Their crowd-funded sequel, Shenmue III, is still on its way, but how should someone new to the series get up-to-date with the premier picking-up-objects-and-turning-them-over-in-your-hand sim? It turns out that Sega is publishing the first two game on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for Windows.
The updated versions of the game promise a better user interface, more modern controls with the original as an option, higher resolution choices, and a subtitled Japanese audio experience if you’d prefer that over the English voice acting. There aren’t any pre-order bonuses, and no price is up yet, so it’ll be good to wait for the games to be released this year and read how the ports turned out.
It doesn’t sound like they’re changing much at all, but it’s good to see the original Shenmue games available off of the Dreamcast and the original Xbox. I’d like to take a crack at playing II, which I’ve got somewhere but never got it going on my old Xbox.
This is mostly unrelated but I’ve been watching the completely ridiculous Japanese television series Sunshine, Sento-Sake, and it is a complete trip. Unfortunately the show is only available via Amazon’s Prime Video service.
Here’s how I would describe it: A guy working as a business-to-business ad salesman is extremely mediocre at his job, but always finds a way to relax in the middle of the day at a public bath, and then gets some beer and good food. I heartily recommend it for anyone interested in seeing someone appreciate the joy of relaxing and savoring food and drink, but be prepared for lots of old butts in those Sentos.
Dan and Bianca Ryckert recommended Sunshine on their new podcast, and I feel like they’re the best at explaining the fun in the show if you’re put-off by the butt warning. Check out that episode of their podcast here.
As good as interviews with game designers can get, designers are sometimes more open about their work when they’re talking with other designers. The Idle Thumbs podcast network has two great podcasts with these kinds of interviews, get blasted:
Steve Gaynor (Tacoma, Gone Home) interviewed developers for 13 episodes. You’ve got your Ken Levine and Tim Schafer interviews in addition to greats like Tom Francis of Heat Signature and Gunpoint and Brendon Chung of Atom Zombie Smasher and more.
Adam Saltsman (Canabalt, Overland) and Soren Johnson (Civilization3 & 4 and Offworld Trading Company) even interviewed Steve Gaynor with their take on this genre of podcast. It’s so good at giving you insights into game designers. I’m currently on episode 2 of the 4 episode series with Sid Meier and there’s so much great stuff in there about the process of working on his incredible games. Some of the best episodes are with designers I wasn’t familiar with at all. One of the recent episodes had Margaret Robertson on and she discussed her work with a game about a movie where a woman was found dead in her apartment after three years.
Siracusa is this uniquely expert individual in the science of breaking down and explaining almost any topic in a way that nobody else does. Even with topics that I think I understand, I gain a new understanding by listening to his podcasts. He’s more typically known for the recently ended 15-year streak of reviewing versions of Mac OS X. In this particular episode of the Reconcilable Differences program, #8, he describes why Destiny’s raids are fun to Merlin who hasn’t had much recent experience with any games besides Mario Kart. The way that Siracusa talks about this raid is more interesting than listening to almost any typical gaming person talk. You should really try out the episode if you are bored with other gaming podcasts. Unfortunately it is one-of-a-kind, Siracusa doesn’t tend to talk about games elsewhere or on other episodes of this podcast.