High up in the central Romanian mountains, shrouded in thick fog, sits one of the most famous castles ever to grace a TV screen. The place is Transylvania and the fortress is Dracula’s. But this isn’t just any version of the iconic vampire’s home—it’s the pixelated 8-bit stronghold that dared gamers to enter its halls in the classic 1987 Nintendo Entertainment System game “Castlevania”.
We’ve been on a castle kick here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog as of late, a video game castle kick. Seeing as we’ve already tackled castles belonging to Bowser, Princess Zelda, and Princess Peach, I figured it was time we went a little darker and put a price tag on my personal favorite pixelated palace. It was an adventure I’ve been longing to embark on since I first started evaluating fictional real estate, and I welcomed the challenges it would present.
Once I’d overcome the unique obstacles presented by the castle’s darkened halls, I concluded that if Drac were to vacate his home—as he does at the end of “Castlevania”—the property would cost interested buyers (and would-be vampire hunters) an extremely modest $486,080. That’s right, Dracula’s spooky stomping ground is cheaper than most of the other gaming castles we’ve priced by a wide margin—with the exception of Bowser’s castle, and then only slightly.
How did I arrived at this price? Grab a whip and a cross, and follow me as I descend into the dank corridors of the vampire lord’s castle for an answer—and hopefully escape with my life.
How I Grabbed the Proverbial Turkey Out of the Wall
Although it might be an imposing structure, Castlevania—what most gamers refer to Drac’s castle as—is, at the end of the day, a building. This meant I needed the same three things I always do when taking on a fictional property evaluation:
- The size of Castlevania
- Where it would be located in the real world
- The price of comparable properties in that location
I always find that determining the size of properties that don’t exist in the real world is my personal favorite part of these evaluations. I’ll tackle that first.
Not Sidestepping the 2D Era
Like most of the video game properties we’ve evaluated in the past, Castlevania appears in several games and has taken on just as many vastly different configurations—size, layout, and so on. For the purpose of this evaluation, I decided to go back to the beginning and use the original castle as it appeared in the very first “Castlevania” from 1987. This meant something new (for me at least): Figuring out the size of a place that exists in only two dimensions.
Sure, subsequent “Castlevania” games have been in full 3D, so their castles have had depth to factor into calculating square footage. But for at least the first few games, the castle was only ever viewed from the side. Thankfully, our player one here on the blog, David Cross, had encountered a similar situation when evaluating Bowser’s castle from “Super Mario Bros.” I’ll get to how he tackled it in just a moment.
To get started, I first had to get a complete map of Castlevania. Ask, and the Internet provides. Using this schematic along with screenshots from the game, I was able to gauge how large a consistent reference point—in this case one of the floor blocks from early in the game—was compared to the hero, vampire hunter Simon Belmont. As it turned out, the block was the exact width of Simon’s shoulders. Now, knowing from past evaluations that the average male shoulder width is 18 inches, I used the fact that Simon is a bit of a Conan-like barbarian and gave him an extra couple of inches due to his extreme buffness. That meant each block was 20 inches wide (or long, from Simon’s viewpoint).
From there, I merely had to measure each area of the castle by hand, keeping track of how many blocks would fit into that measurement. That gave me a total length of the castle’s usable floor space, but not the width. This is where we get to what I talked about earlier regarding Bowser’s castle. Taking a cue from my pal David, I added only enough width to the castle to ensure that the largest character within its halls, in this case Dracula himself, could comfortably move. Since Dracula’s sprite is exactly two blocks from shoulder to shoulder, that made him 40 inches or three feet wide. In order to give him ample room to move without his cape catching fire on the castle’s many wall-mounted candelabras, I made the whole thing six feet wide.
Multiplying the palace’s total length by its six-foot width, I ended up with 15,680 square feet. That’s still a pretty good amount of floor space for a 2D building. With that taken care of, I had to actually place the property within the real world.
Visit Beautiful Transylvania
While Castlevania has appeared in various locations across the many games in the series—in fact, it seems to materialize in different spots every time Dracula is resurrected—its placement in the original title is expressly given: Transylvania.
This small region is located in central Romania and has recorded history going back as far as the second century B.C. It’s also where Vlad the Impaler, one of the inspirations for the character of Dracula, lived during the 1400s. I’m not sure what he would have thought of “Castlevania”, but he most likely would have deemed it witchcraft. Speaking of which, I thought I might need some dark magic to find comparable properties in such a remote location. Luckily, it wasn’t like getting blood from a stone.
Castle For Sale, Must Have Heartbeat
I really have to thank my lucky stars (or is that bats?) for handing me this one. You see, I found an actual castle for sale in Transylvania. Not only that, but it’s almost the same exact size (in square feet) as Castlevania. You could say the odds of this were… spooky. Anyway, I located this fixer-upper on the market for a modest $486,080. Doing the math, that meant that the price per square foot was about $31—absolutely nothing compared to the likes of another creepy abode, Luigi’s Mansion, at $2,099 per square foot.
Just to make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I found the average price per square foot for smaller, single-family properties in Transylvania and the numbers matched up. I guess there’s just not a huge demand for property in this historical region. This really is a case of “location, location, location.” Next I just had to do some math.
The Only Thing Scary Is How Cheap It Is
Simon Belmont had some magical items in “Castlevania”—a cross, stopwatch, dagger, axe, and holy water. I have a calculator, but in a way I guess math is a kind of magic (or would have been in Simon’s time). Whipping together the digits of square footage (15,680) and price per square foot ($31), I got a total price for Castlevania of $486,080.
Now, before you grab a torch or pitchfork and join the other villagers in driving me from the town over this bargain-basement list price, consider that it doesn’t include any of Drac’s once-immaculate (but now dusty and distressed) furnishings, suits of armor, and other trappings of the vampire lord lifestyle. Also, the 2D castle is only six feet wide, so there’s that.
I am pretty excited that, unlike the other evaluations I’ve done, there’s actually a chance for you to own something similar (at least in size) to what I’ve been talking about in this one. So if you’re in the market for a castle, give the one I used as the basis for this piece a look—it even comes with permits for a restaurant and bar so you can serve stakes… er, steaks (with plenty of garlic).