In my previous article, I completely forgot to mention the magazine’s online presence; in particular, their Nintendo NSider Forums, which I was a somewhat-active member of.
In the early 2000s, Nintendo created an online community on AOL servers, called Digichat NSider. They eventually included a messageboard called Hyrule Town Square, which was devoted to discussion of The Legend of Zelda franchise. I joined originally during the Hyrule Town Square days, using a screen-name based on my actual name.
At this time, I didn’t have Internet access at home; instead, I accessed the Internet at the local library, which I only rarely got to do. Regardless, I had an account on the HTS forums, and chatted about Zelda with fellow fans.
Skip forward to spring of 2004, and I’m a senior at high school, taking a computer applications course. The computers in the lab had Internet access, and during my frequent free time in that course, I’d browse the Internet. (This was also when I started using Mozilla’s browser, in its early days, then called “Firebird”. I installed Firebird and ran it on my computer in the lab as my browser of choice. The teacher for the class wasn’t that familiar with software trends, and actually thought Firebird was either a computer game or even a virus, and wanted me to uninstall it, which I didn’t)
This was when I really started using messageboards. One assignment was to build a website (for which we used Geocities, though I wrote mine entirely in Notepad). I had my site done rather quickly, meeting the specifications, and was looking for neat things to add to the site. Classmates and I stumbled upon ProBoards, a free messageboard hosting service. Several of us made our own messageboards (mine still exists, though it’s dead and locked), and linked to them through the sites we made for the class. We had some fun with the messageboards for a while. (One messageboard that became a huge part of my time online was The Outcasts Guild)
It was then that I looked around for pre-existing forums, and remembered that Nintendo Power had messageboards. Turns out that the Hyrule Town Square no longer existed, and had been replaced with Nintendo’s NSider Forums. This expanded the focus from just Zelda to everything Nintendo, and even included a general discussion section called “Power On”. By this time I had forgotten my log-in name for HTS and just decided to make a new account. On NSider, I was known as RAND_ALTHOR. I lurked around various sections, mainly the Zelda board, and Power On, chatting here and there.
At one point, people in Power On started making “unofficial” threads based on certain topics (usually a show, or a video game, or movies, or whatever). I started two unofficial threads, and had some other NSiders help with maintaining those threads after they became popular. One was “The Unofficial Bleach Thread”, the other was “The Unofficial Doctor Who Thread”. Both were quite successful. Over the years, I’ve lost most of the material for those threads, but I found the opening post materials for the Bleach thread on my Google Docs the other day.
Welcome to the Unofficial Bleach Thread! This thread is to discuss the animé and manga of the same name.
The animé series began on October 5th, 2004, on TV Tokyo. The manga had been around since 2001.
What is the story for Bleach? The following is pulled from the article up on Wikipedia:
Bleach follows the life of Ichigo Kurosaki, a 15-year-old high school student with the ability to see ghosts, and a shinigami (Soul Reaper or, literally, “death god”) named Rukia Kuchiki, who crosses paths with him one day while searching for a hollow (an evil spirit). During the ensuing confrontation with the spirit, she is wounded and forced to transfer virtually all of her powers into Ichigo. Thus the adventures of Ichigo and Rukia begin. Together they search for hollows and perform soul burials on wayward souls, cleansing the spirits and sending them to Soul Society. The early parts of the story focus mainly on the characters and their past, rather than the actual occupation of the shinigami. However, as events unfold, the story begins to delve deeper into the world of these gods of death on the “other side” called Soul Society.
As of this writing (on 260202.07), there are 116 episodes of the anime and 264 chapters of the manga, in Japan. I believe the English dub of the show, which currently airs Saturday nights at midnight (EST) on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim lineup, just aired episode 22.
Anyway, this thread is to discuss both the animé and the manga. There is one rule I must put up, first, and it involves spoilers.
If you have seen the latest episodes, please be aware that others may have only seen English dubs aired on Adult Swim. If you are going to discuss things that are spoilers beyond where the English dubs are in the storyline, use the Spoiler box.
Anyway, if you want to join this thread, send me a PM and I’ll add you to the Bleach fanlisting for this thread. Have fun, keep discussions under control, and talk about Bleach.
One last thing: if you feel like posting your dislike of this series, please refrain from making such a post.
So that was that thread. Both Unofficial threads had quite the following.
Nintendo’s NSider Forums were quite fun, with all sorts of special events for members, at which members interacted with the mods. I definitely remember NOA_SHAUN and NOA_ANDY.
At one point, NSider Forums had a weekly Friday trivia, at which some prizes would be given away. Given that I didn’t have Internet access at home at that point, I never had the chance to participate in these events. I read about them, and was sad that I couldn’t participate.
One event that I was able to participate in (albeit only barely) was the then-annual Camp Hyrule. This was an event that took place in August. It began in 1995, on AOL, but moved to Nintendo’s site in 1997. It ran annually from 1995 to 2007. It was an annual event that forum members could sign up for. Attendees would be split up into “cabins”, and would work with groupmembers to write cabin songs, name their cabin, design cabin flags, and participate in different events to win points for their cabins. Each cabin would have its own private messageboard section in which to communicate. It was a cool thing, and was something I grew to look forward to. Each year would have a different theme, based on new Nintendo games.
The 2007 Camp Hyrule, however, marked an end. The 13th event was not even a proper Camp Hyrule, it did not feature sign-ups, or even any games. It was just a contest to win a life-size statue of Link. That was the last Camp Hyrule. The site no longer exists.
Back on NSider Forums, they eventually had a monthly event called “Ask Andy”. This was a live chat event where NSiders could submit questions for moderator NOA_ANDY to answer. These could be about the forums, or even about Nintendo. I attended several of these, and they were always fun events.
The moderators liked to have fun with members. Particular, it was NOA_SHAUN who was notorious for playing pranks on NSiders. He would choose random people to be part of his “pickle army”, and replace their avatars with pickle avatars. NOA_ANDY would randomly do things with the forums. At one point, NOA_ANDY even made a section of the forum that he alone had the ability to post in. The moderators helped make NSider the fun community that it was.
Then came one day in September of 2007. At this time, I was at University, and I would frequently visit the forums at library computers between classes. September 17, 2007 rolled around, and late that morning I browsed to the site, ready to see what was going on on Power On. I found this message, instead.
Nintendo NSider Forums Update
Nintendo is working on a major overhaul to Nintendo.com to support the continued success of Nintendo DS and Wii. As we prepare for this huge site update, Nintendo must unfortunately close the Nintendo NSider Forums message boards indefinitely beginning Sept. 17, 2007.
For more than four years, these NSider Forums have fostered engaging, robust debates, a strong community and friendships. While their future remains uncertain, in the interim we invite our fans to build on the spirit of community by starting their own Nintendo discussion sites. Remember also that the unique features available with Nintendo DS and Wii give Nintendo the opportunity to communicate directly with fans, while also enabling fans and friends around the world to communicate with each other.
Nintendo has the greatest fans in the world, and it is because of their support and passion that Nintendo DS and Wii have become so hugely successful around the world. We hope that the faithful Nintendo community members will look forward to the future games and website updates that will enhance Nintendo’s global community of Wii and Nintendo DS owners.
Starting Sept. 17, existing NSider Forums will be available in Read Only format for one week. Private Messages will be disabled. On Monday, Sept. 24, the forums will be removed from public view.
To visit the Read Only version of the NSider Forums, click here. Thanks for your understanding and continued support. We’ll see you soon elsewhere on the Web.
That was it. The forums were closed. They eventually returned, in the form of Nintendo’s Tech Support Forums, which are what you find there today. Former NSiders rushed to contact each other via email or instant messenger, and some offshoot forums were created. Out of all of that, one forum emerged as the spiritual successor to NSider. NSider2 became the rallying point for the most former NSiders, and exists as an active community to this day. NSider2 fashions itself after the style of old NSider, including sections named after NSider sections.
The last archive of the old NSider Forums are here.
It was on NSider2’s Power On that people posted their findings for what the last post on NSider was. I don’t remember specifically what it was, but it was an inane comment on some Power On thread. Makes so much sense for that to have been the final post. It was something about “Mama Luigi”.
So that’s that, a brief look back at the Nintendo NSider Forums, and how I interacted with them. They were a great community, and remain missed.