The long road is coming to an end Shenmue fans

Shenmue fans, the wait is almost over. Pause Resume’s resident Shenmue maniac Craig, explains why it doesn’t matter what other people think because you’ve got your game back.

August 21st and the release of the Shenmue I and II bundle will mean different things to many people.

For some, it’s just another day in this weird world of ours. For others, like myself, it will signify the end of a long and arduous journey to finally get our game back. The series that we played on release, believing that it was the future of video games. The one that we showed to our friends because it looked real, because you could do normal everyday things, because you could fight, because you could look after a cat, because you could get a job and because we loved it. Shenmue is many different things but for many of us, it’s been (and continues to be) so much more than a video game.

When the Shenmue I and II re-releases launch later this month, it won’t matter than a twenty-year-old at IGN gave it a 5.0 because it’s got ‘too much walking’ or Gamespot decide to release an ‘OMG Shenmue is so old and stuck in the past video’ just for clicks, in the hope it goes viral. In fact, you know what, it won’t even matter if Eurogamer decides to skip it all together and go with the tried-and-tested method of filling the site up with Destiny and Fortnite articles. We won’t care. We’ve got our game back.

For Shenmue fans, the next few weeks will be tough at times, despite our goal being so close. Critics will find reasons to negatively dissect Ryo Hazuki’s journey, influencers will find reasons to laugh at it and even commenters will have a field day with some of its archaic ideas – when compared to modern equivalents anyway.

The thing is, the re-release of both Shenmue games mean more to people than just the release of a product. If Shenmue hadn’t touched so many hearts and minds when it originally released, then this comeback wouldn’t have happened. There is no other game that has ever received the backing that Shenmue has. Even when all hope was lost, spit on and evaporated, places still went on to fight, scratch and plead for a glimmer, even a small one.

Ren of Heavens

“May the Gods be with you.”

Many remember when future areas were found in the files of Shenmue II, when Shenmue Online came and went; when Shenmue Mobile happened in Japan and even when Ryo was put in a kart racer. All glimmers that ultimately came to nothing. Over 18 years, the Shenmue community has been through all of this, never giving up and always asking. Yu Suzuki himself, also never gave up. Never once saying that Shenmue III would definitively not be made. The capsule toys that were sent to SEGA on the third of every month also never stopped and, despite almost two long decades of madness, the return of Shenmue is almost here.

On a personal note, Shenmue is why I still play video games. After finishing college, my interest in video games was at an all-time low. In fact, my passion for gaming turned to nothing more than a damp flicker of light that only moved once every few months. Yet, one long-summer day with nothing to do saw me uncover my Dreamcast and copy of Shenmue from the bottom of my wardrobe. I then spent the next few weeks in Yokosuka, Wan Chai, Kowloon and Guilin, enthralled with the journey that Ryo was on. It rekindled my love for video games and exploration in a way that no other game could at the time – even though I had already scoured every part of both games when they released several years earlier. In late August, I hope to do the same again.

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