Back when I was a kid I remember our family had a cool fish tank filled with a variety of fish (although I don’t remember the exact kind). It was a good size tank and we had all the usual props like rocks, fake plants, a plastic cave where the fish could hide, etc. I also remember that no one really liked cleaning the tank because it was a lot of trouble (my Mom ended up doing it most of the time). Today, there’s no way I would get a real fish tank because life just keeps me too busy, but it would still be cool to have one none-the-less. Well, guess what? I found the next best thing in the Living Marine Aquarium Volume 2 from Screen Dreams.
Filmed in HD (High Definition) widescreen (although it works on regular screens too), LMA2 is a DVD Video that turns your TV into a virtual aquarium. The disc provides 12 different scenescapes of real aquariums filled with real, exotic marine life. Some of scenescapes provide a static scene where the camera remains still so that when viewing your TV, it looks like you’re looking into the side of a real fish tank. Other scenescapes provide a moving camera that continuously follows different fish on their journeys through the tank. All of the scenescapes provide exquisite detail and include about 8 minutes of material each for over 100 minutes of total content.
To use LMA2, you simply pop it into your DVD player and click Scenes on the main menu to choose the scenescapes you would like to play. The scenescape you choose will loop continuously until you stop playback or use the menu to choose a different scene. My favorite feature, however, is Play All, which will play all 12 sequences and cycle through them every 30 seconds so that you have continuous viewing variety. The only restriction to the video portion of LMA2 is that it is only provided in NTSC format, so if you live in a country that uses PAL video, you’re out of luck.
In addition to the video material, LMA2 provides 6 music soundtracks and 1 sound effects track. The music tracks are named: Acoustic Guitar, Ambient, Bossa Nova, Easy Listening, New Age, and Piano. They all provide easy-going melodic backgrounds that fit nicely with the whole theme of a virtual aquarium. The sound effects track simply provides the sound of a fish tank filter bubbling in the background. I was a bit disappointed with this aspect of the product. I already have access to a home stereo system and can easily play any type of background music I like. Background sound effects, however, are something I don’t have so I think it would have been better if LMA2 provided a variety of sound effects instead of the music. Maybe some underwater ocean sounds, etc. That would have been nice.
You’ll also find a couple of other sections on the disc called Hints and Extras. The Hints section provides some basic info about the disc (nothing that the DVD case doesn’t already provide) and some information on how to use the disc, which isn’t really needed because the interface in self-explanatory. The Extras section gives some information about the company, the people involved in creating the product, and some ads about other products that are available. There are no cool “Easter Egg” features here.
Despite a couple of disappointments, LMA2 does a wonderful job of simulating a virtual aquarium on a TV screen. It works on both standard and widescreens, provides wonderful detail because of the HD format, and gives you that nice scenic background (especially if you have a flat-screen TV mounted on a wall). I love putting it on to impress my friends whenever they come over. So if you want a fish tank without all the fuss, the Living Marine Aquarium Volume 2 awaits.