Fishing is one of the most popular sports, and for many of us it’s almost an addiction. When it’s time to leave the lake we say we’ll take just one more cast, but somehow that always seems to turn into ten more casts. When we can’t be fishing in the real world, a computer fishing game can be a fun consolation.
Some fishermen don’t see the point of a fishing game or simulation since it doesn’t put a fish in the frying pan. If their only reason to fish is to harvest a meal it stands to reason that they wouldn’t get excited about a fishing game. For most anglers though, the chance to bring home some fish is only a small part of the appeal of fishing. Many of us fish for the challenge of finding those fish and matching lures and baits to the habitat and conditions. We love exploring and discovering a promising stretch of shoreline, the suspense when a lure splashes down in a prime spot, the thrill of the strike, and the rush of fighting fish. If you enjoy fishing for the experience and the challenge, then a fishing game or simulation can be a lot of fun.
You’ll often hear the words “simulation” and “game” used interchangeably, but there’s an important distinction. A piece of computer software can be purely a game or purely a simulation, though most fishing games are a blend of the two. Think of a scale with “pure games” on one end and “pure simulations” on the other.
In a pure game you may be rewarded for clicking on the right place at the right time, for having fast reflexes, for simply getting lucky in matters of chance. A pure game might have a fishing theme and give you virtual fish instead of points, but it’s really nothing like fishing. A scratch-off lottery ticket can be made into a fishing game by making the card look like a lake and the scratch-off areas places to “cast”, winning money if you reveal a fish in three casts. It’s not intended to be realistic, but it’s intended to be fun.
On the other extreme is a pure simulation. A simulation of an activity is based on a mathematical model of many factors that effect the activity. It’s designed to behave as much like real life as possible, but without anything added for entertainment beyond the experience itself. You don’t win anything, score points or try to beat the clock, unless those things are part of the real activity being simulated. If you enjoy some activity in the real world then you may have a lot of fun with a pure simulation of that activity, whether that’s fishing, flying an aircraft or playing the stock market.
Most fishing games are neither pure game nor pure simulation but have elements of both. I’ve enjoyed many fishing games over the years, but I’ll admit to a personal bias: Because I love real fishing so much, I prefer something much closer to a pure simulation.
Next: Part 2- What makes a good fishing game?