<Avardancer> Welcome to Dmg Ice's First Interview.
<Niels> It will be for your gameboy site? Okay, cool.
<Avardancer> Yup. Well, here's the first question.
<Avardancer> How long have you been producing The Legend of Zelda HQ?
<Niels> It was on March 22, 1996 that I got the idea and downloaded Netscape Editor to make it. On April 2, I launched it onto the Dutch dds.nl. You know the rest.
<Avardancer> Since then you have added several staff members. When did you add them and why do you put up with them?
<Niels> That's been a bit of an ongoing process. There's always been people sending me stuff, and it really started when one guy wanted to merge with ZHQ; he had a site with fan fiction, and ZHQ didn't have fanfiction yet. Well, that type of staff didn't really work for the site, so I had staff members flying around for almost 1 and a half years. Now, this April, with the second anniversary for the site I started planning for the domain we were getting, and I also got the feeling that ZHQ was ready to go a step further... I knew a lot of good enough people, and I had a friends who could provide the technology to do stuff like a mailing list. We're at 16 now, and while the site is still not done, it's great. Everybody does his part. It's especially nice to see the Letters page, which every time is done completely without my hand. I only do the final edit and add my own answers. At the end of the summer the site should be completely done.
<Avardancer> The Letters page is great! How do you get people to participate in your site. I'm having a hard time getting audience participation; even though I'm averaging 135 hits a day.
<Niels> You should understand that with about 5000 visitors daily it's a completely different thing. We're basically trying to get less mail with all sorts of filters such as FAQs.
<Avardancer> Wow. 5000 daily. Did you ever think that ZHQ would get that big?
<Niels> I never expected it. Then again, I never knew what to expect. Since I was a kid, I made comic books and comic magazines, and sold them to my family. ZHQ started when I was just one month on the internet. It was just the best way I could come up with to show my artwork to everyone -- I just wanted to do something on the 'net. It was really a continuation of my comics.
<Avardancer> Wow. Comic books. I remember when I was ten; I wrote some comics books called the "Mega Combat Slugs"; and I would show them off to my friends. My comics were a Teenage Mutant Turtle parody.
<Niels> Haha. That sounds cool. My comics started at about that age, too. They were called "Supernis", kind of science fiction, but really wacky. Just before ZHQ, I had an anime magazine with a bunch of friends, called "Yakuza". Now my cat's name is Yakuza. My other cat is called Akira :-)
<Avardancer> What type of cat is it?
<Niels> They're both rather regular cats, but completely black.
<Avardancer> That's cool.
<Avardancer> Do you own a Gameboy?
<Niels> Yes, I do, but I have to admit I never use it. I borrowed Link's Awakening for it from a friend, about three years ago, and I still own it. Have it here.
<Avardancer> Do you plan on buying a Gameboy Color?
<Niels> I do plan on buying one. I always had a NES and such, and then sold it to buy a SNES, and did the same for the N64. However, I think I'm kinda becoming more of a hardcore gamer, and am starting to collect systems and their best games. I've got a Saturn, a PSX and an N64 now, and am getting a SNES after the summer. The color game boy should be the kick off for my Game Boy collection :-)
<Avardancer> That's great. What is your opinion of the Pokemon series? In Japan, it's bigger than Zelda.
<Niels> Of course I have yet to play it, but I think the concept is fantastic. I'm looking forward to it. But not as much as for example to the color version of Link's Awakening, the possible new Zelda game for GB, and the GB version of Dragonwarrior which just came out in Japan (I think).
<Avardancer> The Dragon Warrior game comes out in September in Japan and is a HUGE 16 Megabits. Kind of cool, huh?
<Niels> It's incredible because I read that the biggest NES game was three times smaller then 16 Megabits. Either it's going to be a huge game, or when you turn it on, your GameBoy will suddenly transform into something much bigger.
<Avardancer> What words of advice would you give budding Site designers?
<Niels> Hmm... that's a tough one. Okay, here it goes. You can always try a bit with making small sites to show to your friends, and to practice. But don't think you're the best! That's almost impossible. Don't brag about your site. Then, after some time when you think you can do it, start all over again, redesign everything as good as you can. Every time you think you can do better, redesign your site. Set the highest standards for yourself as you can. Only that way you can make a truly great site. It takes time, effort, and a lot of practice.
<Avardancer> Which Zelda game is your favorite? (Easy Question.) ; )
<Niels> That was on ZHQ's new section opinions just a few days ago! :-) Anyway, it's Zelda 3. It's the first Zelda game I really played, and it's still got one of the best atmospheres I've ever seen in a video game.
<Avardancer> What is your opinion on the idea of mature content in games? (Another hard question.)
<Niels> Hmm... I don't really know about mature content. I don't think for example Mortal Kombat has any mature content.
<Avardancer> Mortal Kombat is a little ridiculous.
<Niels> For example, in Final Fantasy VII when you enter Cloud's memories to find out about his past, now *that's* mature content. And well, I don't mind intricate story lines like that. It's fun to see things like that which you normally only find in books in video games.
<Avardancer> That's the true definition right there; but many people think of it as blood and gore.
<Niels> As for gore and blood in video games, which some would call mature content... I don't mind about that either. I think any game, whether it's got gore and blood, intricate memory-walking story lines, or nothing at all, can be a great game. Sometimes it seems like only Mr. Miyamoto and myself understand that, when I look at some of the major sites.
<Avardancer> Right on.
<Avardancer> Do you miss UGPONLINE?
<Niels> To be honest, I checked it out when it was online once, and when it was redesigned once, and both times it didn't really catch my attention. I can't say I really miss it.
<Avardancer> Hmm. Legend of Zelda 5 is said to have over 40 minutes of Cinema scenes. What do you make of that?
<Niels> It's really the influence of the bigger team working on Zelda. Now that there's a lot of people making sure the game plays great, and they can still have one guy working on the story, there's simply the possibility to do something like that. With the earlier games, it just wasn't there. A second factor is that with polygonal graphics, you can do a lot which wasn't possible with 2D. As you may know, Miyamoto doesn't like to read text (when he wants to read a lot he picks up a book), and storytelling in 2D mostly comes down to text-windows. With 3D, you can do a lot with shifting cameras, moving images... All in all, it seems like Zelda V will have much more of a story in it. It could be a good thing, I don't know. I'm eager to see the results. Like we all are.
<Avardancer> When did you get offered to join IGN? And what was it like joining IGN?
<Niels> Right after I got my domain name (www.zhq.com), they contacted me. So far, the relation's been very good. We've got a very clear contract, and they've been helping us out whenever needed. Which isn't often, because we can pretty much handle everything ourselves.
<Niels> I've yet to get my first payment, but I think there's no need to fear they won't pay me for the advertisements on my site.
<Avardancer> I've heard that IGN has a habit of censoring or controlling sites. This isn't true is it?
<Niels> It's not true. We have absolute independence; we work for them for example, technically. It's just that I lend them space on my site for ads, and they help me market the site. There's a couple of rules they have, which involves no content such as illegal MP3s, software or porno. As you may remember we have some naked-breasted fairies on the site, but they didn't count that as porno :-) Also, we were concerned we wouldn't be able to put up emulation, but as long as Nintendo doesn't complain they don't have a problem with it either. We still don't have it up, so Nintendo hasn't said anything...
<Avardancer> Emulation is a touchy subject; it's really a thing to do with Gameboy sites.
<Niels> Yes it is. We've had long and hard discussions about it on the staff. Our policy is doing the NES games, because those are hardly available. We still won't put up SNES or GameBoy games. But of the NES games, we'll still only do Zelda, as we feel the rest is not in place on a Zelda site.
<Avardancer> What is your guess on the new Legend of Zelda GB game?
<Niels> I'm not clear about it. During E3, there was an interview with Miyamoto, which was in Japanese. It was translated both by IGN64 and Nintendo Power. In one translation, they said there *will* be a new Zelda game for the GB besides the color version of LA, while in the other translation Miyamoto said there would only be a color version of LA. One of those translations screwed up; the question is which one. Besides that interview, I never heard about a new GB Zelda game, so my best guess is there won't be one. For now.
<Avardancer> Interesting; I didn't catch that in my NP issue. :(
<Niels> I meant the website of Nintendo Power, I don't know about the mag.
<Avardancer> What is left to do in ZHQ?
<Niels> There's a lot left to do! We have only 2 of the 5 sections up; the rest is all being worked on, but it's progressing slowly. Of course, it's a lot. Even with all those people in the staff it's taking a long time. Right now, I'm working on the Plaza myself. 3 others are working on the Games, including the resurrection of Top Secret Zelda. The Files section is coming in last. But it's all going rather slow on my side, especially since I also want about 2 or 3 updates a week, and I'm also working on a secret new project.
<Avardancer> I've sent in files and stuff like that Legend of Zelda Theory into ZHQ; under the moniker "The Avardancer". Would you like to see more on that in the way of some of the newer stuff I'm working on? (Like the Fan Fiction I've been working on for a few months. And do you have any tips for people who submit files, Fan Fictions, etc?
<Niels> Yeah, I think right now it would be better to wait with your submissions until the sections which they will appear in are online. There's a large chance they'll get lost somewhere along the line. As said, the site should be done at the end of the summer, and everything should go back to normal by then.
<Avardancer> What game is on your list for purchasing next? (Any
<Niels> I don't know about that. I'm trying to get Shining Force III and Panzer Dragoon Saga, but they're hard to find and I'm unsure whether they're really out already. I'm buying a SNES from a guy with a truckload of games, but without FFIII, so I'll probably get that next. However, I am currently home alone for three weeks since my parents are on vacation, and I have no clue how much money I'll need to stay alive. I also want to visit a music festival and I want to go to ECTS 98 in London this September, the European version of E3... so I don't really know when I'll get to buying *anything*.
<Avardancer> So what bands are your favorites? And are you planning a "House Party" when your parents aren't there?
<Niels> Hah. Basically I take the advantage of their being away by completely messing up my schedule of sleeping. I basically sleep at day now, and am working at night on all my stuff. It's really comfortable; I like the silence. However, after the vacation I really want to get back to normal; I'll go crazy without all my real-life friends. Now nobody is home anyway, so I like to do it this way. I like a lot of bands... mainly Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., eels, Radiohead, Cheap Trick... but also some rap like The Fugees and Dutch bands like Klein Orkest... oh, and I like electronic music like Bjork's and Goldie's. There's not really any style I don't like. I even like B*Witched's new single!
<Avardancer> Were the Netherlands hit by the "Evil" Spice Girls?
<Niels> Oh yes, they were. Including my sister's room. She had
spice girls wallpapers. Worst thing is, I like some of their songs...
<Avardancer> Have you seen the new Smashing Pumpkin's Album "Adore".
<Niels> Another "Oh yes" here. I've bought that on the day it came out, on the morning I left to the music festival "Pinkpop", where they played live. I played that record so often, it's gray. It made them be my favorite band, instead of 2nd favorite... you could say I've seen it, yes. Before, R.E.M. were my favorites (because of Automatic for the People).
<Avardancer> My favorite band is Sixpence None The Richer; followed by the Smashing Pumpkins.
<Niels> I'm sorry to say I've never heard of the chaps.
<Avardancer> Not many people have. :)
<Niels> Oh, I forgot to mention Grandaddy, I saw them on Pinkpop, they're the coolest and humblest band I've seen.
<Avardancer> I'm going to have to end the interview now; but before I go. Anything you would like to say to all three of the people who are going to end up reading this on my site?
<Niels> Well, in any case I'd like to thank them for reading. But, I'd also want them to keep reading ZHQ, and want them to look forward to my secret project, whatever it may be.
<Niels> <Ok, so that's it ;-)
<Avardancer> Thanks for the interview!