The game I never thought I’d play

February 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm (Articles / Interviews, Awesome, Nostalgia) (, , , )

Yesterday, I came home to find this – a package from Barcelona, containing a bunch of Suikoden merchandise, most specifically an original copy of Genso Suikogaiden Vol. 1: Swordsman of Harmonia. Only waited 12 years to get my hands on that.

Suikoden Day prize

It’s no secret that Suikoden II is my favoritest game in the whole wide world (one of the few things that gets me blogging regularly is gushing about Suikoden Day, or Why This Game Changed My Life). I got into Suikoden II at around 12, that age where the stories you hear just sort of stick with you forever. It was also at that age I discovered you can look shit up on this thing called the Internet. Suikosource didn’t exist yet, but there was Icy Brian and Rebel Hideout (what was once to go look at game art and character bios and stuff.

It was in the latter that I discovered that the story of Suikoden II didn’t end with the game – there was more. There was Nash Latkje, vehicle of the side-story, travelling in the background of the Dunan Unification War and interacting with Suikoden II’s main cast.

Naturally, my reaction to that was ‘holy shit, when is this coming out in English and where can I get it?’. The answer was ‘never’ and ‘nowhere’. Konami didn’t (and to this day hasn’t) made either Gaiden 1 or 2 available in English. Maybe because it’s a visual novel, and that sort just of game just isn’t as popular outside of Japan. There was that vague hope they’d release an English version with Suikoden III (where Nash finally makes it into the main series), but no, not really. The Suikoden III manga came out, and so did Suikodens IV and V, and the years rolled by, and I decided to classify Gaiden 1 as one of Those Games I’ll Never Be Able To Play But I Accept This Reality And It’s Okay.

Not for lack of trying. In college, I was trading study time for perusing Suikosource’s pretty detailed screenshot gallery of both Gaidens 1 and 2. In between editing articles for my first job, I was reading through the Suikogaiden Translation Project’s English translation of the game. When I went freelancing, I’d kill time watching these Gaiden playthroughs on YouTube.

When Suikoden Day became a thing on Facebook a couple of years back, I was happy to hear that I wasn’t the only one who’d ever clung to a game, to a story, and to the side-story of that story, over the years. It’s part of why the Suikoden Day community (and its offshoot, the Suikoden Revival Movement) is awesome. What’s even more awesome is they hold competitions, with prizes.

In 2012, I participated in Suikoden Day’s fanfiction writing contest. At the time, I was dealing with all manner of stressful real life things – including gearing up for a new line of employment, and putting together some comics projects, and trying to be in a relationship with another human being. Somewhere amongst all of that, I gave in to the need to just write fanfiction. And I won. And the prize, screaming directly from the 1990s, was a motherlode of original Suikoden merch, among which was the Gaiden 1 I’d decided I’d never have.

suikoden 2

Which brings me to yesterday night, and my package from Suikoden Day organizer Nanami, who is based in Barcelona. I’m in something of a strange situation.

On one hand, it would be difficult to actually play the game. It’s in Japanese, and playing a visual novel in a language you don’t understand would be a bit difficult.

On the other hand, I’ve always wondered what it would feel to hold a genuine Japanese-only Gaiden 1 copy in my hands, and look at the original art in the booklet, and just watching the opening animated sequence over and over. My inner child hasn’t stopped dancing.

12 years is quite a while. The time I’ve spent dreaming of owning my own Gaiden is as long as I’d been alive at the point I first heard of Suikoden II. Not too long to wait for a game though. Not too long at all.


  1. suckoden said,

    The fan translation of Suikogaiden Vol 1 just came out, so you can play it in English now.

  2. inthegrayworld said,

    Alright! Looking forward to finally playing it in a language I can understand :D. Nice tumblr, by the way :D

  3. Jack said,

    I feel the exact same way.
    That is so cool that you have Gaiden I am so jealous.

  4. Suikoden Day 2013: The top 5 things I want to see in Suikoden VI | In the Grayworld said,

    […] that the Suikoden fandom was celebrating the first and second Suik days online, with much cheer and fangasming. This year, devotees are invited to talk about what exactly they’d like to see if the Suikoden […]

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