Name: NoMan Location: San José, California Category: Writer, Artist, Webmaster Website: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Web (long dead)
I first saw NoMan's artistic talent browsing a random videogame site and was impressed with his drawing of the cartoon style Link. I asked for permission to showcase his work and soon amassed an impressive and individual collection that you can view in his gallery. What I like best are his historical costumes, showing Link in different time periods and there's some pretty other impressive art too! NoMan is also a writer and NC has quite a few stories such as the LoZ based 'Preamble' trilogy and the interesting 'Radio Scripts' series which is set out like a real life radio show. All in all his work is individual and one of the most impressive showcased at NC.
Legend of Zelda: Radio Show Scripts Series
Return to Hyrule Broken Links
Preamble Mud Doll
Final Legend XVI-13 Fan Movie
1. So most importantly, how did you get into the Legend of Zelda?
When my family and I first purchased a Nintendo Entertainment System, back in the days when it still came with a gray zapper instead of the stupid orange ones, we purchased the big-name titles for the system. After the long delays, we purchased "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link." This was my introduction to the "Zelda" series. The story for the game was about 9 pages long, the manual had great artwork that captured my imagination, and the game was exciting to play. Unlike the "Mario Brothers" series, I could explore, battle enemies, use magic, talk to townspeople, and was not stuck on a linear path.
I also borrowed the original "The Legend of Zelda" from my next-door neighbor and experienced the wonder of the game that started it all. By far, these were my favorite games. The enjoyment of playing the games grew when I found out about the cartoon show that was based on "The Legend of Zelda." The "Super Mario Brothers" were fun to watch on TV too, but Friday quickly became my favorite day because I got to see another side of Link and Zelda.
I've never been the same.
2. And what's your favourite game in the series?
While "The Adventure of Link" holds a special place in my heart, I can not say that I have a favorite. Each one has a strength that makes it one of my favorite games. There are definitely additions to the series of which I am not fond, and that dishonor goes to "Oracle of Ages" for inane tile puzzles that contributed to the loss of the old-fashioned "Zelda" feeling to the game. Ironically, "Oracle of Seasons" was a fun game because its emphasis was on combat and exploration not puzzles, which has been the emphasis in virtually every "Zelda" game. If I wanted a puzzle game, I'd play "Magical Drop" or "Tetris." In short, "Oracle of Seasons" is a good "Zelda" game; "Oracle of Ages" is a bad "Zelda" game.
Rather than vent my disgust for the "Oracle of Ages," I'll give a quick summary of my top favorite games.
"The Legend of Zelda" - What made this game great is that, if you wanted to, you could find your way to any level and try to beat it without having beaten any of the levels before it. This radical form of free exploration and nonlinear gameplay has failed to reappear in subsequent "Zelda" games, which makes this game a true gem to experiment with. Plus, it's the game that started it all! A little green boy with a shield bearing a cross on it finds a wooden sword from an old man in a cave and shoots laser beams at his enemies. What more needs to be said?
"The Adventure of Link" - This is the game that re-shaped the entire "Zelda" series. From this point on, Link would have a magic meter, explore towns, cast spells, perform specialized sword techniques, and perform many other feats that we take for granted in subsequent games. Plus, there actually was a legend of the Princess Zelda in this game. We learn that every first-born girl in the Royal Family must be named Zelda because a guilt-ridden prince let a wizard cast a sleeping spell on his sister after she refused to tell him where the Triforce of Courage was hidden. This was also the hardest game in the series. I wish that subsequent games would be as challenging as this one. It took me years to beat this game, as opposed to four days to beat "The Wind Waker."
"A Link to the Past" - This game took what was great about the first two games and started a whole new legend. The world was rich to explore by uprooting bushes, cutting grass, shaking trees, tossing stones into rivers, diving into whirlpools, dropping down pits to explore the lower reaches of mountain caves, and finding counterfeit swords in the forest used by thieves to lure you into their trap. And that was just in Hyrule alone! Unlike previous games in the series, this was the first game to have the player interact with the story and soon we were being dragged into another world by a wizard that had just brought an end to the Princess Zelda. From the dramatic story (especially the beginning) to the various ways to interact with the world, this would be a tough game to one-up.
"Link's Awakening" - Without a doubt, this is the most charming game of them all. I still get shivers when I watch Link's storm-tossed ship get splintered by a lightning bolt, only to wash up on the beach and be discovered near-death by the ever-cute Marin (a red-head that looks exactly like Princess Zelda). The series returns to side-scrolling adventures in parts, adds great humor to the supporting characters, and creates an enthralling mystery that breaks the heart when you find out the truth. I can no longer walk on the beach and hear the cry of a seagull in quite the same way anymore. Ah, Marin...Link's dream girl.
"Ocarina of Time" - Once again, the legend starts from scratch and this time in 3D. Very well done. A strong story drives us through a game where we watch Link go from a scabby-kneed kid to a full-grown adult. The music, design, and story makes for a game I enjoy playing multiple times. My favorite part is that the game ends exactly the way that "The Legend of Zelda" begins: Ganon, an evil pig-shaped wizard has stolen the Triforce of Power and seeks to get revenge on the descendants of those who thwarted his attempts to obtain ultimate power.
"Majora's Mask" - I love this game for its replayability, the ability to improve your abilities by wearing creepy masks, the distinct art style composed of bright colors and sinister blacks, the incredibly dark mood and fatalistic story, and the fact that I really get to know the people I am trying to save. Clock town feels so alive. Unlike other "Zelda" games, where the non-playable characters sit around doing nothing until you talk to them, each character is trying to live their lives and survive the terrible catastrophe that will inevitably destroy the world. The mask of Majora looks cool and so does the evil moon.
"The Wind Waker" - Link looks really stupid in this game. I hate his face. Fortunately everything else in this game is gorgeous. The ocean swells, real-time weather, and other effects make this world feel natural. Plus, I really like Link's blue pajamas with the craw-dad on it. The new mechanic of timed attacks made combat fun to watch, albeit also exceedingly easy to boot. I also found the end really touching. Ganon is finally humanized and we learn the sorrow that fuels his greed for conquering Hyrule. Even more important to me was the fact that Hyrule was obliterated at the end of the game. After playing "Zelda" games for 20 years, I found myself taking the advice of the king. With a nostalgic good-bye, it was time for me to leave Hyrule behind and build my own land.
3. Why did you choose The Legend of Zelda to devote so much of your creative energy to?
Living in a suburban area, there weren't any areas to explore. The game allowed me to wander around places I could never visit and perform acts of heroism I could never hope to achieve. I could pretend to be Link and be a hero like him and have a Princess by my side. I could draw his adventures and create new legends for Link and Zelda to be a part of. In later years, the game series had become a sort of "best friend" to me when I had few real-life friends. Link and Zelda were always there for me. Once that period ended and I worked toward happier times, I used the series as a creative spring-board to designing new ideas.
No matter what stage of life you are at, the series has always offered something. Plus, lest I forget, it was a really fun game that wasn't frustrating like the early "Castlevania" series (I still can't get past level three in the first NES game) or "Ninja Gaiden," it wasn't overly complicated like "Final Fantasy," and it wasn't a linear track to follow like almost every other side-scrolling game.
4. What are the main influences for your work?
I've had many influences. One of the largest influences on "Zelda" art is the cartoon show from the 1980s. Combine this with an interest in history and researching artwork from different cultures of different nationalities and different time periods. My time spent fencing, participation with the SCA, and experience with the Renaissance Fairs adds another angle to the way I choose to depict Link and Zelda. When I first read the "Zelda II" instruction book, I wanted to find out what real-world place the game was based on. Ever since then, I've been trying to bring "Zelda" to the real world and the real world to "Zelda."
There is a lot one can learn from history and one can find some really crazy designs by looking through ancient fechtbüchen (Hans Talhoffer for example), looking at tapestries, surviving artifacts, woodblock prints, and going through legends of our own world.
Other game series have effected my styles as well. My humor has been warped by the "Monkey Island" series and this shows up in some of my writing. Regardless of how frustrating they were, the NES "Castlevania" games had some influence, as did "Symphony of the Night."
5. What is your favourite piece of work you've done, and why?
I've done some sketches of Link as a German peasant from the early 1500's and Zelda as an Italian princess. These were created after reading books of Albrecht Dürer and other Renaissance woodcut masters. I've always liked the idea of Link's courage making him a boorish fellow that doesn't fit the knightly expectation of a hero. Imaging Link getting hit on the head with a dusack and then going to the ale house to drink it off makes me smile. Contrast this muddy peasant Link with the angelic, ethereal beauty of the Princess Zelda who radiates light and wisdom. The result is an odd couple that faces the tragedy depicted at the end of the comic dramatization of "A Link to the Past" and "Ocarina of Time." Being from two different worlds, they won't ever be truly together (unless Zelda dresses up as a man, like Sheik, and runs off for a while).
I also really like a drawing of Ganon where he has forgotten who he really is. Not knowing his identity, his body is a pulsating ball of confusion with various pig-shaped demons crawling out of his flesh. I called this one "Final Ganon."
Higher on the list is a movie segment I made called "Final Legend XVI-13," which explains all the reasons I hate traditional RPGs. Random battles are stupid, taking turns is ridiculous, and long Sailor Moon styled charge-up sequences are really boring to watch and a great opportunity to simply shoot the guy in the head. Part of a much longer story, the live-action movie features a boy in a green mini-skirt named ****, a princess named Ad-Le2 (write that backwards), and a wandering swordsman named 6-Pac. The movie was shown in the dealer's room of a convention called Fanime for two years running and has received countless compliments. It was also the first (and only) time I drew a sword from my sheath and shot a laser beam from it. You have got to love special effects.
But my all-time favorite work was my website "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Web." On that website I had many text adventures in addition to the whole site being designed so that you were exploring a castle. Each part of the castle had different background songs playing, secret passages, various interactive features, maps, characters to talk to, and it all changed depending on what time of day it was or what time of year it was. There was a dungeon sequence, a hedge maze, and many other features that strove to bring all the "Zelda" games into the real world via this virtual castle. Each page had a reference to one of the games, be it a tapestry with the evil moon from "Majora's Mask" or a little game sprite at the bottom of the page. It was awesome.
6. Who is your favourite character to write/draw, and why?
If it isn't already apparent, I've always liked to draw Link.
7. Are there any fan writers/artists that you admire?
McVaffe was a fantastic videogame musician. He had some fantastic songs from "Zelda," "Yoshi's Island," "Tetris," "Streets of Rage," "Street Fighter," and other classic videogames. One of my favorites is his song "The Darkness and the Light," based on three themes from "A Link to the Past." I've always loved his music, including his original pieces, and I hope that he is somewhere out there being successful by making music.
8. How did you find North Castle?
It has been so long that I honestly don't remember how I first came across North Castle. However, once all the major "Zelda" sites of the late 1990's died, including my own, I began submitting content to the GIA, which became GameForms, which is now dead. It was from this site that I was contacted, asking if I wanted to have my art and writing mirrored on North Castle. Seeing how similar North Castle was to my site (based mostly on the first two "Zelda" games and offering a virtual tour to navigate to the different sections) and being one of the last surviving vintage "Zelda" websites, it didn't take me long to say "yes."
9. Why did you decide to post your work at North Castle?
I chose to have my work posted at North Castle because of its similarity to my old website and because it has a very personal feel to it.
10. Finally, any plans for the future regarding your work?
I doubt that I will be very productive in terms of creating "Zelda" related fan art or stories. I'm at a point where my energies need to be directed toward original ideas that I can sell. I would love to continue to draw Link, Zelda, Ganon and write about their legendary escapades; however, I can not make a living using copyrighted characters. Anything "Zelda" related I continue to do would be a hobby.
But it would be naive to say that "Zelda" won't influence the work I produce in the future. I've spent almost my whole life close to the "Zelda" videogame series and it will always in some way influence my future work.
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This page was created by Juliet A. Singleton © 1998-2006. All rights reserved.