As a kid I was always on the Sega side of the fence, fiercely maintaining that our blue hedgehog beat the ‘stache off of Ninty’s pipe fixing Italian fella, all the while staring curiously over the divide watching with envy as Ninty fan-boys rejoiced in the brilliance of Zelda and Mario’s many adventures. In my new wiser state I realise it is not necessary to choose just one of the controlling powers in console land, if I had to do it again however I would still make the same choice.
Sega have had some mixed fortunes in recent years but there is no doubt in my mind that the gaming world would not be the same today were it not for the creators of the worlds most famous blue hedgehog. Alex the Kidd on Master system, ToeJam and Earl on the MegaDrive (Genesis) and Panzer Dragoon saga on Saturn are some of my fondest gaming memories.
The Dreamcast proved to be the last foray into the console world for the Japanese giants, long gone now but in no way forgotten. I hadn’t realised until recently just how much of a cult following the DC has garnered over the years. It’s hardly surprising though with classic titles like Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, PowerStone, Resident Evil: Code Veronica and Tokyo Bus Route coupled with a surprisingly powerful system a fab controller and a VMU which was completely unique to Sega’s ultimate console.
While they no longer produce consoles Sega are alive and well in terms of game production Sonic continues his geriatric sprint putting out titles like nobodies business, most of these however are rehashes or cash ins and the real question is “Where are the big hitters?”. Yes Mr Sega we know you can sell your blue hedgehog but what about the others? JSR and Crazy Taxi have enjoyed a resurgence of late with HD XBLA releases and even an IOS launch for the latter but isn’t it time we had some new releases from these series’? There are many rumours circulating that we will see a new Phantasy Star title on handheld devices at some point in the none too distance future which excites me no end given I was one of the few in the UK who tried with only little success to use the DC’s 56kbps built in modem to play the original console MMORPG.
This brings me nicely to my main irk with Sega’s current hierarchy “Where is my Shenmue 3?”. Shenmue literally blew my mind the first time I picked it up and popped it into a console. Knowing literally nothing about the under promoted title, I spied it on a shelf at a friends asked if I could have a blast and proceeded to spend the next ten hours completely absorbed in an incredibly well realised world performing QTE sequences for the very fist time all the while knowing I was experiencing something truly magical.
By this point in time I had moved on from Sega and into the realms of the more “adult” PlayStation but this game snapped me right back in and once again harnessed those feelings of joy I had felt the first time I donned a pair of Super Sneakers and sprinted off in pursuit of the evil Dr Robotnik (Can anyone explain to my why he is called Dr Eggman these days? That name is just plain idiotic). Ryo Hazuki’s adventures literally forced me to go out and buy a DreamCast immediately and if Sega announced today that they were releasing a new console bundled with Shenmue 3 I would pre order it right away … no matter the cost. As it seems would many others, recently I stumbled across a twitter campaign calling for the one thing that me and my friends have wanted for years … Shenmue 3 and it seems we weren’t as alone as we thought all this time. The hashtag is gathering pace and the die hard fans are appealing to Sega to release the licence for Shenmue back to it’s original creator Yu Suzuki. If you haven’t played the first two games you probably wont understand and due to 32-bit console limitations it won’t extract the same response now as it did back then but you should still be able to see why it was so revolutionary and the reason that it still holds a place in the hearts of so many. So go now and support this epic cause #GiveYuTheShenmueLicense over on twitter RT, tweet your own desires and generally help convince Sega that this game must be made.