It’s just about that time of the year again when it comes time to look at games, outdoor games to be more exact. With more and more outdoorsman becoming techies it only makes sense that we do this since, well, we are known for being gamers ourselves. The evolution of fishing games has been something interesting to look back at; in all honesty I was surprised to see just how far back fishing games actually go. With so many out there I thought it would be rather neat to look back at the fishing games that have a special place in our hearts.
I vaguely remember my father coming home from the lake back in the mid-90s, hitting the hay and waking up to turn on the ol’ Super Nintendo to take a crack at “Bassin’s Black Bass with Hank Parker”. The thing that still strikes me today about that game was the attention to detail, it still features some of the most realistic fishing action of any game, which is something to be said for a game that game out in 1994. Of course the graphics surely aren’t what we deal with today but the depth finder and the near-3D graphics offer a unique feel that seems to be lacking in some of the newer generation of video games.
Four years later and the PlayStation received Reel Fishing; this was one of those games that kept me busy for hours on end thanks to the Fission Rod Controller that it came bundled with, yes even back then they had controller bundle packs. The game featured ultra-cheesy photo-backgrounds with terrible water graphics matched with again, photo-fish. Though the game looks horrible today there was something about it that just clicked in 1998, perhaps it was just the rod controller that let me be on the water with my dad while he was out making his name on the local trail.
Not long after that in 1999 we were brought one of the BEST fishing games of all time, Sega Bass Fishing. I have probably spent as many hours playing this game as I have spent on the lake, if not more due to the wintery months here in the North. The game offered an arcade feel that somehow felt genuine and real all because of the presentation of the game. The game is all about fishing tournaments in a “hole-to-hole” manner, meaning you pick specific spots then fish them in a realistic manner. Where the arcade comes in was with the bonus lures and bonus spots. I will never forget hitting the knight’s helmet outside of the broken down castle with a deep diving crankbait or jig to unlock the fishing holy-land. It is because of little things like that which make me still play that game today. Sega Bass Fishing was rereleased last year on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
Then we have the most realistic fishing game of all-time, perhaps so realistic it didn’t become popular, Field & Stream’s Trophy Bass 4. Whenever I want to play with a new technique or look at realistic lake maps for some odd reason I go to Trophy Bass 4, I am not sure if it is the kid in me or the gamer but I can honestly say that this game has helped me with my fishing. After spending a few hours in this game you will quickly learn how deep Trophy Bass 4 really is. When setting up for a tournament you will be faced with a few decisions for the rods on your deck including; rods, type of reel, line, lure, color, weight, vibration, trailer, and trailer color. That is the reason why I still fire-up this fishing game from 2000, the pure freedom to make an hour long run from one end of the lake to another; I mean a real hour by the way, or to literally flip or skip docks with tubes and jigs.
Over the past few years we have seen a resurgence of fishing games, a few decent ones too! Most notable was 2009’s Bass Pro Shops: The Strike. The game featured a great balance of realism and fun without the gimmicky “hold the rod a certain to increase your chances my 2000%!” it is just a matter of what REALLY works on that body of water and what doesn’t. The Strike features Toho, Pickwick, Oneida, Champlain, Guntersville, Wylie, Fork, Ouachita, Amistad, and Table Rock, some of the most popular fisheries in North America. Once you get onto the water though you will be faced with beating the competition, in order to do that you will need to select from the vast majority of BPS rods, reels, lures, and line to catch ’em from your Nitro bass boat. I have yet to check out the new Tournament Edition but some VERY good things are being said.
All this talk about fishing games is driving me nuts! It’s looking like a long night of no sleep and fishing with Hank Parker on the dusty SNES for me! With all of that being said, what is your favorite fishing game?