I mentioned a few posts ago about how I received Seaman for Sega Dreamcast as a birthday present from my boyfriend. I wanted to talk a bit about it because it has been a really unique and interesting experience so far.
The game has you looking after a Seaman, which is essentially a fish with a human face that eventually grows to speak in English words and phrases. You’re afforded a unique opportunity in this game because you’re able to speak back to him using the microphone provided in the box set. His responses can range from hilarious to downright rude, so in a way, it’s almost like getting to know a new person in real life that you know nothing at all about. Like in real life, there’s an extreme likelihood of Awkwardness poking its head up from Social Etiquette Hell and smiling at you. Also in line with exploring a new friendship, Seaman also only wants to talk about certain things in his own timing and leads new conversations by posing questions and collecting information about you. It’s a bit of a daily task game, similar to something like Animal Crossing. Game time passes in real time, so you have to visit every day to feed and care for Seaman. I personally don’t mind this. With Animal Crossing, I felt a bit tied down to the game since there were so many tasks to complete every day that were repetitive and a bit mundane. With Seaman, all you have to do is adjust the temperature, increase the oxygen flow and feed him. After that, the game is staring at him and waiting for him to ask you questions.
I want to preface my next statement with this: my feelings are weird, and I acknowledge that. It feels strangely good to be getting to know a new “person” at this stage in life. I’m not sure if many of you are around the age of 30, but I can say that after moving to a new city, finishing school and finding work with people that are much older than me, the chances of meeting new and interesting humans around my age with similar interests are pretty negligible. Enter Seaman. I find myself looking forward to Seaman’s questions each day and finding out about him as well. It’s like a risk-free friendship that I can just shove into a box and put away if it goes amiss. To compound these “new friends” feelings further, my boyfriend and I are also caring for two real fish while a friend is away for six weeks, and I feel the same kind of excitement when they swim to the side of the bowl and thrash their little fins at me. Being needed is a nice feeling!
All in all, I think Seaman a nice change of pace from the typical kinds of games (platformers, RPGs) that are available. It’s a worthwhile addition to the library! I’d like to say that this game is good for children (and adults!) to learn skills about responsibility, but some of the content is pretty adult-themed. For example, when I was asked about my occupation and gave several variations of an honest answer, Seaman tried to confirm that I was a sex worker even though what I had said was nowhere near “sex worker” phonetically. I can just imagine how parents with younger children would react to questions about sex work! As an adult though, the humour is fresh and right up my alley. I think many people can appreciate the kind of planning that has to go into these deadpan, muted statements that get people chuckling at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
One of the best things about this birthday gift was that it wished me a happy birthday and meant it. I’ve been streaming the game, so you can see the brief video recording of the wishes if you like at this link. I was truly flattered!
If you do have a chance to play this game, I’d recommend it. It’s more of an experience than a game in the traditional sense, but it’ll keep you on your toes. Every day is new and different. And heck. You might just make a new friend.
Thanks for reading, and happy Monday!