Thursday, March 28, 2024

Weekly AM2 Volume 10 - Results of the 3rd Network Rankings Tournament | 15 Feb 2000

In this series we translate Shenmue content from Weekly AM2, the official online magazine published by Sega's AM2 development team back in the day. These pages regularly featured news and information about the Shenmue series from the end of 1999 through to 2001 with the release of Shenmue II.

Vol. 10 gives the winners of the Third Network Rankings Tournament, which was for Forklift Racing. The next competition is announced, which will be for Space Harrier.



Vol. 10: 15th Feb. 2000

Hello, nice to meet you.

I'm Saito, stepping in for Takuan today as he is unwell and unable to make it. I hope you'll stick with me through to the end of the issue.

This week's contents:
  • Announcement of the results of the 3rd Network Rankings Tournament
  • Notice of the 4th Network Rankings Tournament
  • Messages from winners of the 2nd Network Rankings Tournament (70-player Battle)
  • Strategy guide for Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka confirmed for release!
  • Messages from top performers in the F355 Challenge Network Rankings [omitted]
  • Shenmue Spoiler BBS (Bulletin Board System) opens today!
  • AM2 Supporters Homepage launched
  • Shenmue Chapter 1: Yokosuka Director Okayasu to feature on the "Super Mobile Anime & Game Master" radio show
  • i-mode gallery image #3

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Does the Chawan Sign in Shenmue Have a Historical Basis?

Today, we will do a deep dive into an iconic communication method seen in Shenmue: the Chawan Sign, which Ryo first learns about in Shenmue II (and is reintroduced later in one of the Shenmue III DLC stories). He makes use of the Chawan Sign to discreetly communicate with allies, by arranging teacups in a certain pattern in a public place, 

Arranging four teacups

Ryo is warned that placing them at the wrong location, or carelessly arranging them in the wrong pattern, can result in unwanted attention...

Trying at the wrong location may attract trouble

But was the concept of the Chawan Sign something that Yu Suzuki and team created purely for Shenmue, or did it have some kind of historical basis?

In this post, we will try to answer this question by looking at a possible sources of inspiration.

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Monday, March 4, 2024

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for March 2024

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 winning topic that has been voted for this time is:

"Shenmue II Special: a Message from Yu Suzuki - DoriMaga Interview May 2001"

This interview with Yu Suzuki about the upcoming release of Shenmue II for Dreamcast was published in the May 2001 edition of Japan's DoriMaga magazine. As noted in the introduction to the interview,  it fell in the period shortly after Sega's decision to cease production of the Dreamcast a couple of months earlier, in March.

DoriMaga: There was a huge turnout at SEGA's recent event, Game Jam, reaffirming the great anticipation for Shenmue II. What plans are there for the Dreamcast in future, and what is the significance of Shenmue II? Let's hear a message from Yu Suzuki to the readers of the new-look DoriMaga magazine and users of the Dreamcast.
Suzuki: Game Jam was fantastic. While we apologize for any inconvenience caused due to the crowded space, we are delighted that so many people attended. Seeing such a large number of attendees makes us very happy. Seeing so many attendees on that day made me think, "It's a shame we're giving up on the Dreamcast..."
DoriMaga: The event featured the first-ever demonstration using actual hardware, but how far along is the development of Shenmue II at this point?
Suzuki: Well, as of the end of March, it's mostly been bug fixes. That means we've essentially locked in the program code, and from there, it's mostly about replacing data and focusing on debugging. Since April, we've been diving into that work, and at the moment, we're at a stage where it's nearing the finalization process. At this stage, if we are able to iron out any critical bugs, we'll be looking at finalization in just a few weeks.

Watch for the translation of the rest of the interview in a future post!
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