The Biggest News in Video Games Is Forklifts

DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, U.S. Air Force/Released

The makers of a popular video game made headlines last week when they announced that the latest version will once again include forklifts.

Yes, forklifts. The hard-working industrial trucks that make materials handling simple and safe are now among the most popular virtual pastimes for ardent gamers everywhere.

Driving a Digital Forklift

The newest version of the best-selling video game Shenmue will reportedly once again include a segment in which players will need to drive a virtual forklift in order to complete a task. Sega, the Japanese company that created the game, teased the return of forklifts to Shenmue 3 with a screenshot of a digital forklift on the social media app Twitter.

The game, which originally was launched in 1999, is among the legendary brands among video gamers. It’s up there with the Mario Brothers and Mortal Combat franchises. But unlike those popular games, Shenmue is famous for requiring players to complete relatively mundane tasks in order to achieve the final objective of avenging the murder of the father of the Ryo Hazuki, the game’s main character, and seizing his destiny.

One of those tasks is spending five in-game days working as a forklift operator at a warehouse, picking up crates and moving them back and forth for hours. While this might seem like a tedious task — especially for video gamers accustomed to outer space adventures and fighting monsters — it actually became one of the favorite features of the game and helped catapult Shenmue to international success.

Future Forklift Operators

When Shenmue 2 replaced the forklift chapter of the game with other tasks — including moving boxes around by hand and managing a street gambling stall — fans of the game complained. Loudly. So it’s not entirely surprising that forklifts were included in the newest version, which is scheduled to be released later this year.

The game showed fans that driving a forklift is not only challenging, but it also can be fun. And it could inspire a new generation of real-world forklift operators.

Other video games have been known to inspire young people to pursue careers associated with virtual gameplay. Flight Simulator, for example, is often cited by Air Force pilots as a motivator for learning how to fly real airplanes.

So it’s heartening to hear that the makers of one of the world’s most popular video games were prompted to include forklifts in their latest version due to fan requests. Today’s Shenmue players could be tomorrow’s forklift drivers.



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