Retro Ad Replay – Shenmue’s 20th Anniversary

It’s time for another Retro Ad Replay! This is the series where we take a voyage back in time to reminisce and celebrate the anniversary of some of the most significant moments in gaming. If you find yourself wanting more content like this, be sure to visit

In this December 29 edition of Retro Ad Replay, we’re looking back 20 years in time to when Shenmue first became available to those in Japan. December 29, 1999 was the day that Dreamcast owners first got the chance to experience this game. Putting themselves in the shoes of Ryo Hazuki, they begin to investigate the murder of Ryo’s father. This leads to the exploration of many open-world areas, which are filled with characters to interact with and minigames to play.

shenmue anniversary

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The Shenmue GameRevolution review was published in November 2000, and our reviewer spoke very highly of the game, praising its “revolutionary level of detail,” “superb graphics,” it being “very cinematic,” and offering “varying types of gameplay.”

The important thing to keep in mind about Shenmue is that it’s an adventure game. The pacing can get slow and often you’ll spend a great deal of time wandering around talking to people. This is not a good game for the impatient, quick-twitch action junkie. But it’s a great game for everyone else. While Shenmue may not initially appeal to the mass gaming audience, it sure as hell appeals to me. This is truly a game that everyone needs to experience at least once.

20 years later, GameRevolution reviewed the third game in the series, Shenmue 3. It also scored well, as a “perfect recreation of the Dreamcast-era gaming with only the slightest convenient tweaks.” Though the “steep learning curve” may put some folks off, if they aren’t familiar with past games.

Take a look at the trailer for the Shenmue I & II remaster below. It offers an introduction to the story of Ryo Hazuki, explained by Ryo’s voice actor, Corey Marshall.