This is the Story of N-Sider.com...
It begins summer 2000, prior to Nintendo Japan's Spaceworld show and its unveiling of Nintendo's next generation console.
N-Sider is the baby of Fran Mirabella III. In 1999, Fran worked for GameFusion's Dolphin Cove website, covering Nintendo's next generation console then codenamed Dolphin.
Towards the end of 1999, work began on the formation of a new website called Nformer, also codenamed: Project Snow. Fran despised the name Nformer.com, so he decided to name it Project Snow - "Snow" being the name of a 90's Vanilla Ice-wannabe rapper who wrote a song called Informer.
Dean Bergmann was one of the first staff to be hired by Fran. Dean submitted a garish image of Jet Force Gemini to acquire a Graphics Design position on the site. Dean was given the job of design as well as coding for the new site.
Pete Deol's association with N-Sider began back when Fran was still running Dolphin Cove.
"I had worked previously at N64 Underground/Nintendorks, another popular site (still going) and there I really was a workhorse, pumping out whatever was needed. Perhaps my favorite article I did there was a "History Of Nintendo" piece (no longer on the site, sadly)."
Fran was going to launch Nformer.com in the summer of 2000, but things rapidly changed.
"Fran and I were heavy into design ideas, he originally wanted to launch in '99, but that didn't happen because design work just stopped for some reason. It was around January '00, when we started talking about it again. We came up with Version -1 (technically version 1, however it wasn't what we finally used for v1 of N-Sider) and it was practical, but in the whole fiasco of eFront buying domains, we lost the Nformer name..."
It was after these displeasing events occured that justified Fran's decision to go out on his own.
"I decided to discontinue my work at Dolphin Cove because a project to create a new site (poorly named Nformer against my will) went bad with GameFusion. I lost my interest in it, and the numerous delays were frustrating. I set out to create my own site since I was the main backer anyhow. I registered N-Sider.com and began gathering the troops."
-Fran Mirabella III
These troops Fran gathered were the best of the best. They included writers -- Jeton Grajqevci, Anthony JC, Derek Miller, and Stephen Van Neil -- and freehand artists -- Kevin Freitas, Chad Hamlet, Dean Bergmann, Niklas Jansson, Florin Mehedinti and Annie Navarro -- and programmer, Joshua Prowse.
"I still remember my excitement when Fran let me know that I was hired as a European Correspondent. To this day, I still haven't figured out why he would hire someone as unexperienced as myself. I like to think that it was because of my translation of a Miyamoto interview in a Swedish magazine and some interesting domain findings (including thunderrally.com and nintendoonline.com) which I sent to him while he was still working at Dolphin Cove, though it was probably more because of my constant bugging."
- Jeton Grajqevci
"Around this time, the forums were born. Fran paid full price for the UBB and license, and I went to work setting it up (I was the only one on staff with knowledge of CGI or anything of that sort) -- the forums became my baby, and the rest is history..."
There has been some confusion over the N-Sider name and Nintendo's NSider "online community".
"Nintendo has never demanded we give up the N-Sider name. One Nintendo employee merely voiced their concern over it once."
-Fran Mirabella III
So despite the rumors, Nintendo had no problem with Fran's possession of the N-Sider domain. In fact, N-Sider.com came to be the only fansite to be featured on Nintendo.com.
Shortly thereafter, Fran applied for a job at the growing online gaming destination, IGN.com. With his exceptional writing skills, Fran acquired the writing position at the Nintendo section -- IGNCube.com -- leaving N-Sider in the hands of the talented N-Sider staff.
"Fran was hired by IGN, so I took over what was supposed to be a temporary Editor in Chief job (lol). Fran was ultimately the boss, and I tried during my tenure to make sure the site lived up to his expectations. In retrospect, I thought of my role at N-Sider a lot like the role of a "producer" whereas guys like Jeton and Anthony JC were really the "directors". I really vibed with what Jeton and Anthony were going for content-wise (in-depth specials)."
"When N-Sider finally opened, it was with HTML, meaning we had to create each page offline, no includes, no php, nothing. It was "oldskool". SHTML was fairly new, and using a combination of NEWSPRO and SHTML includes, I redesigned the site's news system. To the reader, they didn't know, but to us, it was a matter of changing about 15 news pages (today it's more like 3,500) into SHTML. That was cool, and it allowed us to edit stories without html work."
The Grand Opening
N-Sider.com officially launched in August 21, 2000, on the eve of Nintendo's SpaceWorld exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. After nearly a year of behind the scenes work, the staff finally had something to show for their many hours of labor.
"I would say perhaps the funniest reaction I can remember was from SpaceWorld 2000. Seeing the GameCube controller for the first time was a trip as well as the design of the machine. I remember this night well, because it an was unbearably hot summer evening and my room was boiling. I'd go downstairs and watch the first Survivor finale to cool off and then head back upstairs to check if any news had broken."
"I traveled to Japan to attend Spaceworld 2000, which was right when N-Sider launched on August 21st. (I will never forget that date). After writing an article on experiencing Spaceworld, I started work on my first real feature: an in-depth profile on Shigeru Miyamoto. This article spawned a series of profiles covering people such as Gunpei Yokoi and Hiroshi Yamauchi and companies such as Rare."
- Jeton Grajqevci
With Pete Deol heading up operations as the Editor-in-Chief, N-Sider.com began churning out some of the best personnel and developer profiles available on the 'net.
"My real "vision" for the site was to have something free of the news reporting and more specific to Nintendo information, detailed and high-quality specials, quirky and new types of ideas (N-Universe) that would really set the site apart."
Jason Nuyens was hired as a digital artist in November 2000.
"Perhaps the reason I made it this far is because I started as a fan. I really loved the content that N-Sider had. Especially the in-depth features and profiles on the company that I love. I entered a site contest, mailed-in to the mailbag, and talked on the forums just like many other readers.
It didn't take long for me to realize that a fan of the site could end up being one heck of a staff member. I promptly sent in my application in the hopes of being taken on as a writer. Unfortunately at this time, N-Sider was only taking writers with hands-on experience. However, I was given an offer for a job as a digital artist. Here I worked hard until I could prove myself as a writer. Under the guiding hand of Pete, Jeton, and Anthony, I learned how to write structured magazine-like articles. Soon after, I was given a position as Contributing Editor."
"I remember getting Jason hired, he was a fellow Canadian so that always gave him an advantage. We were in need of another 3d artist, and Jason and I started working on the ODYSSEY 3D project. We formed a new subsection called 3DDT (3d design team), and started designing sets based on just the DVD. Obviously, it never happened, but Jason stayed on board as a graphic artist."
In January 2001, IGN.com began its "Developer Profiles" section, created by the staff of N-Sider.com. This partnership with IGN.com, allowed us to bring our content to a wider audience. The developer profiles were analytical write-ups on the biggest Japanese, European and US development houses working on GameCube software. Such in-depth developer profiles included: Intelligent Systems, Rare, and EAD.
In February of 2001, N-Sider advertised a job opening. Both Glen Bayer and James Caudill applied for the job and both officially joined N-Sider in March.
"I began working for "The Really Pissed Off News Recycling Bin" website back in July of 1999. I met future N-Sider editor, Anthony JC, while working at the 'Bin. He was a part-time staff member. The Bin, however, quickly folded due to a lack of direction. In November of 2000, I applied at TendoGamers.com but was turned down. It was also around this time I ran a Silicon Knights' fansite, which I was later asked to shut down due to copyright infringement. Down on my luck, I applied at N-Sider on February 02, 2001. To my surprise, in March 2001, I was offically hired."
With an incredible artistic ability, in April of 2001, Kevin Freitas left N-Sider and was hired at Sandbox Studios in London, Ontario. (In December 2002, he was hired at Rockstar Games Canada, in Missisauga, Ontario, Canada.)
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