Saturday, August 8, 2020

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for August 2020

Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the the winning topic for August is...

"Ryo's Bicycle Riding Ability: What Had Been Planned"

SEGA head teased Ryo's ability to ride a bicycle before the release of Shenmue, and a clip of Ryo riding through Dobuita had even been included in promotional footage in the months leading up to the game. So it came as a surprise to players to find that this feature was not present in the final game.

We will gather together the clues that remain to piece together what had originally been planned.

Watch for an article on this topic in an upcoming blog post!

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Shenmue Forest Demo (1999 Digitaliland Event Promotion)

Shenmue Digitaliland Event Demo Software (1999)
Digitaliland event flyer, with screenshots from the software demo.
Image credit: James Brown

In an earlier post we covered the extravagant Shenmue promotional exhibition, which was named "Shenmue Forest",  at an event called Digitaliland at the start of May in 1999.

Related Post:
The Digitaliland event came just a month and a half after the 1999 Spring Tokyo Game Show (at which Shenmue was also promoted), but a lot of forethought and planning was put into making this this exhibition something that would dazzle attendees. Yu Suzuki and team even went as far as to build a special software demo that allowed the public to virtually experience what the upcoming exhibition would be like. Full-color flyers announcing the event were distributed using screenshots from the demo (see the title image)

In today's post we will look more closely at this special "Shenmue Forest" demo.

About the Shenmue Forest Software Demo

The Shenmue Forest hands-on demo appeared at the SEGA booth at the Tokyo Game Show in March '99. as a way to fan excitement for the upcoming exhibition, and ran on Dreamcast hardware.

The concept of the demo was simple: it allowed the player to navigate (as Ryo Hazuki) around a three-dimensional virtual model of the yet-to-be Shenmue Forest exhibition.
"The virtual space of 'Shenmue Forest' was able to be played on screen at this game show (TGS '99). Amazing!"
"A virtual recreation of 'Shenmue Forest' was able to be played on screen at this game show (TGS '99). Amazing!"

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