute Zelda and it has stuck in our heads ever since.
2008 and Onward - The Revolution
In 2008, Absolute Zelda opened its doors. While still not the grand launch EA and Nathanial had planned, it was much more organized and the concepts that went into to not only the look and feel, but the presentation itself more then made up for it. Absolute Zelda continues to strive to provide and build a strong base that will hopefully inspire the next generation of Zelda webmasters. On July 16, 2008, (A.K.A. Revolution Day, for Zeldainformer) Zeldainformer and Absolute Zelda combined forums. While the Absolute Zelda Site still stands, its forums are hosted on VGRC. The combined forums are now known as "Absolute Zelda Informer".
Absolute Zelda has many key features that make it more than just another face in the crowd of Zelda sites on the net. The first of the major features most notice right away is our multiple layout selector. We have interfaced, hybrid, and standard modes to go along with the Wii and DS browsers. Altogether, we offer five different ways in which to view the site to please everyone's viewing pleasure. While interface mode is our mode of preference, and most of our unique features are held within this mode, we realize not everyone will be able to run this mode without the proper settings on their browser. We also realize this mode is not compatible with IE6 as well as some of the other older browsers. Also, it's not the best for those with slower connection speeds. So, we offer the hybrid mode which acts just like the interfaced, but runs differently. We then offer a standard mode which is like most sites you have come to know and love. We hope offering this broad array of ways to browse the site will open up our viewer base to everyone, allowing the viewer to get the full experience of Absolute Zelda.
Along with multiple layouts, we have very unique ways of displaying our content, as well as some of the most detailed written guides for Zelda games on the net. We have a Super Smash Bros. Brawl league, among many other fun events going on to keep the community active. While we have so much more then I have listed here, the feature list is really too numerous to put all in spot. Check out Absolute Zelda and see the features first hand.
We boast a small, but dedicated Forum community. Being able to post and contribute to our forums and compete in the SSBB league is just part of the benefits of joining the community. You also get to rate the Zelda games under different categories so all can see the overall fan base ratings, as well as commenting on our various aspects of the site so we can make steady improvements. Other ideas are currently being worked on in order to increase the community/site interaction without sacrificing the usage of the site for those that choose to not join the community. We in no way force the community upon any of our fans as we feel the main site is our true attraction. Still, the community is something we're proud of. We are also proud to admit we are using the underappreciated Invision Pro Board software.