If you’re an avid gamer, you have surely heard the name Shenmue. A SEGA franchise that’s been going strong for decades, Shenmue’s open world and specific features have made the game a major hit.
When Shenmue I and II were released, they featured a level of detail unprecedented for video games at the time. For example, buses have run to timetables, shops had an open-close cycle, and each character had their own routines. Ryo, the main protagonist, even had a daily allowance for anything from food to clothes and toys. Like in real-life, the characters have to unwind every once in a while, which can be done with a bunch of minigames.
The minigames allowed Ryo to watch and bet on turtle and frog races, throw darts, or play slots. He can also earn money by driving forklifts, street fighting, and gambling, making Shenmue a game like no other.
Shenmue I and II Slot Games
In the first two games in the franchise, Ryo can visit slot houses and spin fruit machines to win cool cash rewards. You won’t find any casino reviews for these spots, but they are as authentic as Vegas casinos.
To play the slot minigames, you’ll have to buy tokens – $5 (¥100) will get you 20 tokens in Yokosuka or Hong Kong parlors. You can then use these tokens to play fruit machines. You know, just like in a real gambling house, only this time, it’s virtual.
Turtle & Frog Races
These two games are among the weirdest minigames in the Shenmue series, and there are pretty strange minigames to play. They’re also among the most thrilling. Who would have thought that turtle and frog races can be so exciting?
In both of these minigames, you make your pick on a turtle or frog color and bet on it to win the race. In traditional race fashion, whoever passes the finish line first wins. If that’s your pick, you will get a nice payout.
Keep in mind that you can help your turtle or frog during the race with a temporal speed boost. If you visit the fortune-teller on Sunset Hill, you might also get a “lucky color” or “lucky number” that will help you win your bets in these races.
Up for a game of hoops? Shenmue III introduced a new minigame for Ryo that lets you shoot hoops just like in real-life bazaars. It costs ¥5 to participate, and the game is played by aiming a basketball and shooting it into a moving hoop. The aiming arc fluctuates to add an extra degree of difficulty.
In the beginning, you get three basketballs with three prizes in tow. You will earn them if you’re good with your shooting skills. The prizes vary depending on location. If you manage to get 1 shot, you get a hand-carved wooden bowl. Two will get you a copper tathagata, while the top prize for shooting three balls in the basket is a rocketship toy.