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July 06th, 2009

I hope you all had a great Fourth, those of you lucky enough to be within our borders [insert American eagles, flags, and rock music]. And I hope you celebrated your freedom the proper way: by blowing things up with cheap explosives made in China . We celebrated with a mass of 773 sparklers; truly a display of power in numbers. After last year's affair, there was debate over whether or not we would have a sparkler bomb at this year's show. But, as they say, the sparklers must go on . They say that, right?

I'm sorry this update is late; if it's not obvious, I had a busy weekend. On top of the obvious above-mentioned festivities , there were other distractions. For one, me and Ken went to look for computer parts. We've been throwing around the idea of building one for a while. The project hasn't gotten very far, but at least we have some parts. We're starting to think it may be cheaper to just work off a used cabinet.

Even though I have a PS3 and a Wii, I haven't done much gaming recently. This past weekend I began playing a game I bought a while back.

No, this isn't 'Hitchhiker's Guide: Caveman Sign Edition'.

That's right. Seaman 2. Now, there are probably three responses to this.

•  I don't know what Seaman is.

•  Hur hur hur seaman .

•  Why didn't this come out in America ?!

While I can't tell you why it didn't come out in America , I can tell you…uh…it's weird. Actually, that's probably why it didn't come out here. It's my understanding Japan ate Seaman up (it has several re-releases and a PS2 port). In America , it wasn't so well received. I specifically remember buying my copy and having the guy at the store warn me it “wasn't for everyone”. For those unfamiliar with the first game, it's not just one of my favorite Dreamcast titles, but one of my favorite games period . You, the player, take up the unfinished research of a Dr. Jean Paul Gause. You do this by raising a strange man-faced fish creature who insults you and asks questions. No, I'm not joking. Most of the ‘game' involves adjusting his water parameters and feeding him, but the fun part is talking to Seaman through the microphone attachment. He asks you various questions about your life, which you can answer as you choose – and he's surprisingly versatile in his recognized responses. For its time, the voice recognition was quite impressive.

Did I mention Leonard Nimoy narrated it?

Seaman 2 doesn't have you taking care of the fishy Seaman, though. Instead it has you tending to the needs a miniature Peking Man (named Gabo) in a miniature environment. Unlike the first game, you aren't confined to a fishtank. There's an entire island for your l'il Peking Man to run around on.

Ken was there for my first day with Gabo. I repeatedly knocked bananas from trees while the grunting creature devoured them. Then I picked Gabo up. And dropped him. Repeatedly. There was something hilarious about his guttural “Aaaaaaaahhh!” as his tiny body fell what could only be several in-game feet to the ground. But what about the microphone? Does it come into play?

The answer is yes. Seaman 2 comes with a USB SeaMic controller with its own built in microphone…so you can talk to Gabo as well as the returning Seaman (who I will touch on in a bit). This also prevents a problem, though.

Remember when I mentioned this game never came out in America ? Well guess what language it's in.

Ken and I were thrilled when we smashed through two language barriers simultaneously (the virtual caveman doesn't seem so hot at talking, while I'm not so swift using in moonspeak ). We told Gabo to go munch down a crab running on the beach. And he did it. We also collected some shells, which contained pearls …well, really that was it. Oh, and Gabo also equipped a man-purse I gave him – a gift to me from the original Seaman, who has become some hideous bird creature.

Yeah, Seaman has become a bird-man who flied in at the beginning and end of each in-game day to instruct you and tell you things I can't really understand.

The second day was more exciting. I purchased a purple sphere that Gabo inquisitively inspected. According to the moonrunes, it was “LUCY no tamago”: Lucy's Egg. I knew Lucy was the name of a famous skeleton, but that's an entirely different story. I told him it was an egg. He grunted, and repeated “Tamago!” but continued to point, so I told him “RUUSHII”. He grunted and pointed, repeating Lucy. Boring.

So I told him to cut it open. He pulled out his axe and got ready to swing.

Then stopped.

I repeated my instructions and he put the axe away, raising his hands in frustration. I wanted to do the same. This cycle repeated for 15 more minutes with Gabo always stopping before cracking it open. Sure, it was a gamble manually opening an egg with an axe – but it was a risk I was willing to take. That man not be how it works in real life, but I threw logic out when I began talking to a minature caveman who only speaks basic Japanese . Why shouldn't a fully developed cavewoman pop out of a big purple egg?

Finally, on the pause of his swing I yelled “BON!” into the microphone and he seemed to get the clue. CRACK.

Fluid poured out of the cracks, and there was a moment of tensions. The shelled cracked away and somehow a hideous man in drag Lucy stepped out. While I was somewhat disappointed, Gabo was quite excited. For the next 15 minutes he tried to approach Lucy as he giddily bounced around grunting “RUUSHII!”. She would grunt back, then step away. My tiny ape-man kept looking to me an indicating the microphone was active, but instructions to greet her or hug her were met with confused shrugs.

He also failed to understand how to kiss or kill her with the axe. Darn. It's alright, Gabo. We'll win her over!

Finally he walked up to her and she ran off shrieking. The obvious solution?

I had the little bastard climb a cliff (never mind that I should have been able to pick the Gabo up and drop him at the top – apparently the game things Gabo needs to work at this). At the top was a tree that Gabo inspected. He bounced around pointing at an apple and asking “Nani?”

“Ringo” I told him as the voice recognition failed to recognize my hideous rendering of the Japanese language. Eventually he caught on, and bounced around grunting “Ringo!”, before he picked it and climbed back down to Lucy. He confronted her again.

This time when he looked to me, I suggested he use the apple. Lucy accepted, then sat and ate it. And apparently that was all it took to befriend her.

Let this be a lesson, folks – times were hard back in ye cave-dwelling days. In order to score you had to scale a cliff to get an apple. What ?

By this point my time for the day was up. My non-aerodynamic instructor returned to…tell me…something, but what I'm not sure. He paid me for some rabbit pelts I collected, but every time he asks a question I just randomly choose to tell him yes or no. God only knows what he believes about me based on these questions. There was a time when I enjoyed talking with you, Seaman.

Then he took to the air. Who knows what adventures lay ahead in the frustrating exciting caveman land of Seaman 2? Stay tuned for further updates! Maybe!