Thursday 22nd November 2012 – Day 24
I had a mad panic today. I turned my Dreamcast on as normal to load disc 3 of Shenmue. Nothing! It kept going back to the loading screen. I was going nuts and I’ll be completely honest, if I couldn’t get it to work I was going to jack the whole thing in. I put out a message on Twitter and good old Dits suggested putting the Dreamcast on its side. A bit strange I thought but I’ll give it a try. It only bloody worked first time. I don’t know what was going on but I panicked every time the laser made a noise. Anyway I managed to play some Shenmue. Goro announced that he is getting married to a 16 year old girl which I thought was a bit random. I seem to be getting worse at fork lift racing. 2nd place is the best I can manage.
Friday 23rd November 2012 – Day 25
I can sense that I’m near the end of Shenmue. You are woken in the middle of the night and Chai has kidnapped Nozomi. I know I probably should have been more sympathetic to her plight but I laughed when Chai said in his creepy little voice “If you don’t show I’ll make her cry!”
I need to get to the harbour by 3.30am and the buses have stopped running. I’m panicking now as time is running out. Wait; I passed a motorcycle on the way to Dobuita. Now I understand why I spent so much time playing Hang On in the arcade. It wasn’t just for fun, it was training. You have to race to the harbour on a motorcycle with a 2 minute time limit. I arrive at the harbour and beat up some guys. They lead me to Terry, the leader of the Mad Angels. You make a deal with Terry to cripple Chen Gui Zhang in exchange for Nozomi safety. You take her home on the motorcycle and are treated to a nice music number. Poor old Nozomi is holding onto Ryo and you get the feeling that she wanted to ask him in for a coffee but surprise surprise he isn’t interested. The next day Ryo gets fired from his forklift job because he’s been stirring up shit at the harbour. To make matters worse Tom tells Ryo that he is leaving for America. I swear Ryo was more cut up about that then he was Nozomi leaving for Canada. Wait a minute, Tom sells hotdogs. Is this another subtle reference to my theory that Ryo is gay? Does he prefer the sausage? Later in the day you confront the Mad Angels. All 70 of them. You fight alongside Chen Gui Zhang and defeat the gang but you realise that Lan Di has already left for Hong Kong. The next day you leave home to continue your adventure. I have to confess that it’s pretty emotional as Ryo leaves home and walks though Dobuita for the last time. It made me realise, that’s it, and my time with Shenmue is over. I reach the Harbour and have one final task. Beat the crap out of Chai. After you kick him in the water you get on the ship and set sail. What adventures await Ryo? Now, I’ve put the controller down and given it a few days to sink in. All I can say is what an utterly incredible game. The attention to detail was truly stunning! Even though I’ve turned the game off, I can imagine the inhabitants of Yokosuka carrying on with their lives. The shopkeepers opening up for business, the children playing and buying toy capsules, Ine-san and Fuku-san missing Ryo and worrying about him, and my stray kitten all grown up because I fed and petted him. Typing this now is an emotional moment for me. My only regret with the game is that I finished it on Christmas Eve so I never got to see what happens on Christmas Day.
Sunday 25th November 2012 – Day 26
Today I looked at the Shenmue passport. You can listen to the music in the game and view cut scenes or have elements of the game explained by various characters. For example Chai explains about QTE’s which is absolutely hilarious. I’m gutted because there are 4 cut scenes that I missed.
Next I played Head hunter. I never had this back in the day but it always intrigued me. The game starts with a FMV intro with two newsreaders explaining the story. It reminds me of the movies Robocop and Starship Troopers. It quite funny and goes on for about 10 minutes. Coming off the back of Shenmue I have to admit this is a pretty ugly game, but then most games would struggle against Shenmue. It’s a 3rd person action game with stealth elements. I remember it being compared to Metal Gear Solid. You also get to race around the town on a motorcycle. The controls take a bit of getting used to. The soundtrack is pretty good. I may stick with this for a bit longer.
Tuesday 27th November 2012 – Day 27
I played some Chu Chu Rocket today. I have to confess that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. It’s so quick and colourful. There are random things popping up on the screen which speeds things up. Noooooooooo!
Wednesday 28th November 2012 – Day 28
Today I played Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2. Graphically this looks a lot better than Tony Hawk 1. The soundtrack is absolutely fantastic! You are greeted with some FMV and Rage against the Machine is playing Guerrilla Radio. Superb! Public Enemy and Bad Religion are also on there. I must admit that I’m finding this a lot easier to get to grips with than Tony Hawk 1.
Thursday 29th November 2012 – Day 29
My final game of the 30 days is Jet Set Radio. This game still looks amazing! I can only imagine how good the HD version looks, especially on the Vita. Wow, there is a tutorial. I wasn’t expecting that at all. My god, attempting to pull off 30 tricks in a row is tough.
Saturday 1st December 2012 – Day 30
So that’s it. My 30 days are up. I’ve served my time and I can be let back into modern society. I suppose in reality it was more like 2 months rather than 30 days, seeing as I was only counting the days I actually played on the Dreamcast. I am proud that I stuck to my rules. I didn’t buy any current gen releases, despite being tempted by numerous Steam sales. Hey, they will always be more Steam sales. I also saved some money by not buying any new games but also because a lot of the games I wanted have now been reduced. I’ve just ordered the special edition of Dishonoured for £17.
I’m not sure that I proved any point over the past 30 days. Maybe I proved one thing to myself. I can show restraint and don’t need to buy the brand new shiny on day one. I have so many games that I haven’t yet played and they are all begging for attention. Maybe I shouldn’t buy new games until I’ve finished with the current one?
My abiding memory of the last 30 days will be finally completing Shenmue. That game now has a special place in my heart. It almost pains me to think that unless I spent the last 30 days playing on my Dreamcast, my memory of the game would be one of frustration as I kept getting caught sneaking around the harbour 12 years ago.
I’d like to thank everyone for putting up with me talking about a console that was released 13 years ago. I genuinely appreciate your patience.
Now it’s time to box up my Dreamcast and put it back up the loft. Thanks for the memories Sega.
Thank you Chris for doing this! Was amazing to read about our long lost friend the Dreamcast once again! Hope you all enjoyed it as well!