Quest contests have become fairly common within the Zelda Classic community lately, with the most recent one being just last month; as of this writing, the quests are still open for play and voting, and if you haven't yet, I highly recommend you give them a shot. They're in their own dedicated subforum!
But contests being common was not always the case. Once upon a time, contests were rare, nearly nonexistent. As far back as 2007, Plissken and I discussed hosting a two week quest contest of our own. This was deep in PureZC's past, before the current board software, before we had quest project pages. Back then, we had forums known as "Quest Project Forums," hosted by a small handful of questmakers who would use them to have a dedicated section to show off their projects. Sometimes these people had similar projects, sometimes they didn't.
Plissken and I, however, at one point used our Quest Project Forum, the 1337 D3s1gn P4d, to host the aforementioned quest contest. Originally, only 2.10 quests were to be accepted, back when 2.50 was still in betas and known as 2.11, but we eased off that limitation. In the end, five quests were finished and submitted, with a "best of" poll at the end for people to vote for the best of the five; the winner was the original version of The Legend of Zelda: The Fort Knights, by Joe123.
Was our quest contest the first of its kind? Possibly, or possibly not; I entered the Zelda Classic scene in late 2006, so if there were similar contests before my time, I'm not aware of them. But at the time, they were certainly at least very rare. Since then, others have taken to the idea and hosted their own variations of the contest; while most had a two-week timeframe, there were some hosted in small circles where the challenge was to create a quest in only a couple of hours. There was yet another variation where members were given a randomly-generated quest name and the entrants would base a quest around the names given. There was even a recent contest to create a new Fifth Quest for Zelda Classic. Certainly, given their popularity and success, such contests will continue far into the future!
On the surface, these quests seem like nothing more than a really fun time. People toss ideas around, get excited to build something within a time limit, and players get excited to be able to play some new quests. But really, their impact on the questmaking scene is profound.
Now let's be completely honest: The quests actually completed in these contests vary greatly in quality. There are quests that are pretty decent, quests that are fairly standard, quests that are really good, quests that are phenomenal, quests that are okay, and quests that are bad. But even the worst of these quests can hold ideas for the questmaker—or even another—to build upon. Perhaps the quest creator feels satisfied enough with his creation that he can send it to the database as soon as the contest is over. Or the creator can take his product and refine or expand it to present the database with a stronger package. Maybe it lays the groundwork for a sequel as well. There are even quests that weren't finished in time, but were still later completed regardless; Eiyuu, for instance.
What's more, in an age where finished quests are less common than they once were, these contests are also the source of a handful of new quests to play for the average quest player, seeking something new to play.
It's a win-win situation for all, and only helps to grow the questmaking community even stronger. Ideas abound, strengthening the quest creation scene, adding new conventions for questmakers to refine, improve, or surpass. Questmaking is becoming even stronger than ever, and these contests are in no small part responsible for this. Even the possibly original two week contest I co-hosted with Plissken became a showcase for what quests were capable of, and their tricks have been refined ever since. And they'll continue to be refined far into the future.
So for those who have hosted these contests, those currently hosting one, and for those who will continue to host them into the future, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep doing what you're doing, and let's make questmaking even greater!
Ten issues already? Hard to believe, but we're here and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Thank you all for reading The Purist, and we've only just begun...