I have made it my mission to gather the obscurest and worst-est Super Nintendo games out there, but a special Mission Risk Quick-Victory Condition within that mission is, "Buy Every Super Nintendo Fishing Game I See." Thus, this weeks offering is:
Mark Davis' THE FISHING MASTER
Is there any genre of video game more suitable for bemused mockery than a fishing video game? This is a sport which involves sitting in a boat for hours at a time, staring at a piece of string disappearing into the muddy depths of some stagnant lake or pond. At its best, it is probably more a meditation on life and than a blow-by-blow tussle between steely-jawed (and woolly-mustached) sportsman and piscine beast. Or is it just an excuse to get hammered, far away from one's demanding spouse and pestering scions?
Well, enough speculation. Mark Davis' THE FISHING MASTER is here to get MASTERFUL all over your VIDEO FISHING EXPERIENCE.
Ready? Then Let's Begin...
Shall I start off with cut-throat tournament fishing for cut-throat trout? (see what I did there?) No, indeed not! THIS fishing neonate had better begin with a few rounds of "Practice Mode," gathered disciple-like at the feet of the FISHING MASTER, Mark Davis.
Upon selecting PRACTICE mode, a more cartoonish (and only slightly less terrifying) version of Mark Davis appears on the screen, and assails you with a really really long scrolling text of his free-verse poetry. The gist of his nitty gritty seems to be about where to fish in any given season.
You don't need to worry about listening too closely because: a) you won't be able to tell what season it is, because there's only an icon and not words. Does the "sunny day with some clouds" icon mean spring or summer? Or winter? I don't know if the bass have moved to the warm, deep water, or if they're playfully dancing about the shoals, or if they're licking the palm of God! Mark Davis, you're one wigged-out cat, man.
Oh, the other reason you don't need to listen too closely to the righteous lyric laid down by Mark "Slam Masta" Davis is because, b) there are actually no fish in this video game. But we'll get back to that later!
Picking Your Seat
After picking the season (sort of) and the weather (if you want), you can begin practicing! The first step is, of course, to choose where to "weigh anchor" to "shiver the timbers" of your aquatic nemesis (nemesi?). Some fishing games let you drive your boat around, creating an amusing mini-game where you explore the in(let)s and outs of the ol' fishin' hole.
But Mark Davis is too masterful to leave your boat position to chance: he's personally marked every single useful fishing juncture on your map, and created a boat which can instantaneously teleport itself to each of these spots with the push of a button!
So all you need to do is pick which section of the river you want:
Uh, and after picking that, you just pick one of the handy-dandy fishing spots (carefully flagged by Mr. Fishing Master), and you're on your way!
Ok, having picked a flag, now you can finally...GOD DAMN IT!
FINE, HERE, ANYWHERE, WHATEVER!!!! LET ME FISH, DAMMIT!!
There, that wasn't too hard! Here I am, sitting on my, uh, bright magenta boat, staring at what looks like a cross between a giant pile of maneur and those typewriter beetles with the exposed sphincters from David Chronenberg's Naked Lunch.
My little fisher-dude proxy guy stands in awe of the natural world, contemplating the glory of nature and the fact that Mark Davis has stranded him in the middle of a river, staring at an extremely scrotal-looking riverbank.
Well, anyway, might as well hit some buttons and try to catch some fish, eh?
I am Lured by your Tie!
I successfully draw back my fishing line and get a standard "sliding power dial double-tap mini-game", but before I can fling my hook deep into the bowels of the grotesque swamp, a cryptic message appears: "TIE LURE," it says.
Mark? Mark Davis? What are you trying to tell me? It's cold out here on the river, Mark! Cold and quiet...I think I can hear the fish plotting against me! Also, the muddy underbrush looks uncomfortably like lumpy man-parts. Where have you brought me, Mark Davis? What wisdom can I learn here?
And for the love of god, why do I have to wear a tie?
Oh! The inventory menu!
I guess "lure" means "fishing lure." So "Tie Lure" probably means I need to attach a fishing lure to my fishing hook before I can fish! Truly, Mark Davis is a mysterious teacher, but I'm catching on to his obtuse ways!
Let's see here...rods, lures...hey, accessories? I always think the most fun part of sports games is accessorising!
Ok, here we go! I can put on a cap or not! Well, it looks like I'm already wearing a cap but...wait a minute. There's an "Explanation" option for the cap?!
Mark Davis Explains How to Operate a Hat
Well, now I know!
But how could this Windbreaker possibly function?
Uh-huh...ok, I GUESS I follow. But GLOVE? What kind of wizard-device is a GLOVE? Teach me, Mark Davis!
Oh, Mark Davis (THE FISHING MASTER)! You're so considerate, to think of my freezing hands on this ice-cold river! Actually, I'm not sure what I'd be doing on a boat in the depths of winter...did I boat out here before the river froze over, and now I'm forced to eat my rubber fishing lures for sustenance? Of course not! My purple boat has no motor, only the flag-teleportation devices installed by Mr. Davis's Transmatt Team!
But hark! There's yet another accessory which I must master...this is the enigmatic and mysterious...
I'll surely save this rain gear for a rainy day...then I'll WEAR IT!
Actually, all that gear seems so good I think I'll wear it ALL. Oops, I guess "wear" isn't the correct option: I will ATTACH all these objects to my person. Surely by fastening a cap to my head, bolting gloves to my hands, ratcheting a windbreaker onto my torso, and stapling rain gear over my windbreaker, I shall be MORE than a match for any fish fool-hardy enough to mess with Mark Davis's latest padwan! (me)!
Yup, wearing all those things at once turns my sleeves, pants, and the back of my vest to a festive purple, to match my boat. I'm not sure why that would be, but I feel like my Fishing Mastery is progressing with leaps and bounds!
Now, the trivial detail of putting something on the hook
I'm sure this stuff doesn't matter as much as attaching clothing to my body. I'll just pick any ol' thing:
Sure, I want to catch bass near the surface! Where am I going, the Mariana Trench?
Wait, I can pick if I want to live in a trailer? I think my Fishing Man is pretty down-to-earth; I don't see him stumbling through a McMansion, burdened by wearing every single accessory he owns at the same time! Thus, a trailer, it is!
Um, I'm not sure why I'd want a purple, heart-shaped "five inch grub." Valentine's Day was LAST month! And I thought my little fishing-guy took to the lake to ESCAPE the amorous advances of his spouse!
Well, anyway, after cycling through several different colors and lengths of grub, I can finally cast!
Uhhhh, Mr. Davis? Did you leave any fish for ME?
Then you can watch your lure sink to the bottom of the river.
If you like, you can give a little tug on the line, which stops it from sinking for a moment.
You may also reel your line in. If you reel it in enough, you get to cast it out again.
All of these actions are entirely optional, and largely cosmetic. I have played Mark Davis' THE FISHING MASTER for upwards of 40 minutes, and I have NEVER seen a fish or gotten a nibble on my line.
Three or four times, a "FISH!" icon has appeared on the screen near my lure, in the shape of a white square with a picture of a bass inside it, but it flicks out before I can even respond, like a candle in a blizzard.
...a blizzard made of snowflakes of crystallized despair blown by the winds of a thousand sighing fishermen, balefully casting their useless lines into an river's barren, soggy belly.
Damn you, Mark Davis! Your mastery of fish is too great; you have left no fish for me! The seeds of your greatness have yielded naught but bitterness!
But you have taught me how (and why) to attach a cap to my body, and for that, I bow to you.
Godspeed, Master of the Fish, Godspeed.
— carlmarksguy, 2012-03-02