Pure, after-school Dreamcast beauty.
September 14, 2009
Second only to Zelda Ocarina of Time, Shenmue remains in my mind as one of the most magical games. It came out when I had just turned 15.

I don't really want this article to be a summary of the game, rather I want to describe the magic of my favorite parts in the game.
I love the action of the game, but mainly I love the details throughout, and characters you meet along the way.
I like the part where you help a girl with her kitten, and from that point on, on your way to town, you can check on how the kitten is doing.

Soon after going to town for the first time, you meet Nozomi, who works at a flower shop...

a simple, tender soul who hopes that someday Ryo will feel the same way about her.
The next memory is a little obscure, but remains in my mind. I liked how every morning when Ryo would wake up he would say, "aahh... another day."
Discovering the hidden passage in the dojo, and having to buy batteries for your flashlight in order to explore the basement was a great part. The family crest!
Sparring in the street...
the arcade...
getting a job and driving the forklift...

all magical memories.

The best memory is the tender drama between Ryo and Nozomi, which comes to a peak when Ryo rescues her and gives her a ride home on his motorcycle.

I especially like the part where they sit on the bench in the park together in the moonlight, and she rests her head on Ryo's shoulder.
In most games, the love stories usually move too quickly and go further and faster than in real life, but Shenmue captures the tension and mixed feelings that come along with being in love... and the inevitable disappointment that follows, when both hearts are not fully ready.
Having wanted to live in Japan for some length of time before the game came out, playing it got me that much closer. Now that I look back, on Ryo roaming the streets, buying sodas from the vending machines...

...and toy capsules...

... have all become a real part of my everyday life now in Tokyo. Every once in a while, I find myself walking home on a lone street and the glow of a vending machine will contrast just right with the gray sky and I smile, remembering Shenmue.
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