Published on October 12th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan


Catch Your Own Dinner: An Ode to Fishing Minigames

Fishing is a simple activity. Kill a spider, collect its string, then harvest a few sticks from the nearest tree to create the finest fishing rod the world of Minecraft has ever seen. An inventory full of leather boots, wooden bowls, salmon and tropical fish await. Visit a villager, trade pufferfish for emeralds, or cast your rod once more and watch the square sun go down over the ocean.


Fishing occupies a curious place in video gaming. It’s arguably no one’s favourite activity and rarely even an essential part of a game yet this smelliest of minigames is present in titles as varied as Stardew Valley, Final Fantasy XIV, Yakuza 6, Breath of Fire 3, and The Oregon Trail. Meanwhile, simulation titles like Planet Fishing and Ice Lakes attract only a small, niche audience.

However, it’s perhaps the pick-up-and-play nature of many video game fishing experiences that keep the more complex titles in their own shallow pond. For instance, Android app Ridiculous Fishing keeps the action brief and frantic with its array of machine guns while Alaskan Fishing, a game from slot uk website Winning Room simply requires the player to match symbols such as bears, hooks and tackle boxes to win. Alaskan Fishing also leans on its imagery to keep the player interested, with pictures of Alaska’s snow-capped mountains in the background, something that Final Fantasy XIV developer Square Enix does too. The breezy cliff edges of Vylbrand, the flowing Sagolii Dunes, and the ponds of Gridania are as much a source of fish as they are of awe and relaxation.

The Formula

A juxtaposition of challenge and a relaxing pace is behind a good fishing minigame. For every minute the player spends waiting for a bite, there’s a short period of struggle with that evening’s supper. These tiny battles range from pressing a mouse button at the correct time, as in Minecraft, to full RPG-based systems (Final Fantasy XIV) and an arcade-style tug-of-war (Stardew Valley).

There’s also the Pokémon factor. A fondness for collecting anything and everything, whether that’s cheese wheels in Skyrim or Power Stars in Mario 64, is typical of many gamers, and fish make for fine collectibles – as long as they’re not kept in your pocket too long. Minecraft keeps its fish count low at just four but Final Fantasy XIV and XV have more than 1,100 sea critters combined, with the former game claiming all but a few of those.

Gamasutra contributor Davide Aversa has taken the anatomy of fishing minigames one step further though by suggesting that the experience needs to harness three basic emotions to be fun to play: relaxation, surprise (“will we get a great fish or an old boot?”), and excitement. Put another way, fishing games appeal to the usual reward centres as regular gaming activities, albeit in a much more condensed form.

So, there you have it. What’s your favourite fishing minigame? Let us know in the comments down below.

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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