Thursday, July 9, 2009
Is Shenmue the greatest game ever created?
Ok, so I've been pondering about this for over a decade now and I've come to my conclusion.
Shenmue is the Greatest game ever made!
How do I know this? Cause I'm super radical. I don't wear sunglasses at night for no reason. I don't use massive amounts of hair gel and roar my engine at red lights for fun. This is fact.Alright, enough of my credentials. Let’s get back to Shenmue.
Shenmue has a simple format. The call to adventure starts when Ryo comes home from his daily sauntering to find his cool Japanese symbol thing broken. As he makes his way to the backyard and finds his maid on the floor. Now I would say "What are you doing lying around? I don't pay you to sleep lady!" but it seems that she was knocked down by some intruders. After you leave your faithful maid behind you run to the Dojo. This is where things get heavy. Your Dad seems too locked in mortal combat with some evil looking guy wearing some crazy old school threads. I would call him cool if he wasn't so homicidal!Anyway, Ryo's father takes a bad hit and collapses. Note to self: Do not roundhouse kick old people.Ryo rushes to his side and Iwao Hazuki tells his son some parting advice. His murderer AKA Lan Di miraculously doesn't smash Ryo into a wall and end him as well. He grabs the "Dragon mirror" from a hidden spot under the cherry tree and makes his exit. Pay attention people because I'm only going to explain this once. In mythological and allegorical stories this is what we call in the industry "The call to adventure" and is very important to the hero’s journey formula. After a tear jerking scene where Ryo holds his father until he takes his last breath their is a transition and days / weeks seem to go by after the incident. The day starts as usual for a young man who just had his father die in his arms with a horrifying nightmare. He awakes in his room and from then on the player has control of Ryo.Now as you can see there is quite a lot of storyline in this game. If I was to detail the rest of the game it would probably take up the whole website so I'm just going to hit the high points.Shenmue Best Game Ever High Points:
1. everything is interactive. Picture the real world. In your television. You have a phone, you can buy things, you can talk to anyone, you can take care of a kitten, you can take the bus, it’s as close to reality as physically possible. You have a freaking job in the game. A job. People can't get a job in real life. Now you can do a monotonous job in a video game. Forklift driver here I come! Did I mention you can drink sodas and get capsule toys?? Amazing! Soda and Action figures.
2. QTE Battles. Now Quick Time Events happen in most games but back in the year 2000 they were a real rarity. Nothing spells kick ass like hitting one button and sending a drunken sailor into a shelf full of glass bottles.
3. Practice! Practice! Practice! Sometimes in a video game you just want to hang out and hone your super karate attacks. Now you can. When you go into a parking lot, abandoned warehouse, or your very own dojo you can practice your moves at your leisure. This spices things up in real battles because you’re not constantly hitting the punch or kick button. You can actually do some very impressive moves that will throw your enemies for a loop. My favorite is the Dark Side Hazuki throw. Oh, ya! He's not getting up from that one.......
Another great thing they added was picking up move scrolls to enhance your move library. You can purchase them at the antique shop from a cool old man.
4. The most genius part about Shenmue. They actually built in an arcade into the dam game. I'm serious. Not only can you go anywhere, talk to everyone, and buy as much crap as you like BUT now you can actually play video games ......IN A VIDEO GAME. It's a riddle wrapped in an enigma. A paradox that no one can understand. Until now.
Most of the games are old school Sega games like Hang on, Space Harrier, Outrun (Shenmue II), afterburner (Shenmue II) or some unique games they created just for Shenmue. Some of those would be Darts (Which I absolutely love), a simple QTE game where you have to hit the right button in a narrow time limit, or a boxing game that is cool until you lose and then the jerk says "you suck". Which is awesome.
So what have we learned here? We learned today that Shenmue is the greatest game ever created. It’s a work of art that will live on forever. It's in the world records book for being the "MOST EXPENSIVE GAME EVER CREATED”, now that’s an achievement! Shenmue lives in the hearts of gamers all over the world. Its spiritual successor would be Yakuza. They share a similar gaming engine but in my opinion it lacks the innocents that Shenmue had. Furthermore some people have hinted that Shenmue 3 will be a Massive Multiplayer game. I hope not. What I want and I hope I speak for many a Sega fans out there is a new piece of Sega hardware that has Shenmue 3 as an exclusive. It wouldn't feel right kicking Lan Di off a building if it wasn't on a Sega made console.
I hope you enjoyed the article. I was somewhat rushed in writing it.
See ya at the arcade!