6/25/2011 - 11:35 P.M. EST (final update): Happy tenth anniversary, West Mansion. From its humble beginning as a modest little fansite on on GeoCities to being used as the primary source of Splatterhouse info by Namco Bandai Games America during the creation of Splatterhouse '10, it's been an unforgettable experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
That said, it's time to say goodbye.
One piece of news before I go any further: I've written what I believe to be the definitive article on the history of Splatterhouse '10, entitled "Requiem for Splatterhouse." Check it out here. Also check out a hilarious fangame by Rodrigo Shin that's a crossover between Splatterhouse and the cult classic film Manos: The Hands of Fate (famously shredded on Mystery Science Theater 3000 way back when) entitled "Manos" The Revenge of Torgo. Find it here.
Most of you know the story behind the site (or do you?): I started West Mansion on GeoCities back on June 25th, 2001. At that point in time, there were no other Splatterhouse fansites out there - something that I felt needed to be rectified, especially after playing Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti for the first time. My HTML skills were minimal, at best, but I wanted to get a Splatterhouse site out there. I also hoped that it might eventually become the equal of Kurt Kalata's Castlevania Dungeon, in terms of content. The majority of the scans I added originally were from my personal collection, which at that point consisted of the Turbografx-16 port of the original, the two Genesis games, and my recently acquired copy of WG. Every other image came from various online sources. I wrote up a quick review of each game, eventually slapped everything together and sent it out into the world. I applied for Classic Gaming hosting shortly thereafter. Once it was approved, the site got a basic redesign (which I'm still using ten years later) and a month after it opened, CG posted the news on their main site.
What happened next was totally unexpected. The Splat-fans started coming out of the woodwork, sending me additional info, fanart, fan fiction, pictures of rare promo items - you name it. The site continued to grow over the next few years, becoming the go-to site for all things Splatterhouse in the process. There was a brief period of downtime due to technical issues starting in late 2005 - actually, a whole year's worth - but in early 2007 I got the ball rolling again and the site grew even more, as all sorts of new info (and for the first time, complete fangames) had surfaced during that lost year. 2007 ended up being a great year for the site, but by early 2008, it seemed that the well was finally going dry.
Then the bombshell hit. Namco Bandai announced that a new Splatterhouse game was in the works in April of 2008. Right after I posted the news, I received an email from Namco Bandai:
Subj: Greetings from NamcoThat lone email kicked off a rollercoaster ride that lasted for two and a half years. Despite the shakeups that occurred midway through the game's development, the guys at Namco did their best to keep me in the loop, even giving me access to the press FTP server - and for a fansite webmaster, this is (as far as I know) unprecedented. They also invited me to check out the never-released-to-the-public demo, and fed me bits of information on the game, as well as letting me pitch my own suggestions, some of which were ultimately implemented. Did you see the "Be garbage of cesspool" graffiti on the walls in the game? That was my idea - and indirectly I was also responsible for the "BGOC" achievement title. The Biggy Man redesign? Heavily influenced by my suggestions, as far as getting him to look at least somewhat like the original (as opposed to this). There are a few other minor suggestions I'd made that were incorporated. They also did get a lot of use out of the info I'd posted here on West Mansion, from storylines to references (I was once told they had one guy who spent all of his time going over the site for info). As I'm fond of saying, traces of my fingerprints can be found all over the game.
During that two and a half years, I also served as the conduit between the fans and Namco, passing along complaints and suggestions - and believe me, the fans were not shy about letting me know what they thought at every step in the development. The producers did spend a lot of time poring over the forum for input as well. They were impressed enough by what they found to mention both West Mansion and the forum in the official press booklet.
Then the rollercoaster ride came to a sudden, tragic end, thanks to Namco Bandai Japan. Splatterhouse 10's advertising budget was cut, the entire team was laid off, the game was dumped on the market with zero fanfare, the major review sites trashed it due to lack of corporate payoffs, the lemmings couldn't make informed decisions as consumers and even bother to rent it to form actual opinions about it (preferring instead to hide behind the Call of Duty) - and as a result, it's been nearly forgotten. I was understandably disgusted by the whole thing. Just go back a few entries and read what I had to say, if you haven't already.
All that helped me arrive at a decision I'd been mulling over for the past couple years. You see, my desire to run any websites at all has been fading, and fading quickly. While I still love Splatterhouse and playing videogames, I have a family and responsibilities that I didn't have back when I first started my sites. Despite everything great that happened to me as a result of being the West Mansion webmaster, I really had no desire to keep going after the site hit the ten year mark. The failure of Splatterhouse '10 (and as a result, any future sequels all but permanently shitcanned) was the final straw for me. I had originally planned to hand the site over to someone else, so that it wouldn't die completely, but those plans are on semi-permanent hold at the moment.
So this is it. If I regret anything about West Mansion, it's that I was never able to add and fix everything I wanted to with the site before I left, including a complete site redesign. But I just no longer have the desire to do it. And to those that sent me stuff for the site that I never posted, you have my apologies.
I want to thank everyone that's supported West Mansion over the years. First, there are the fans I was able to get listed in the Splatterhouse '10 credits, the diehards that have been major contributors to West Mansion and regular fixtures of T3M: Mike Plasket, Dan Bush, Mike D. Wasion, Emmet J. Kiernan, Luke Dean, Robert Preziose, Steven Graff, Shane Calow, Marty Keating, Randy Schadel, Rodrigo Testa, Mike MacDonald and Nikki Muro. Then, there's everyone else that contributed back in the early days of the site, along with everyone else that's contributed anything to the site in the past ten years, everyone that's ever dropped a link to West Mansion on a forum, website or blog (etc.) and all the Splat-fans that registered on the forum and contributed to the discussions there. You all have my everlasting gratitude. Without you, West Mansion never would have grown into the site that it became. I'd also like to thank Sindra for the hard work she put into doing to the site redesign I asked for. I never did get to implement it, and I'm sorry I couldn't, but perhaps the future webmaster will be able to. I do appreciate it.
Extra thanks to former Light Sword Cypher Mainframe webmaster, Sam Roberts (aka Scion), and the webmaster of ScrollBoss, James Beaver (aka PrimeOp), for the all of the support and advice they've given me over the years. It's truly been appreciated.
Also, I want to give a final thanks to the Happy Video Game Nerd, for his great series of Splatterhouse videos and his continued support of West Mansion. I don't believe I mentioned his review of Splatterhouse '10 here before (my apologies for the oversight), but here it is. Also check out his other Splatterhouse videos, such as Gettin' Super Nerdy - Splatterhouse [Arcade vs Turbo Grafx 16] and the reviews that started it all, Splatterhouse Part 1 of 2 and Splatterhouse Part 2 of 2. And as always, thanks for the continued shout-outs to West Mansion, Derek.
Thanks to Rondal of Strange Kids Club for the continued support as well, not to mention being willing to work with me on the SKC Splatterhouse retrospective last year. Keep up the great work on SKC, Rondal!
I also want to give a thank you to my former co-webmaster, Len Clark. He was instrumental in keeping the site running for the first few years, as well as coming up with the intial redesign that got West Mansion hosted on Classic Gaming. Thanks a lot.
Also, a major, major thank you to Dan Tovar, Dave Wilkins, Tim Ng, Kit Ellis and everyone else at Namco Bandai Games America that worked on Splatterhouse '10. Dan, Dave, Tim and Kit deserve as many thanks as I can give them for including me in the development of the game, as limited as it was, as well as getting me everything they did for the site. I know it was done to keep excellent relations with the fanbase - I have no illusions about that - and they didn't have to do it, but they did it. So again, I thank you all. And to those of you that were laid off, I hope your fortunes have improved since, and I wish you all the best of luck. Thanks for making such a great game that I've thoroughly enjoyed.
And speaking of Dan, I have a final message from him in which he covers quite a bit. Take a look:
As the Terror Mask once said; "Wrong way, Rick-O".Food for thought at the end, I'd say - wouldn't you? Dan also had this to say:
[West Mansion] should never go away. When and if another game gets going someone will need all that knowledge and history. I know we did. Saved us an immense amount of time and research. Not that we didn't play the originals ourselves and spend hours and hours on YouTube and game sites, but you were the definitive version as far as I was concerned.Glad I could be of service. Thanks Dan!
The staff at Namco Japan that created the original three games and Wanpaku Graffiti deserve a special thanks as well, even though they'll probably never read this. If it wasn't for them, West Mansion would never have existed in the first place. So thanks to all of them for creating something that's brought enjoyment to so many people all over the world, not the least of which is myself.
And finally, to you, the anonymous Splatterhouse fan that browses the site or lurks on the forum but never contacts me, contributes anything or posts - thank you too. If you've enjoyed the site, I've done my job.
As a final thank you, I want to leave these directories here for everyone to take a look at. There is a lot in these directories that never got posted here, so feel free to browse them at your leisure. You're bound to find something you haven't seen before.
And with that, I bid you all farewell. Keep on splattering, everyone. Keep the spirit of Splatterhouse alive, like you have all these years. And never give up hope. Remember: "As long as that Mask remains... it can happen again."
- Rob "Stangman" Strangman, West Mansion webmaster 2001-2011
Artwork by Tanner White, originally sent in when I (temporarily) stepped down as webmaster on 4/21/2004. It seemed appropriate to post it here now.