SEGA's Aquatic Simulator 'Fish Life' Lovingly Restored by Museé Bolo

Published: May 28, 2019 9:20 AM /


fish life

The classic SEGA simulator Fish Life has been restored to working order by Museé Bolo, and boy has it been a while since I've written an opening sentence that requires a lot of explanation.

Let's start with Fish Life. You've probably never heard of it before and that wouldn't be all that surprising. In the mid-90s, the research and development people at SEGA were given the task of making a virtual aquarium.

You may have seen your fair share of virtual fishies projected on a wall somewhere today, but this was cutting-edge tech that hadn't yet been realized in an appreciable way. The SEGA boffins were more than up to the task, though, and the result was Fish Life. A tweet from @personasama announced that the strange simulation game lives once more.

The resulting product made use of a touch screen interface and hardware that was more-or-less based on the Sega Dreamcast. Users could interact with the fish using the touchscreen and they would behave in a believable fashion. It was a pretty neat little installation, although it was unlikely that people would buy it to put in their homes as they would with a gaming console.

In an amusing twist of fate, the completion of the project was revealed on November 11, 1999. That date will stand out to some of your diehard SEGA fans out there: Fish Life was presented to the world on the same day that SEGA President Isao Okawa announced that they were pulling out of the hardware business and ceasing production of the SEGA Dreamcast. Harsh.

This strange little project was eventually revived by the fine folks at Museé Bolo, a technology-centric museum located in Switzerland. Thanks to painstaking work (and a nod of approval from SEGA Europe), Fish Life lives once again as a curiosity of days past in the museum.

You can see it for yourself in person at the Museé Bolo or you can read the treasure trove of documentation surrounding the project. It's no Insaniquarium, but it's a cool project nonetheless and it's nice to see a piece of gaming history preserved for the future.

Did you ever get to see Fish Life in person? What other strange hardware projects have you seen? Let us know in the comments below!

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A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N