Your personal stories with Shenmue

Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Hi everyone!

I searched a little and found no topic like this, sorry if there is one already made.

What I'd like to tell and read from you guys is your personal story with Shenmue. How you got to know the saga, what brought you or any kind of thing you'd like to share.

Here goes mine. First of all, let me apologize for my english, it's not my native tongue and I may make some mistakes.

When the first Shenmue was released in the West I was 10 years old. I had no idea that the game even existed, by the time only recently I had the PSX (I used to play on PC to mostly older games and in a NES) and my knowledge of gaming was centered towards that system. I knew the Dreamcast was already out but in my country at least, Spain, it was pretty expensive. My family was humble and we couldn't afford to buy a new console, so I never even asked them to buy it.

While watching a satellite channel called "C:", dedicated to games (where I got to know most of the Dreamcast catalog, specially Space Channel 5 and Crazy Taxi), they made a coverage of a new Sega game called Shenmue. And I felt completely in love since the first moment I saw it. It had everything I could expect from a game. A realistic open world (open worlds was something I dreamt of a lot, PSX games weren't open or with many, many restrictions like Driver 1 and 2), an everyday life with its character, a cinematic story, unbelievable graphics, kung fu... I recall specially the fact that they said if you ran out of batteries for a flashlight you had to go to the shop to buy new ones and you had to work to earn money.

Nowadays maybe this sounds ridiculous but that was a dream for me, everything they said and shown was like out of this world for me. I became kinda obsessed, I was waiting to see if any emulator could bring the game to PC (although my PC wasn't strong enough even if it existed), waiting to see if the game released for PSX (yeah, yeah... I was a kid) or later PS2... all to no avail. So for a long time Shenmue was something that existed only in my dreams.

I had a PS2 in 2002 and all my gaming was for that console. But in 2006 everything changed at last. We had a better situation at home and consoles were no longer expensive. At the end of 2005 I had the Xbox 360 and soon after they added some backwards compatibility. I learned that Shenmue 2 released on Xbox but it wasn't one of the games that could play on 360. But in July 2006 I found Shenmue 2 for Xbox in a "Game" shop, it was second hand and for only 10 euros. I bought it. Even I couldn't reproduce it, I still wanted it just in case.

That night I watched the Shenmue movie and fell even more in love. But I still couldn't play. Later that month, maybe a week or two after having the game, my mom gave me a big surprise: she told me to buy an original Xbox which was pretty cheap by that time (I was 15 so I had no income of my own). So that 24th of July 2006 was, after almost six years after knowing Shenmue, when I could finally play it. And I was astounded when I started it and was even better than I could imagine. The music, the environment, the combat, the QTE's... I just can't describe it.

I reached Kowloon, but in August (I think it was around the 5th) a friend of my father lent me his old Dreamcast, I told him about Shenmue and he had it but almost never played it. He lent me the console with Shenmue and finally could play the first one. So I left Shenmue 2 aside to beath the first one. Still to this day Shenmue 1 is my favourite game of the saga and my third favourite game ever (only surpassed by two games that changed me way before: MGS1 and MGS2), I beated it and loved every second of it. But I didn't return to Shenmue 2.

Well, that's my story of how I got to know, play and love the saga. BTW I had a problem/curse with Shenmue 2 that I just never beat it. I played Shenmue 1 several times and although I started 2, never managed to reach the end for one reason or another. It wasn't until 2014 that I finally reached the credits. And I'm very happy I did that, because it was one of the last games I finished in my old house, where I lived since I was born and had to leave at the end of 2014. I have an illusion: if someday I get a lot, lot of money I'll buy that house again and I'll play a game that wished for many years to play there: Shenmue 3 (and hopefully 4, 5...)

Thanks for reading. What's your story?
 

Jibby

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Wonderful thread! I enjoyed reading through your story a lot.

As somebody in their early 20s, I was pretty young when Shenmue hit the scene, but I vividly remember watching my older brother play it. We would spend countless hours taking turns playing the arcade games and collecting toy capsules. I believe my brother did play through the story, but I was probably too young at the time to really appreciate it. Regardless though, even back then it felt special to me. The vibe and atmosphere was unlike any other video game I'd ever played. Even if the only thing I knew about the game at that time was walking around Yokosuka, it still stuck out so much.

As time went on and I became older, I never did forget the game. And even though the Dreamcast had been boxed away and replaced with an Xbox by this point, I still felt the urge to play it, but for real this time. So I took ownership of the dusty old Dreamcast and started my first real playthrough of the game. And oh boy, discovering that one of your favourite games actually goes so much deeper... it was just an incredible experience.

And for a while, that was it. I played the game and moved on. It wasn't until a lot later that I played Shenmue II. The game kind of flew under my radar for a while. But when I did finally get round to playing and finishing it, that's when I'd say I became a true Shenmue fanatic. Not only did Shenmue II turn things up to 11, but that cliffhanger! It left me wanting more. I took a look online and found that I wasn't the only one. I found communities such as Shenmue Dojo which I lurked for a few years before eventually signing up myself in 2014. I involved myself more and more in the community and joined the campaign to get Shenmue III.

I was watching live the night III was announced. It was an ecstatic feeling. Like time had slowed down. I remember staying up all night watching the pledge counter rise and rise. The feeling of accomplishment seeing the game finally being announced and knowing that the story will finally go on... it's something I don't think I could accurately describe to anyone outside this fandom.

And that pretty much brings us to today. The game came out, for a glorious moment the story continued, and now it's back to business as usual, campaigning for even more Shenmue!

But all in all, I could never have guessed that the game from my childhood 'where you run around and buy capsule toys' could have had such a massive and long lasting influence on my life. And I wouldn't want it any way either.

Shenmue is special. And no matter what, it always will be.


Here's another little funny side story from my early days of playing the game. I remember my brother and cousin made up this rumour that if you got Ryo to buy the coffee from the vending machine, there would be a chance that he'd chug it and then violently spit it back out. Even though that obviously isn't true, I still have these strong fake memories of actually seeing it happen 😅
 
OP
OP
O
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Wonderful thread! I enjoyed reading through your story a lot.

As somebody in their early 20s, I was pretty young when Shenmue hit the scene, but I vividly remember watching my older brother play it. We would spend countless hours taking turns playing the arcade games and collecting toy capsules. I believe my brother did play through the story, but I was probably too young at the time to really appreciate it. Regardless though, even back then it felt special to me. The vibe and atmosphere was unlike any other video game I'd ever played. Even if the only thing I knew about the game at that time was walking around Yokosuka, it still stuck out so much.

As time went on and I became older, I never did forget the game. And even though the Dreamcast had been boxed away and replaced with an Xbox by this point, I still felt the urge to play it, but for real this time. So I took ownership of the dusty old Dreamcast and started my first real playthrough of the game. And oh boy, discovering that one of your favourite games actually goes so much deeper... it was just an incredible experience.

And for a while, that was it. I played the game and moved on. It wasn't until a lot later that I played Shenmue II. The game kind of flew under my radar for a while. But when I did finally get round to playing and finishing it, that's when I'd say I became a true Shenmue fanatic. Not only did Shenmue II turn things up to 11, but that cliffhanger! It left me wanting more. I took a look online and found that I wasn't the only one. I found communities such as Shenmue Dojo which I lurked for a few years before eventually signing up myself in 2014. I involved myself more and more in the community and joined the campaign to get Shenmue III.

I was watching live the night III was announced. It was an ecstatic feeling. Like time had slowed down. I remember staying up all night watching the pledge counter rise and rise. The feeling of accomplishment seeing the game finally being announced and knowing that the story will finally go on... it's something I don't think I could accurately describe to anyone outside this fandom.

And that pretty much brings us to today. The game came out, for a glorious moment the story continued, and now it's back to business as usual, campaigning for even more Shenmue!

But all in all, I could never have guessed that the game from my childhood 'where you run around and buy capsule toys' could have had such a massive and long lasting influence on my life. And I wouldn't want it any way either.

Shenmue is special. And no matter what, it always will be.


Here's another little funny side story from my early days of playing the game. I remember my brother and cousin made up this rumour that if you got Ryo to buy the coffee from the vending machine, there would be a chance that he'd chug it and then violently spit it back out. Even though that obviously isn't true, I still have these strong fake memories of actually seeing it happen 😅
Great story! Thank you for sharing it!

As you mention 3, I also was there the night it was announced at E3. For me, the leak (I think it was one day before the Sony show) ruined it. I mean, I was so happy of course, but when the music started to sound it was a confirmation. I can only imagine how I would have reacted if it was kept a secret as it had to. I probably would have freaked out and cried.

Because in September when backers got our demo, I cried as soon as I started it. After 15 years of thinking that we would never get the third one, years of hope and sadness, it was actually true.

I know some people, even fans, don't like 3 too much and I get it, and when they are constructive I respect their opinion totally. I'm also not very happy with some decisions. But it still holds a very special place in my heart, and playing it now once again (and with mods that make it even more faithful to the DC ones) without the "hype" I'm loving it even more.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Location
Yokohama, Japan
Favourite title
Shenmue
Currently playing
Gensou Suikoden (PSP)
I don't know where to start with my stories. Most of my exposure to Shenmue has actually always been to the original Japanese version. When I went to high school in Gilbert, Arizona, I was living near a store that specialized in selling imports. It was where I was exposed to the greatness of the Sega Saturn (ie, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter). It was where I first played the Dreamcast when it came out in Japan around November 1998, and the following May (meaning four months before the North American launch), my parents got a Japanese Dreamcast for my brothers and I, which paved the way for getting Shenmue on December 31, 1999.

One simple memory is when midnight struck to start the new millennium Arizona time, I was playing the Japanese version of Shenmue.

In addition, I was taking Japanese lessons at my local high school, where it was offered. I recorded a lot of Shenmue footage and wrote a lot of stuff in my notebook. I would bring my notebook and video to school and ask my teacher about what such and such meant. We still have a relationship to this day.
 

ShenGCH

This motherfucker... cupped his hands...
Joined
Jul 27, 2018
Location
United Kingdom
Favourite title
Shenmue
Currently playing
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
My brother purchased the game shortly after release on account of this trailer, which was on an Official Dreamcast Magazine demo disc, and... subsequently never played it. I, too, was wowed by the trailer, so I was eager to play the game, which I did as soon as I was able. Having never played an open-world game until that point, I was completely out of my depth, but I was intrigued, so I soldiered on and everything fell into place soon enough.

On my very first attempt at playing the game, I got lost in the Hazuki house and had to restart. (I was thick as pig shit as a child.) On my second attempt, I spent so long messing around in the Hazuki house, Yamanose, and Sakuragaoka that Yamagashi-san was nowhere to be found. (Evidently, not especially conscientious either.) As a result, I restarted once again because I thought I had missed my opportunity and fucked up the playthrough. On my third attempt, I rushed through everything up to Sakuragaoka, finally found Yamagashi-san, was granted entry to Dobuita, and the journey began. At some point during the playthrough (might have been at the beginning of disc three), I acquired a guide and followed that right to the end, which I now regret doing.

I remember feeling so bummed when the game ended. Not only did I not want it to end, but it felt as though the game was never going to end, in the best possible sense.

It was a long wait for Shenmue II, let me tell you. But I will save that for another post 🙂

EDIT: Forgot to say that, during my second attempt at playing the game, I won the "Mr Yukawa (Happi)" prize from Abe Store on my very first try of the raffle draw. Didn't have a fucking clue what was going on!
 
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