SEGA's epic 1999 adventure game by legendary producer Yu Suzuki is consistently voted as one of the greatest video games of all time. A hugely ambitious project, one that eventually cost SEGA a staggering $47 million to develop and market, Shenmue was a cinematic sandbox adventure game for the Dreamcast console that never really managed the mainstream success that it deserved.
Those that spent countless hours helping Ryo find those responsible for the murder of his father will know that few games offered an experience as rich as Shenmue. Shenmue was more than simply a sequence of quests and conversations, it was a simulation.
Only a handful of games since Shenmue have offered such a detailed urban sandbox experience. What other game has offered the chance to take a day job as a forklift truck driver whilst learning complex martial arts moves from a burger van man during lunch brake? Back in 1999 Shenmue was an altogether different experience from the norm, it had poise and grace, it evoked excitement and thoughtful contemplation.
Since Shenmue 2 there has been a GCI movie DVD release, orchestral concerts of the original soundtrack and reports of sequels, but all we really want is more Shenmue on a decent and upcoming hardware platform before the story is forgotten forever.
Shenmue for iPad
There are good reasons why Shemue would find a perfect home on the iPad.
1) The iPad shares much of its graphics hardware design with the Dreamcast. PowerVR the chip design division behind the graphics technology of the Dreamcast is the very same division responsible for the staggeringly good 3D performance of the iPad 2.
2) Shenmue and its sequel were designed to be played in chapters, translating nicely to Apple's 'in app' purchasing mechanism.
3) One of Shenmue's central gameplay concepts was QTE (Quick Time Event). While this was a little clumsy using the Dreamcast controller, it would be a natural fit for the iPad's multi-touch display.
4) Though most played Shenmue for Dreamcast on a standard CRT Television, Shenmue was optimised for a VGA, 1024 x 768, 4:3 aspect ratio display, that's astonishingly close to the iPad's display.
A story worth finishing
Most of the hard work has already been done. All the assets, both visual and audible, were completed way back in 1999. Potentially, bringing Shenmue to the iPad should not be that difficult, and with the correct pricing and a good push of publicity, money could be made and gamers pleased.
More importantly, a successful Shenmue launch on the iPad might just convince SEGA that the entire Shenmue story is worth finishing.
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