Saturday, April 22, 2017

Retro Games Exhibition: Sega Taikan Games | Photo Report

Retro Games Exhibition Photos


A little while ago I headed along with my friend Robert (Snoopbob) to check out the Retro Games Exhibition in the city of Saitama, Japan. It has now just finished after running for the past several months and featured displays on games for a range of Japanese home console and arcade cabinets from the 1980s.

Knowing how busy these events can get in the weekend, we chose a weekday to go and it turns out we practically had the place to ourselves, playing classic games like Super Mario Brothers, Punch Out, Gauntlet, Xevious, Out Run and Space Harrier.

This post has a selection of photos showing how the Sega display room was set up. It featured a number of their Taikan games (those that introduced the ride-on style of cabinets) which of course are synonymous with Yu Suzuki.

An attraction of this exhibition was that, in addition to being able to view items such as signed posters and handwritten documentation produced when designing the games, the displays were hands-on and visitors were encouraged to try out the games which were set up for free play on the original hardware.

The exhibition was well put together and I was glad to see that Yu Suzuki's arcade games, and even a video interview with him, were proudly on display.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ryo and the Tiger-skin Pants | Shenmue II

Ryo and the Tigr-skin Pants

I've been meaning to tackle this topic for a while, and I was reminded of it again the other day when Andrew & Matt brought it up on their latest AM2 Podcast (great series, guys!). So anyway, let's get started.

In Shenmue II, when Ryo arrives at the tiny riverside village of Langhuishan in Guilin, you may remember this optional conversation that he has with one of the three village boys on the wharf.

On being asked why he is seeking Bailu village, one of the choices is for Ryo to tell him that he is going there to fight the evil ogres there:

Defeat Ogres conversation option
Ryo decides to liven the mood with a light-hearted reply.

However the little boy does not seem altogether convinced by Ryo's explanation, and even less so by his details about what the ogres look like:

Ryo describes the ogres
You know, just your typical Japanese ogre look.
This is not unsurprising, as Ryo is basing his story on Japanese folklore that, while instantly recognizable to Japanese children, would not have been familiar to a little boy in China.

This is something that I've seen come up every now and again in Shenmue fan forums, so for any players who may still be scratching their heads about this interaction, let's look at the cultural background in this post.

Acknowledgement: Thank you to Kiyuu of the Shenmue Dojo for her old forum post which served as the inspiration for this post.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fuku-san's Incredible Money Counting Skills | Video

Shenmue shows its sense of humor in scenes like this one where Fukuhara-san counts the money from his piggy bank to give to Ryo. Literally only a few seconds after he begins counting the coins that have spilled out of the smashed piggy bank onto the table, the camera pans down to reveal neat piles of coins and he announces the total amount.

The sheer speed at which Fuku-san completes the task suggests he has hidden talents far removed from the world of martial arts - his calling may well be in finance.

Fuku-san sorts the money
How on earth did you sort all those coins so quickly, Fuku-san?
And furthermore, Ryo expresses no surprise at this incredible feat (as usual, in keeping with his character).

For fun, I tweaked this scene slightly, to provide a proper reaction from Ryo in the video below...


Are you a fan of the character of Fukuhara-san? He rarely gets things right, but he's so well-meaning it's hard to dislike him.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Yu Suzuki Interview for the Release of "SEGA 3D Fukkoku Archives 3" | Famitsu [20 Jan 2017 article]

Yu Suzuki Interview: SEGA 3D Fukkoku Archives 3

To commemorate the release of a new games collection by Sega, Famitsu.com published an interview with Yu Suzuki earlier in the year. Suzuki tells how he feels towards his earliest arcade title, Champion Boxing, and reveals how the Dreamcast is playing a part in Shenmue III development.


Background:


At the end of last year in 2016, Sega Games released their third entry in a series of 3D game collections for the Nintendo 3DS, having the somewhat long-winded name of Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3: FINAL STAGE. (The word fukkoku in Japanese means a reprint, or re-issue). The series as a whole is named the Sega 3D Fukkoku Project.


Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3: FINAL STAGE
Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3: FINAL STAGE, for the Nintendo 3DS
The first and third collections were released only in Japan, while the second is available outside of Japan also, as the Sega 3D Classics Collection.

As with the previous entries, this third and latest collection contains games tied to Yu Suzuki, namely 3D After Burner II, 3D Super Hang On and Turbo Outrun. It also has a special unlockable feature that allows you to play his earliest title, Champion Boxing, for players who have purchased Collection 1.


Interview:


The interview starts below.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Bamboo Fountain in the Hazuki's Garden | Shenmue Realism

The Bamboo Fountain in the Hazuki's Garden

The ornamental pond in the corner of the garden at the Hazuki residence is an oasis of tranquility. Flowering water lilies bob gently on the surface, rising and falling as Japanese carp glide lazily by underneath. Birds twitter in the trees and the water trickles continuously into a bamboo water fountain.

The scenic garden pond
Time stands still at the scenic garden pond.
Every so often, the bamboo spout of the fountain pivots over, spilling its collected water into the pond, and makes a distinctive "clonk" as it returns to its original position. The sound can be heard from other parts of the garden as Ryo walks around.

Let's look at how the fountain works, what its name is in Japanese and finally some in-game footage of the fountain in motion.