Shenmue is a game released exclusively to the Sega Dreamcast. At the time, it was the most expensive video game ever made, costing 47 to 70 million dollars to develop and promote.

An HD port was announced for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.


After his father is beaten in combat and murdered, a teenaged martial artist named Ryo Hazuki must uncover the truth of why his father was murdered and seek revenge.

Why It Rocks

  1. Heavily popularized the use of Quick Time Events.
  2. Ryo socializes with NPCs and sees them live out their lives, similar to real life.
  3. Ryo can fight multiple enemies.
  4. There are certain places where Ryo can train. Training increase the power of each of his martial arts abilities.
  5. There are arcades where Ryo can play past Sega games like Space Harrier and Hang-On fully complete. There are also arcade games that help train a gamers reflexes on Quick Time Events.
  6. A persistent clock runs constantly throughout the game and everything is affected by it, such as buses running on timetables and each NPC having their own routine.
  7. A very large voice cast. Every single NPC has its own voice actor so there is no text when communicating with someone.
  8. Ryo earns a daily allowance and can earn a job as a fork lifter.
  9. Very good story.

Bad qualities

  1. If you reach an appointment at the wrong time you have to either distract yourself with sidequests or just waste time waiting. This was corrected in the sequel.
  2. The game can be too slow paced at times.
  3. Despite being a 3D game, gamers use the D-Pad instead of the analog stick. The analog stick is used for camera control.


Shenmue has a 4.37 rating on GameFAQS and is considered one of the best games ever made with a strong cult following and sold over 1.2 million copies. Unfortunately, the game was too expensive to develop therefore it could not recoup its development costs despite the good sales numbers and was declared a commercial failure. According to Sega, in order for Shenmue to turn a profit every single Dreamcast owner in the planet would've had to buy two copies of the game.

Some believe that Shenmue's excessive development cost was a contributor to the Dreamcast's early demise, as financial problems were one of the main reasons Sega had to discontinue it.