Nobody really remembers who sang those immortal words ď(ooh) heaven is a place on Earth.Ē If heaven is a place on Earth than surely hell is a place on Earth.
Every man has a tale of his own personal hell on Earth be it in a highway rest stop bathroom in Lebanon, Indiana or perhaps on a north bound elevated train on which someone has just secretly shit themselves. Some hells on Earth donít even involve bathrooms or moving bathrooms. No, readers, no. It is not for you to consecrate any ground as hell on Earth because it has long since been consecrated within the little country of Romania. Its name is Transylvania and it is the setting of childrenís and touristsí nightmares alike.
And how do you squelch a nightmare if youíre a minor or value your liver function? You play fucking video games. Letís get down to business.
The first video game worth mentioning that was set in Transylvania was called Transylvania
. In this game you were tasked with the rescue of a woman named Sabrina who, in your mind, is attractive. This rescue takes place, for some fucking reason, in the middle of the night in a forest filled with werewolves and Draculas and wizards and aliens. Fuck. Aliens, really? All of this bullshit plus a disgruntled black cat stands between you and a sturdily built Soviet-era Romanian woman named Sabrina.
I never finished the game to find out if she was the hot kind of Spies like Us
commie or the solid plow-dragging stock of the Carpathian mountain people. At any rate that game marched me through hell on a regular basis during my Commodore 64 days. I endured because, hey, that little disc loaded WAY faster than Bruce Lee. Chicken McNuggets were new back then, so too was the electronic hard-on sustained by the ability to explore Transylvania outside of a shitty nightmare. Still, I needed more control than text commands could provide.
Nobody, up to this point, had ever attempted to compartmentalize Transylvania by packing all of the Draculas and skeletons and random meat-shaped food items and boomerangs into one castle. Nobody, that is, until Konami invented the concept known as Castlevania.
This, I thought, was more like it. Iím back in Transylfuckingvania but now I have a crazy alchemy whip and some boomerangs and cool looking leather shit. I imagined I was taking revenge for all those rigidly narrow puzzles that stumped me in the forests of Transylvania
in years past. No thinking manís hell was this. The undead would certainly pay for that bullshit.
At least thatís what my mind told me until I (my mom) bought the game and discovered that it is a fucking grind. In the end Dracula was defeated and the sense of triumph was not unlike that of a champion eater. So much Transylvania had been stuffed into my eye holes that I started to think maybe I needed more Ninjas in my life.
Alas, it turns out that the Dracula-slaying Olympics take place every 100 years in TransylvaniaÖ.in a Castle(vania) and that only the Belmont family is invited. Like the real Olympics in which comparatively few vampires are slain this ordeal gets flashier and flashier with each subsequent installment. Eventually a major street in Chicago would be named after the Belmonts and the world would remain Dracula-free as far as I was concerned. The compartmentalization of Transylvania lost its allure after the Playstation days because, deep down, at that point in my life, all I wanted was to deal with the undead problem with a goddamned shot gun. Enter Resident Evil.
These days Transylvania feels like just another part of Romania. Vampires have taken a back seat to zombies. Communism fell and Dracula's Castle was sold to god-knows-who. TV Chef Anthony Bourdain visited there and didn't even bother looking for random meat bones hidden in the walls. Someday I'll revisit the Transylvania of my youth and someday maybe the game will let me pee on the werewolf.
It was Belinda fucking Carlisle, btw. read