It’s been a long and eventful year at ZeldaInformer. A year filled with peril, heartache, surprises, and pleasantries. We have had many a fan debate about Zelda in our comments and on our forums. We have had many fans sing ZI’s praises to the masses, and still many spew profanity at our site for our thoughts. We’ve been hacked, had threats of not making our bills on time, we’ve inspired artist and writers alike, and have brought joy to many a fan. We’ve also made a lot of fans pissed off, an achievement I am proud of. Why would I be proud? Because we bring out all sides of the Zelda fandom, showing our clear unbiased prospective on the series with a big team of writers bringing in a lot of varying viewpoints.
It’s close to the end of 2009, and ZeldaInformer has never been better.
The start of the year was… shall we say… rocky. We got hacked on January 1st 2009, and because of the type of hacking it was it was very difficult to come back. In that process we decided to move to new hosting, better hosting, and one that could handle our inevitable growth. The move to possibly one of the best hosting companies with a new idea was possibly ZI’s greatest achievement of the year. Finally, we had hosting that could handle any amount of traffic or DL’s without the threat of downtime, even if the server crashed. Without this, we may not be where we are now.
Once the site got rolling, so did the staff… and we haven’t slowed down yet. We became your premier source for Zelda related news, even before Spirit Tracks was announced. We proved that there is always something Zelda related to talk/post about, and we noticed that the series is so popular a lot of fans are constantly doing things that we should be keeping an eye on. Whether it is the 3D Link’s Awakening project, Team Beta Triforce, Musical Reorechestrations, or a Charity event, something related to Zelda is always happening.
One thing we also proved is that something Zelda related is always happening at Zelda Informer, making us one of the few sites that even during “slow time” is constantly adding new content to the site. This was exemplified by the long standing staple here from day one: The Bombers. This year was the bombers strongest year yet, with 23 article releases. To put that in perspective, we had 19 releases last year (3 of them being guest pieces), and 20 in 2007.
In talking about articles, it’s also a reminder of another thing that happened this year: The addition and creation of the “casual article”. The concept of the casual article started as a conversation between Melchizedek (Melchezedek) and myself. The idea was twofold really. It would allow us to have “filler” content to give the bombers a rest, and it would allow for people like myself to be able to contribute some good articles to the site that may not fit into The Bombers style.
What began as a meager plan to fill in on Friday bomber releases when they weren’t ready flourished into its own amazing addition to the site. We now release 2, sometimes 3 of these articles a week. Some of which call out Nintendo, some that give thoughts about what game is the best. Some that are top 10 listings, and others that question fan reaction. Still, throughout it all, they have been a wild success story at ZI, and are looking to stay strong heading into 2010.
So what’s left after highlighting things that all of you know we are awesome at? Plenty. For starters, 2009 also featured with it a new ZI Exclusive Zelda Comic titled 72 Hours Remain. What was merely an idea I purposed in the staff board went from “idea” to “reality” within 2 weeks. That’s right, it happened that fast. We are now approaching our last 3 comics of this year, which would put the comic total around 11 or 12 before the year is up. A pretty impressive feat, and each strip has entertained entirely different crowds, showing that is possible for a Zelda comic to thrive and have different strips please different types of fans. It shows how diverse our fan base has become.
Something that also happened in 2009 was the Spirit Tracks Spoiler Free Walkthrough. Of course, there is nothing overly special about a walkthrough per say, outside of the fact that we were the first site in the world to have a start to finish walkthrough available for the game… even before the game had been officially launched. That is quite a task to accomplish, and we are still working hard to bring you other aspects of that Spirit Tracks Walkthrough to reality. Still, what that walkthrough did was remind people that ZI is more than just news posts and articles, we also do have game content, and good stuff at that.
Speaking of game content, we also became one of the first few sites to incorporate videos into more than just a “walkthrough” format. What do I mean? Check out our Spirit Tracks Boss page, where along with a text guide and screenshots, you can see videos of each boss fight in high quality, to give you that extra edge during your first play through. The videos themselves have reached 10K+ views, and some have seen up words of 30K+, which clearly shows the high need and demand for such video guides separate from Walkthroughs. Because of this, we are working hard at similar integration in other Spirit Tracks guides, and will carry this concept over to all of the previous titles as time moves on. You can see another integration type deal on our Spirit Pipes Song page, where you can not only see the notes that you need to play, but you can listen to them as well so you know how it’s suppose to sound. It’s a nice reference guide that can save you the time of constantly going to the menu to find the song you need.
Videos have stretched beyond the game content realm as well this year for us. We released our first staff video for the collective Top 10 Boss List, and it turned out quite well. While the video wasn’t perfect, it was a learning experience that we plan to take into 2010 as we bring you even more video related content that isn’t just game specific material.
Of course, in doing all this, we didn’t ignore the community. Along with making it easier to follow us with our feed now at feedburner, as well as our facebook and twitter pages, we added a contact form and a news tip form. That’s not all though: The forums have been upgraded and revamped, and this year brought with it The Brothel, a place to post pictures of “good looking people” without them being naked. Sure, it’s a celebration of our enjoyment of the human form, but it’s in a more civil manner as we need to be reminded that life doesn’t always need to be so “serious”. Along with that came a new forum layout and a new layout on the ZeldaInformer mainsite.
All in all, it’s been a long and fruitful year at ZI. We have watched our fan base flourish in support of us from a meager 300 hits a day to 3000 hits a day. We have watched as our site is getting supported across the web, including two front page articles on digg, and links back to our content from Zelda Universe, Zelda Dungeon, Wii Nintendo, Kotaku, Google News, GoNintendo, News 4 Gamers, GBATemp, among several hundred other sites. It’s no secret that Zelda Informer has become not just an essential site to the Zelda community, but an essential site to the Gaming community on the whole.
So with everything done, how are we going to top that to make 2010 our new best year ever? Well here are just a few of the things you can look forward to in 2010 from us:
- Audio Podcast
- Replacement of the Zelda Katsu project to provide any and all resources a theorist could ever need
- New Layout to make everything more user friendly
- Addition of over 7,000 new images to our image gallery, making us the biggest image source for Zelda on the net
- A Versus series
- Zelda site archival project
- Cutscene Library
Those are just a handful of the 30+ ideas we have for ZI that we plan to implement in 2010, along with continuing to provide everything you know and love about ZI today. So let’s raise our glasses to a fantastic 2009, and look forward to an amazing 2010 for both ZI, and for fans of Zelda across the world.