Seaman is a form of freshwater fish (the color and shape of the fins suggest that its fish-counterpart may be a type of Carp) with a humanoid face that conveys expressions like that of a human in the Dreamcast game Seaman.
It possesses the ability to speak and interact just as a human would, asking the player questions that vary from casual conversation to intimate details of the player's life. The player responds to Seaman's inquiries and cries for attention by using the Dreamcast microphone.
The player-the caregiver-'s role is to feed and care for Seaman, providing him with the company a normal pet requires, as well as providing the necessary conversation that is required until the next stage of evolution. The player is required to check on the Seaman at least twice every day of real time with death as a consequence of neglect.
Seaman's knowledge is largely based on random cultural references and trivia.
**CAUTION below this line there are SPOILERS.*
Stages of the Seaman species in order of evolution:
Seaman species evolution as it occurs in the game:
The embryo hatches when placed in a comfortable environment, and the Mushroomers take full form. The parasitic Mushroomers are then consumed one at a time by the host Nautilus, and the Nautilus soon dies.
Baby Gillmen burst from the dead Nautilus' body, only capable of speaking gibberish. Once the baby Gillmen are able to form full sentences, still at the premature level of that stage, they will narrow down their numbers by means of natural selection to one male and one female by parasitic use of their rostrum.
The male and female will grow into mature Gillmen, their voices deepened and their bodies less transparent than their younger forms, appearing more like actual carp.
After investing time and conversation with them, they will soon begin to grow hind legs, then referred to as Podfish. The Podfish will slowly grow arms, begin excersicing their bodies by swimming upright and backward. Soon, the two will engage in intercourse by using the rostrum. After disconnecting the rostrum, the fathering male dies after using all it's remaining energy for the sake of evolution and the furthering of it's kind.
The female Podfish is then left alone, and will soon assist the caregiver in altering it's environment by uncovering a hole in the tank. The majority of water will drain from the tank with the exception of a miniature pond of remaining water in a lowered section of the gravel. The Podfish will then continue to evolve with more time and care in this small section of water, soon developing arms in addition to it's previously grown hind legs.
The now fully developed Podfish-with fully developed arms and legs-in the final moments of this stage, will then climb to the higher surface of gravel and out of the water entirely. It will then go into labor, circling around the tank, suffering very painful contractions, before finally passing multiple eggs through the rostrum. Immediately after giving birth, the mother Podfish dies, leaving her eggs behind, deposited right in front of the water she once swam in.
The eggs soon hatch as baby Tadmen, immediately thrusting into the small pond of water to swim. They are, however, already capable of full speech with mature voices, and it's worth noting that any of the Tadmen will pick up any conversation the mother Podfish left off at before it died. The Tadmen, like the baby Gillmen counterpart, will pick each other off by natural selection, continuing the evolution to cycle between one male and one female.
The Tadmen will, similar to previous stages, evolve given the proper time and care investments, and, faster than it's previous stages, develop arms and legs. The tail will shorten and stretch, the body becoming large and husky, and soon, the male and female Tadmen will crawl onto water, officially being referred to as Frogmen.
The Frogman is the last stage of the evolutionary line of Seaman. Once it is fully developed, the Frogmen will ask to be released into the wild to continue it's evolution away from the player, by means unbeknownst to the player. However, they do assure the player that they will never stray too far, and will still answer by their names no matter where they stray on the island. It's worth noting that Frogmen do have the ability to mate and give birth to the same embryo the player was provided by Vivarium at the beginning of the game that hatched the life of the Mushroomers, only to start the entire life cycle all over again. It's not reported that his has ever been seen, or known whether the Frogmen die after this cycle.
Differences in sex:
Seaman are both male and female. The most obvious differences between the two in most of their life stages are the shape of their eyebrows. Eyebrows of the male are thicker and appear to be straight lines above each eye, while the eyebrows of the female appear a bit thinner twith an obvious upward arch. There are, of course, occasional exceptions to this, where the actual female will be revealed only when mating. Both, however, possess the same voice regardess of sex, as well as a rostrum on top of their heads.
Both male and female Seaman possess a rostrum just above their foreheads. It functions as a parasitic feeding tube, a waste disposal, as well as it's primary sexual organ, and furthermore, a birth canal.
When being used as a parasitic tube, it stealthily plugs the rostrum into the gut of the host from beneath, leeching the blood from the host until it dies. The Seaman species-particularly Gillmen and Tadmen-will kill off any of it's remaining brothers or sisters in this way until only one male and one female exist within the same tank by means of natural selection.
When being used as a waste disposal, Seaman will proudly announce it's need to defaecate, rotating the rostrum before slinging the waste away, onto the front of the tank. Waste takes the shape most similar to an equilateral triangle with rounded edges, and is dark brown with black specs.
When being used as a sexual organ, the male and female Seaman will connect both rostrum ends together. The rostrum of the male Seaman appears to transfer round bursts of what is assumed to be sperm into the female's rostrum. However, it's worth noting that after using the rostrum in this way-particularly in the Podfish stage-the male Seaman partaking in intercourse dies.
When being used as a birth canal, the female uses the rostrum to give birth, passing it's eggs through it, safely lowering the rostrum to allow the eggs to safely roll onto the surface. However, it's worth noting that after using the rostrum in this way-particularly in the Podfish stage-the female Seaman giving birth dies.
Seaman's face changes depending on it's attempt to convey expression just as humans do, raising eyebrows when surprised, furrowing brows when angry, frowning when sad, etc.
If the player has taken good care of it resulting in a generally satisfied disposition, Seaman will continue to smile as it swims regardless of whether the player is speaking to it or not. This involves keeping the tank managed appropriately with heat and oxygen levels, feeding them at appropriate times and speaking to them appropriately when it demands attention.
Picking Seaman up frequently, flicking Seaman, constantly repeating the same phrases, in addition to constant misunderstandings between the player signified by three question marks on the player's VMU, Seaman will develop a generally negative attitude towards the player, constantly retorting with sarcasm or general disdain for it's caregiver.
Seaman's responses toward the player vary between less sarcasm and more sarcasm depending on this as well. Seaman will also show more earnest feelings toward the player when good upkeep is enforced.
When the player ends one conversation with one Seaman in the same tank, the other Seaman will happily pick up where the previous speaker left off. Each subspecies color is the same regardless of gender, each individual only altering in color and experiencing a slight pattern change when given a name. While multiple Seaman may be given names, only one creature may vary in color at a time per tank, depending on which creature you named last.
It is not understood why-being newborn offspring hatched after it's mother's death-the Tadmen continue conversation right where the mother Podfish left off before it's death, nor how it has retained any information about the player at all based on the information the player disclosed exclusively to it's parents.
Seaman recalls things from it's past life over the past thousand decades only by evolving the more it converses with the player, and will share memories with the player as it recalls them in pieces.
As Seaman evolves and grows, it's mental needs reflect that of it's physical development, from the primal picking from it's siblings as a Gillman without an understanding of why, to compassionate bargaining with the player for escape to pursue it's long lost love, dreaming of becoming something more as a Frogman.
Survival requirements for Seaman:
Baby Gillmen are not required to be fed typically until they have been narrowed down to one male and one female. It is advised to wait until Leonard Nimoy mentions that the player should do so when narrating the highlights of the day at the opening screen, or until the Gillmen voice the need to eat while visiting the tank.
As the species evolves, their requirements for nourishment varies from small, round pellets to moth larvae and moths grown by the player in a separate tank. The temperature upkeep for the habitat also varies. From the time the embryo is acquired, the player must keep the oxygen level in the tank at a goal of 100%. Once Frogmen are acquired, oxygen is replaced by a sprinkler, and must also be kept at a goal of 100%.
Once Seaman recalls the memory of Dr. Gasse's possession of a second tank used as a Seaman food source, the player will unlock the tank for additional responsibility. If the habitat containing larvae and moth is not kept up and the player runs out of larvae or moths, the player is forced to watch Seaman starve from a lack of provided resources until they begin the game again.
If the player does not communicate with Seaman in the form of prompting Seaman to speak or answering questions, Seaman will discontinue growth, and it's evolution will remain stagnant. Seaman will remain in that form until the player either answers Seaman's questions, or until it starves. It is important to note that discontinuing to speak to Seaman is considered a form of neglect, as verbal communication is intergal in aiding Seaman's overall health.
In order to assist Seaman in it's ongoing evolution, the player must carefully follow the instructions provided by both Leonard Nimoy and Seaman when prompted, ergo, when Leonard Nimoy insists that you give Seaman a name, or when a Frogman asks you to encourage it to jump by saying, "Jump!" multiple times using the microphone just before it jumps for the ring at the top of the cage.
The history of Seaman according to page 1 of the Seaman game manual:
"Historical references to Seaman first appeared in the spoken folklore of ancient Egypt, passed down from generation to generation. Until recently, it was assumed that the Seaman creature did not actually exist (similar to the many other mythical creatures of ancient Egypt). However, in 1997, the discovery of a live Seaman in the Egyptian city of Old Alexandria disproved this assumption, and Seaman came to be known the world over.
While the originally discovered Seaman specimen died shortly after being captured, it's remains were quickly rushed to the foremost biological research institute in France where a number of eggs were discovered inside its body. We at Vivarium were then able to assist in this endeavor by covering the research and development costs in return for the sole distrubution rights that have enabled us to offer this product to you.
It is well known that as part of its genetic labeling, Seaman passes knowledge on to subsequent human generations orally. Furthermore, Seaman is said to have had a strong influence on the progression of ancient civilization, but the details of exactly how this was done are not yet fully understood."
Instructions and advisory according to page 8 of the Seaman game manual:
"The most fundamental requirement for successfully raising Seaman is daily care and maintenance. At the very least, you are kindly requested to attend to various custodial tasks such as providing oxygen, water, food, cleaning, etc., on a daily basis. Just as with a daily exercise program, it is important that you participate each and every day without fail. This concept is a prerequisite for being a guardian to Seaman. Seaman is a game in which you will experience the growth of a living being. You will be witness to the drama of life over an extended period of time. Therefore, do not expect an experience similar to any other games, in which clearly defined events happen each time you play. As well, there are no scores to be earned, stages or final game to be cleared, etc. This is not the type of game in which one can spend several hours in one sitting and expect to experience vast amounts of action or change. As with life itself, change only occurs over time and even then, slowly. Change is only evident through the accumulation of experience over time. Enjoy communicating with Seaman while you attend to these daily maintenance tasks.
Tap on the glass of the aquarium to get its attention, use the microphone to greet and converse, as well as other methods you will discover in order to express your affection to it. This is paramount to ensuring the successful growth and development of your Seaman. As Seaman matures and reaches a certain level of development, recognition will increase and it will begin conversing with you.
Seaman's development will accelerate when in good humor. The only way to ensure Seaman is kept in good humor is to take adequate care of it daily, without fail, while constantly providing loving affection. Although raising Seaman does require a bit of perseverance, it is a bit like writing in a diary; something you need to persist in doing on a daily basis. By doing so, you will find yourself experiencing a grand drama, the likes of which have yet been rendered possible by even the most realistic of computer or console games. For those of you with time to spare, one highly recommended and interesting method for enjoying your time with Seaman is to darken the lights to your room and simply vegetate while watching your Seaman go about daily life. Similar to a typical aquarium, Seaman will provide completely different and ever-changing scenery for your television set. And for as long as Seaman lives, the show will go on."