This playlist contains videos either shown, given away on disc, or submitted for showing at either the 2008 or 2009 Falcom panel at the Otakon anime convention in Baltimore.
This playlist should be considered a *work in progress*, and will be semi-regularly updated as existing videos are uploaded to YouTube. It will also be updated throughout the year, as new videos are submitted to me by fans, new Falcom trailers are released, new game footage is captured from Falcom titles, etc., in preparation for an inevitable 2010 panel.
Once this playlist is completely up-to-date with all videos shown at all Otakon Falcom panels, I'll make a note of it in this description. In the meantime, though, feel free to link this to others, and enjoy!
* * *
A little history, for those who didn't understand a word of the above:
Nihon Falcom is a Japanese video game company founded in 1981, and still in existence to this very day. Most renown for their Xanadu, Ys, Dragon Slayer, and Legend of Heroes series of games, Falcom has also established franchises out of Brandish, Zwei, and Vantage Master, and released a wide variety of other games as well, all of which fall either loosely or very specifically into the RPG genre.
Falcom's games were very influencial in the early days of RPGs, with the original 1985 action RPG/dungeon crawler "Xanadu" remaining the highest-selling Japanese PC title of all time, even to this very day. Their flagship title "Ys", originally released in 1987, was also one of the first games (if not THE first game) to use full-motion video cutscenes (in one of its ports, of course, not in the original 1987 release), and one of the first RPGs to contain a really complex plot with fleshed-out characters, including an important side-character who's actually murdered (which was virtually unheard-of at the time).
Falcom is also renown for their music (if not even moreso than their games!), which is generally of the hard rock variety, containing fast drumbeats (almost speed-metal-like in certain songs), guitar riffs and solos, and many other common features of 80s rock. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, they actually had an in-house rock band called the "Falcom JDK Band", which would perform live versions of these songs on tour across Japan. The band released four albums, then disbanded, but was recently re-established, and has gone on tour twice since then, releasing a fifth album as well. The new band is fronted by a violinist, with violin music frequently incorporated into the traditional 80s-style rock of the old band. They're also frequently joined by a male vocalist who calls himself Icarus Watanabe, and dresses in a gaudy red-and-black striped jumpsuit with devil horns during live shows.
Traditionally, Falcom's games have always originated on the PC, with mostly third-party companies porting them to various consoles. Falcom have done a few ports of their own in the 1990s, however, and they've also recently been porting a large number of their titles to the PSP, and will be releasing Ys VII on the PSP first and foremost this September, long before any PC version is even scheduled to exist.
Most of their games have never been released in English, but a few have: Faxanadu (on NES), Tombs & Treasure (on NES; originally Asteka II), Legacy of the Wizard (on NES; originally Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family), Ys I & II (on various platforms), Ys III: Wanderers From Ys (on various platforms), Sorcerian (for DOS), Popful Mail (on Sega-CD), Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes (on TurboGrafx-16 CD), Vantage Master V2 (available as a free download on Falcom's own website: http://www.falcom.co.jp/vantage/index_e.html), Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure (on PSP), Legend of Heroes III: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (on PSP, though beware, it's much different from Falcom's original game!), Legend of Heroes IV: A Tear of Vermillion (ditto above), Legend of Heroes V: Song of the Ocean (ditto above), Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys (fan-translation patch available for the PC-Engine game), Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (fan-translation patch available for the Super Famicom game), Ys: The Oath in Felghana (fan-translation patch available for the PC game), The Typing of Ys (fan-translated copy of the PC minigame available online), and Romancia (fan-translation patch available for the Famicom game).
For more information on Falcom, their games, and/or their music, please feel free to read some of the topics at the Ancient Land of Ys web forum, or sign up and post a question or two of your own!