The Experience is F.R.E.E.
If I had to choose a video game that summed up the Martial Way then the mighty Shenmue would be the one.
Created by legendary Game creator Yu Suzuki from Sega's AM2 department it was the first video game that immersed you in to a Real life world where you had to go to sleep at night, travel to places, find jobs and generally pass the time .
Hence the label by Yu Suzuki as F.R.E.E. which stood for '' Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment'' Giving Shenmue it's own Genre and one that has never been approached in the same manner again, though Sega's own Yakuza series on PlayStation 2 / 3 and 4 are similar in it's style and story driven proceedings.
Shenmue was originally bench-marked for the Saturn console ,under the working title of Project Berkeley, but when the Saturn failed to stand up against the might of Sony's Playstation with it's dedicated 3D chip heavy games it was decided that the Saturn best be put to rest.
Yu Suzuki who had been working on the title was not to troubled by this as he was involved in Sega's work on the new KATANA console ( Renamed Dreamcast for launch), he was sure it would be easy to transfer the idea to Katana ( he was probably pleased as even he said Saturn was a bugger to program for), with the ease of Katana's programming techniques and the fact it used a open world operating system made life easier to.
Now for you Dreamcast (Katana) owners two dates are important to you ,the first is ''November 29th 1986'', the next date varies to where in the World you are .
So if your in the region of Japan it would be ''December 29th 1999''
if your in North America then it would be '' November 6th 2000''
and if in Europe then the date would be '' November 24th 2000''.
Yes the first date is the date when you start the game Shenmue, the second date is of course the release date for the game in various regions. If only they waited another 5 days in Europe, how cool would that be?
Now with nearly a year between the Japanese and American and Europe releases Dreamcast owners in the latter regions where on tender hooks for months. Unless of course you could understand Japanese then you could import the game and make your friends jealous.
Of course the translation of the game into English took a while ( if they had subtitled like part 2 it may have been sooner) .
Everyone new of this game, but by the time the game arrived in the west it looked liked Sega where spewing money from every orifice. But at that time Dreamcast was starting to gain respect and selling consoles, partly due to Sony's failure to deliver enough Playstation 2's for the Christmas 2000 rush.
I for one remember waiting for the date in Europe and picking up my copy on the day of release . Nothing could prepare me for the experience that the Dreamcast would unleash on me that day in November 2000.
But it was not just me that got swept away in a story that would literally take over my life for weeks ( I was thinking of changing my name to RYO by de-pole at one point ) , I had spoken to others and the story was the same, in fact I was part of a band of people who's lives where disturbed by real life events like having to go to work, wash, eat, sleep or anything else you actually you need to do, why because in my mind I was already doing this in SHENMUE.
SHENMUE had arrived and the fine line between gaming and real life was never the same again.
So what is it about this game?
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