So anyway, one warm early September afternoon, my brothers and I were bored stiff. It was the last day of a teachers strike and we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We went to a nearby park where we saw an acquaintance, a friend of a friend, who had many gamebooks, including Dracula's Castle. I don't now exactly why, maybe it was because Halloween was already in our minds, but we decided to play a make belief game of Dracula, using the gamebook as source material. I played three characters: William Harker (why not Jonathan Harker? I think because most of my characters were named William and because Jonathan Harker was a XIXth century character and our game was set in contemporary period), Van Helsing (a more sinister vampire hunter, as he was described in the gamebook) and Dracula himself. PJ played a vampire hunter who had stakes that he stick together and turn into a cross (nice little piece of gadgetry) and the others played other vampire hunters. All afternoon, we fought Dracula's minions: vampires of course, but also wolves, devils, zombies, and Dracula, who always had the upper hand. We never got the better of the Count that day, and unfortunately we never played the game again.We were planning a big showdown in the upcoming weeks, when Dracula would be destroyed after we combined our strengths.
To this day I am sad we didn't finish the job. I wish I had played Dracula again, as villains are such interesting characters. It was a silly game really, there was close to zilch of Stoker's story in it, but it had an influence on the years to come. We discovered in the acquaintance we had met a kindred spirit and he became a close friend, even to this day. In our mind, it replaced the Halloween game. Both were children's make believe games, but this one was slightly more adult already, because of the source material. Indirectly, it lead us to Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. We also and more importantly became curious about classic horror literature and started looking for Dracula, Frankenstein and the others in the local library. The Dracula game sharpened our interest in it. On longer term, it made us discovered other classics, XIXth century literature first then more. All this because we were bored stiff one afternoon.