A voice-controlled game where players converse with a human-faced, anthropomorphic fish. Players must also attempt to keep Seaman alive and well by interacting with the environment in various ways.
The game was originally released for the Sega Dreamcast. A PlayStation 2 version of the game was released in 2001 exclusively in Japan. Seaman's designer, Yoot Saito, announced a PC version of the game, but this was eventually canceled.
Seaman is played using the Dreamcast's microphone peripheral, which plugs in the top expansion port of the Dreamcast controller. Most of the gameplay consists of Seaman asking the player a series of questions, to which the player responds with mostly one-word answers. Topics range from the player's personal life to science and politics. The game is not meant to be played for long periods of time, as Seaman with often become "bored" or "tired" from speaking with the player. In these instances Seaman will typically tell the player to "go away".
Aside from talking, Seaman requires a few other activities of the player. Seaman's tank must be properly heated and oxygenated to keep Seaman alive and happy. There is also another tank in which the player must raise and care for larvae which grow around a plant. This tank must be kept moist so that the plant can grow and provide fresh leaves for the larva to eat. The larva eventually grow into moths. The moths then lay eggs which in turn hatch into new larvae. These larvae are Seaman's primary food source.
Technology and Reception
At the time of its release there was much hype surrounding Seaman's voice-recognition technology. Already a commercial hit in Japan, many in the West expected to have conversations with the Seaman artificial intelligence. In reality, Seaman could only understand simple predetermined words and phrases. While some players enjoyed the experience, others felt the gameplay was too limited and the voice-recognition was too clunky.