Friday, February 10, 2023

Band-Aids at the Tomato Convenience Store - Early Design Document | Translation

In this post we examine and translate an early Shenmue design document which gives some interesting insight into some design changes made before the game's release.

The document is an illustration that details the contents of the shelves at the Tomato Convenience store in Dobuita, as shown below:

Early design document of the shelves at the Tomato Convenience Store

The appearance and layout of these shelves match very closely with the shelves at the Dobuita branch of the Tomato Convenience Store in the first game:

Shelves at the Tomato Convenience Store in Dobuita (release version)

The text annotations in Japanese explain the contents: the black text indicates the general category of goods for each shelf, while those in red show items that can Ryo can buy.

One of the purchasable items is of particular interest...

Here the document with the text translated into English:

A surprising find in the Tomato Convenience Store design document (translated)

As can be seen, most of the contents are very similar to those in the release version of the game, with a couple of notable differences.

On the top shelf, software for the Saturn is stocked on the shelves. In the released game, software for the Saturn are not present but are instead available (specifically, the arcade games Hang-On and Space Harrier) as prizes in the Tomato Convenience Store raffle. 

Then further down, on the third shelf at the left, is an area is dedicated for first-aid goods that is not found in the final game. Furthermore, this shelf has Band-Aids as a purchasable item!

This provides further backing to the finding by LemonHaze who found an unused reference among the game's files for the Tomato Convenience Store which showed that Band-Aids were once planned to have been an item for sale and had even been implemented to some degree during early development.

"This". (Mockup using the promotional bandage produced for Shenmue III, created for our earlier post)

With Ryo's Band-Aid being an iconic part of his appearance throughout the series, it is nice to stumble upon an additional connection in the form of this early design document.

For further reading, see our previous post covering LemonHaze's finding of Band-Aids mentioned in the game code:
If you found this design document of interest, check out these other past posts examining other early design documents for Shenmue:
Source: the Tomato Convenience Store Shelves design document was included as part of the 2016 DenFamiNicoGamer interview with Yu Suzuki and Katsuhiro Harada.

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