Crispy Gamer

“Deadliest Catch” Captain Keith Colburn Makes the Virtual Plunge

Fans of Discovery Channel’s hit show, “Deadliest Catch,” can now try crab fishing first-hand. Crave Entertainment has released its new Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii game, Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos. Captain Keith Colburn of Redmond, Washington worked with the game developers to bring his real-world job into the gaming realm.

Colburn has been captain of The Wizard for the last 14 years. The Wizard is actually a World War II-era ship that was converted into a fishing vessel in 1978. She’s one of the largest ships in the fleet at 155 feet in length and is a perennial top five producer every season when it comes to catching crab. Colburn talks about his own gaming background and what players will experience when they take control of a virtual crab boat in the new game.

What was your involvement with the videogame? 

They use a lot of the voices of captains and crews that actually work up in the Bering Sea on the TV for voices that will interact with the players as they’re working and trying to achieve fishing objectives during the course of the gameplay. So will be hearing my voice. I don’t know if I’ll be yelling at you. You may be hearing me telling you to hurry up.

What’s it like to see yourself as a character in a videogame?

To be a character in a videogame is pretty bizarre.  Videogames, in general, have become so life-like and real these days. The evolution is amazing from the days when I used to play Pong -- that’s what I played  -- to what my Son Chandler, who’s 14 – and what he’s playing. It’s staggering what’s out there. I think it will be interesting to try to play my son a game of Sea of Chaos and see if I can actually beat him at my own job, but I don’t know if I can. You know I can beat him out here. I can beat him right here, but I don’t think I can beat him at home on the video screen.

Does he know what your job is really like and how tough it is?

Yeah. My son has got a good indication of what I do. I don’t know that my son will end up being a fisherman. We’re hoping that he’s got aspirations to be something a little different, but he’s got a pretty good indication of what I do for living, how difficult it is, how long we work, some of the obstacles we’re up against constantly. I talk to my son all the time on the phone, which is this thing right here, and he gives me the weather pretty much daily. So he’s kind of living it with me periodically, and when he starts calling on the radio for a northeast 50 and heavy freezing spray, even though he’s not out there with me and the boat icing up, he still has an idea of what we’re going through.

Did you ever think this show would become so popular that they’d turn it into a videogame?

No. You know, it’s really staggering to see the evolution of the show and the popularity of the show. Ten years before this show existed, if I was on a plane talking to people, and they would ask me what I do for a living, I would tell them I worked in Alaska as a crab fisherman. And the first thing would say is, “Wow, I heard that’s really dangerous. I’d usually end up telling them about crab fishing for the next two hours on the plane. So there was already a fascination with the ocean and with the real danger that we face, sometimes on a daily basis. I think that’s compelling for people to watch on TV.

What do you and your son think of the new videogame?

We’re waiting for this game to debut so my son can actually get his hands on it and see what he thinks. I think it’s going to be pretty strange for him to be playing a game and actually hearing his Dad’s voice at the same time.  I think that will be the eeriest thing for him. In fact I asked the guys when we were doing the voice work for the game if they could put in some type of special thing in there. Like at the two hour mark, where all of a sudden my voice comes up and yells at my son to start doing his homework or something, but they opted not to do it. I really wanted that in the game and it didn’t happen. I’m sure he’ll probably take a razzing at school from his buddies, hearing me yelling at his buddies when they’re playing the game or coaxing him into to trying to do better at what they’re trying to do out there.

What type of input did you give the game creators for Sea of Chaos?

Well, most of my input was just on trying to keep it realistic. Keep it to where people can actually get a feel for what we do and be able to do it themselves, but do it in the safety of their own home. That was one of the things that I felt was important. I know very little about videogames, but I thought the realism would really enhance this game and make it that much more lifelike. I also gave them some sound bites that they probably won’t use.  They’re trying to keep this family-rated and a little bit below the language that we use in the Bering Sea.