I've been playing a lot of Nintendogs lately, so I felt it prudent to take a look back at some other games which touted voice recognition software. And, for what it's worth, Seaman is probably the weirdest one you could ever hope to find.
Seaman is a fish-slash-Japanese man who lives in an aquarium in your Dreamcast. The ambiance is very surreal and somewhat disturbing at times. And to make it even stranger, it is narrated throughout the game by Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy!
The game begins with you nursing the Seaman eggs to life by adjusting the temperature of the aquarium until they burst forth, ready to live and learn and generally act like jerks. The temperature is an annoying factor of this game. You have to check on it at least once a day, or it will dip down to a point which will kill your virtual jerks.
The meat and potatoes of this game lie in the fractured conversations you have with them via your Dreamcast microphone. The mic plugs into the rumble pack slot on the controller. Seaman recognizes a fair amount of commands. For instance, one of the first things you can tell him to do, once he "comes of age", is to have him push a rock across the floor of your aquarium. Doesn't sound too exciting, I know, but to actually see the little bastard do what you told him to was pretty cool at the time. Like I mentioned before, though, Seaman is usually in a bad mood, and the conversations don't last too long. Think of him as an ugly giga pet that sort of understands what you say to him. Of course, I never felt quite as satisfied killing a virtual pet as I did with this one.
To get Seaman's attention, you can call his name, tap on the glass, or even dive a hand into the aquarium and pluck him out. He dangles around in the air, getting madder and madder until you put him back in the tank. The game plays off of the clock in your Dreamcast, so Mr. Nimoy knows exactly how long it's been since you fed him and checked the tanks stupid temperature. And, as mentioned before, he dies pretty quickly, so you really have to be committed to this game if you want to make any progress.
Personally, I'll stick with Nintendogs. They are far cuter and have a higher success rate as far as understanding commands are concerned. For the time, though, it was surprisingly sophisticated, and was one of the most unique gaming experiences on the market.