Wait, ICVD is updating again?
Yes. Yes it is, and quite frequently at this point. We acknowledge that, for a long time there (2012-2015, RIP), Castlevania: The Inverted Dungeon was a rather dead site... or, at least, undead. There was a common thought among the editors that, aside from the occasional article about whatever new Castlevania game came out, there wasn't much need to really work on the site anymore.
Then we read over all the old content, and we felt differently. We wrote this stuff? Really?!
A concerted effort was put forth to really go over the whole site and bring it, biting and groaning, into fresh and fighting shape. Dracula comes back every few years, so why not a site dedicated to his video games?
But really, we're sorry it took us so long to get back to this site. Hopefully any future downtime between updates will be minimal (weeks, maybe months, but not years).
Do you know when the orignal Castlevania Dungeon will update?
Probably never. There actually had been discussions between the editors of this site and those that were maintaining the Castlevania Dungeon to create a kind of super-mega-Dungeon (that would update regularly once more). Kurt Kalata (creator of the original dungeon), however, decided he wanted his old site to stay in its last-updated form (dating around 2012) and it's his site so his word was law. Unless (and until) Kurt changes his mind the original recipe Dungeon is dead, frozen in amber for all time.
So visit here and read this content instead. ICVD lives on, carrying the banner for the Dungeon into the future.
You got rid of the splash page. Why?
You still remember that thing? Wow.
During a redesign we realized we no longer needed a splash page (with disclaimer) on the site. When we put up the splash page, fan-sites were still a "new" thing and some people thought the colorful language we used was a bad thing. We've admittedly toned down our language some since then (well, somewhat), but many other sites have sprung up that many, many people visit and they use language even worse than we do (or did) and they don't bother with splash pages at all. It was antiquated and we deleted it during the refresh process.
Why the redesign?
Which redesign do you mean? At least one of the editors of the Inverted Dungeon, Mike "Darkmoon" Finkelstein, is a habitual website-perfectionist. Every year or two there comes a great "need" to refresh whatever sites he's a part of, and as such, the Inverted Dungeon fell under his spell (twice so far since the relaunch, with many more minor upgrades as well). We took the excuse that the site hadn't been updated in a while to refresh the look-and-feel once... and then we did it again. Trust that this will happen repeatedly as long as the site exists.
But it's more than just a new coat of paint for the site, right?
Oh, absolutely. As we've mentioned elsewhere, every single article is basically new. Some of the reviews were kept and simply re-edited, but most information on the site has been rewritten, expanded, and added in. The whole point was to take this site from its old roots (content written by people in high school and college, back in the day) and make it something new and shiny for a whole new gaming era.
The site also saw a change of focus during the refresh. Many of the articles on the site were... juvenile. We're certainly not above bathroom or sexual humor (we do continue to host a site called Rough Sex in the Moonlight, after all), but we did feel that many of the articles went too far towards humor and didn't convey as much of the information as we actually intended.
As such, many sections were reformatted/refocused to bring in more and better information. Ideally, we see the Inverted Dungeon as a sort of compromise between the fan-sites of old and the current push for topic-driven wikis. Content-focused, with a fair bit of research put into the articles, but still with our usual, highly-opinionated comments worked in as well (because we can't help but share our opinions on, well, everything).
So all the old articles are gone?
Indeed.... more or less. Aside from a few reviews (and even those have been heavily re-edited), everything that was old is gone from the main site. Those of you that liked the old site can still find the content archived in our Time Capsule (kept only for historical purposes), but the old content is no longer supported. If you want newer, more complete information, stick to the main site from now on.
But such-and-such article was my favorite!
Well, hopefully you'll find new favorite articles on the site.
What sources do you use for your articles?
Official, verifiable sources. Specifically the games themselves (intro sequences, ending sequences, and interstitial cut-scenes). We also take into account official content produced for all regions (and not just Japan-only "OVA" materials), such as the various timelines Konami produced to clear up continuity.
What sources do you specifically ignore when writing your articles?
Any content produced for one region only (such as Japan) or that cannot be clearly verified in all regions it was published. One clear example is instruction booklets; these booklets do have a lot of story written into them providing all kinds of background for the games that doesn't actually show up in the games themselves (this is especially true the further back in the series releases you go). Unfortunately, instruction booklets are notoriously inconsistent between regions often containing contradictory information depending on what region the game was released in. Additionally, these books were sometimes written in one language and then translated into another (sometimes by someone with a flimsy grasp of one of the two languages) leading to problems with verifying how true the content is. As such, we just ignore these booklets outright.
Other sources of content, such as comic and manga adaptations, anime and radio show OVAs, and the like are often inconsistent with the continuity. Sometimes they aren't brought out in all regions leading to fan-translations that may not be accurate as far as Konami is concerned. Other times they adapt sections of story that the games have already told and, in doing so, change major parts of the continuity. Since Konami has never officially acknowledged any of these additional materials as part of their timelines, we ignore them outright, too.
Still, while we don't let these sources inform our main articles we will, from time to time, make mention of them in passing to give you a full experience for the series.
When you talk about the successes (or failures) of a game in the series, how do you source that data?
Through a number of means (and reasons). Obviously, for games that have been out for a while, we can see the cultural impact of that title on the other games, as well as fan consensus, review scores, and other factors. We can discuss how well a game was received just by grace of what the fans say and how well loved a game is now, in retrospect.
But, as far as sales numbers for titles, when referenced, that's harder to quantify. The unfortunate fact is that for much of the run of the series the only sales numbers we have are those released by Konami, and the company has been tight-lipped about how well (or poorly) many of their titles have sold. There are some reports of game sales that we can find Online, but those are spotty at best (and, at times, come from sources we have to take with a grain of salt). Where sources can be trusted, we use their sales numbers, but we don't always even have data like that to rely on.
One massive limiting factor, too, is that video games sales weren't always tracked by a regulating group, like the NPD, and even when they were, those numbers weren't always made public (and, now, those numbers are once again not reported). Finding any one database to search for video game sales figures is near-impossible, at this point, so we take what data we can find to report the best numbers we can see. It is what it is, sadly.
Are there any topics you need help with?
Absolutely. If you see a section with information missing, pass it along. Maybe it's something we didn't cover in enough detail (and you can show what we missed with a referenced source, which is extra helpful), or maybe there's a page we haven't written yet (since we're constantly writing new content for the site, and then finding new things to cover, and then writing new articles for that... and on... and on...). If you want to contribute please do! Contact us with what you've got and we'll work to get it up on the site.
And on that topic, yes, there are still sections we haven't even gotten around to covering. Eventually we'll add more content to the Arsenal and Locations sections of the site, and, one day, we really want to cover the music of the series, giving reviews and information for the tracks and soundtracks of the series. If you have ideas for these sections, get in touch with us.
What about the "Fan Works" section? How do I help with that?
Right now the fan-works section is unmoderated. If you have some fan art, or a fan-fic, or the like that you'd like to contribute, just contact us and let us know how to get the work in question (wait for us to contact you before you email us any actual pictures or other files -- we don't want stuff to end up in our spam filter by mistake). We're happy to post anything you send us, and we're not going to judge about quality -- if you send it, we'll more than likely post it. Thus, "unmoderated" as we're not really being selective at this juncture.
That said, if you contribute a work and it later comes out that you stole it from another source, we will be forced to remove not only that work but any other fan works you contribute, and ban you from contributing anything else. So, yeah, be conscientious about that.
Meanwhile, if there's a fan-made game you'd like us to look at, we're happy to do so. Those games will get full write ups/reviews so it might take us a little more time to get content like that posted (since we have to go and play the game first). We are happy to hear about whatever new project is out there and we want to support the fan-game community, so please let us know about any cool games being developed and released.
Do note that in the case of fan-games (and fan-hacks) just because we review a game doesn't mean we will write a "puff piece" about your game. We will give the game all due consideration after playing through it but, good or bad, our review will stand.
How do you decide what fan-games to cover?
It depends on the topic, really. In the case of Randomizers, we want to make sure that every Castlevania rando is covered here on the site, so we'll review any of them (even the ones that have been obsoleted for newer versions). We'll cover any fan-game that is pointed out to us, so all we need to know is that a fan-game exists and we'll work to get a review for it live on the site.
In the case of fan-hacks we do have some requirements. We don't generally cover minor hacks, so little graphical tweaks or hacks that only add in one option (like putting the "cave lighting" in Portrait of Ruin into the whole game) won't be reviewed because how do you review that? It's a two-sentence review: "yep, this did what it said on the title." The other requirement is that the hack has to be hosted at a site that won't go away weeks or months after we review the game. We tend to stick to ROMhacking.net since that's a trusted site that keeps all its submitted hacks around in perpetuity. There are some communities that also share hacks around, but those generally are more like forums where the links come off site, from fan-hosted locations, and the long-term viability of those links is questionable.
Just due to the nature of copyright we don't want to host any fan-games on our site, both because we'd rather promote the creators and link to their sites and because we don't want to tread into sticky territory with Konami. So long as a link comes from a trusted source, we'll review it eventually.
It seems like a lot of the same information is on different pages.
Yes and no. Each section of the site represents specific, important information:
- The Chronology section is a discussion of the story of the various Castlevania games. Important game play mechanics are lightly touched upon in the "Important Information" sections of each page, usually to give the games context within the evolution of the series. Additional modes, alternate stories, and various endings also get mentioned here.
- The Bios section focuses on specific characters from the series, giving context for their role in the evolution of Castlevania. A detailed bio is given for those characters from their perspective (instead of the general overview from the Chronology section). We also look at how the characters are used, play-wise, in the series, and then touch upon influences on the characters from general pop-culture.
- The Reviews section primarily focuses on game play and how good of a contribution to the series a game may be (although a little discussion of the story is included, for anyone that doesn't read the Chronology section).
- The Series section ties everything together. It discusses the impact of the games to the greater series, and also contains snippets of articles from Chronology and Reviews to give an over-all experience. It's intended as the "portal" for the site.
In each case, a nod is made towards the fact that some people may not read every page of the site, so giving more information for a better context of a specific entry is important.
Why do some characters have bios but those characters don't appear on the chronology pages about the games?
There are some side characters that have dialogue and important scenes who, for various reasons, don't make a huge impact on the overall story. When summarizing the plots of the various games, we try to touch on the relevant elements of the overall story to give a brief, cohesive look at the games, but there are some characters, for one reason or another, we have to cut.
Of course, since they were important for a few brief scenes (usually due to dialogue they had) we then give them a biography to let their whole personal story shine. It's a good way to give both sides of the coin (brevity, along with thoroughness) without having any one page become a 15-screen long screed.
Why do you cover some Universal Monsters films but not others?
We cover the films that have characters that show up in the Castlevania series: Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Wolf Man, and the Gil-Man. Other famous monsters, like the Phantom of the Opera, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Hunchback, don't show up in the Castlevania series in any kind of parallel, so there's no reason to cover those films on The Inverted Dungeon. And yes, we do realize that the Invisible Man is a regular enemy in the DS games, but he was never featured as a boss and that's our guiding cut-off.
Note, though, that while we don't cover those other monsters here we have started covering those movies on our sister site, Asteroid G.
Who're the staff of the Inverted Dungeon?
Currently the Lead Editor is Mike Finkelstein. Jorge D. Fuentes and Josh Shaffer are Contributors.
Have you thought about giving the ICVD treatment to other topics?
At this point probably not, not with Asteroid G handling all our "not Castlevania content". Plans were once in place to launch a Slasher Movie site, Camp Carnage, but then that content was repurposed for Asteroid G. We also thought about doing a Metroid site (which, considering the overlap in genres between this series and that one, seemed like a no-brainer), but then we just made a Metroid section here and that seemed to cover it for us (and the same is true of Bloodstained as well).
If you are looking for more gaming info beyond this site, allow us to point you to the various franchise sections on Asteroid G:
- Activision Blizzard
- Blaster Master
- Donkey Kong
- Kunio-kun (and Spin-offs)
- The Legend of Zelda
- Mega Man
- Square Enix RPGs
- Super Mario Bros.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Misc. Games
And that doesn't even cover all the other video game topics Asteroid G has covered which haven't been put onto larger archive pages. Seriously, just go check out Asteroid G for even more great stuff to read (and listen to as we do a podcast over there as well).
Plus, if you're looking for even more content to read, you can always hit our other Castlevania project: the long running web-comic CVRPG (which actually might have ended if you're reading this after April of 2022, having gone for 19 years and exactly 8,000 comics).
Finally, we also have a small table-top gaming company. If you like what you see here and want to throw us some support you could always head over to Dodeca System Games and check out what we have on offer.