Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.
Back in the late 90’s and early 00’s, there was a major rush for tamagotchi’s, little pet simulator keychains that let people raise their own virtual pets. This style of game became incredibly popular, especially in Japan. The Digimon and Monster Rancher franchises both spawned out of this fad. We also received some… stranger entries in the genre as well. Today’s game is Seaman, developed by Vivarium and released on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999.
Seaman is not a pet simulator for kids. If anything, this is something of a satire of the pet simulator genre. The pet that the game has you care for is a fish with a man’s head. It is every bit as grotesque as it sounds. Seaman uses the Dreamcast microphone, a peripheral that plugs into the Dreamcast controller’s VMU slot, to allow the player to talk to the Seaman as it grows up. The creature will eventually learn to speak back to the player, often through rather vulgar language and insults.
While Seaman has very limited player interaction, players do need to check in on their Seaman once per day or the creature may die. The Dreamcast’s system time keeps track of this. The player also needs to determine how much food and cleaning the Seaman requires, with only some guidance from the game’s narrator, amazingly voiced by the late, great Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame.
Seaman is a strange game and reviews for it were lackluster but despite this, it actually sold remarkably well, particularly in Japan. Sales figures are sparse but it’s estimated that the Dreamcast version alone sold over half a million copies, making it the third best-selling game on the Dreamcast in Japan, beating out games like Shenmue, Grandia 2 and Phantasy Star Online. Seaman never received a sequel but it was ported to the Playstation 2 and received a special Christmas version called Christmas Seaman, both released exclusively in Japan. While sequels have been discussed and may have even been in development at one point, no hard news about a continuation has ever surfaced.
Thank you so much for listening! If you want more trivia about this and the other games we talk about on the show, follow me on Twitter @vg_oftheday. Archives and transcripts for all episodes are available on videogameoftheday.com. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.
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