The Absurdity of Shenmue III (and other [E3] thoughts)

Hello internet. It’s been awhile. Sorry about that…I kind of dozed off there. I’ll try not to let it happen again.

A perfect storm of amiibo-mania (nope, things still haven’t changed), an unhealthy obsession with the recently vanquished CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (watched all 102 games…), and a drug-addicted like state of never-ending BIOSHOCK 2’ing left me paralyzed to do anything else. But with BIOSHOCK dying, amiibo-mania dying down (once the Smash set is over…I’m out), the CAVS spitting me out and leaving me as a broken shell of a man, and, oh yeah, Game of Thrones over, well, I’ve got some time! With that out of the way… … .. .


HOLY BABY JESUS! THIS CAME OUT OF NOWHERE! I’m…I’m still in shock. I never, ever expected this game to come out in my lifetime. …Why? Well…let’s talk about it. You have to know the history of this “franchise” to understand the craziness of this news.

I have to imagine most people have no idea what the hell Shenmue is, and that’s perfectly understandable. A wonderful collection on the very long history of Shenmue can be found at Shenmue Dojo (they’ve been waiting SOOO long for this game – the website is still using oldschool HTML frames!) or its Wikipedia page. Basically, to sum up, this is an “epic”-tale conceived by Yu Suzuki (Sega’s one-time equivalent of Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto) comprised of somewhere between 11 and 16 chapters. Shenmue I covered Ch. 1, Shenmue II covered Ch3-6 (Ch. 2 takes place on a boat…don’t ask..).

The jist of it is…the story is done. It’s been done for decades! So, what the hell happened? The first game set, and held for a good while, a record of being the most expensive game ever made; somewhere along the lines of $70-100 million dollars! It didn’t recoup the cost, and Sega never recovered. Shenmue was Sega’s hail-mary, and it didn’t work out. Dreamcast died, and it took a few years, but Sega is now a walking corpse. Sega owns Shenmue’s intellectual property and given their…ahem…reluctance to make actual software that actual human beings want to play, the prospects of Shenmue III ever being continued were infinitesimally small. The only way anyone thought this would happen is if Sega would end up being absorbed by another player. The idea that Shenmue III would be backed by Sony (through this Kickstarter), the company that ultimately destroyed Sega, is strangely ironic.

OK, so yeah…an old game series is being continued, why should you care? … I don’t know. I’m not sure regular gamers will care. I’m not sure this game will really appeal to anyone but the diehards, to be honest. But for me, and thousands of others, this series is just something very special. It’s completely unique, and was way, way beyond its time.  Shenmue II, through a mixture of it being my first imported game (I had to buy a EU copy and play it through a bootloader…because Sega didn’t localize it!!) and its own merits, is my 2nd favorite game of all-time. I don’t anticipate that will ever change (nostalgia is a tough thing to vanquish). What kind of game is Shenmue? Well, it’s a fighting action RPG QTE movie with minigames. Yeah. Exactly.

Shenmue is such a strange, weird, grand, epic game. If you’re “in the know” just saying normally innocuous words like toy capsules, darts, ducks, soda cans, arcades, fork lifts, zippos, and “100” should bring a smile to your face. Not to mention Ren and Joy (mmm….Joy…) and that epic Guilin sequence (seriously, that was amazing). There’s no equivalent game I can compare it to. It was just a fantastic experience…well, other than the loading times. Dear lord those loading times…I will not miss those.


Oh yeah! There was also E3… Hmm, let me sum up my reactions in a few words:

  • Sony: Hey…you’re skipping remakes of V and VI!!
  • Microsoft: I’m not interested in any of your games (I cringed at that new Rare game…), but that Minecraft demo was cool!
  • Nintendo: I’M REALLY EXCITED FOR THOSE ANIMAL CROSSING GAMES! And dat Metroid Game!! Oh wait. Those were terrible. Just terrible Nintendo. Why don’t you just officially announce Wii U is dead?

See you again in six months!

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