Sega released a virtual pet video game for the Dreamcast? It stars a fish/frog hybrid with a human face? It uses a microphone attachment for your controller so you can speak to it? The game is narrated by Leonard Nimoy? It doesn’t totally suck? WTF?!?!
Seaman for the Dreamcast is one of the weirdest and boldest games for any video game system, ever. You’re job is to raise a Seaman from egg to adult by maintaining it’s environment, feeding it and nurturing it through it’s life. The life cycle of the Seaman takes 5 stages from egg to fish to frog and your job is to ensure that at each one of those 5 stages you give it what it needs to survive and thrive. With the use of the controller, you maintain the tank temperature, air flow and light. Feeding is imperative to maintain life so that aspect of care is obvious but what is less obvious but equally important is the interaction that is necessary to mentally develop your Seaman. The microphone is used to talk to your Seaman pet and you can ask it questions and it will ask you questions in return, learning more about you in the process while also learning language. Once it becomes an adult, your job isn’t as important but you must still maintain the Seaman’s environment and possibly watch it grow old and die only to start the life cycle over through reproduction. This is speculation on my part because I’ve never seen the game all the way through to the final life cycle.
I bought Seaman and the accompanying microphone not long after I bought my used Dreamcast in 2002. My last attempt to play through this game was in 2004 (based on my VMU save) and I remember getting through about stage 3 before losing interest and that’s where I feel this game struggles in spite of its innovativeness. The game requires you to play it almost daily if you want your Seaman to survive. This is a large undertaking for an adult with responsibilities and hundreds of other games to play. This is where I failed….after a long weekend out of town I came back to the game only to find my Seaman dead. After all the time I had put into the game at that point, starting over wasn’t an appealing option so I gave up raising my virtual pet. In 2017, I decided to give this game another shot for the sake of my blog. I travel a bit for my job so being gone for a week at a time while trying to raise a virtual pet will prove to be more challenging than it was in 2004 when I previously failed so I’m enlisting help from my oldest daughter. Hopefully between the two of us we can find success and accomplishment that only raising a human faced amphibian can provide. Sega gets high marks from me in the categories of innovation and balls to try something different. Overall, their attempts go fulfilled but you must be a dedicated pet owner to get out of Seaman what the developers intended.
Currently in my collection: game, manual, case & microphone