Title: Seaman
Developer: Vivarium
Publisher: Sega of America
Year: 2000
Platform: Dreamcast
Genre: Simulation
Players: 1
Rating: Teen

One of the few games to take advantage of the Dreamcast's date monitoring function, Seaman is essentially a blend of a Tamagotchi and the After Dark "Fish" screensaver, with the added feature of the creature sassing the player.

The game's story tells of an ancient Egyptian legend about a creature that is half-man, half-fish. It then jumps to the modern era, claiming that in April 1932 a French scientist named Jean Paul Gassé discovered the bones of a Seaman, and in December of that year came across a live one in the catch of some fishermen near Alexandria. The story continues in astonishingly elaborate detail up to the present-day. Players of the game are assistants in Professor Gassé's laboratory, attempting to raise Seamen from birth to maturity. The narrator, none other than Leonard Nimoy, helps the player by starting each session with an explanation of the previous day's events, the current status of the tank, and what might happen in the upcoming day. Leonard also notices if the player usually shows up at the same time each day (and will call him or her a creature of habit) or checks in multiple times a day (he'll say it is not necessary to visit Seaman so often - in other words, "you're a loser, Player One").

Players must control the air, temperature, and food for the Seamen. These are all fairly simple tasks, as the creature usually complains if something is amiss. More difficult, though, is keeping the Seaman happy and teaching it to speak.

The game's other attractive feature is the speech recognition unit. Each game is bundled with a small microphone that plugs into the Dreamcast controller, and a series of commands and phrases can be spoken into the microphone and actually understood by the game. Players may try to ask the Seaman questions, but it's considerably easier to answer its getting-to-know-you inquiries, which are stored in a VMU and recalled in further conversation. It frequently uses the player's responses as opportunities to tease the player, and will make special comments for holidays and unique dates. While it is possible to abuse the Seaman for such comments - it doesn't like to be picked up or flicked - it is probably wiser to let them pass. A bit of punishment won't hurt, though, as Seamen are very ticklish and despite protesting will actually grow happier if you tickle them.

It should probably be noted that Seaman can get quite rude. Young children might not appreciate the references to sex, politics, and religion.

Resources and Further Information:
http://www.yoot.com/ - Official site for the game, mostly focused on the detailed story behind Seaman.
http://www.sega.com/games/post_gamegame.jhtml?PRODID=194 - Sega's page for the game.
http://www.gamefaqs.com/console/dreamcast/game/24507.html - FAQs, guides, and in-depth details.

The Canterbury Tales Project (see also Geoffrey Chaucer)

Back to the Guildsmen/The Seaman/The Physician

388: A shipman was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
389: For aught I woot, he was of dertemouthe.
390: He rood upon a rounce, as he kouthe,
391: In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
392: A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
393: Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
394: The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
395: And certeinly he was a good felawe.
396: Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe
397: Fro burdeux-ward, whil that the chapmen sleep.
398: Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
399: If that he faught, and hadde the hyer hond,
400: By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
401: But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
402: His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
403: His herberwe, and his moone, his lodemenage,
404: Ther nas noon swich from hulle to cartage.
405: Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
406: With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
407: He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
408: Fro gootlond to the cape of fynystere,
409: And every cryke in britaigne and in spayne.
410: His barge ycleped was the maudelayne.

This sailor is described as 'a good fellow'. Whilst he is certainly not good in any conventional sense of the word, being closer to being an out-and-out pirate, he is a good fellow inasmuch as he is a good companion and useful in times of trouble. He is better to have with you than against!

He is violent and brutal, and a deadly fighter. He thinks nothing of throwing his defeated enemies corpses into the sea or of stealing from the merchants whose cargo he transports.

But he is also a hugely accomplished sailor. He knows all the harbours and seaways between Denmark and Spain, and is an unmatched navigator. Although most of the pilgrims are described as being highly competant in their own field, his skill at his trade contrasted with his unpleasant personal nature is most similar to other of Chaucer's characters, not least the Summoner and the Pardoner: a pair of corrupt churchmen who, though adept at raising money, have no place in their lives for the religion they outwardly espouse.

Modern English translation from www.fordham.edu:

There was a sailor, living far out west;
For aught I know, he was of Dartmouth town.
He sadly rode a hackney, in a gown,
Of thick rough cloth falling to the knee.
A dagger hanging on a cord had he
About his neck, and under arm, and down.
The summer's heat had burned his visage brown;
And certainly he was a good fellow.
Full many a draught of wine he'd drawn, I trow,
Of Bordeaux vintage, while the trader slept.
Nice conscience was a thing he never kept.
If that he fought and got the upper hand,
By water he sent them home to every land.
But as for craft, to reckon well his tides,
His currents and the dangerous watersides,
His harbours, and his moon, his pilotage,
There was none such from Hull to far Carthage.
Hardy. and wise in all things undertaken,
By many a tempest had his beard been shaken.
He knew well all the havens, as they were,
From Gottland to the Cape of Finisterre,
And every creek in Brittany and Spain;
His vessel had been christened Madeleine.

Sea"man (?), n.; pl. Seamen ().

A merman; the male of the mermaid.

[R.] "Not to mention mermaids or seamen."

Locke.

 

© Webster 1913.


Sea"man (?), n.; pl. Seamen (#). [AS. saeman.]

One whose occupation is to assist in the management of ships at sea; a mariner; a sailor; -- applied both to officers and common mariners, but especially to the latter. Opposed to landman, or landsman.

Able seaman, a sailor who is practically conversant with all the duties of common seamanship. -- ordinary seaman. See Ordinary.

 

© Webster 1913.

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