Obscure Video Games: Space Fishermen

Ridonkulous fishing

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Fishing games have been around a long time. The earliest one I remember playing is Activision’s 1980 Fishing Derby for the Atari 2600. Despite its simplicity, it was great. Since then there have been tons more fishing titles, but only a few have really tried experimenting with the genre. One such example is 2002’s Space Fishermen for PlayStation 2, a collaboration between a small Japanese developer by the name of Land Ho! and Spumco (the creators of Ren & Stimpy).

The game begins with a choice of three characters:

  • Diver – a bodybuilder wearing nothing but a diver’s helmet and a loincloth
  • Masabo – a goofy Stimpy-lookalike
  • Swallow – a blue woman with extremely long hair

You start out in a hub world where you can talk to people, buy stuff, and choose your fishing site. Everything is in Japanese, so I had to fumble around a bit before I could get to the action, but if you need help there are YouTube videos which illustrate the process.

Fishing takes place on small planet-like areas. Your character rides a hoverboard around the perimeter of the water, and shoots electricity from their rod/gun thing. Wait for yellow circles to appear and hook the fish with the circle button. Then reel it in by rotating the right stick while pulling the left stick in the opposite direction of the fish’s movement. It’s a little awkward to do all this simultaneously, but eventually I got used to it.

The “fish” you catch are just as bizarre as the characters. So far I’ve seen a baseball octopus, a clam frog, and a living tin can. Each of the approximately 150 species has a type which determines what kind of lure they like to eat. For example, an “Animal” type fish will go for a “Shell” type lure. It’s somewhat like Pokémon in that way, and the system adds a little strategy to the game.

Space Fishermen never saw a release outside Japan, but if you have the means to play it then I say give it a shot. You just might get hooked.


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