Seaman creator teases virtual pet reboot

May 26, 2017 | 11:16

Tags: #ai #artificial-intelligence #dreamcast

Companies: #seaman-ai #sega

Bizarre voice-activated virtual pet Seaman looks set for a reboot, following the publication of a teaser image by the original title's creator Yoot Saito.

First launched as an exclusive title for Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast console and one of the few to make use of the console's controller-mounted microphone accessory, Seaman was less a game and more what you get when you cross a Tamagotchi with a fever dream in which you're drowning. Narrated by Leonard Nimoy in its Western release, the game put the player in charge of a bizarre fish with, naturally, a human face based on creator Yoot Saito. Players had to care for the Seaman, including feeding it daily, and once it had grown through its initial 'Mushroomer' stage into a 'Gillman' could hold basic verbal conversations, talking to the creature and receiving responses as it grew into a 'Podfish', then a 'Tadman', and finally a 'Frogman'.

In short: Seaman was bizarre, and it looks like a whole new generation of gamers will get to experience just how bizarre, as Creator Yoot Saito has published a teaser image to microblogging site Twitter featuring T-shirts with the 'Don't Panic' slogan of the original game and a picture of Seaman's Frogman stage seemingly listening to a gramophone in apparent homage to the classic His Master's Voice. A link to a new website,, is included at the base of each T-shirt, though at present the site simply describes itself as 'Under Construction' with Japanese text reading 'Shi-7 SI Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.'

A modern Seaman title would have a range of advantages over its predecessor: Most current-generation and even last-generation consoles include microphone inputs as standard, while the state of the art in both voice recognition and speech synthesis has vastly improved since the 90s. Thus far, though, the team is silent on when - or even if - a Seaman reboot would see a commercial launch.
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