Jun 15, 2009

Leonard Nimoy's Seaman Is All Over This Post

For those of you who don't (or won't) remember a time when Sega was still in the video game console business, the Dreamcast was a college student's dream. It was well ahead of its time in terms of graphics and hardware, a fairly good library of games to choose from, and cool little virtual memory units that acted like little Game Boys. I still have fond memories of my machine.
One "game", quotes indicating a loose application of the term, that really stood out was called Seaman. Essentially a pet simulator gone wrong, you have to hatch, raise and care for you half-man, half-fish abomination.

Caution: Your mind's about to be blown

And while the premise itself was fairly intriguing, how you interacted with your sin against God was particularly awesome: a microphone. Yes, packaged with every Seaman game was a microphone attachment you would use to literally give your Seaman commands. The controller was used primarily to drop food into the tank and to tap the glass, but once you had Seaman's attention it was all voice commanded.

The freakiest thing is, after a while, it started to talk back to you. And have emotions and feelings and hopes and dreams. At least I think so, I never played it long enough to watch it graduate from Seaman college. Come to think of it, Seaman college may not even be real. But they did develop personalities.

Mine were always bastards.

The challenge of the game was that you really had no idea what you needed to do to evolve and raise these Seaman. You had a microphone and a tank. To help you with this was narration by, no lie, Leonard Freaking Nimoy. His soothing voice overs are seconded only by Morgan Freeman's, and they were like the rich, chewy exterior in the caramel apple that is this game. My only wish was that he had more narration, if only to tell me what to do with the tank. I really had no clue most of the time.

To give you an idea of the gameplay:

I'm not a fan of any kind of simulator genre, particularly because I like to escape reality with my video games. If I wanted to learn a flight simulator, I'd rather learn to fly. If I wanted to tend a virtual pet, I'd just get a real pet. But Seaman was novel enough for me to overcome, and I'm really glad I did. Seaman is an interesting experience, one I wholly recommend to anyone who can find and assemble the necessary Dreamcast equipment to play it (particularly the microphone).

Just don't raise your Seamen to be bastards.


Jazmeister said...

That is crazy! They need an open source version of this shit.


Jon Baker said...

I agree, Seaman technology should be spread as far and as wide as possible. If need be, we should throw it onto the masses.

EGTF said...

"Put this tounge in that mouth?"

Wow, just wow. Thinking of hilarity from voice command games, have you seen the broken pixels where they play lifeline?

Jon Baker said...


No, what's broken pixels? A series, I'm assuming? I'll scour the interwebs for more insight

EGTF said...

Here's the series http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3158497 in all two pages of it and one which isn't on there weirdly on metal wolf chaos http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/23887.

The one I'm on about is this one though, featuring fun with headsets http://gamevideos.1up.com/video/id/22327.

The premise of the show is three games writers given alcohol and crappy games to play and rant about, then filmed whilst doing so. It's unfortunatley been stopped though due to them slagging spider-man 3 off so much the sponsors sued them.