My semi-ironic hipster-gamer identity used to revolve around my enjoyment of fishing games. At some point I became totally burnt out on talking about them, and I realized I wasn’t the only one with said interest.
For me, it started with going to elementary school in the rural south, having weird redneck friends with fishing games on their Playstations. Then the Gamecube original Animal Crossing, then experiencing epic fishing trips in real life, then discovering the Legend of the River King series, and eventually being inspired to design my own fishing adventure game and creating it in game maker, so I had to play every single Japanese fishing game I could. Eventually I had an old friend contact me for help with his senior thesis at college in Japan, which was about fishing. Eventually I wound up finding Sega Bass Fishing games at thrift stores in the rural south, realizing that redneck uncles unironically purchased and played these extremely Japanese games with hilarious Japanglish voice narration.
Here’s a quick sloppy list
- Sega Bass Fishing 2 (or SBF Duel, the PS2 port)
- Legend of the River King ½ on GBC
- Legend of the River King: A Wonderful Journey (PS2)
- Shigesato Itoi’s No.1 Bass Fishing (SFC) … this one is highly underrated and will be translated to english one day when MOTHER fans get their head out of the sand and realize how important this game is, I’m sure of it. Not holding my breath though.
- All the Sega Bass Fishing arcade-style knockoffs from various companies. Mark Davis Pro Bass Challenge, etc.
- Reel Fishing series, specifically the PS2 ones.
- Sega Bass Fishing 1, Sega Marine Fishing. They’re alright but I like 2 better.
So basically, before the indie boom, I would separate fishing games into two categories,
The arcade-style fishing of SEGA, and the RPG Adventure style, augmented by arcade fishing mechanics of PACK-IN-VIDEO.
Much of the arcade style ones are all the same, nearly identical to Sega Bass Fishing, but they all were worth a look (for me) for their soundtracks. I played mostly stuff for Playstation and Playstation 2.
So that’s to say nothing of indie fishing games, I’ll leave that to you guys.
There’s enough Legend of the River King / Kawa no Nushi Tsuri games to last me a long, long time. To this day, there are some games in the series that go totally unlisted on the english Wikipedia page for the series.
The first River King game came out on Family Computer in the same year as MOTHER1, making them both highly innovated modern takes on Dragon Quest, also meaning PACK-IN-VIDEO designed River King years before the first Harvest Moon. Many of them, surprisingly, have fan translations. Still waiting on the Super Famicom one though, I think.