So that you can get in on the action
I find that fansites to things I'm not familiar with are some of the most interesting. I like learning about new things from people who love them. So it's sort of my hope that by doing this I can help point my friends (and visitors) in the way of one of my fandoms. Uniting the fans and trying to make new ones.
This is about the most common set of questions I get asked, so here you go.
What is Suikoden?
Gensosuikoden, as it's properly termed, is a series of roleplaying games for Sony platforms. You can find some happy Engrish descriptions of the first few games at the official site. The series has spawned five games proper, four spinoff games, a trading card game, some novels and an official manga. And probably other stuff too. The series features huge playable casts and and lots of backstabbing politcal intrigue with some humor mixed in.
How can I buy the games? Which should I buy first?
Suikoden V is a pretty recent American release and should be pretty easy to find and relatively inexpensive. It's not too hard to come by Suikoden IV or Suikoden III, they aren't very expensive on Ebay, or you could just look for them in the local game store's used bin, and hope they turn up. Finding the older, Playstation games is harder. They're rare titles and tend to be pretty expensive online, but that's probably the easiest way to get them. If you're cheap, you can prowl game stores/ask your friends/"borrow" a copy without permission. I will add that the PS games are pretty available online through emulators, though I don't necessarily sanction that sort of thing.
As to which you should by first, if you're in America I would try for Suikoden III, just because that's my favorite and also it's not that hard to find. You could also try Suikoden V. The Playstation games are ideal starting points, but they're very hard to find. If you're in Europe, it's a bit more complicated, just because Suikoden IV, Suikoden V, and the two playstation games are the only ones released. And Suikoden IV is pretty much the worst game in the series. So I'd start with Suikoden V there or Suikoden I or II if you happen to have them lying around. (There's also a PSP edition of the first two games released in Japan, but there are no plans for international release.)
Do I have to play the games in order?
No, not really. Though there is one definite Suikoden world and timeline, each game has its own story and characters. (Though some characters appear in more than one game.) And the numerical order of the games isn't the chronological order.
Suikoden IV (150 years before Suikoden I) -> Suikoden V (Ends 9 years before Suikoden I) -> Suikoden I (Beginning of the game, 5 years before Suikoden II. End of the game, 3 years before Suikoden II.) -> Suikoden II (15 years before Suikoden III) -> Suikoden III (Present)
Of all the games, I think Suikoden I and Suikoden II are the most connected. But you really don't need to play them in a specific order.
Which game is the best?
I think the fan-favorite is Suikoden II. I'm a Suikoden III fan, but in some circles I guess that makes me a traitor to the series. Suikoden V has been recieved well by fans, while Suikoden IV has...not.
Should I play these games and make many shrines/fanlistings/just obsess over it with you?
Linh would like to add that you should get your Suikoden V copies NOW, as they are becoming increasingly difficult to find.