Highlights

h2. Zelda HQ

This was a website about Nintendo’s series of adventure games ‘The Legend of Zelda’. It was the first of its kind and actually made some money, during IGN’s short-lived affiliation programme, just before the dotcom bust.

The way I see it, I always made stuff, like comic magazines. But it was pretty hard to distribute what I created. So when the internet entered our household, I jumped at the opportunity to build a website that could easily be reached by thousands. It’s coincidence that it was about a Nintendo game.

Zelda HQ started in 1996 and stopped around the GameSen era. Sometime inbetween, I also made a site called ‘Total RPG’, but because it’s not even on the Wayback Machine, it feels like it never really existed. You should believe me when I say it had a really cool hand-drawn dragon in its logo.

Some years ago I foolishly let the Zelda HQ domain name (zhq.com) expire. A couple of people in the Zelda community (such a thing exists, yes – and it was kickstarted by my website) still feel miffed about this.

h2. GameSen

Another website, but about all videogames, and in Dutch. Also the first of its kind, though “Gamer.nl”:http://www.gamer.nl/, still going strong today, was launched a month later.

When GameSen started, I was still living at home, though I had my own phone line. I recently found an invoice that I sent to (now defunct) Hasbro Interactive for a banner campaign during the fall of 1999. It was worth a couple hundred guilders – not bad for a site with a couple hundred visitors.

Only a short while later I found myself in an office in Schiedam, funded with a partner’s dad’s money.

Maybe the timing was off, maybe we didn’t have the commercial insights required, maybe the site I came up with was not ‘mainstream’ enough. In any case, I decided to start a printed Nintendo magazine, just as all financial support for GameSen was pulled. At least I still have the domain name.

h2. n3 Nintendo Magazine

Adventure number three. I felt it’d be a good idea to celebrate the release of the GameCube (and the popularity of the Game Boy Advance) with a new print magazine about Nintendo. There was no Dutch Nintendo magazine then.

I also felt that the current magazines were too straightforward, which drove me to opt for short reviews and previews, big features, and hand-drawn covers. In the spirit of Total RPG, for whoever read that when it was around.

Together with Sigfrid at “Impressive Arts”:http://www.impressive-arts.nl, I created a dummy issue. Then I tried to get in touch with a publisher who’d be willing to pay us to produce it every month — and handle stuff like subscriptions, distribution, advertising, etc.

While I did succeed at finding someone, after four or five issues his money ran out, and after we finished issue eight, the plug was finally pulled. Issue eight never found its way onto store shelves, unfortunately. However, it is “available online through Issuu.”:http://issuu.com/nielsthooft/docs/n3_nintendo_magazine_issue_8