Monday, May 29, 2017

Comments on Kickstarter Update #67 | New Character Model & Absence from E3

Comments on Kickstarter Update #67

The Kickstarter Update for the month of May is upon us already and although brief it packs some explosive content. It consists of a new video entry in the "Developer Report" series (link to the full video at the end of the post), together with a short message.

Will Shenmue III Be at E3?

Let's take a look at the message first. It addresses the question that has been on everybody's minds: will there be a Shenmue III presence at E3 next month in June?

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sealed US Shenmue | Ebay Merchandise

A cheery welcome to our new sponsor for the blog, the friendly folk at Retro Import Gamer who run an online Ebay store in the UK.

They are also big fans of Yu Suzuki's franchises and especially of Shenmue, so if you are looking to add to their Shenmue collection, it's a great place to check out. All their games and merchandise is imported directly from Japan.

We'll pick out some items of interest from time to time in this blog.

Sealed US Shenmue at Retro Import Gamer

If you are looking for a sealed copy of US Shenmue, Retro Import Gamer have one available now, priced very reasonably compared to the market.

US Shenmue was a special edition of the first Shenmue that was released only in Japan. It features English voices and menus, together with Japanese subtitles, and comes in this distinctive illustrated cover.

From what I have seen browsing on Ebay, copies of US Shenmue do not come cheaply these days, especially if in unopened condition. A sealed copy sold earlier this month for 170 pounds plus international postage to ship from Japan. And current listings from other sellers are asking even higher prices.

This listing from Retro Import Gamer is much more affordable at only half that price level, a significant saving. If you are in the UK, delivery will of course be domestic.

If you are looking for a reasonably-priced sealed US Shenmue edition to add to your collection, check it out below for more details.

Browse the Retro Import Gamer's store here.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shoes On... Shoes Off | Shenmue Realism

Shoes On... Shoes Off: Japanese footware customs in Shenmue

In the West, it is often a decision made by each household as to whether shoes are to be removed before entering the home. In Japan however there are customs that are followed almost universally when it comes to where and when footwear is worn.

If you ever visit Japan, this is something you will come across wherever you go: at your accommodation, out sight-seeing or visiting friends.

The first Shenmue game does a great job in reflecting these customs naturally as part of the story, and it is also interesting to examine Shenmue II in the same light.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gio Corsi Visiting Yu in Tokyo [May 17, 2017]

Hot off the press! Sony's Gio Corsi has tweeted out this photo taken with Yu Suzuki - accompanied by a copy of the limited edition of Shenmue.

The text reads, "Hanging with old friends talking about games!", and was copied to the official Shenmue 3 twitter account.

Gio Corsi (Sony) with Yu Suzuki (YS Net)
Gio Corsi holds the title of Director of Third Party Productions & Developer Relations
for PlayStation at Sony Interactive Entertainment America. (As well as being a lover of great ramen.)
The photo is taken in front of what looks like office cabinet doors, reflecting fluorescent strip lighting - it would seem a reasonable assumption that Gio was paying a visit to the YS Net development studio.

Gio arrived in Tokyo last week and will be in Japan through to the end of this week, for a total of two weeks.

With the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) event now less than a month away in Los Angeles, the timing of this visit is unlikely to be coincidental and will fuel the hopes of fans that plans are being formed for Shenmue III to make an appearance in some form at the show - especially as the PSX event last year passed by without mention.

Our fingers are firmly crossed!

Link to tweet: @giocorsi
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Meaning & Origin of "Dobuita" | Placenames

The Meaning & Origin of "Dobuita"

Dobuita - the shopping street area in Ryo's hometown we know and love. By the end of the first disk of Shenmue, it is as familiar to the player as the back of their hand, as Ryo's investigations take you to burger stands, apartment buildings, seedy bars, antique shops and game arcades.

Dobuita in Shenmue was based closely its real-life Yokosuka counterpart, although the real location is known as "Dobuita Street" (Dobuita Doori in Japanese) rather than just Dobuita. As in the game, it is located next to a US Navy base and runs around 500m in length.

Dobuita Street at night
Dobuita Street at night. (Photo credit: SnoopBob)
So does the name "Dobuita" itself have any particular meaning?

I decided to research into how the street got this name, and it turns out the answer ties back to the early history of the area.

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Comments on Kickstarter Update #66 [Yu-san on Story Building]

Comments on Kickstarter Update #66: Yu-san on Story-Building

True to their word in the last update, the Shenmue team have delivered another Kickstarter Update for the month of April (technically, at the very start of May) in the form of a video interview with Yu Suzuki about story building. The "loading screen" title pages in the video date the interview as April 15th.

Official update and video:

The video does not have a lot in the way of scribbled Japanese notes for the usual frame-by-frame analysis - the diagram on the whiteboard next to Yu has the most potential for clues but it is so cryptic that it could well be a red herring to throw fans off the scent!

In any case, this post will recap Yu's interview answers, with some expanded comments where his words in Japanese carry additional meaning that the English subtitles may not easily convey.

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