Both fishing and golf games hold a strange fascination for me. I don’t have an affinity for the real world counterparts of either, and yet, I really do get a kick out of the digital versions. To my mind, the best golf video games come from the Golden Tee franchise, which, due to its loose trackball control scheme, has never really been represented well on home consoles. Ten years ago Sega Bass Fishing made its debut in the arcades, setting the bar for arcadey fishing games. Unlike Golden Tee, however, Sega Bass Fishing was able to be recreated reasonably well on a home console, namely the Dreamcast, with the Sega Fishing Controller. Now, it has been re-released on the Wii.
One of the nice things about the Wiimote is that it’s pretty multipurpose, which means that despite Nintendo’s efforts to dump various plastic shells on us, it can stand in for a number of different kinds of controllers just fine on its own. Sega Bass Fishing is no exception. The Wiimote substitutes well for either the original arcade controller or the Sega Fishing Controller.
But the problem with Sega Bass Fishing isn’t the control. Rather, it simply has to do with how much time has passed since its original release. This is essentially the same game from ten years ago, and it both looks and sounds like it. Further, as a purely arcade title, there’s no depth to it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, of course. In fact, old games, arcade or not, seem to be undergoing a bit of a renaissance in this generation of consoles, with the increased popularity of downloadable titles. From that perspective, it totally makes sense to bring back Sega Bass Fishing now.
However, this is one of those games that makes me wish the Wii had some legitimate storage capacity. The kind of nostalgia it’s banking on seems like it would be most profitable if its purchase could be made impulsively and nearly immediately. Sega has to understand the limited appeal of Sega Bass Fishing for the Wii, or else they wouldn’t be selling it at a $29.99 price point. But even at that price, it’s a somewhat difficult purchase to justify. Further, given that in the last ten years, fishing minigames have become more common in larger titles (Okami and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, for example) an extremely similar, if not uniquely Sega, experience can be had much more cost effectively.
It’s hard not to have some fun with Sega Bass Fishing, particularly if you have any fond memories of the arcade or Dreamcast versions. But the gaming landscape has changed in the last ten years, and this version of Sega Bass Fishing doesn’t reflect that whatsoever. It just seems to me that mining this sort of material sounds better on paper than it will probably turn out, even though admittedly there’s something appealing about it. I’d certainly be excited if they decided to bring back Daytona USA, though I’m sure I’d be disappointed by the result.