Showing posts with label Sega Fish Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sega Fish Life. Show all posts

Rare Dreamcast-powered SEGA Fish Life preserved and released by Musée Bolo

SEGA Fish Life is a bonafide oddity of the early 2000s SEGA pantheon, and one that we've covered a couple of times in the past here at the Junkyard. It's also one of the rarest, most expensive, and most bizarre variations of the Dreamcast hardware. And by 'variations,' I mean: it's a virtual aquarium which runs on Dreamcast hardware that was intended to be placed in hotel lobbies, restaurants etc.; but which was only sold in small quantities and is barely known about outside of its native Japan.
How the SEGA Fish Life was marketed to businesses (Source)
The whole unit consists of a base (which contains the derivative Dreamcast hardware), along with a touch screen and a microphone. When used in conjunction, those with a passing interest in the serene aquatic panorama playing out on the screen could interact with the various fish by either tapping on them to reveal an info panel, or by speaking into a microphone embedded in the screen.
The unit in its final form with the screen (Source)
Both the software and the hardware that run SEGA Fish Life are amongst the rarest in the whole of the Dreamcast story. But now, thanks to the hard work and dedication of volunteers at the Swiss computer and games museum Musée Bolo, you can experience it yourself for (possibly) the first time.
Tranquility is the name of the game
Before we get the to the meat and potatoes (or should that be cod and chips?) of the SEGA Fish Life unit itself, it's probably worth me reiterating just how big of a deal this whole story is for both the Dreamcast and wider games preservation communities. The various SEGA Fish Life software iterations have never been dumped online, and are considered something of a Holy Grail for fans of esoteric, Japanese oddities - me included. The Dreamcast-derived hardware on which the software runs is even harder to come by, which makes the following story even more incredible...

Rare Dreamcast-based digital aquarium sells for US$3650

Ever wanted to own one of the rarest variations of the Dreamcast hardware? With touchscreen controls and an exclusive game where you can interact with digital fish? Sorry to say you've just missed out, but it would have set you back over US$3650. so you probably aren't that gutted.
We've previously covered the Sega Fish Life Digital Aquarium here, and here. If you're too lazy to click the links, it's basically a rare curio from Japan that was mainly sold to businesses like restaurants. While waiting for their steaming bowl of ramen, patrons are soothed by the realistic looking digital fish gently swimming around, and you could even tap the glass to interact with them. Unlike real aquariums, business owners never had to ever worry about forgetting to feed them or cleaning out a scummy tank. Japan thinks of everything.
Chilean-based Juppon Gatana retro store finally sold their unit to an identity obscured ebay member r***i, who dominated the auction with a bid of US$2000 on 22 Feb, and defended against 3 other serious bidders, before the auction ended yesterday at a cool US$3650. Juppon Gatana's reserve was met, so presumably the unit will soon be on its way to a happy (and decidedly poorer) new owner soon.
Here's hoping r***i has the ability and philanthropic compassion to digitally preserve the Sega Fish Life GD-ROM and dutifully release it into the wild, so that maybe one day us mere mortals might be able to experience its esoteric delights via a suitably modified emulator. I jest, that's probably not going to happen...stupid hoarders.

Rare Dreamcast-Powered Sega Fish Life Aquarium Appears On Ebay

A few years ago we looked at the Dreamcast SFL-2000P1 Control Unit, and we were pretty stumped as to what it actually was. Looking like a set-top box but with the innards of a Dreamcast, it caused quite a stir when we first investigated the unit. It turns out that it was actually designed to run an interactive aquarium designed for restaurants and hotel lobbies, and a bundled touch screen allowed people to interact with the unit and learn more about the various virtual fish swimming around. These units are clearly extremely rare and now one has popped up on eBay, complete with the Fish Life aquarium GD and the touch screen display:
Before you get too excited, we should probably tell you that the Buy It Now price is set at an eye-watering $25,000, which would probably get you a pretty large fish tank and some actual fish to go in it. That said, seller Juppon Gatana is open to offers and it's a fascinating and lesser seen variant of the traditional Dreamcast hardware that even plays games, as shown in the video below.

Interestingly, the unit being sold has the code HKS-0300 which kinda puts it in the realm of the HKT codes used on Dreamcast hardware proper (Edit: the owner of the SFL-2000P1 has told us that while it is aesthetically similar, it is not an identical unit and it has slightly different inputs). As discussed in our previous article, both the SFL-2000P1 and Sega Fish Life can play standard GDs and have rudimentary controls on the rear that mimic the Dreamcast controller. There's no slot for a VMU though, so you probably wouldn't want to buy this thing to actually play with it. However, if you've got money to burn and want a unique centre-piece for your Dreamcast collection (alongside your Divers 2000), this should fit the bill nicely.
Check out the auction here, or go read up on the Fish Life software at Sega Retro.