Shenmue represents a struggle between classic concepts of game development that focus on instantaneous rewarding or penalizing and the ambitions of creative project directors that believe games are a genre unto themselves, rather than a mere synthesis of other categories.
The most difficult challenge for Shenmue was to convince the mass public of its quality: that it meant something; was something more. It changed what was acceptable simply because it could, not paying attention to what principles of interactive media worked for the population. For some, however, Shenmue was comforting and visionary.
[Shenmue, by Robby Rackleff]
[Shenmue: The 70 Millon Dollar Question]