The Weekly Five: How SEGA-AM2 changed video gaming

Welcome to our new video series The Weekly Five, a top five list covering a wide range of SEGA topics. We are celebrating The Year of Developers over at SEGAbits.com, that means that each month throughout the year we will be covering notable notable SEGA developers. This month is all about a developer that is close to my heart, SEGA-AM2. What better way to kick off the new series than to discuss five ways SEGA-AM2 changed video gaming.

Year of the Developers: We celebrate the legacy of SEGA AM2

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SEGA AM2 is just one of those developers that always puts a smile on my face whenever I talk about their games. Not only do they have one of the most vast libraries, but they also revolutionized gaming in general multiple times over the past decades. Let’s look at the developer that popularized sprite-scaling in the 80s, gave us modern 3D with their Virtua series and created one of the most expensive games ever as we walk through their legacy.

Don’t forget to join us all month long while we talk more about SEGA AM2 and all their legendary franchises.

Yu Suzuki shares details of Shenmue III and beyond in new Shenmue Dojo interview

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In a new interview from the Shenmue Dojo, the series creator and SEGA legend spoke at length about the development process of Shenmue and Shenmue II, and revealed a bit more about the long awaited third game in the series. A bulk of the interview delves into information shared at GDC 2014’s Shenmue postmortum, clarifying and expanding on development details shared at the event. Suzuki also answered some Shenmue III questions, sharing some very interesting pieces of information. Suzuki revealed that how the third game begins is undecided, but he thinks it will start from Shenhua’s home. Suzuki also defended SEGA, stating “About Shenmue, Sega is not a problem at all. For Shenmue III, we need to define a specific budget and if I can gather enough for it, Sega will allow me to do it.” Regarding the question of if Shenmue III would end the series, Suzuki answered “Yes indeed, the story is far away from being completed and to be honest, I do not think that it’s possible to end it during Shenmue III. If I had to do it my way, players would experience the ending during Shenmue V. But that seems to be a lot so I’m going to try to finish it within the next 2 games.”

For the full interview head on over to Shenmue Dojo, and in the comments below share your thoughts on what Suzuki revealed. Should the series continue past a third title? Or should Suzuki focus on one more game to complete the story?

SEGA Saturday Morning Ads: Shenmue! It’s so good, you’ll dream about it during sex!

As the Dreamcast entered its second (and final) year on the US market, SEGA moved away from their awesome “inside the Dreamcast” ads and went back to a style somewhat more conventional. These later Dreamcast ads are reminiscent of some of the better Genesis era stuff, albeit they are typically cleverer and better written.

Here, we’ve got a man who’s clearly been playing too much Shenmue. I’ll admit this is a funny ad that conveys the immersion factor of the game pretty effectively, but at the same time I can’t help but think that this would have been a game better advertised as a dramatic, epic masterpiece than as a game you’ll be thinking about in bed.

There was an ad made in this vein…though I’m unsure if it ever aired on television. It’s a direct translation of the Japanese ad and a pretty epic piece of advertisement. It features a great vocal track called “Song of the Bay”, which was only ever featured on the Shenmue orchestral soundtrack. Check out this ad below the fold!

Retro Review: Shenmue (SEGA Dreamcast)

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Even with the ridiculous and almost unprecedented hype that surrounded the release of SEGA’s mega-budget Dreamcast title Shenmue, it’s tough to imagine that gamers first diving into the series back then would have any idea how legendary (or infamous) Ryo’s adventure would become. Who could have guessed that even nearly 15 years later, fans would be still be begging for more?

Love it or hate it, the still-unfinished saga that is Shenmue has become a legend in its own right: a mystery etched into the fabric of gaming that may never be solved. But it’s a game very much worthy of that legendary status. It may not have been for everyone, but for those who “got” Shenmue, there was simply nothing else like it.

Tuesday Tunes: Shenmue’s Original Soundtrack

When Shenmue was being hyped by SEGA as the next big step in gaming immersion, Yu Suzuki often liked to classify the game in its own genre, “Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment” or FREE. These days we tend to either call it an RPG or an adventure game, but even back then the phrase didn’t really work because it ignored one of Shenmue’s best qualities: its utterly marvelous, epic, emotional, cinematic, beautiful soundtrack. For Shenmue Week Tuesday Tunes will be doing something new: instead of posting one or two tracks, we’re posting the entire soundtrack.

The above video was put together by Shenmue Dojo. Aside from being a marvelous way to listen to the entire Shenmue soundtrack, this video was also the first request Tuesday Tunes ever received. Someone from Shenmue Dojo really wanted us to highlight it, but I knew we couldn’t just do it for any occasion. It may have taken awhile, dude, but you finally got your wish. Now please, join us as we take a musical journey through part one of Yu Suzuki’s magnum opus!

Let’s get sweaty as we celebrate a SEGA Dreamcast classic, it’s Shenmue Week!

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Welcome to a franchise week that many readers have been requesting ever since we began to dedicate seven days to classic SEGA titles, this is Shenmue Week! Like Jet Set Radio Week, we’re going focus exclusively on the first game of the franchise throughout the week. While Shenmue and its sequel are not incredibly different games from each other like Jet Set Radio and Jet Set Radio Future, we felt that both Shenmue titles are both so epic on their own that to try and cram both into seven days would do a disservice to the series. Not to mention, we love Shenmue so much that the prospect of another Shenmue Week in the future is something we’re looking forward to.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s travel back in time, before Shenmue II and before the original Shenmue. Before the series went by the codename Project Berkley, to a time in the mid 90s when SEGA’s Yu Suzuki was working on a SEGA Saturn prototype known as The Old Man and the Peach Tree.

Fan making an attempt at Shenmue in HD – Yokosuka never looked so good

While we wait for SEGA to rerelease Shenmue in HD, a project that has long been rumored to be in development, a Korean fan by the internet handle of NcoonKid has taken it upon himself to remake the original Shenmue. The process which NcoonKid is taking involves extracting the original environments, updating textures, and utlizing the Unreal Engine to give the game a modern look and feel. The video above certainly shows off an impressive remake of Yokosuka, but given the time, money, and amount of manpower that went into the original Shenmue, it is uncertain how far one person can go in remaking such a big game. Still, it’s a very cool effort, and if it doesn’t amount to anything else we at least have had our glimpse at what a modern day Shenmue would look like.

After the break, check out an expanded interpretation of the You Arcade.

Yu Suzuki interview at Gamelab 2014

Yu Suzuki attended the recently concluded Gamelab 2014, a gaming conference in Spain. He gave a presentation (partially notable for one of his slides featuring a Roman numeral “3” stylized in Shenmue font, which attracted the usual modest amount of attention) and was the recipient of the fourth Legend Award, a distinction meant for honoring “key figures in the history of video games”, as written at the Gamelab website.

After Gamelab concluded, Yu Suzuki conducted a short interview, available above. The interview asks a variety of direct questions, on topics including his favorite arcade project that he worked on (interestingly, the interviewer also asks Yu Suzuki if he feels nostalgiac for any aspects of Sega’s more arcade-focused past,) opportunities for modern technology in a hypothetical next Shenmue game, and whether or not Kickstarter is being actively considered to fund the next Shenmue game should development be more seriously pursued. Check it out!