Shenmue/Shenmue 2: Justly Maligned or lost Classic?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
i really loved Shenmue for Dreamcast when i first played it. though not without its flaws (a bit too much loving replication of everyday tedium, bad voice acting, not very action packed) there was nothing else like it at the time, and the story got more compelling as it went along. By the time Shenmue 2 came out for X-box (a year after the US DC version was cancelled) it seemed outdated and lost among GTA and its clones. still even though the game engine was dated, the scope and sprawling nature of the game's story remained compelling (even more so than the first i'd say) right until its abrupt end. sadly it seems because of the game's financial failure the story will probably remain unresolved. which is a tragedy, because it had me going and very interested in what was goiung to happen next. what say you?

latebloomer (latebloomer), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 05:29 (fifteen years ago) link

guess what question i'm about to ask in this thread

kingfish superman ice cream (kingfish 2.0), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 05:48 (fifteen years ago) link

also, one day i will have a dreamcast again. i think i still have a memory thing for it.

kingfish superman ice cream (kingfish 2.0), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 05:49 (fifteen years ago) link

My good deed for the day

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 09:01 (fifteen years ago) link

What happened to the Shenmue Online rumors? I really liked the idea of translating standard MMO tedium into that special sort of sublime Shenmue tedium.

adam (adam), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 09:43 (fifteen years ago) link

My good deed for the day


JimD (JimD), Wednesday, 21 September 2005 14:17 (fifteen years ago) link

I never finished moving those crates.

Allen E. Riley (allenriley), Thursday, 22 September 2005 03:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Tho in my version of Shenmue, i want Ryo to break the neck of the little girl with the kitty. SO FUCKING ANNOYING.

kingfish superman ice cream (kingfish 2.0), Thursday, 22 September 2005 14:14 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...

Having never played the first Shenmue, would I be lost starting with Shenmue 2 (apparently it's backwards compatible on the 360)? Or should I buy a dreamcast???

Jeff LeVine, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 23:14 (thirteen years ago) link

when i got shenmue 2 for the original Xbox it came with a dvd movie of the first one, so might be worth checking if thats the case with 360

i never watched it tho haha, but i only played the game for 5 minutes before getting bored.

Ste, Thursday, 13 December 2007 15:51 (thirteen years ago) link

Try to find a way to play it without making an investment (then again, there are other worthwhile games on the Dreamcast, Jet Set Radio and the like...), as I'm not sure Shenmue is really worth it - especially today. GTA3 pretty much eradicated most of the gameplay revolutions Shenmue made - all that's left is the glorious campiness and mindless repetitve tasks. ...I guess that's already said in the opening post.

Man, people bump super old threads like, all the time here! I never get used to it.

Nhex, Friday, 14 December 2007 14:56 (thirteen years ago) link

I guess when you get as old as some of us, two years doesn't seem like "super old." Two years ago seems like yesterday :(

Jeff LeVine, Friday, 14 December 2007 15:40 (thirteen years ago) link

It's all about context. I never paid attention to this thread, so it's new to me! Except I'm still not apying attention to it because I want to play Shenmue 1/2 someday and want no spoilers... so I will forget all aobut it until it gets re-revived 2 months from now.

Will M., Friday, 14 December 2007 15:59 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm looking for sailors. Do you know where sailors hang out? I would like to find sailors.

Telephone thing, Friday, 14 December 2007 23:39 (thirteen years ago) link

If you have a Dreamcast, you can get an ISO of pretty much any game. Things had no protection, there's copies of all the games online & just burn them to a disc, perfectly playable. I also got ISOs for the Dreamcast of all the NES games, SNES, Genesis. In sum: it is totally sweet and I'm going to go play Rival Schools 2 now.

Abbott, Saturday, 15 December 2007 18:38 (thirteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Jeff LeVine, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 17:07 (eleven years ago) link

this is the game that I would most like to revisit. I bought a copy of Shenmue 2 from Europe, which was in English, but I didn't like the idea of hot swapping boot discs to get it to run.

playing this game makes me feel like I don't need to go to Japan. it's in the game!

also every time I pass by an empty parking lot I feel like practicing some kung fu moves.

power, corruption & plies (dyao), Thursday, 8 October 2009 01:26 (eleven years ago) link

I also got ISOs for the Dreamcast of all the NES games, SNES, Genesis. In sum: it is totally sweet and I'm going to go play Rival Schools 2 now.

(spits milk out)

WHAT the FUCK?!?!?!?!

Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 8 October 2009 03:58 (eleven years ago) link

three years pass...

well that rules

My Buddy® of sexting (DJP), Monday, 29 July 2013 13:24 (seven years ago) link


Nhex, Monday, 29 July 2013 13:37 (seven years ago) link

how are these games not available for download on XLBA or PSN

sassy, fun, and RELATABLE (forksclovetofu), Monday, 29 July 2013 16:59 (seven years ago) link

ten months pass...

Nhex, Wednesday, 18 June 2014 20:41 (six years ago) link

good article though I must say I hate that he brings up the old canard "why would I want to play Rock Band if I can already play a guitar" and the even more ridiculous "why would I want to play Animal Crossing when I already live in a town"

Nhex, Wednesday, 18 June 2014 20:43 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

i think that article's a bit of a mess. There are a number of ideas cobbled together and it veers randomly between mythmaking and criticism of the genre's "emptiness" without proposing an alternative or suggesting where "real" depth—these are video games, dude, what do you want?—might be found. Dwarf Fortress, presumably? Tetris?

i've never played Shenmue, although I have sat through entire Let's Plays of both games in the series, more or less back-to--back. i think the fact that I've spent upwards of 50 hours watching a stranger narrate and play these games does give me some kimd of perspective here. These games are not empty, and not hollow. They're smarter and more complex than Skyrim or GTA, despite being built in the technological dark ages of the 1990s.

i didnt get what the author is trying to do with his "lonelycore" term, a coinage that seems pretty specious. So Shenmue is an exercise in loneliness because you can go into shops and initiate canned dialogue and buy a hamburger? Is loneliness good or bad in video games? Do other types of games have this potential, or just RPGs?

One thing I will say is that the stiltedness and artificiality of Shenmue as a piece of software actually reflects what it's trying to do as a work of art. it can be pretty desolate, but it's trying to represent a state of desolation a lot of adolescents already know are desperate to gain some mastery over. You're wandering around in a town, looking for clues that never seem to line up. People seem cold and robotic. There's a feeling of bereavement and profound loss behind it all, and you can amuse yourself at the arcade or suck it up and get a job, but the outcome is the same. So you go on, fumbling toward a resolution for the way you feel.

i think, on a slightly different level, the feeling of loss extends to the decision to set the game in a real and relatively recent past. A "simpler time," perhaps, one kind of desolate and old-fashioned and lo-tech but already hurtling toward the 90s (which we all know was the decade that invented isolated, disoriented adolescence).

fields of salmon, Sunday, 13 July 2014 07:07 (six years ago) link

i think lonelycore is a good coinage, also you are doing a good job of redeeming it, carry on

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 13 July 2014 13:43 (six years ago) link

also i feel like the rock band argument is pretty defensible. rock band is awful

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Sunday, 13 July 2014 13:44 (six years ago) link

smarter and more complex than Skyrim or GTA

steady on

Daphnis Celesta, Sunday, 13 July 2014 14:09 (six years ago) link

I should have said smarter and more emotionally nuanced.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:36 (six years ago) link

Which was what I meant, obviously Skyrim is a complicated game, there's crafting and potion making! ;-)

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:37 (six years ago) link

maybe not thinking of Skyrim so much but Morrowind is ridiculously nuanced

Daphnis Celesta, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:38 (six years ago) link

how are these games not available for download on XLBA or PSN

― sassy, fun, and RELATABLE (forksclovetofu), Monday, 29 July 2013 17:59 (11 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

oppet, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:45 (six years ago) link

As I understand it, it's complicated to port QTE gameplay to the framework/host used by these platforms. You end up with high latency for punch and kick events using the triangle and circle button, specifically.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:48 (six years ago) link

We've put a man on the moon ffs.

oppet, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 21:49 (six years ago) link

as someone who never really got into video games post nes/genesis, i fucking LOVED Shenmue

brimstead, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 22:16 (six years ago) link

i have a pc port but it does not run very well. My graphics card is terrible.

brimstead, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 22:18 (six years ago) link

fields of salmon - this post was so great. do you recommend watching the videos you watched?

Gravel Puzzleworth, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 22:27 (six years ago) link

@Gravel, do you like Let's Plays generally? At lunch today I argued that the Let's Play is an art form of its own. A "Let's Player" is kind of like a literary critic, memoirist, DJ, technical writer, and videographer. Better yet, it's art that nobody wants, it's just garbage art—unwanted cultural production that can't be thwarted and can't be co-opted. It's pretty punk rock and a few of my friends who do this are aware of the connotation.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 22:44 (six years ago) link

FoS - I love reading them and I watch a fair amount of Twitch but my mental idea of an LP'er is PewDiePew which isn't super favourable?

Gravel Puzzleworth, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:03 (six years ago) link

Is that a Minecraft LP? That's a separate type of thing. Most of them are post-AdWord kind of users, just like the whole Twitch phenomenon, which consists of "Don't forget to like my channel. Please click something. Keep subscribing guys, keep jerking off to me livestreaming Euro Truck Simulator 2014, guys."

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:32 (six years ago) link

It's sad and pathetic, and where Minecraft is concerned well, let's say I probably wouldn't leave my kids alone with anyone who does a Minecraft LP (other than Paul Soares who is a verifiably good dude). Most of the British Minecraft LPers fall into the "grand British tradition of children's entertainment" like Jimmy Saville... ya get me.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:34 (six years ago) link

Like my channel, kids.

fields of salmon, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:35 (six years ago) link

That seems to be the majority of LPs to me... the format is working, they're getting audiences, if not my thing. I'm definitely more of a competitive replay/speed run observer

Nhex, Thursday, 17 July 2014 01:32 (six years ago) link

eleven months pass...

so i guess the third of these is coming out and i never read this thread because i never played 1/2. but i have always wanted to. and now it feels like there's kind of a point?

someone upthread mentioned a pc port, i had no idea that existed... can you play 1&2 on a pc? or am i looking at dc/xb emus? ugh i hope not... and i have never done a LP and i don't care ot start.

i also like this "lonely games" thing, i have yet to read that article, but i have talked about how games that make you feel isolated are some of the strongest games that stick out in my memory -- the first mass effect, driving around in the mako on these stunning-skied rockblobs looking for pieces of nothing... those were really powerful to me. everyone else hated them. looking up and seeing a different sky on every planet, with nothing but the dull buzz of the mako and occasional tinkling synths... wow.

i digress. how do i play lonely shenmue?

Bouncy Castlevania (Will M.), Wednesday, 17 June 2015 15:48 (five years ago) link

Shenmue II has some extremely lonely areas. You go into Kowloon Walled City and can explore dozens of abandoned apartment buildings full of thousands of rooms. There are hidden items in all of the buildings IIRC. You go on a leisurely stroll through the Chinese countryside for the last couple hours of the game.

It's one of my favorite experiences of all time.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 17 June 2015 15:57 (five years ago) link

jesus, shenmue iii is even more of a what-decade-is-this kicker than the ffvii remake

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Saturday, 20 June 2015 11:29 (five years ago) link

interested in same questions as will m

i have a dreamcast in storage

, Saturday, 20 June 2015 11:31 (five years ago) link

I never played any Shenmue, but last year came into possession of a Dreamcast. Game is going for a LOT used nowadays.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 20 June 2015 17:42 (five years ago) link

surely you can play CD-R rips on your Dreamcast, no?

Nhex, Saturday, 20 June 2015 17:46 (five years ago) link

then again, Shenmue might be one of those ones that used for the GD space. but i bet there's a compressed working version out there, at least, that's how i remember playing it

Nhex, Saturday, 20 June 2015 17:47 (five years ago) link

Definitely gonna give that a try. I've heard about this game for so long, and seeing this level of hype, I'm insanely curious about it.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 20 June 2015 17:58 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

The Kickstarter ends tomorrow night. They're up to $5.2 million. Trying to beat Bloodstained's record of $5.5 million. It might happen. If so, expect a very festive Twitch event with Yu Suzuki tomorrow night.

Campaign Final Hours Twitch Broadcast

Yu Suzuki will be joined with the Shenmue 3 project members in a special live broadcast to count down the final hours as the Kickstarter project comes to a close. Scheduled to make an appearance are animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi and main character designer Kenji Miyawaki.

The official Shenmue 3 Twitch channel can be found at:

The festivities will start at the following time:

Yokosuka: July 18, 8:00AM JST
Hong Kong: July 18, 7:00AM HKT
Bailu: July 18, 7:00AM CST
Los Angeles: July 17, 4:00PM PDT
New York: July 17, 7:00PM EDT
Berlin: July 18, 1:00AM CEST
Paris: July 18, 1:00AM CEST
Rome: July 18, 1:00AM CEST
London: July 18, 12:00AM BST
Moscow: July 18, 2:00AM MSK
Moscow: July 18, 2:00AM MSK
Seoul: July 18, 8:00AM KST

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 16 July 2015 17:14 (five years ago) link

four weeks pass...

Playing Shenmue for the first time, it's certainly a very important game. Graphics and voice acting and cutscenes and QTE and context-sensitive buttons, semi-open world w lots of mini games, if you had to pick any one game from the first couple of generations of 3D to represent the future of gaming it is this. All the detail is still quite stunning when taking historical context into consideration. The voice acting is a bit uneven but they can't all be MGS.

At the moment the story is really spinning the wheels. I found the Three Blades and they told me to look for sailors who told me to look for a guy named Charlie who leads me to look for blah blah blah. It also seems like the game world entirely revolves around my player, if it is the point in the story where I need to look for sailors then every single conversation I have with any NPC will be about that. During these times I think the pleasantless of the music and the thrill of experiencing a new (at the time) kind of game would make up for the lack of gameplay. Nowadays the fetch quests and time filling is a little more obvious.

The world it creates is beautiful though. And it is nice to be able to play a game for more than an hour without having anybody shoot a gun.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Friday, 14 August 2015 22:34 (five years ago) link

four years pass...

Really want to play Shenmue 2

calstars, Saturday, 20 June 2020 19:38 (seven months ago) link

Nobody mentioned it back when this thread started, but the “shenmue movie DVD” that came with Shenmue 2 was like, literally someone playing through the game if I remember right.

Let’s Play before it was cool.

unashamed and trash (Unctious), Tuesday, 23 June 2020 16:17 (seven months ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.