Part two of my exciting journey of “Anime, Shenmue, Weddings, and Work!” begins now!
In this episode I travel to Scranton, with the sexiest man alive, Armando. We go to visit our friend Paul 2 weeks before his wedding, a week of nothing but manly things done by manly men!
Date: May 25th-June 2nd
Location: Scranton, PA
Mission: Man Week!
On Sunday, the 24th of May, I returned home from Anime North 2009. Soar and exhausted, I was looking forward to some much-needed R&R. However, my time to relax at home was short-lived. The next morning at 9:00 am, I was scheduled to hop back in a car and drive 4 hours to Scranton, PA. The mission? To give my soon to be wed buddy Paul, a week of being men! My partner for this mission was the sexy and dangerous Armando, or as I like to call him, “Ar-Man-do.”
So Armando and I began on an epic quest to give Paul, our soon to be husband friend, the last week of his single male life. As you can surely imagine this ment booze, hoes, and gambling. But that’s only what we did at night. The day time, when Paul worked, consisted of a lot of video gaming. Armando and I are both huge fans of the Shenmue series, so we brought a Sega Dreamcast with us and began our epic quest to beat both Shenmue 1 and Shenmue 2 in one week, no meager task.
For those of you who don’t know, Shenmue was originally designed as an RPG for the Virtual Fighter series, a very successful fighting game franchise created by Yu Suzuki, the creator of Shenmue. Over time, the game took a life of its own, developed all original characters: Ryo, Lan Di, and the video game character I have a huge virtual crush on Nozomi. The game takes place in Yokosuka and Doubita, both actual areas of Japan. The game contains fairly accurate, although greatly scaled down, 1986 versions of both of those modern areas. Shenmue 2 breaks from Japan and brings use from the Land of the Rising Sun, to Hong Kong, and boasts a much bigger world to explore.
The basic plot of Shenmue is a revenge story, one where the main character’s father is murdered before his very eyes by Lan Di. Ryo swears to get revenge on Lan Di, and the two games consist of Ryo attempt to track him down. Along the way, Ryo meets a cast of creative characters, two girls in particular who definitely want to jump his bones: Nozomi, the Japanese Canadian school girl, and Joy, the wild and free Hong Kong Hottie.
Shenmue is really a one of a kind game. It combines some really great game play mechanics from other games, as well as creates a few that are used constantly today. Shenmue’s game play consists of three major components: Quest, Battle, and QTE. Quest is the majority of the game. This is where you walk around, talking with the other inhabitants of the cities, explore, find items, etc. Battle is a fighting mechanic that burrows the fighting system of the Virtual Fighter Franchise. QTE, also known as Quick Time Event, is where a button flashes on the screen and you have a limited amount of time to react to it. Although not created by Shenmue (that honor goes to Dragon’s Lair), Shenmue was the first to really bring that experience into the home console and is what made it a staple mechanic used by games to this very day.
Shenmue is one of the best games ever made. It has an engaging storyline, great game play, and absolutely stunning graphics (For a Dreamcast game). All in all, the game is a great package and is a must play for all gamers.
Getting back on track though, Armando and I decided to beat both games that week. Shenmue 1, if you ignore all the side quests and extra events, takes roughly 17 hours to complete while Shenmue 2 takes a little over 20. All in all a very plausible goal. However, our journey was fraught with adversity. The first challenge we faced, was waking up early enough to play before Paul got back from work. We where usually up until 5 in the morning and would sleep until 1 or 2 while Paul was out working. We struggled to get through the hours of game time. We also lost progress about three times untill we ultimately threw in the towel. The first was when our copy of Shenmue for the Dreamcast froze on us. The disk had a little bit of dirt on it and froze. This set us back about 3 hours since we had last saved. The second set back took place at the end of disk 2 of shenmue 1, it’s a 3 disk game. After the final cut scene, the game tells you it is time to switch disks, that’s easy enough. However, before you are supposed to remove the disk, you have to save by hitting A. In our hastiness to move to disk 3, we did not save it, we just opened it only to realise, we needed to go back and complete another 3 hours of game play that we lost due to our inattentiveness. Finlay, this was the real kick in the pants. Armando and I had played through about half of Shenmue 2, and had not saved in nearly 5 or 6 hours. The game didn’t shove it in our face like it usually does because of the cut scenes and events we had reached. Well, we didn’t count on a power outage and that’s exactly what happened. A fuse in the house blew and we lost power, 6 hours of game play, down the drain. This was the last straw, and we gave up as we only had one day left to complete our goal. Had that not happened, we could have easily finished the game, but that last incident had put us back to far.
Despite Ar-MAN-do’s and my failure to complete Shenmue 1 and 2 in a week, we walked out content. We got to play through most of one of our favorite game franchises, and while we where taking turns playing the game. We learned some Japanese through the use of “My Japanese Coach” for the DS.
Well boys and girls, our adventure is almost complete, only 1 more article remains in this ridiculous story I am weaving. Tune in tomorrow night for the very anger filled story about Dayton Ohio. Enjoy and goodnight.