The fishing genre of video games can sometimes be seen as inane. After all, fishing is just more fun in real life. Why would you play a game when you could be out having fun on the rivers, lakes and oceans of the world?
Still, there is something that draws people to fishing games, and, if you’re going to play one, it might as well be a Japanese initiative, for reasons I’ll get in to later. And, perhaps it’s a good entry point for people who aren’t prepared to drive three hours to the nearest lake, get blasted by the sun, get eaten my mosquitoes and get covered in fish slime for the first time.
Kawa no Nushi Tsuri 2
Kawa no Nushi Tsuri quite literally means “Fishing the River Master”, so as you can imagine, the goal of the game is to find and successfully catch the River Master, which in this case is a Japanese lates. Kawa no Nushi Tsuri 2 is a RPG fishing game with specific quests and a peripheral storyline, and is a sequel to the original Famicom release. It was released on March 27, 1992.
I’ve talked about this game before, and, it is still one my favorites in the genre. There are 72 different fish (6 of which aren’t really fish and are only for EXP) that can be caught in this game, though not without a heavy investment. When you catch any of the 66 fish, they are recorded in your notebook. You can also go for the record size of each fish, if you so desire. This could prolong the completion of the game indefinitely.
This was the game that eventually turned me on to real-life fishing. Up until that point I was mostly an arts and sports kid, and this game made me want to make excursions into the great outdoors in pursuit of fishing adventures.
And adventures I did have. I gave up a lot of my time and money for the pursuit of this hobby; I even walked long miles just to explore new fishing spots I hadn’t been to. I didn’t really catch a lot of fish, but along the way I did encounter a snake, climb difficult terrain, witness several monster koi fish, and meet some interesting people. It was fortunate that a lot of my friends were either in to fishing already or were interested in getting started, because I dragged them everywhere.
If there’s one thing that the Japanese do well, it’s creating fascination and intrigue around a subject. They create a lot of TV shows and movies that could stoke your flame for just about any passion you can imagine. I think that’s why this game so lured me in to the world of fishing (pun intended).
Umi no Nushi Tsuri
Umi no Nushi Tsuri is a spin-off of the Kawa no Nushi Tsuri series that brought the player to the oceans instead of the rivers. Those who are familiar with fishing know that not only are there different types of fish in the ocean as opposed to the rivers and lakes, there are also much bigger fish.
Umi no Nushi Tsuri was released on July 19, 1996; rather late in the lifespan of the Super Famicom system. The game itself was even more polished than Kawa no Nushi Tsuri 2 (which came out four years earlier), with better graphics and a larger world to explore. Umi no Nushi Tsuri also boasted 109 catchable fish as opposed to the 72 in Kawa no Nushi Tsuri 2.
Though I haven’t invested a lot of time in to this game (I was in a significant transition point in my life when the game came out), I will admit that ocean fishing doesn’t appeal to me quite as much as river and lake fishing. In real life, I enjoy fishing for bass, pike and trout more than just about any other fish, though sea bass fishing is pretty fun too.
Other Fishing Games
I have some recollection of playing a couple of other fishing games for the Super Famicom, but I will be the first to admit that my exposure is somewhat narrow. I like to talk about the Nushi Tsuri series because I think you would be hard pressed to find a game with as much care, love and detail devoted to it. Still, people want to know, so here are a couple more fishing games for the Super Famicom. It should go without saying, but this list should not be considered comprehensive.
- Keiryuoh – This game has 52 catchable fish and also has a weather system that adds a bit of challenge. The player must carefully select their bait in order to catch fish under particular conditions. The graphics are quite good for Super Famicom, and all the in-game fishing gear is available for purchase in real life.
- Iso Tsuri Ritou Hen – Much like the two games I covered earlier, this game was also developed by Pack-in-Video. Iso Tsuri doesn’t have any of the RPG elements of the other games, and is more dedicated to the world of fishing. It’s also more realistic and difficult to master. There are 20 catchable fish in total, and the location is based on a real-life spot in the Izu Shichito isands.