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September 9, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Photo: “Deadliest Catch” boat’s secret trove in Ballard

Today’s story about the new “Deadliest Catch” video game mentioned an Easter egg that Wizard Captain Keith Colburn showed on his boat.

Here’s a picture of him, with the 1940s pinups that were inside the boat’s original tool box.

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The story:

Monte Colburn didn’t beat around the bush when the upcoming video game, “Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos,” was demonstrated Wednesday in the galley of his crab boat, the Wizard.

“The buoys are backwards,” he said, arms crossed, but smiling.

That’s among the fixes due before the game is released, replied Doug Panter, marketing director at Santa Ana, Calif.-based Crave Games. The game, which costs $40 to $50, will launch Nov. 9 for the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3.

Colburn is the brother of the Wizard’s captain, Keith Colburn, a star of the “Deadliest Catch” reality-television show and a playable character in the game, which opens with the Wizard sailing through the title page.

The game is more advanced than a 2008 title based on the show, with improved graphics and action. But it’s no “Halo: Reach.”

You drive diesel boats armed with cranes that sail at 10 knots, not rocket ships loaded with missiles.

Still, Crave and Capt. Keith hope their game will appeal to casual players and fans of the show who want to learn more about fishing for giant crab in the treacherous seas off Alaska.

It will also give the industry even more exposure, beyond the hit show on the Discovery Channel that drew 81.8 million viewers last season.

“More than anything, it’s an interesting way to entice the younger audience that loves ‘Deadliest Catch,’ ” Keith Colburn said.

Sitting in his chair on the bridge, adorned with his beloved 2001 Ichirio bobblehead, Colburn said the game seems realistic.

He said it provides more technical detail than there’s time for on the show, and gives people an idea of how difficult it is to set the gear.

Colburn thinks players will have to know a little bit about crab fishing to do well. But not vice versa.

“I’ve tried to play it – with marginal success,” he said. “If I fished as well as I play the game, I would be broke.”

The captain, who lives in Fall City, defers to his 14-year-old son, Caelan.

“It’s going to be really embarrassing to go home and try and fish crab with my son and get my butt waxed,” he said. “I can take him down up here in the wheelhouse but I think at home I may have met my match.”

In the game, players buy a boat in Dutch Harbor, pick a crew from the show cast and set out. They must navigate over targets in the sea, drop pots, toss out lines to retrieve the gear, then sort the crabs on the boat.

Along the way, they may have to fix broken engines and winches. The game tracks their earnings.

A glitch in the early, beta version shown Wednesday was especially realistic. Trying to start fishing, I was stuck on the dock, lacking money for a boat. Luckily I only had to reboot the PS3 to start fresh with a full bank account.

The game will work with Sony and Nintendo motion controllers, but not Microsoft’s upcoming Kinect motion-control system.

On the Wizard, the game was shown on the PS3 and an Xbox that Crave temporarily set up in the galley.

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The boat spends summers in Ballard, getting prepared for the crab season that runs from October to April.

Boats featured in the game will receive a small royalty on sales.

Capt. Phil Harris, a star of the show who died Feb. 9, will not be a playable character. But his boat, the Cornelia Marie, is part of the game.

Crave is donating a portion of sales — at least $25,000 — to the Seattle Fisherman’s Fund.

Colburn showed Wednesday how the Discovery crew taped over brand names on supplies stored on the boat, told stories about being harassed as a rookie and recounted a giant wave that washed over the boat.

He also revealed a favorite artifact on the boat, which was built to haul oil products in 1945. It’s inside the door of its original tool chest: a collection of fading World War II-era pinups.

They’re the boat’s original virtual entertainment.

Comments | More in | Topics: deadliest catch, Games & entertainment, video games

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