It’s been an agonizing wait for Shenmue fans awaiting the continuation of Yu Suzuki’s revolutionary Dreamcast classic. But thanks to thousands of Kickstarter backers, we’re finally getting the sequel we deserve, and it looks like Ys Net is rolling out all the stops to promote it with an awesome tie-in: Thousands of dock workers nationwide are driving forklifts in an apparent shadow promotion for the Shenmue 3 release.
Eighteen years is a long time to spend awaiting the continuation of Ryo Hazuki’s quest of vengeance, but it’s coast-to-coast promotions like this that almost make the wait seem worth it.
For gamers who lined up on November 8 way back in 2000 to experience all that the F.R.E.E Engine had to offer, watching these forklift operators move crates around is a heartwarming throwback to hunting down the Mad Angels in Yokosuka Harbor and playing Space Harrier at Yu Arcade. Every detail of this stealth promotion is engineered to trigger your nostalgia sensors, but we especially liked their orange helmets and uniforms, which perfectly mirror the ones we saw during races around the harbor and hours spent working for Foreman Yada-san on Disc 2 and Disc 3 of this gaming classic.
What’s even more incredible about this piece of real-life fanservice is that if you flag down one of these dock workers and ask if they know anywhere where sailors hang out, they’ll often point you in the direction of a nearby bar where a few U.S. Navy officers are on shore leave.
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Unbelievable! It’s really like you’re walking around in an honest-to-God recreation of Yu Suzuki’s vision of Japan in 1986.
Sure, there are a few niggling details left out. For example, when we asked them about the day that “the snow turned to rain,” they just looked at us in confusion and said they had to get back to their job. But standing dockside for hours and watching these workers go about their day until a security officer escorted us away still gave us some heart-tugging flashbacks to hunkering down with our Dreamcast and tracking down series antagonist Lan Di for his murder of Ryo’s father.
This promotion is just the tip-of-the-hat demanded by the original Shenmue’s undeniable impact on video game history. And fans who can’t make it out to the coast, don’t worry about being left out in the cold! Turns out this promotion doesn’t stop with harbor workers. After leaving the dock, we headed to a nearby casino where we lost $75 at the slot machine in a perfect tie-in to the Slot House in Dobuita.
Now, this is the kind of fanservice that we love to see!