The History (As of March 20, 2009)
The Legend of Zelda Universe began in the year 2000, when Lars-Christian, the founding webmaster, expanded his small personal site with a section about Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. This section got “massive support,” so Lars decided to make a separate site dedicated to the Zelda series.
With these plans in mind, Lars set out into the vast unexplored (or perhaps not) territory of Zelda sites, where mere hundreds existed. His original idea for a site name was “Zelda Planet,” but Zelda 64 Planet already existed at the time, so he decide to think bigger, and a universe is certainly bigger than a planet, so Zelda Universe it was. Of course, a year later, Nintendo discovered that they liked this name as well, and named the official Zelda.com site the same, but there have been very few mixups between the sites because of this.
After much planning and hard work, the site first went online as “Zelda Universe” on February 21st, 2001. It didn’t have any snazzy layouts, and there was very little content, but that didn’t keep Lars from enjoying himself as he worked on the site. Zelda Universe’s original host was a free Norwegian host, and after a few months, we made a transition to what was then the center of the online Zelda community, ZeldaGames.com.
This move did not turn out well, since by the time Zelda Universe moved to Zelda Games‘ server, their demise was well on its way, and the webmaster of Zelda Games was rarely around to make sure things went smoothly. Therefore, we decided to move again. This time the move was to Pure Zelda, which was another site that at the time was one of the larger sites in the community. Zelda Universe spent several good months at Pure Zelda, during which we managed to get a few new affiliates: Ganon’s Tower and Zelda Planet included, both of which are affiliates of ZU today still, and it was thanks to great sites such as these that people first opened their eyes to Zelda Universe, and started visiting.
During our stay with Pure Zelda, Lars purchased the domain ZeldaUniverse.net, which since then has been the home of the site, through at least a dozen different hosts. As Lars kept working with the site through the months, his skills as webmaster and web designer improved, and with them, Zelda Universe as well. The fan base increased, and we gained a number of loyal followers, some of which are still a part of the community today.
The real turning point for Zelda Universe came when we introduced this design, and not long after we went from being a small fan site to one of the largest and most popular Zelda sites online. It was also about this time that our staff got its first “real” staff member. Scott, or Zephka as he went by on the site joined the team. We had previously had various people on the staff, but none cared about the site or contributed to its growth much. But with Zephka, things changed.
With his Zelda knowledge, webmaster skills, and passion for both Zelda and the site, he took the site to a whole new level in terms of content, and he helped form the basis of our greatness, our exclusive games coverage. Contrary to what was normal for Zelda sites, Zephka spruced up the guides with images and icons, and it was these small details which set us apart from the average Zelda site, and this is something which still characterizes Zelda Universe.
Zephka became more than just a staff member; he became a friend to Lars, and everyone who wanted better and more extensive coverage of the Zelda games. After working hard with the site for more than a year, Zephka unofficially stepped down in the early days of 2004, and even though he’s hardly active anymore, he still stops by every once in a while. The last work seen by him was the beautiful new versions of the items & equipment sections of the older games.
Around the same time as when Zephka stepped down, our writer and editor of the Articles section dissappeared from the face of the Internet. Trahald was an excellent writer, and he is responsible for the majority of the articles in our articles section, and his work for Zelda Universe also contributed greatly to the success of the site, as his weekly articles became a highlight for our loyal visitors.
Even though Zephka had stepped down, and Trahald had disappeared from the surface of the planet, Zelda Universe couldn’t linger in the loss of two great staff members. Lars therefore decided to take on another co-webmaster, who was, coincidentally, another Scott, known as Kokiri Kid in our community, but now he’s simply known as “Scott.” With his help, the site came back to life. We introduced another weekly feature, Behind the Rupees, which quickly took the place of our Articles section as a weekly column.
With a new Scott on the team, we managed to collect enough power to completely revamp the site, and relaunch a new version of the site. While the cosmetic change at this point wasn’t very large, most people failed to realize how huge this change actually was. Every last bit of the site was re-done and touched up, and the way we managed the site changed completely, making it much easier for us to run and operate. We also took the opportunity to take on more staff.
It took quite some time, and a very large amount of work on the part of the site staff, and assistance from some of the forum staff, but we got all the content from the older, less technically savvy version of Zelda Universe up and improved in every way. Around this time we also switched to our current style, which was the first major change in site design in years. Right around Zelda Universe’s fourth birthday, we added to our staff a new content specialist by the name of Jason, or GoldenChaos as he was known in the community. He worked incredibly hard to make sure ZU has the most up-to-date information possible for all the new developments in Zelda.
In June of 2005, Lars decided it was time for him to move on to bigger things (if you can believe it possible) than Zelda Universe, so he sold the site to a man named Lee Dodd. While Lee owned the site, Jason and Scott manned the helm as webmasters, dealing with site content and issues until Jason retired from ZU in January 2006 for the purpose of moving on to other projects in his life. In April 2006, James (previously Lozzie on the forums) joined the staff to help Scott with the news and features around the site.
In July of 2006, Lee decided that his attention towards Zelda Universe was dwindling and decided to sell the site. Yusuf bought the rights to ZU and began to rework ZU to the best of his abilities. Scott remained as the webmaster, with James filling in the gaps on news and features.
September 2006 saw news galore on the Nintendo front, including the upcoming release of the Wii console and Twilight Princess. Zelda Universe also saw a change, as a new staff member, Leminnes, designed a brand new site layout, based in mint greens and glossy golds. The site continued normal operation through the Wii launch and Twilight Princess release, adding all the information one could possibly need on the game.
In late June 2007, Jason returned to Zelda Universe in order to help the continued operation of the site, reassuming his old webmaster position, and in August of that same year purchased ZU from Yusuf and declared the site not for sale, once and for all. With plans for the future of Zelda Universe in the works, the ZU staff had little time to produce more content for the site – specifically pages about The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Although the Phantom Hourglass pages came out steadily over several months, it was not enough. Zelda Universe opened staff applications, including News Manager and Content Manager applications. The new staff helped keep the current iteration of Zelda Universe afloat whilst plans for a newer, greater Zelda Universe were going on in the background.
In February and March 2008, Jason restarted a tradition that had been left behind with Lars: Donation drives. Revealing that he was seeking to hire a professional designer to recreate ZU, he began the donation drive and set the goal at $2000. Within several weeks the goal was met, the designer hired, and ZU’s revamp underway. The underground happenings inside staff were made public – Phantom Hourglass pages were waning because every section of the site was put on priority to be rewritten for this “revamp”, and the rewriting could only move so fast. However, with the help of ZU’s incredible new writers, Hylie, insaney, Rew, and Hasta Fleegin Lish, soon all of ZU looked sparkly, clean and new. On top of this, the ZUBC, or Zelda Universe Broadcasting Corporation, formed to created the monthly ZUCast, Zelda Universe’s official community podcast. Beloved forum member Asia Alfasi was content to describe Zelda Universe’s progress and community state at this time in a “golden age.”
As the months passed, Zelda Universe began to shift its game coverage from solely canon, or main games, into those produced by third part developers. Under this banner fell games like Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, and even Link’s Crossbow Training; a mini game developed to highlight an add-on for the Wii controller.
With incentive brought on by other, rival sites, the staff of ZU began to push towards more frequent news posts, and updates. In the midst of a dry spell of Zelda news and information, they decided to expand into other, more widespread news topics such as Mario, and other Nintendo-related franchises and products.
In mid September of 2008, a long time member of the staff, Scott, retired from active duty as a Webmaster. However, he continues to stay on the site to this day, assisting with any staff-related problems, on the side. A couple of weeks later, Jason announced a first for Zelda Universe, or any other Zelda site: the election of a new Webmaster.
The election was to coincide with the 2008 US Presidential Election: November 4th, 2008. For the weeks leading up to the highly anticipated event, supporters of the candidates (Super Moderators, Power Shot and Cody) shouted banter towards the other camp with great zeal. When the date finally came, the voters spoke resulting in a victory for Cody.
However, after the results were in, it was revealed Cody would have gotten the spot regardless of the outcome. Had Power Shot won, he would have received a temporary spot before stepping down to allow Cody his place.
Address : www.zeldauniverse.net
Contact E-Mail: jason (at) zeldauniverse.net
Open Since: February 21, 2001
Founding Webmaster: Lars-Christian Simonsen
Current Webmasters: Jason Rappaport and Cody Davies
Owner: Jason Rappaport
Software to Create the Universe
- Adobe Photoshop CS4 (2D Graphic Design)
- Lightwave 9 (3D Modeling)
- WordPress 2.9 (Content Management System)
- vBulletin 3.8 (Message Board Software)
We’ve put up some of Zelda Universe’s previous designs so that you can see how great (or not so great) we used to look. Unfortunately, we lost a few of our oldest designs in a fatal hard drive crash. You can view the full size images by clicking on the thumbnails.