I once wrote a very little viewed opinion piece on what I thought were the worst trends in gaming history it was poorly written, it wasn’t the at all researched, but it was moments in history I had noticed that I had a particular grumble about. Pinball game trends, freemium games, DLC, but the more relevant to this article was the inclusion in that list of the baffling popularity of the great fishing craze of c1997 to c2000. I went as far to single out Sega Bass Fishing in that list but here I am 4 years later willing to finally give Sega Bass Fishing the attention it deserves.
Well, it is a fishing game. You fish. For bass. Not Sea Bass, not a bass guitar, but a regular old bass bass.
What more do you want me to say? You choose a location to cast your rod from, choose a lure, and then you cast off and try and catch a fish. It is pretty dull, yet cathartic at the same time. But mostly dull.
Fishing Rod Peripheral
It isn’t only Nintendo who like to make crummy control peripherals, no, SEGA where doing back in 1999 and way before anyone thought a multi-coloured plastic guitar would sell, no SEGA released a fishing rod peripheral and bass’ed on eBay prices they sold by the bucket load. So when I was finally persuaded to buy SEGA Bass Fishing I stumped up the extra £10 to buy a version with the rod. And you know what? As peripherals go it is pretty good. It feels like a rod, it has rudimentary motion controls so you can cast the rod with a flick of the wrists, there is a reel to reel in those big fish. Or you can be cheap and buy a 3rd party knockoff. These come in varying levels of quality and some will not have space for your Dreamcast VMU or rumbly pack so you may or may not have rumble feature when trying to catch your little fishies.
Home Conversion Features
With this being an arcade port there are *some* features that have been added to try and pad the justification of charging full price for a 5 minute game. So what do you get for those big bucks to make the purchase worthwhile?
Well you get a Practice mode (wow) and AND a Tournament Mode (DOUBLE WOWZERS) this is the bas
s game but different.
The reel addition here… is the addition of 4 extra stages bringing the grand total to 8 as well as some weather and seasonal features. I am not going to sing to the high heavens praise for the game because it added a little content, but in the grand scheme og things and the state of many Dreamcast ports, it is actually a lot of effort. So in that respect I think it is note worthy and commendable. I will stand by my criticism of Crazy Taxi and Crazy Taxi 2 for being lazy ports that add absolutely nothing to the arcade yet charged full price release.
The main draw is the “original mode” as this is a full on career mode. You start in the bum-fuck amateurs on grotty little lakes with the lame fish and lures. And you compete in various competitions until you start no longer coming last (Or get skilled at virtual fishing). From a certain point on you start to catch more fish, with greater frequency and greater yield too. I cant truly tell if this is an inbuilt mechanic or I was slowly learning the game, but either way it is pretty boring spending 50 minutes of your life fishing.
Arcade modes you get a set time limit per stage that you can adjust in the option menus, here you have a time limit as each stage is a set time period in game world. These two factors are what stop me enjoying what little enjoyment there is to be had. I dont think anyone fishing as an adrenaline sport. It is supposed to be sedate. I want to sit here and drink, and possibly catch a fish if one is feeling up to it.
Oddly one of the things that SEGA Bass Fishing has going for itself is how simple the game is, for Christ sake it is fishing! But that simplicity means almost everything was ploughed into graphical fidelity. Racing games are traditionally the most atrractive games because the tracks are simple to render which means all those spare polys can go into cars. Well this is fishing… You need water and a fish. So you get a pretty realistic fish for the time. Sure they are blocking now, but they retain that virtua charm that SEGA went with for their graphical charm.
With all that, I can hardly recommend SEGA Bass Fishing… If you want a career mode fishing game, go fishing in real life. As a casual play practice mode is the best. No time limits, choice of location, and you can sit sipping your warm tin of Foster’s Lager while you pretend to participate in outdoor pursuits.
SEGA Bass Fishing isn’t bad, it does what it says on the tin which can only be a good thing. So if you really have an interest in fishing games the Original Mode will at least offers you a reason to invest the time in the game.
I am still baffled by the Fishing game boom of c1997-c2000
Pros: it looks good. Some *ahem* depth
Back in the Day:
Sega Bass Fishing scored mid 70s, but now holds a high 50s score on Metacritic.
Also Available On: Arcade (1997), PC (2001), Nintendo WII (2008), PlayStation Network (2011), Xbox Live Arcade (2011), Xbox 360 (2011)