My Thoughts on Shenmue: Short but Sweet

Today I feel especially happy. So happy I was skipping from work to home. It might be the effect of the booze I had during social hour at work (it’s a way for the company to get us introvert workers to mingle and talk) that is giving me this happy feeling. But more so, I think it has to do with it being Friday and I completed the first Shenmue installment. To my surprise, I didn’t know that I was so close to completing it. Wow, I kind of like how short the game is compared to games these days which require over 50 plus hours.

Despite it being short, I can tell the developers carefully craft the game. It’s a fine cup of tea. I enjoyed the thoughtful dialogue. Each NPC is different and not mass produced like Final Fantasy X.  There is nothing more annoying than bumping into clones. I like some imperfection and some distinction between the characters I interact with.  I was also quite fond of the changing season and the changing time.  Overall, I felt satisfied buying a” ticket” to  Japan with my gift card that I earned from work. Just play Shenmue, it feels as if I have been transported to Japan.  Life is so much simpler without the traveling part.  Plus in the game, I only need to sleep and investigate. There wasn’t a time I need to eat or use bathroom. Those two things I can live without.

So to celebrate my accomplishment (yes, I beat a game, and therefore it’s an achievement) I will share some of the special moments I enjoyed about the game that made me reflect on my own life and what I’d like to improve. After all, video game to me is just time out from reality which I often like to refer to as my cigarette break. So I list three:

1) Work– There was a period in my life where I had a hard time looking for a job. It doesn’t help that I have a soft personality.  Over the years, I learned to be assertive out of desperation just like Ryo who literally asked everyone at the harbor for work.  Most of the people would tell him they are not looking for new people and that work at the harbor is not easy.  I hate such discouragement because it reminds me of my own life–I was often told I can’t handle the work.  At that point in the game, I got a little frustrated because every person I turn to wasn’t helpful. One example is the homeless guy who said: “Son, do I look gainfully employed to you?” He later on said if you want to be unemployed just come back and talk to him.  I really appreciate the humor.  Perhaps in real life, generally speaking, if you looking for something–you ought to associate yourself with those who can provide you the tools and answers you need for success.  There are some people out there who can really give you bad advice and have a negative influence on your life. Personally, I think I have met some very wonderful people whom I can called my second family.  Without them, I think I would be a lost soul. They are always encouraging me to step up and grow. I am in fact, in the process, of refining my skills for a new venture.

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2) Health–The statement below is so accurate. “Health is the most important thing,” so take care of yourself.  I try to live a somewhat healthy lifestyle. I get my dose of exercise by walking to work.  In addition, naturally I like to eat vegetables. Good for me. However, what is not so good is my struggle for protein. I don’t like to eat meat. If I eat meat, it will cure my lack of energy for gaming? Hehe.

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3) Partner– They say loneliness is the number 1 killer. It’s more toxic than consuming cigarettes. Unfortunately in my life, this is the part where I need work the most. Although I am a bit hesitant to get into a relationship. I am perfectly content being single.  If you are single, you get a lot of pressure from family, and even from the opposite sex.  Just because I am single, some guys think I am lonely. What an insult.  To be honest, the reason why I am single is because I have a lack of interest in dating. The chance of meeting the right person is slim.  The solution? I thought of meticulously designing a fake boyfriend so people will stop pestering me.   But if I were to choose an actual partner, I’m not all that picky, like Mai, I just want an honest, hard working man–a guy with a big heart. No crazy people please! I am sensitive to stress.

I really had  a good time with Shenmue.  I did struggle a bit with quick time event and the fighting part. But that is to be expected.  I had fun. It kept me alert and focused. I like that feeling!

Until next time, I’ll be in Hong Kong. Maybe this time I will finally get to meet the mysterious girl in the cover of the game. Oh how I appreciate some romance! Life without it, is kind of boring and dull.

Shenmue Continues…

Currently I am playing Shenmue as Ryo Hazuki. He is a teenage schoolboy. He doesn’t care much about his studies. He is more concern about being a detective, investigating his father’s death. I sympathize with him. Losing a parent is very difficult. Ryo wants to avenge his father’s death. I would do the same, if I were in his shoes.

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The tone of the game is far from serious despite the seriousness of the situation. The game took on a macho approach. Ryo is called to action right off the bat. This sort of plot is cliche. If you are familiar with Hong Kong action films, most of the time, it has to do with vengeance. Despite how I feel about the plot so far, I am actually enjoying the game on a personal level. 1) It brings back to my earliest childhood memory: My mother used to put me in front of the T.V to distract me so she could do some housework. I think I was about three years old. I became addicted to Hong Kong action films ever since (thanks Mom). 2) I am a fan of quick time event and racing games. I like chasing after bad guys and punishing them. 3) I like Ryo’s assertiveness. He was so adamant about finding work at the harbor, he harassed just about everyone at the harbor until he got a job, moving crates. Before the actual work starts, we do a little race with the forklifts. I thought that part was actually fun.

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But of course work is not all fun. There is some fighting involved. Work bullies are the worst. In Ryo’s case it was a necessary. His main purpose at the harbor was to sniff out the Mad Angels, which is a group of foreigners thugs. Wow, I just realized Ryo is the ultimate Japanese police, seriously. It’s not a bad thing. He puts things in order and he is quite fair. I can understand that from a nationalist perspective. Lastly, the story is engaging and simple enough for me to follow. I don’t care for complex things lately. I am trying to be kind to my brain.

Overall, I really enjoy the casualness of the game even though I know the targeted audience is for children. Hey children know how to have fun. I will always be a child at heart. A child’s heart is less critical and open to new things. I just want to enjoy games. Life is already so serious. Can we all just find a time to laugh about it?

My final thought for tonight goes to the silly motorcycle scene. It’s silly because it is so long. For a second, I thought I was watching a movie. I don’t mind it. Well, I guess Nozumi should have her farewell ride with her crush. After all, she is leaving for Canada. Oh my Ryo, such a gentleman for rejecting a girl kindly.

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