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A fishing video game is a genre of video games in which the player conducts virtual recreational fishing, usually in the form of angling and/or fishing tournaments.[1]

Considered a subset of sports video games, and although not as prolific as other genres, fishing video games have historically been popular[2] and have been released in arcade, console, PC and mobile platforms.


Gone Fishin' (1977) developed by William Engel is considered to be the very first fishing video game.[3] Fishing Derby (1980) by David Crane was released three years later for the Atari 2600, and is the first fishing video game to incorporate graphics.[3][4]

"Fish games" also refers to a type of arcade redemption game involving shooting fish. These games first appeared around 2005 in China. These games also became popular in the United States in the mid 2010s, starting in the Pacific rim before spreading in popularity. The legal status of these games has been disputed in many countries and states due to gambling issues, and association with organized crime.[5][6][7][8]


Most fishing games feature a wide variety of fisheries, game fish species, and tackles and other paraphernalia such as rods, baits/lures, reels and boats.

The gameplay of fishing games usually revolves around acquiring/choosing adequate baits/lures, casting, hooksetting in reaction to on-screen signals, along with some sort of button pressing combination or the use of specialized game controller to reel in the fish.[9] In-game scoring is often determined by the cumulative "weight" of the fish caught in a single fishing session, sometimes with added bonus points given for the capture of trophy fish as well as quicker catches and performing special manoeuvres.[citation needed]

Fishing minigames

Minigames of fishing are also common inside larger action-adventure games. Examples of fishing minigames can be seen in the Legend of Zelda series, Pokémon games, Red Dead Redemption 2, and many others. Open world games often include fishing mechanics as an optional gameplay feature.[10][9] This is especially common in simulation videogames, where fishing is required to complete collections, fulfill missions, and obtaining crafting ingredients.[9] Fishing games are a common element in most farm life sim games, going back to the original Harvest Moon on SNES.


Many gaming consoles incorporate the use of additional accessories to play fishing video games[citation needed]. Examples of such accessories include the Sega Dreamcast reel and rod, the Wii Rod, and the Tsuricon 64.[11] These accessories are often sold in licensed packages with fishing video games, although unlicensed accessories do exist.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Sina (n.d.). "What is a Fishing Game? [Simple Definition and More!]". Slo Fishing. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Review Crew: Reel Fishing". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 103. Ziff Davis. February 1998. p. 120.
  3. ^ a b "Hook, line and sinker: How fishing minigames became a video game mainstay". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 2023-03-31. Retrieved 2023-03-31.
  4. ^ Lendino, Jamie (4 June 2018). Adventure: The Atari 2600 at the Dawn of Console Gaming. Ziff Davis. pp. 85–87. ISBN 978-1-7323552-0-0. Archived from the original on 21 February 2023. Retrieved 6 April 2021. Like Dragster, Fishing Derby is memorable for its ingenuity, as a first take on a popular sport in a video game.
  5. ^ Rath, Robert (23 November 2016). "Why Cops Are Raiding Arcades Over a Fishing Game". Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  6. ^ McCarty, Alma. "Game Over: Police Cracking Down On 'Fish Table Games' in Greensboro". WFMY. Archived from the original on 24 November 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  7. ^ Douglas, Anna (15 August 2018). "People are winning — and losing — big at this hot NC arcade trend. But is it legal?". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 16 December 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  8. ^ Tracy, Erin (23 January 2020). "Deputies raid illegal gambling operation involving fish-hunting game north of Modesto". Modesto Bee. Archived from the original on 8 May 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Xiao, Leon Y. 2023. “What’s a Mini-game? the Anatomy of Fishing Mini-games.” OSF Preprints. May 10. doi:10.31219/
  10. ^ The Five Best Fishing Mini-games
  11. ^ Dreamcast Fishing Games: Ultimate Guide