Let's Talk About: Shenmue (#SaveShenmue)

'Where's Shenmue?!?' 

The above phrase is what everyone who enjoyed the first and second games of this extraordinary (and sadly unfinished) franchise has been screaming since 2001. People have been campaigning for a third instalment for about 12 years now, while Sega, being their dumb, washed-up selves, have been ignoring fans and do not look like they are going to stop any time soon. Perhaps we can let them off a little, because at the end of the day, they need to make a profit, and Shenmue may not be a game that can bring in a profit... hah! Who am I kidding? Sega are a bunch of selfish morons and they know it.

See, we expect this kind of ignorant behaviour from Sega, but it seems like there are other people who are out to trample on the feelings of desperate Shenmue fans; from fake photographs of Shenmue III discs, fake Shenmue III trademark applications and attention seeking idiots like Meggan Scavio tweeting false information; it is all to get the hopes up of fans who are patiently waiting. Just last night, fans like myself jumped to the conclusion that the Official PlayStation Magazine UK had done a 'Sega' and ignored us after we spammed a poll for 'What game or series not yet announced for next-gen do you most want to see on PS4?'. Literally every comment was in favour of Shenmue, but the magazine printed Red Dead, apparently because they had to meet some sort of deadline, fair enough, deadlines are a bitch.

But why do we poke and jab so much for this game after all these years? Back when it was released, Shenmue was the most exciting thing ever. Never before had there been an open-world game with graphics this good. The attention to detail was and still is absolutely astounding and is even something that games on platforms such as the Xbox 360 or the PS3 lack. Sure, the graphics don't match up to 1080p or anything like that, but even those games lack the freedom and amount of interaction that Shenmue had. More or less everything around you was detailed to the last pixel and your character could take a closer look at nearly every sign and object that appeared in front of him. Yu Suzuki, Shenmue's creator aimed for an incredibly realistic experience, and he did incredibly well considering the game came out in 1999 (in Japan). The weather changed with the seasons, there was a day and night cycle, people went about their daily routines and jobs and you got to experience it all through the eyes of Ryo Hazuki, a young man seeking revenge and answers regarding his father's death.

Despite being exciting in regards to its revolutionary gameplay, on release Shenmue separated people. Haters hated, and fans fanned. The people who didn't really care for Shenmue explained it was because the gameplay was 'slow' and 'boring'. Perhaps in these days of Call Of Duty and FIFA, this is why Sega believe that Shenmue wouldn't appeal to people? But Shenmue isn't about cheap thrills and instant gratification, it is about experiencing the fantastic story as it unfolds and immersing yourself in the detailed, living environment.
Shenmue is one of the definitive games on the Dreamcast, as well as its sequel, although while the second game was re-released on the original Xbox, the original has not been re-released in any way. There has been rumours that Sega might be getting off their asses and re-releasing these two gems in HD, and maybe if these games do well, a third game may be created.

Fans like myself consider Shenmue to be one of the best game series that has ever existed. There are a bunch of people who played it who don't really understand it, but they are honestly missing out. These people include IGN, who didn't include this game in their Top 25 Dreamcast Games list... ARE THEY INSANE?!? Not including this game in any kind of Dreamcast list is like having a world without oxygen. This game was the definition of what the Dreamcast system could do, and is more than likely, one of the reasons why you own a Dreamcast or want to buy one.
This game is not just a game but a piece of art in its own right. Long live and (let's hope it keeps on living in the form of a third instalment) Shenmue. To all Shenmue fans, Alt:Mag has your back, and we too are here to #SaveShenmue! Join the Team Yu and Shenmue 500K communities and show your support, and sign up to the next Shenmue Thunderclap. Also, check out the YouTube channel of AdamKoralik, who posts many Shenmue and Dreamcast related videos. We will play Shenmue III one day!

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