Much more than simply a thriving community, Zelda Universe, a forum dedicated to the game of Zelda, provides “the best Zelda information on the web,” according to Lee Dodd, the owner of the site. And with everything from in-depth articles, to fan fiction, art, and music, most visitors would probably agree with such an assessment. Launched in January of 2001, Zelda Universe just attained Big Board status in July and boasts well over 19,000 members, 564,000 posts, and nearly 28,000 threads. While the typical member is a male citizen of the US under the age of 18, Zelda Universe does also have a minority membership that is about 25% female and a small segment of the over 18 age group, as well. And, of course, there are some other countries represented, such as Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the UK. The two most popular forums at ZU are the General Zelda forum and the Off Topic forum. The General Zelda forum is the area where the story of Zelda is discussed. The game of Zelda has actually been around for quite some time. In fact, since its creation in 1987, there have been 12 games in total, with an ongoing story throughout the 18 years. Members at ZU enjoy theorizing in this section of the site about the various twists and turns the plot line may take. The Off Topic forum is not only for general discussion irrelevant to Zelda, but also for welcoming new members. Users may also come to this section to request custom signatures from the volunteers that set up a “signature shop”. Along with the signature shops, ZU has many other special features in place. Members who have 50 posts are eligible to be a part of the clans. Those members wishing to join must PM a moderator and request a clan test, which is somewhat of a personality profile with a Zelda theme. Depending on the answers given, the member is then assigned to one of three clans based off the Zelda story. Another unique feature, entirely maintained by the members themselves, is the adoption process. New members who need a little extra help can request to be adopted by willing long-time members of Zelda Universe. Zelda Universe currently runs on vBulletin 3.0.7 and the portal shows just how versatile and dynamic the software can be. They have also employed several add-on scripts for enhancement, including Mambo for the site’s CMS and Coppermine for the gallery and fan art. The popular Zelda Encyclopedia utilizes MediaWiki. The site earns revenue through Google Adsense, as well as various media companies. Of course, the staff at Zelda Universe has been crucial to its ongoing success. “Our staff team,” says Dodd, “is the main reason Zelda Universe continues to grow at the rate it does.” The eight administrators, nine super moderators, ten moderators, and three Behind the Rupees writers help keep the forum clean and “as close to spam-free as you will find”. As for Dodd, Zelda Universe gives him the flexiblility and freedom to enjoy “the country life” in Texas with his wife of eight years and two young girls. “I am online 8-10 hours a day Monday through Friday and a bit on the weekends,” says Dodd, “This is what I do for a living, so my days are fun and flexible.” Along with Zelda Universe, Dodd also runs several other websites, such as SprintUsers.com, Cruiselineforums.com, and EatMyFlames.com. A college drop-out without even a high school diploma, Dodd is truly an example of success overcoming the odds! And Zelda Universe is a part of that success that The Admin Zone is proud to recognize. Zelda Universe may not only have “the best Zelda information on the web”, but may also be the most enjoyable and varied Zelda experience online today. Congratulations to Lee Dodd and the entire staff at Zelda Universe.