Ys Series - Digital Emelas: A Fansite Spreading Awareness of Ys

List of Games

* Canon to the series

Ys Book I & II
Wii Virtual Console
Nihon Falcom, Alfa System
Hudson Soft
Bump System
Reflections of Ys
By Jeff Nussbaum

Once upon a time in the early 90s, there was a store named Power Up, which rented out games and systems (and not just the popular ones), and was the source of two major gaming loves for me: the Neo*Geo, and Ys. I'd seen the TurboGrafx-16 in store displays and was always intrigued by it, and I was very curious about what CD-ROMs were going to bring to the table for gaming. So one Friday afternoon in summer, a friend and I pooled our money and rented a TurboGrafx-CD system and a couple of games. I don't remember all that we rented, but the most important one was Ys Book I & II.

From the moment the first strains of the music (which I would later come to know as "Feena") started up, and the impressive voiceover began, I was enchanted. The introduction promised a story steeped in legend, telling the tale of a lost country, of magic, monsters, and goddesses. And once I began the game proper, I was hooked. The sprites were small, but they had animation to spare, and every character had something to say, all providing tidbits that fleshed out the world. "Welcome to Esteria!" I was told, as I stepped off the ship. Esteria? What about Ys? This initial mystery drew me in, and the way the story expanded and unfolded in bits and pieces kept me up at night. Literally! I didn't go to sleep that night; I stayed up, playing. And once I'd conquered the final boss of Ys I, I was treated to a spectacular cutscene, even more so than the initial opening, which showed me exactly where Ys had vanished to.

And Ys II was that much more impressive! Though the beginning is similar, with you starting in a town and slowly exploring outside, this time, the world felt much more expansive, leading you through many more areas, including a mine, a mountain, a volcanic area, and the massive Solomon Shrine. While the final area of Ys I took up a good 40% of the game, Solomon Shrine was on another level entirely. It was huge and labyrinthine, with a massive set of underground canals to navigate in addition to all the walkways and balconies above ground.

And when it was all over, I was treated to a complete and fulfilling ending, answering all my questions and providing closure to a fantastic adventure. I'd lost track of time completely. I didn't know how long I'd played or what day it was (as it turns out, it was early Sunday morning). I just knew that it was late, I was exhausted, and I was in love. The world, the story, the characters, the music (oh my, the music). I'd found a new favorite game... and to this day, no other has had a bigger impact on my life.


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All Ys Games, Art and Music © Nihon Falcom Corporation.