• August 25, 2021

Am I the only one who hates fishing minigames?

We all have our little little hills to die on. Here’s mine: I think the fishing minigames are bad, and the games would be better without them.

The word “minigame” should describe a small game within the game, with minibad mechanics and some intrinsic joy. But I don’t see joy in the act of pressing a button to cast a line, waiting a bit, and then pressing the same button again, and almost all fishing mini-games are like this! It’s a genre devoid of innovation, stuck for decades in the same tap-wait-tap loop (or the equally common, but more inaccessible variant, tap-wait-smash-button). I almost enjoyed fishing at Ys VIII, because it makes sense for a group of castaways to fish, but the most difficult catch required an amount of button pounding that hurt my fingers and made me fear for the structural integrity of my pad. I can only imagine how painful the activity must be for less capable players.

[I know this video isn’t about any of the games mentioned here, but I like the idea of FISH BITING BACK paired with the text of this article. – ed.]

When games try to change things, they often fail to explain how their fishing minigame differs from the norm. This is why my pirate friends at Sea Of Thieves never got much fish from me – despite the time I spent Googling “how to fish” while feeling incredibly silly, I still don’t understand how it works. You have to pull the rod in the opposite direction to the fish, I think. And the joypad rumbles if the line is too tight? How can people with a keyboard and mouse play this minigame?

Hades, the absolute boy, pausing to make a very important fish

At least it makes sense, from a thematic standpoint, to have fishing minigames in Caribbean-themed games like Ys VIII and Sea Of Thieves. I can even grudgingly accept its presence in life simulators like Stardew Valley. But do we really need to add fishing to every single pond game, I wonder? Did the horror game Witch’s Heart really need a fishing mechanic? Warframe? And can we talk about Hades for a second? Why does Zagreus keep stopping his escape from the underworld to throw a line? Are you secretly waiting for your angry dad to catch up with you, so you can enjoy some father-son fishing time?

I don’t understand why everyone seems so obsessed with fishing. Is this a decades-long revenge plot orchestrated by a secret cabal of developers who wanted to see the River King series localized in English?

I know what you’re thinking: let people enjoy things, Giada! Why can’t you just avoid fishing, if you hate it so much? Readers, I’d love to, but games should stop forcing me to play their fucking fishing minigames first! “Optional” fishing activities are the only way to earn some decent money in Nier: Automata, get some quality gear in Regalia, and some powerful weapons in Final Fantasy XII.

To me, fishing minigames seem to have achieved the same memetic ubiquity of petting dogs: a cheesy action that has now become a must-have addition. I’m not very fond of dogs either. Maybe that’s the problem. If you are a developer looking for ideas for minigames, can I suggest you stop fishing in favor of a minigame where you have to try to pet a cat without getting scratched?

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