It was difficult finding out exactly when I started Nintendo Life. I can see that the domain name was registered on 29th October 2005 and my user account was created on 4th November, but the first article 'Our Nintendo Life Begins...' was posted 10 years ago today, 7th November 2005. I guess it took me a few days to build the original article system.
So, wow, 10 years. Back then my faith in Nintendo had waned slightly towards the end of the GameCube era and it was the promise of a new Nintendo 'Revolution' that pulled me back in. I got the bug to create a new gaming website, and Nintendo Life was born.
Fast forward to today and I think it's fair to say that Nintendo's codename for Wii was extremely accurate; it changed the game for both the company itself and the games industry. That wasn't the only revolution we've seen during NL's lifetime, though; we've seen the rise of social media, YouTube and smartphones - all of which have completely transformed the way we access the internet and information.
We've also seen a revolution in the way fans consume Nintendo news. Gone are the days of monthly printed magazines and all gaming websites owned by media giants. The internet has levelled the playing field and has allowed sites like Nintendo Life to thrive and compete against the big boys.
I never anticipated the website would become the biggest site of its kind. Originally its purpose was solely as my personal 'side-project' for my web development day job, a place where I could experiment with code and ideas that didn't annoy our clients.
Wait, I didn't know the site was this old?
To be honest, the site wasn't very successful for the first 2 to 3 years as not only was I responsible for the design and technical aspects, I was also doing a lot of the daily news articles and reviews and as you can tell by this article, I'm not the best writer. I won't hold it against you if you were not a reader from those days!
It was after Damien and Darren from another website called Virtual Console Reviews got in touch with me that things started to change. Thanks to some bizarre cosmic tear in the universe it turned out that me and Damien both lived in the same sleepy village in rural Leicestershire - real life RNG at work?
At first I was just helping them host their (hugely more successful) website and in return they started to help me with the content on Nintendo Life. By 2008 WiiWare was announced as a 'thing' and all three of us wanted to jump in, so we created a third website, WiiWare World, this time using the same CMS as Nintendo Life and a recently upgraded Virtual Console Reviews.
WiiWare World was a instant success and was appreciated by the early WiiWare developers as larger sites often ignored these "smaller" games. It was the announcement of DSiWare that lead us to a crossroads - do we create a fourth website?
No. What we did was merge all of our efforts together into a single website and on April 1st, 2009 we launched the new look Nintendo Life which inherited all the past content meaning that nothing was lost or forgotten.
It was a difficult decision at the time but crucially it was the right one, traffic spiked immediately and the site started to grow and has done year on year ever since.
So, what's the secret?
Of course, any website is nothing without great content produced by great writers. We've had a huge number of contributors over the years (three of which now work for Nintendo) and the site's success is really down to them, their passion for everything Nintendo and you for reading it.
You can see our current list of contributors on our staff page, however we would like to give a special mention to our current Editor, Thomas Whitehead who has now written more than double the number of articles as our second highest contributor. Go Tom!
There are also a number of amazing people behind the scenes that continue to make the site possible, in-particular everyone at Eurogamer.net, Gamer Network, Nintendo UK and Golin Harris - thank you for all your support.
What next for Nintendo Life?
Earlier in the year I realised that we were heading for the 10 year milestone and felt it was time to shake things up. So, over the last few months I've been busy working on a brand new design for the website that also brings in a lot of new features (many of which you've been asking for, but some you haven't). It's going to be the biggest update to the site since 2009, which is both exciting and scary at the same time.
We've just started testing the new site internally and plan to push the big 'go live' button later in the month, so watch this space.
Whilst so much has happened in the last 10 years in the world of Nintendo, video games and the Internet, from a personal perspective it seems like we're in an eerily similar situation to 2005. Nintendo's NX system and foray into mobile is on the horizon and seems to promise a new type of revolution for Nintendo fans.
It'll be fascinating to see where both Nintendo and Nintendo Life is after another 10 years. We hope you plan to stick around and find out together.