About The Chapel of Resonance by The Successor
ow that the Chapel of Resonance has a decent amount of history, I'd like to tell others about it. I'd like to let the site's fans know how it began, what the motives behind its creation were, what the Staff endured to make it work, and more.
The seeds were planted way back in the late 1990's.
There are many elements of pop culture that come to mind when I consider this period, but something big, something that would change lifestyles struck in full force.
It was very new to the average person.
Back then, most people (Americans, at least) had America Online, and if you used something different, you were weird. AOL chat rooms were a huge hit, but what really caught my attention was fansites!
I was fanatical about the subjects I loved, and before the internet, the closest thing to a fansite I saw was a feature in a magazine about my beloved subjects. Fansites are completely dedicated to certain topics, usually continually updated, and managed by fellow fans. Some fans even gain a degree of celebrity status among the fanbase to which they cater.
This fascinated my young mind.
I dreamed of having my very own fansite. I didn't have the skills to make one, and I didn't spend enough time on the internet to acquire the needed skills or successfully maintain a site.
Situations were different back then. Most people used an archaic and cumbersome connection method known as dial-up, which made the internet about 15 times more inconvenient than it is now.
Nevertheless, this is when it all began. My admiration of certain fansites and my love for particular subjects put the desire in me to build my own site. This goal wouldn't be fulfilled until years later.
The year 2005 had come, and the fansite scene around me had changed. Ambitious Webmasters with fresh and innovative sites were not appearing as often for the subjects that I liked. Most fansites from the late 90's died off, and their maintainers had long past abandoned their sites to pursue who knows what, or out of simple lack of interest. The only fansites from then that were still active were the most influential and well known, and many of them had begun a downhill trend. The Webmasters were aging, and had increasingly less interest in maintaining their websites, and seemingly no plans of passing them down to others.
This was happening with Castlevania. Instead of dejectedly accepting the situation, I took matters into my own hands, because I thought no one else would, and that I was probably best suited for the job anyway.
Finally, I seriously worked on creating a fansite.
I didn't have a lot of technical skill, but I did have passion, enthusiasm, and a big creative imagination. I began working on content for the site and learning HTML, CSS, and Flash.
Whatever I felt I had to do for this site to succeed, I did it. Whatever I had to learn, I learned it. Whatever money needed to be spent on domains and web space, I spent it. This project was not tackled lightly.
While in conversation at a message board, I mentioned that I was building a Castlevania site, and could use help. I didn't expect anyone to be interested, but an individual known as Diplocephalus answered the call.
He offered to help with writing reviews. I knew from reading his posts that he was very zealous about the series, and good at articulating his thoughts and forming convincing arguments.
He showed me a blog where he wrote reviews about Castlevania games. The content was amazing. He was meticulously writing thoughtful, heartfelt articles on a blog no one was reading. The reviews had to be seen. I couldn't let them fade away in an obscure blog. We were both impressed with each other's work and agreed to a partnership.
That was the moment the Chapel Staff was created.
While learning the ropes of HTML, Diplo and myself continued preparing content for the site. I had reservations about launching the site and going live.
Do we have enough content? Is the website layout good enough? Are people actually going to read these articles we write, or will they stop after a paragraph?
Apprehension plagued my thoughts. But, one day, I realized that I just had to take the plunge and go from there. I opened the doors to visitors and advertised what we had put together. People began coming, and they kept coming.
When I think back to 2006, the earliest days of the Chapel, I remember a very crude website. I remember unproven kids, inexperienced in technical know-how, site management - the works. I remember what I now consider incredibly meager visit statistics.
But, I also remember a group of people with really big hearts, and a lot of enthusiasm to do what they did as a labor of love. Gaining nothing in return except the gratification of entertaining fellow fans, the joy they had from working on the site, and proclaiming their love for Castlevania.
Months passed, and the Chapel of Resonance's popularity slowly grew as we continued updating it. Eventually, though, I lost the will to continue working on the Chapel. After much thought, I decided to stop and move on to other things in life.
I felt I was disappointing the Staff members that helped me make the site what it was. In hindsight, I do not regret the choice I made, because a break from the Chapel is exactly what I needed to realize how much it meant to me.
I preserved the website, continuing to pay for its hosting, because I couldn't bring myself to tear it down. One day, I arbitrarily decided to look at the website statistics, something I hadn't done in a long time, and noticed a trend. The longer I left the site dormant, the more popular it got. I was stunned. The site was more popular than ever, and I was not even working on it.
I paid the Chapel a visit and read year old articles that we wrote. It was very nostalgic, and I was awed by the heart, charm, and quality of the whole place. I did not view the site as its Webmaster, but as an ordinary visitor.
I realized that I couldn't just let it go. It meant too much to me, and I felt we really had something special on our hands. I reunited the Staff Members and decided to revive the website. I was thankful that all of them were still willing to continue working on the site, even after that time of inactivity.
For the renaissance to have the greatest affect, I had to plan something big. I took a chance and made the most important maneuver for the site I ever had since creating it. In late June of 2007, we updated the site with plenty of new content, but the primary addition was the arrival of the Anti-Chapel Castlevania Forum.
I did not make the mistake of adding a forum when the site was first created. I wanted a steady stream of visitors before attempting to attach a community. I was wary about that, because I witnessed 99% of fan managed Castlevania forums fail, or have very limited success. I knew that was the nature of forums in general. The overwhelming majority of them fail. I did not want to showcase something only to watch it starve and die.
A new Staff Member named Alis Landale was selected to be the caretaker of the forum. Month after month, she and I kept a watchful eye on our new message board, nurturing it, pampering it, and trying to build it into a robust, thriving community. Our efforts paid off, as the Anti-Chapel developed into the most active Castlevania themed forum in less than a year.
I understand how fortunate I am to have a healthy forum. I think about all of the great people we have there, all of the friends I've made and marvel at the camaraderie, sense of loyalty, and open-armed, welcoming spirit.
When I look back at the Chapel's entire history, it is something incredibly special. The Chapel of Resonance is a very important part of my life. Over the course of its relatively short life, the Chapel has become one of the largest and most prominent Castlevania websites. I'm very proud of this website. It has been an uphill road much of the time, but not without reward. It has come a long way from its humble beginnings, and so have I.