Major Changes Happening Here

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Yes, I realize the slider is totally out of date when I took this screenshot. Whoops.

There are some major changes happening to the website, both under the hood and design-wise.

The first, I’m sure not many people will notice immediately, as it’s a minor change to the header of the site. In this case, I’ve tweaked it to look somewhat more uniform with the business cards that I’ve had printed from when I went to PAX South.

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Other changes is that the “Wiki” link is no longer on the menu. I am in the process of integrating a WordPress based wiki system into the site, and then I will begin the long and arduous task of transferring the current data from the old, outdated wiki into the new system. There will probably be a bunch of hiccups with it, as well. Once I have something that is workable running for this, the link will return to the menu.

If you want access to poke around with the wiki, though, you can find it here!

Last, but not least, you may not notice this if you’re viewing my site from a desktop, but I now have a mobile version. I’ve begun the process of making iOS and Android icons for if you bookmark my site as well. This will be a test for the time being, but if this works out well, I may upgrade the mobile system to a Pro version to allow me more freedom in its design.

My header is also looking terrible with some new social media icons. I may go through a way to try and fix them, but in the meantime, it will probably be turned off.

While these changes are going into place, there may be some things that break here and there. If you find any errors (especially PHP ones!), please note them in the comments, send me a tweet about them, or an email.

Thank you for your patience with this!

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[Editorial] The Origin of the Title of ‘Ys’ and its Misspelling

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With the recent announcement of the PS4 Ys title, I have seen so many people commenting with the erroneous ‘Y’s’ misspelling that seems to be everywhere. What about the origin of the title itself? Or the origin of the misspelling?

The series roots itself into a fantasy retelling of our own world. Most of the cities and nations are slight renames of what actually existed in Europe. Looking at the map below will actually show you many of those names.

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Nevertheless, the Ys series is rooted in old Breton mythology, of all things. Often called ‘Caer Ys,’ the myth tells the story of a beautiful city built by Gradlon Mawr, that was said to be once located in the Bay of Douarnenez in Brittany. After Gradlon’s conversion to Christianity, he intended this city to be a great capital to his newfound faith. However, his first love, was enraged by this, and her daugher, Dahut, vowed vengeance.

Flight of King Gradlon, by E. V. Luminais. Source: Wikipedia

Flight of King Gradlon, by E. V. Luminais. Source: Wikipedia

Dahut would find different suitors and bring them with her each night. So they could never see her face, they were given a mask- which would then strangle them and kill them, after which she would throw the body into the sea.

This continued until a knight in red came to Ys, and met with Dahut. As a storm broke that night, the knight convinced her to steal the key from Gradlon, and used it to open the gates, which caused the city to be flooded.

I’ve read different versions of the myth- some where it claims where the main in red is the devil, trying to destroy a capital built to Christianity, or that it was an agent of God starting a chain of events to rid the world of a demonic princess.

In the end, as Gradlon and Dahut went to escape, they couldn’t, because the weight of them combined was too much for Gradlon’s winged horse- and Saint Gwenole showed to tell him to kill her- to throw Dahut into the sea. It was then when Gradlon realized the true nature of his child and he did as commanded, where she was with the god of the sea and turned into a mermaid.

Some sailors even say that in the Dournenez Bay, if you listen at night, you can hear Dahut’s singing as she sits upon a rock, brushing her hair.

Now, to get to the title used in the series, and the continuous use of ‘Y’s.’ You have seen the image at the top of the page- this is a t-shirt that Falcom released with cooperation from Mars16. The text on the shirt says the following:

Ys is a Japanese-origin computer role-playing game series, and Nihon Falcom corporation’s flagship franchise. It started on the NEC PC-8801 in 1987, Ys titles appear on the MSX2, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Famicom, Super NES, PC, Playstation 2, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 CD-ROM, and cellular phone.
“Y’s” arises from a typographical error in the packaging of the English-language versions of the Sega Master System.

(Emphasis is mine)

Y’s is a typo that happened early on with the series, and as it seems to be continuously propagated by many different sources, it seems to be confusing to this day whether the series is ‘Ys’ or ‘Y’s.’ Don’t worry. It’s definitely ‘Ys.’

And it’s pronounced like ‘fleece’ – just without the ‘fl.’

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[Administration] Extra Life 2014 Is Coming Soon

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It’s getting close to that time again. This year, on October 25th, I will be participating in my fifth Extra Life alongside the rest of Sanctuary Crew Gaming. Extra Life is a 24-hour marathon of gaming with the intention to raise money for the Children’s Medical Network hospitals to help combat pediatric cancer.

This will be the one time I will make requests for money extensively, but in this case, it will not be for myself. I will be playing for the Children’s Medical Center located in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. This hospital has done so much for the community here, and many children that have grown up here, like myself, have been influenced by it in one way or another.

I will, most likely, play a number of Falcom games come this year’s Extra Life. There may also be an attempt to stomach Castlevania Lords of Shadow as the Sanctuary Crew seems to absolutely love to see me suffer. This will, of course, be streamed live.

But in the end, it will be worth it. My suffering over a terrible game can’t be anywhere near what these kids that we play for go through everyday.

As we get closer, Sanctuary Crew will probably be running some raffles. My close connections with members of XSEED Games has allowed me to get some codes for the past two years- and it will definitely be something that I try to do again this year. I might even have some codes that are relevant to the interests of my readers~ Stay tuned!

You can donate any amount- though the recommended is $1 per hour of the marathon, totaling to $24. I will not see the money, as it goes directly to the Children’s Miracle Network to be sent to my selected hospital. So there’s no worry about me taking money from you. If you are interested in pitching some money towards the event for me, please check out the link at the top of the sidebar.

I hope to see everyone drop by during the stream! I’ll post more details as I learn more!

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Minor Backend Updates to the Site and Tumblr Integration Completed

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Did I seriously open an account at tumblr? So it seems. Clearly, it seems very empty in the screenshot above, but that should change soon.

In order to further my plans for world domination, you can find my site’s tumblr accouont at esteriornet.tumblr.com. The primary purpose for this isn’t that much unlike twitter- it’s basically yet another place for news notifications, but on a different social media than just twitter.

As a result, I’ve made some new integration changes on the back end to help the site with crossposting to tumblr as well as make the twitter notifications. And I may be getting myself in trouble for this, but I’ve opened up asks there as well. Feel free to keep using ask.fm if that’s your prerogative, though.

My next project should be eventually integration to Facebook and Google+ which will give me plenty of coverage across multiple social media sites, and allow me to maintain some semblance of control over my content and news. It also means yet another avenue to spread the love of Falcom and their games while we’re at it.

As a result, since there’s a completely new system integrated into the website, there may be things breaking here and there. Let me know through any of the places available to contact me!

Endless History Main Site
@EndlessHistory on Twitter
Ask.fm Link
Esteriornet.Tumblr.com

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[EDITORIAL] Happy Tenth Anniversary, Kiseki Series! Picspam Unboxing of the Original Trilogy Limited Sets

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On 6/24/2004, the first game in the Kiseki series would be released in Japan as The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki. As this title was released, there was no hint at all as for what the series would bring with it- which is arguably one of the most expansive worlds designed for an RPG series.

Since that date, many changes have happened to Falcom as a company- they’ve gone public, joining the Mother’s List of the Nikkei Stock Exchange, changed leadership with Toshihiro Kondo taking the helm as the company president, and abandoned PC development to release games to Sony systems: the Playstation Portable, the Playstation Vita, and the Playstation 3.

In ten years, this series has seen six titles released: Sora no Kiseki, Sora no Kiseki Second Chapter, Sora no Kiseki the 3rd, Zero no Kiseki, Ao no Kiseki, and Sen no Kiseki- with Sen no Kiseki II looming over the horizon for release in September of this year. Each of these titles is identified by its massive script- with First Chapter being the shortest at a whopping 1.5 million Japanese characters- to give some perspective, Final Fantasy XII’s script sits at 750,000 Japanese characters. Over ten years, Falcom has written a series of six titles, containing an approximate total of 17.2 million Japanese characters over all of their scripts combined.

The series tells the story of the Zemuria Continent. Through the perspectives of different casts in each game, the mysteries and events of the six games are all interlinked in what is an unprecedented style of storytelling in a video game series. The concept of a continuous story over the course of many titles is not looked on favorably with may game developers, because it makes it difficult for newcomers to jump into a series.

The original trilogy, Sora no Kiseki is three games- the first two, now often referred to as First and Second Chapter, tell the story of Estelle Bright while the third title opens the doors to the full expanse of mysteries to be presented throughout the Kiseki series, from the perspective of Kevin Graham, a newcomer to arrive to the series in Second Chapter. In 2011, seven years after its original release, Sora no Kiseki FC found itself to be published for English audiences as Trails in the Sky by XSEED Games. Its startling cliffhanger ending has left the players scrambling for the eventual release of Second Chapter, just as it did with those who frantically waited 20 months after the initial Japanese release in 2004.

Little did the those who played the title in 2004 realize what they were getting into, those doors have yet to be fully opened for the English speaking fans of the series. It’s an exciting time to be someone who has played the Kiseki series since its original release, as it means I can- in a way- relive the same excitement I had for the series through watching the newcomers to the series experience the new twists and turns it has to provide for the first time.

For some bonuses before we get into the pic spam… Here’s the original video for Sora no Kiseki, as released with the Falcom Special Box 2004. This was the original announcement for the game itself:

If you notice that the song isn’t in Sora no Kiseki’s soundtrack, you are very right. This song was, in fact, from the soundtrack of another little known game released by Falcom by the name of Rinne.

And one other blast from the past- Falcom’s IR Report (PDF) to announce the release date of the game. It was posted on 3/24/2004.

Continuing on through this article is an extensive series of photos of the original limited edition boxed sets, as they were originally released. This series has its roots in PC gaming, as will be evidenced by the three sets.

You can find the images and details of the boxed sets past the cut below.

Read more…

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[Throwback Thursday] Farewell to the Playstation Portable

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You know, in most cases, I wouldn’t exactly look back at a “semi” recent console for Throwback Thursday, but this one is topical! On Tuesday, June 3rd, Sony announced that they will be cease shipments of the handheld in lieu of the new value packs for the PlayStation Vita.

For people who have been following Falcom’s recent works, this is a time for a moment of silence. The PSP was, afterall, the system of choice when the company decided to jump to console from the PC. They considered a number of consoles, but it would seem that the PlayStation Portable would be the best suited for them. Since then, they have jumped to the PlayStation Vita, the PlayStation 3, and have even confirmed that they have a PlayStation 4 devkit on hand in their offices.

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The PSP saw four models (three of which are seen above), the heavy, brick-like 1000 units, which soon were released to the slimmer, less clunky 2000 series. The 2000 series units saw better software caching to cut down on load times and make the games play much, much better. The 3000 units came out with other minor adjustments, and a large variety of colors (especially the gorgeous Carnival Colors- that’s the Vibrant Blue 3000 unit in the picture above. Not pictured is the fourth, pspGo, which had no UMD drive, internal memory, and had a very compact form factor to it. This was an interesting concept that people had issues getting on board on, but how many of the ideas of the pspGo went into the development of the PlayStation Vita?

However, we can’t forget this legacy they began when they released Gurumin for the console on 6/29/2006, little did many of us realize what kind of era this would be for the company. Thankfully, this game has been released in English by Mastiff, and is even now available for digital purchase on the Playstation Store in North America.

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Who knows where Falcom would be today without this wonderful handheld, however? You look back at their releases to see how prolific they were. Even with XSEED’s releases. Until Memories of Celceta came out, they were either on Steam or the PSP.

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Beyond Gurumin, it was Sora no Kiseki/Trails in the Sky that got the big experimentation with the handheld console. While the three games now have HD Remasters playable on the PS3, moving the Kiseki series to console was crucial in its continuation. It was during this point when Falcom’s PC game distribution fell apart and they needed to reach out somewhere to continue to produce their titles. It would take them three years to release the fourth title of the Kiseki series- The Legend of Heroes Zero no Kiseki was released as the second exclusive (Ys Seven was the first) title to the PSP. These two titles marked a big change in the company’s direction.

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The PSP would also see Falcom’s 30th anniversary title, The Legend of Heroes Ao no Kiseki- the continuation of Zero no Kiseki.

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With the release of the Playstation Vita, there were growing worries as Falcom had every Kiseki title available digitally, except for one: Sora no Kiseki SC- a crucial piece of the original trilogy and seen by fans as the very best the Kiseki series has to offer. Unfortunately, as it was a two UMD game, there were problems with making it digital. Thankfully, with the help from Sony, however, they were able to complete this task.

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The Playstation Portable also saw three Ys titles. Ys Seven’s exclusive release on the PSP caused a massive uproar with the fan community. It caused quite a number of ‘hate’ threads on 2ch, and even a LOT of traffic on the forums on Falcom’s site at the time. This forced Falcom to move their hand at one point and issue a press release of the “Ys Seven Multiplatform” project- that has yet to really have seen any announcement since.

Regardless, Ys Seven’s new party system would bring about something else: for the first time in an Ys title developed by Falcom, Dogi, one of the series’ regulars, has become playable. Whereas many people were upset with the decision to go to PSP, there were many more who were surprised and excited for the party system. Even during one of his interviews, Kondo mentioned that there were plans to integrate a multiplayer system where people could play cooperatively through the PSP’s ad-hoc networking.

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Of course, when they were unable to implement it, Falcom gave out quite an apology: a quirky multiplayer versus crossover game that came to the PSP- Ys vs Sora no Kiseki. Built on Ys Seven’s graphical system, many of the Ys characters, as well as a number of the Kiseki characters, were brought into a four player adventure-type brawler. This wasn’t the only ‘oddball’ title on the PSP, though. Falcom had run a survey at one point to ask what IP’s people would like to see resurrected. With Brandish, Vantage Master, and Zwe!! all making the top three, these games also saw releases on the PSP. Zwei!! had a re-release to lead into the new Zwei II on PC, Brandish had the wonderful Dark Revenant remake, and Vantage Master Portable- a graphically enhanced version of the original title.

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What began a new legacy for Falcom, however, was not meant to last: Sony had a new handheld on the horizon. On 7/26/2012, Falcom released Nayuta no Kiseki. This would be their last title on the Playstation Portable. This title practically took everything Falcom had learned on the system and utilized it in a whole new concept- a story action RPG. While unrelated to the mainline Kiseki series, this game featured the kind of action you’d expect from one of Falcom’s action RPGs, but with the depth of story to fit in under the Kiseki name.

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With the news of this week, this Throwback Thursday was an easy choice. While it wasn’t as ‘throwback’ worthy as the past articles have been or would be expected of such a header! …but it serves as a great opportunity to give a farewell salute to the handheld system that changed Falcom as we know it.

I can’t say that I’d be able to guess where Falcom would be if they hadn’t jumped from PC to the PSP back in 2009. I’m confident in saying that I believe that the decision they made was a good one. Falcom would only be a shell of what we know today if they hadn’t taken the risk that they did. For that, I think that those of us, as fans of Falcom and their games, should give our thanks and gratitude to such a wonderful handheld system.

I’m sure that, regardless of the system being discontinued, I’ll continue to dig my own out and play some of the great games that I have on it.

Discussion Topic?!
Which Falcom games on the PSP left the biggest impression on you, if any of them did?

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