Welcome to the second portion of our new series of articles, Zelda community history. This particular fan site is said to be the founder of all Zelda websites and in fact originated in 1996. This was an era of a highly anticipated Zelda game known as Ocarina of Time, which at the time was referred to as Zelda 64. And not only was this website unique, it was very popular for its time. Let’s start off with the site’s origins and masterminds and then I will go into detail on what I think made ZHQ so unique and original.
Created by Niels ‘t Hooft in 1996, ZHQ was then known as the unofficial Zelda Headquarters and focused on a small amount of Zelda content. Plenty of positive feedback and views towards the site made the owner to let it grow even more. Once 1997 started to roll around, they were up to date on anything new relating to Ocarina of Time and the site then grew even larger with more help from people such as Conrad. He would soon become second in command as webmaster and help produce some extensive Zelda content. ZHQ basically being the only decent Zelda site online at the time made it hard for some hard competition. But what exactly made this place so great?
Not only did the founder of ZHQ have some amazing exclusive pieces of site art to contribute, but so did a new member by the name of Maartan Bakker. These two have created a lot of unique pieces there were used all over the website to make each and every section their own exclusive, something you just do not see these days in fan sites. Much of this artwork is still even being ripped and used these days on no names fan sites, given they do not know exactly where it originated. Why not check out some of their amazing pieces below?
Something Zelda fan sites have rarely tried since ZHQ, featured fan music. Many of you may remember a time in the web scene where a lot of fan sites would include automated background music for each of their pages, something that got rather annoying at times (especially without a stop/pause/volume buttom) Sadly, ZHQ was among one of them. But that is not to say experiencing ZHQ was the same, because it was not! Every page you would visit would include either their very own remixed version of a Zelda track or better yet, something brand new with a very Zelda “ish” feel that they created themselves. I swear these guys could have worked for Nintendo and produced these tracks I am bout to show you in future titles. So, check out a few of their exclusive ZHQ tracks below.
The Zelda V or (Zelda 64) remix was created during the development of Ocarina of Time.
Zelda 64 Content
I will be honest, I still look through this site’s archives for old Ocarina of Time content. Being one of the only websites on the ball at the time made it very informative then and now. OoT being the most hyped Zelda title in the 1990s also made this already popular website thrive to the top. I remember during this time, I mainly obtained by OoT info from publications and magazines, but ZHQ helped me get my Zelda fix aside from all that. Some of you may recall a time when the internet did not exist and the only help we could get to complete a Zelda game was through Nintendo Power or sending a letter to Nintendo, yes kids, no email feedback existed in the late 80s and early 90s.
ZHQ was one of if not the very first Zelda website to exist. To be honest I do not think the internet archives go back before 1996 . This website also marked the classic era of the Zelda series, something I personally cherish and proud to have been apart of (I even have VHS videos of the Zelda cartoons that I recorded in 1989 ). ZHQ has been a big inspiration for me and dozens if not hundreds of other Zelda webmasters out there.
Quick tip: ZHQ II and the Hylia
Former webmasters and authors of ZHQ did in fact attempt to bring this classic website back to life with websites such as ZHQ 2 and the Hylia. You can still visit old archives of ZHQ at the web archive.