PUBLISHED: 3:54 PM on Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Video game offers armchair entry into deadly crab fisheries
For video gamers ready to tackle 40-foot waves, arctic storms, sea ice and the prospect of crewmember injuries, if only from an armchair, "Deadliest Catch Alaskan Storm" may be just the ticket.

The game, inspired by real life crab fishermen and brothers Sig, Edgar and Norman Hansen, will be released in April for the Xbox 360 video game system from Microsoft and for PC.

  Discovery Channel's reality series "Deadliest Catch" will be released as a video game on XBox 360 in April.
Release of the game coincides with the fourth season of the Discovery Channel series "Deadliest Catch."

The Hansens, who fish aboard their family fishing vessel the Northwestern, began game development with Liquid Dragon Studios in Bellevue, Wash., in October 2005.

The game has not yet been rated.

"It may not be life or death, but chills went up my spine the first time I saw the Northwestern sink in the game," said Sig Hansen.

Weather and fishing conditions in the video game are based on authentic weather and storm data, and get progressively worse each season, increasing the challenge. The ultimate goal is to return safely each season, upgrade your boat and crew, and attempt to break the Hansens' actual lifetime catch of 20 million pounds of wild Alaska crab.

"Deadliest Catch Alaskan Storm" allows gamers to captain their own boat in the frenzied search for an undersea jackpot.

Gamers select one of five real crab boats, including the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie and Sea Star - vessels featured on the series - or create and customize their own boat.

Gamers then recruit and lead their own crews from a roster of 20 real crab fishermen, including Kenny Hendricks and Don Huggins, of the Sea Star.

In the game, selecting the wrong boat or recruiting the wrong crew member can spell the difference between landing a lot of crab or disaster. Gamers lead their fatigued, hungry and hardworking crew in a search for king crab and opilio crab to secure their catch before other captains and crews get the catch.

Game features include four real Bering Sea harbors - Akutan, Dutch Harbor, King Cove and St. Paul - and missions that include participation in U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue missions and ice flow navigation. It also has 100 exclusive crew videos and an offers Xbox Live multiplayer options.

The crew videos for the game were filmed on location on the Bering Sea by Hi-Five Films. The game is published by Greenwave, a recently established video game publisher based in Seattle.

Margaret Bauman can be reached at