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Troy drools, James yawns

By James Stevenson and Troy Roberts     August 06, 2004

Shenmue II
© 2001 Sega

Well, I've devoted a few of my columns in the past to discussing the Sega "hit" SHENMUE, and with Sega's recent announcement, I figured I'd do it again. Earlier this week, Sega announced that it had plans to develop SHENMUE ONLINE, a MMORPG set in the SHENMUE universe. While part of me wanted to jump up and down for joy that a new title in one of my favorite game series was being made, another part of me questioned why.

Now, I love SHENMUE, but there is no doubt in my mind that it has not enjoyed the success that many thought it would. I'm not sure why sales have been lackluster, but I know that it has not sold very well on the Dreamcast or Xbox. Yet we're going to have an online PC game released, something gamers will have to pay monthly to play. While it has only been announced for Asian markets as of now, I'm sure there are plans to bring it overseas. Is this the right idea? For the small amount of true SHENMUE fans, we'll love it. Slap the title SHENMUE on just about anything and I'd buy it without thinking twice. But are there enough fans? Sega must definitely think so.

Honestly, I would have rather heard an announcement on the status of SHENMUE 3 (supposedly the final installment in the "main" series), I'll be eagerly anticipating the PC game. TR

I'll say that SHENMUE ONLINE does little for me. I mean the game is cool but good Lord, I can only search so many cabinets and finish so many odd jobs. Troy is a Shenmue whore though, so he's expected to be all over it.

Does this really peak my interest in MMORPGs? To be honest, a game genre that I believe would vault me firmly into the nerd category in order to play it well doesn't really appeal. Maybe I just don't want to lose my life, or maybe I just have an adverse feeling about dropping a lot of time and money into an online world and online people when there's a lot of real ones around me who are every bit as compelling (if not more so).


Screenshot from THE MATRIX ONLINE.

am a little interested in THE MATRIX ONLINE though. It'd be fun to have a big world to explore with plenty of programs to download, areas to explore, and a cold war of sorts going on. This MMORPG should have a great story and a great experience that hopefully won't be as disappointing as the second two movies in the trilogy ended up. Needless to say, I'm not on the MMORPG bandwagon. - JS


Madden will have its own online leagues that are player created and full of features... Sega is working on another SHINING FORCE game... Atlus has revealed a Nintendo DS game that lets players perform surgery in a sci-fi world and will use the stylus and voice-recognition... Sony will use Blu-Ray discs for the PlayStation 3... Nintendo has announced a new WARIOWARE game that will require the tilting of the Game Boy...



Screenshot from MADDEN NFL 2005.

MADDEN, MADDEN! This is the week we see the release of MADDEN NFL 2005 for GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox and Game Boy Advance. This is the week most sports fans have waited for since last year's game. On a much smaller note, we have THUNDERBIRDS for the Game Boy Advance, NFL GAMEDAY 2005 for the PSOne and an amusing look at politics in the POLITICAL MACHINE for the PC.

Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.

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