Monday, October 18, 2021

Sega Created a Shenmue Synopsis Movie for Pioneer in 2000 | Home Theater DVD

In the days of the Dreamcast, it was common for game demos or trailers to be found on magazine cover discs, and Shenmue occasionally featured on some of these. Today we will take a look at a DVD that contains a rather special Shenmue video - one that was produced by the Shenmue project team soon after the release of the first game in Japan, especially for Pioneer. I had no idea this existed until recently!

About the Shenmue Video

Booklet entry for the Shenmue video

This is the description of the Shenmue video from the booklet accompanying the DVD, translated:
"The CG parts of Shenmue, one of the most popular SEGA Dreamcast titles, have been re-edited by the creative staff in a special version that is only for this disc. Sound has been remastered with Surround EX*, from the voicing through to foley audio such as sound effects and footsteps. Check out the dialogue and kung fu action, as well as the detailed environmental sounds placed in the everyday settings."

Note: "Surround EX" refers to Dolby Digital Surround EX, which provides an extra surround channel for home theater systems that have rear surround speakers. 

The instruction booklet that accompanies the DVD

The video is 7 minutes in length, and gives a cinematic overview of the flow of the first game with a collage of selected snippets of cut scenes and smoothly-mixed music tracks. It takes the viewer through the main plot points of the story, starting from Iwao's fight with Lan Di in the Hazuki Dojo, and ending with Ryo leaving for Hong Kong (perhaps it should have had a warning for mild spoilers!).

Title screen

Screenshots from the movie

About the Pioneer Home Theater Reference DVD 

The disc that contains the Shenmue synopsis movie is a DVD that was made to help fine-tune your home theater system for the best possible output.

It was released in Japan in 2000 by Pioneer. Retailing originally at 4800 yen, this disc provided 50 minutes of content to show off to your friends with its high-quality multimedia video and sound. The package consists of an outer cover, a usage booklet and the DVD itself. The blurb on the back describes it as "the ultimate audio and visual tuning disc".

Front and back cover - note the Shenmue thumbnail!

The demonstration contents of the disc are:
  • Movie: Sixth Day (Surround EX, 16:9)
  • Movie: GOJOE (Surround EX, 16:9)
  • Dreamcast: Shenmue (Surround EX, 4:3)
  • PlayStation: Final Fantasy IX (5.1ch, 4:3)
  • Dolby Logo trailers (5.1ch/Surround EX, 16:9)
  • Original CG Movie: Eternal A.I. (Surround EX, 16:9)
  • Fire Works (Surround EX, 16:9)
  • Steam Locomotive C58 (Surround EX, 16:9)

DVD Showcasing & Shenmue Video

Watch a great video by James Brown showcasing this Pioneer DVD together with footage of this rare Shenmue video on the Shenmue Dojo's channel:

A Collector's Item

Being produced around the time of the first Shenmue games, the Pioneer HomeTheater Reference DVD is now a vintage item. Our friends at Retro Import Gamer currently have one available, for anyone interested in adding this item to their collection.

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