The Case for Shenmue

Japan’s Kanagawa prefecture and the Guilin area of China share something in common, a link that binds these places together, not only with each other, but with more than one million gamers from across the globe. A link defined not by its commercial success but rather its artistic triumph, an undertaking so epic in scale that the dream was only matched by its outlandish budget, and yet, despite technically being viewed as a colossal failure, there can in truth be no other way to look upon it except in contradictory terms. It has touched the lives of many, defined them as people as much as it would their pastimes and with that it has created the most passionate and fervent community on the planet-I am of course talking about Yu Suzuki’s incredible Shenmue.

In the late 1990’s, Yu Suzuki set out to advance video games yet again, Shenmue was originally in development for Sega’s brilliant, yet much maligned Saturn console, but focus shifted onto the next generation hardware and the numerous possibilities that it would offer them. Coining the term F.R.E.E. (Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment), Suzuki set out to deliver a level of freedom unheard of in video games, a fully realised world of day/night cycles, realistic weather, complex AI and full voice acting for even non-playable characters. A world that would simulate other aspects of reality too, from playing games to working a day job. Shenmue was never going to be something that you played, but rather lived, and in that respect, it was a glorious success.

Whilst at its core, the story is a fairly simple tale of revenge ripped straight out of a kung-fu film, but this is also part of its inherent charm and beauty, ably assisted by the incredible Virtua Fighter style combat mechanics and stunning quick time events, Shenmue set the unassailable standard by which all other open world games should be judged. RPGs have always offered character progression, it’s key to the genre, but none have ever felt as personal as this, it wasn’t just the character of Ryo Hazuki that got stronger as the game progressed, it was the player too. They almost literally stepped into the protagonist’s shoes to make it their quest for revenge, their journey, and that is why the untimely cliff-hanger ending of the second game has been so colossally devastating for anyone touched by this masterpiece.

The case for a HD re-master of the Shenmue series is an open and shut case to me, not only is it a vital piece of gaming history, but it is a work of undeniable beauty and power, and it is only through the markets of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade that there can be any hope to be found for the re-emergence of these gaming classics, but also for a future for the series. For too long, they have survived on the fringes of the gaming industry, residing under “cult”, but now it is time for them to earn their place in the spotlight for the right reasons.

The install base of the Dreamcast amounted to around just 10 million users, but between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, there are more than 170 million consoles shipped across the globe, there are a huge volume of gamers eagerly awaiting the arrival of something that will demand their attention, and this it. Whilst the fan base clamour for a third entry into the series to complete the tale of Ryo Hazuki (or at least extend it), a more likely option for Sega is to opt for the more cost effective HD versions of both Shenmue and Shenmue 2, not only will these delight fans both old and new, but it will give us hope. Hope of a future for a series once seen as dead in the water, hope that one day, we may yet find ourselves with the opportunity to complete our epic journey and hope for an industry that has found itself devoid of any creativity. Shenmue came as a breath of fresh air once, and it can be again.

Brave Frontier Elements and Arena Guide

In the game Brave Frontier there are essentially six elements, including Fire, Earth, Thunder, Water, Dark and Light. The elements are programmed in such a way that each one has a certain strength and weakness against one other element. This means that a particular element can inflict more damage to another element but also takes more damage from some other element. This way a sort of equilibrium is maintained so that all elements remain equally powerful and no one takes undue advantage.

When you begin your game, you are required to choose a unit from one of the four main elements, that is Water, Fire, Thunder and Earth. These elements can be later fused and evolved into their bigger forms which are more powerful. Here is a quick list about the elements:

Water – Strong against Fire
Fire – strong against Earth
Earth – strong against Thunder
Thunder – strong against Water
Light – strong against Dark
Dark – strong against Light

There is a unique relationship among the light and the dark element, as both are powerful against each other as well as weak, which means light inflicts greater damage to dark but also takes greater damage from it.

Arena:

The Arena in Brave Frontier is a place where you can battle other players and prove your mettle. You can get 3 entries into the Arena since you’re given 3 orbs and each entry costs one orb. However these recharge with time and regenerate once every hour.

Also if you aren’t comfortable facing any player, due to whichever reason, you can choose to skip the fight by going back using the “back” option in the menu.

There are also certain rules to the arena, which are:

1. Attacks are made by all units automatically
2. The team that is able to knock out the opponent is declared the winner
3. If a knockout doesn’t happen, winner is decided based on greater number of surviving units, greater HP and greater damage inflicted on the opponent.

Upon winning battles in the arena, you are granted Arena Battle points or ABP. Each win gets you more ABP, leading to increasing your level with time whereas each loss takes away ABP from you.

Also, you lose more battle points if you lose to players that are ranked below you while you gain more ABP if you defeat players ranked above you. So you have to be wise in choosing the right strategy.

Why It’s Video Games All The Way

In the recent past, video games have become the in thing in town, leaving many kids engaged in their consoles for very long hours during the day. For those who were kids in the 90’s, you can bear witness of the fact that the evolution in the field of entertainment has been massive. The various competitors have made an immense improvement in not only the game-play, but also in the various gadgets used in gaming. They have created consoles that are just perfect for the hands. This has made the experience better. There is also an enormous progress in the graphics and the general game play, with images becoming more realistic than ever before.

Responsible gaming is not all that bad

Even though a lot of ill and negative stuff has been said about gaming, and its capability to lead to addiction that tends to make many kids become unproductive, there are some real benefits of engaging in responsible gaming. For instance, kids who are actively engaged in responsible gaming tend to develop a sense of alertness and coordination. This is because of the keen attention that is required in some of the games such as jumping ones. Coordination is as a result of playing games such as sports and adventure ones, among many other merits.

Girls and video games

The numbers of girls actively engaging in playing these kinds of electronic gadgets is overwhelming. This can be attributed to the many games for girls that are available in the market. The developers and creators have also incorporated many female characters in the games, hence making it more appealing for all genders. Recent stats also indicate that the number of female players is slowly overtaking the number of male players. Hence, you can undoubtedly see that this is an affair fit for both genders.

Why gaming is here to stay

Their wide variety is one of the factors that have made the venture popular. They range from sports, adventure, mind and even musical ones and have attracted a wide audience due to their diversity. Moreover, they are more available and accessible than ever before. The various torrent sites are offering them free, and with just some good internet connection, you can acquire whichever one you prefer. You can also acquire these ones in stores at good prices. With all that having, been said gaming will be here with us longer than we expect.