Saturday, March 31, 2018

[Pinned] Announcement: Phantom River Stone is on Patreon!

It is hard to believe that over one-and-a-half years have passed since the Phantom River Stone blog launched. We've made more than 200 posts on our favorite subject: translations of community interviews, magazine articles and design documents, notes about everyday items and culture reflected in the game, photos of real locations around Yokosuka... just celebrating the awesomeness that is Shenmue.

In order to sustain this rate of output, and dedicate the time needed for the translations and posts, I wanted to offer a way for blog readers who wish to help contribute to do so.

And so, I am excited to announce our new Patreon page for Phantom River Stone!

If you're not familiar with Patreon, it’s an easy way to give those interested in the blog a way to support it directly. Plus, receive some great rewards in return, such as exclusive "behind the scenes" content, early access to blog posts before anyone else, and even voting on a future blog topic. We also have a Discord channel for chatting about Shenmue and blog posts.

There are several different reward tiers, which you can check out in detail on the new Patreon page.

Thank you for considering becoming a patron of the blog, and regardless of whether you are in a position to offer financial support, thank you for being a reader of the blog!

Click to open the Phantom River Stone page on Patreon!

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Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Survey of Red TVs in Shenmue | Guest Post

A Survey of Red TVs in Shenmue

We have previously noted the presence in the Shenmue world of old red 14-inch TVs, which are often found sitting in the corner of Chinese Restaurants as outlined in this Shenmue design document. It turns out that there are many more of them in the games than one might casually imagine.

In this collaboration post, we present a definitive survey of all such red TVs throughout Shenmue 1 and 2, based on the results of a thorough investigation by regular reader JCGamer who has tracked down and logged every appearance!

Shenmue 1

Apart from being found in the Chinese restaurants in Dobuita, the red television also turns up in a few other locations in the first game. (It seems that Abe-san catches the daily soaps on a set behind the counter of the Abe Store).

Red TVs in Shenmue 1

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Erhu Concert by Ryuji Iuchi & Hiroko Suzuki

This week Shenmue composer Ryuji Iuchi performed in a special evening concert featuring the erhu (a two-stringed instrument also known as a "Chinese violin"), an instrument whose sound is so memorable from the soundtrack of the first two Shenmue games.

Entitled "Spring Sky: Erhu Melodies Echoing Beneath a Starry Sky", the concert had Ryuji Iuchi on piano and synthesizer, accompanying erhu performer Hiroko Suzuki (with whom he has worked before - read on to find out when!)

The venue was the intimate interior of the Discovery Park planetarium, and with a capacity of 165 attendees the concert the event was of course sold out well in advance. The planetarium is located in Yaizu city, Shizuoka, which is Hiroko Suzuki's hometown.

The photos below from the planetarium's Twitter account, show the magical atmosphere of the event.

Ryuji Iuchi and Hiroko Suzuki perform beneath a canopy of stars
Ryuji Iuchi and Hiroko Suzuki perform beneath a canopy of stars

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Yu Suzuki's MAGIC Conference in English | Transcript & Video

Yu Suzuki attended the MAGIC 2018 event held in Monaco on 24th February, and took the stage for a one-hour conference. Topics covered included Shenmue's early history, features of Shenmue III, and the revelation of four new images. Questions were asked in French, with an interpreter present to convey the questions to Yu, and translate the responses back from Japanese.

An official English translation was not provided at the conference, but through the joint efforts of the Shenmue community we are happy to present a subtitled video and transcript of the questions and Yu Suzuki's words at the conference.

Enjoy! Note that the conference proper starts at 4:17 in the video.

Video footage by Peter Campbell (hosted at the Shenmue Lounge YouTube channel)
Translation of questions by Shenmue Forever
Translation of Yu Suzuki's responses by Phantom River Stone.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Yu Suzuki MAGIC Conference in English | Progress Update

Over the past weeks we have been working, together with others in the community, to put together a full English translation of Yu Suzuki's one-hour conference at MAGIC 2018. Thank you for your patience!

The translation work is now complete, and the final task of adding subtitles to the video footage is now in progress.

A subtitled conference video and a written transcript of the conference session will be posted up tomorrow (Thursday).

Yu Suzuki on stage at MAGIC 2018

P.S. We will also be making another exciting announcement tomorrow on a separate topic relating to the Phantom River Stone blog!

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Be Credited in SEGA's Upcoming Mobile Game "Kotodaman"

If you would like to have your name in the official credits of a SEGA game in which Ryo Hazuki appears, here is your opportunity. Read on for details.

Recently SEGA confirmed a cameo for Shenmue's protagonist Ryo Hazuki in their upcoming word game for mobile devices Kotodaman, thanks to the efforts of Shenmue fans in helping reach the target number of registrations of interest.
Concept art of Ryo for the game
(from the game's official Twitter account)

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Promotional VMU Sticker Sheet | Shenmue Merchandise

Today we introduce something I've never seen discussed in the Shenmue community, and in fact I didn't know this existed until recently.

It's a genuine Dreamcast item that was released by Sega, being a sheet of game-themed stickers / decals with which to customize the appearance of a Visual Memory Unit.

VMU Custom Sticker Sheet
VMU Custom Sticker Sheet

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

4 New Screenshots from MAGIC 2018 | Kickstarter Update #80

4 New Screenshots from MAGIC 2018

Four new Shenmue III images were revealed by Yu Suzuki at his MAGIC 2018 conference and these were released as a brief Kickstarter Update.

Each image contains one of four different NPCs (some also featuring Ryo) which really emanate a Shenmue vibe. The contribution of the Lakshya Digital team, to whom Yu Suzuki gave special mention during his conference, is apparent with a noticeable improvement in the character models.
In this post we will run through the four images, and add a few comments (however no hidden Easter Eggs have been discovered in them so far!).

Image #1

The first image shows a little girl in a pink cardigan, her hair tied up behind in double buns behind her head. She looks up with a playful expression on her face.

Isn’t she charming?
"Isn’t she charming?"

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