Throw out a line and hang back for a while.
Seeing as we’re in a new year and possibly a new gaming generation, I figured now is a good time to look back on what games from the last few years really defied my expectations. Either because they went above and beyond what I was expecting of them or because they were horrible letdowns that made me feel stupid for buying them. Today’s surprise is Fishing Resort, a budget priced gem of a game made by Sonic the Hedgehog creator Yuji Naka.
Yep, I’m bringing this game up again. I already gave it a pretty thorough review in my N0t Hyped post, so this will
probably be another post where I’ll wander off topic. But I really do love this game and think it deserves some respect. It’s really well made, it’s a lot of fun and it retailed at about a third of what most new games sell for. It seems like some people were marking it down just because it was a fishing game. Like making a game about fishing in inherently wrong or something.
When I used to hang out on game forums, I picked up an interesting anecdote about restaurant reviews. Apparently in the early days of restaurant critics, whenever the hell that was, things like Mom & Pop burger shops would always get low reviews and alleged fine dining restaurants where you’d have to sit down and wait would always get high reviews, regardless of the respective quality of the restaurants in question.
Enough time went by and people started realizing this was a pretty flawed way to review restaurants. The best burger shop in the world would be rated less than a really shitty traditional restaurant with awful food and service. It’s flawed because restaurants weren’t being graded entirely on their quality, but how closely they adhered to what certain critics considered the proper dining experience, not what people necessary wanted or expected out of certain places to eat.
It’s an elitist mindset that develops in some people, where they rationalize the kind of things they like must be the best, because they like them best. And in turn this makes them dismissive of anything that doesn’t strive to achieve what they feel is the “best” formula for what they like. I feel that’s a very misguided way to approach the world because I truly believe that variety is the spice of life. I don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s times when I’m not in the mood for a fine three course meal, sometimes I just want something quick and tasty.
The wine selection is deplorable and the waiters make you come to them!
My biggest concern with the gaming industry over the last few years has been that the majority of the major gaming companies have been spending a hugely disproportionate amount of time and money trying to make games that only appeal to a small group of people’s ideal concept of what video games should be. And from my perspective, this has resulted in creative stagnation, with a lot of series being tailored to better fit a single mold creating for less variety, and I think that’s bad for the industry as a whole.
It’s bad for the industry because it’s create an image that video games are primarily only for a certain kind of people seeking a certain kind of entertainment. And if only those people are buying games then companies will only keep making the same things to sell to them and it creates for a self-fulfilling prophecy where it’s a limited art form that can only do certain things and it can’t grow to create new experiences all because of a vocal minority. It’s a problem that I feel plagues the American comic book industry and is starting to loom over the gaming industry as well.
I don’t know art, I just know what I like. And all though I will admit I’ve probably had more fun than I should needling a lot of popular games I didn’t like, I don’t feel like their existence is harmful to video games as a medium, I just thought they were stupid. But clearly lots of people like this stuff, and that’s good. There’s games out there for them. What’s not good is when some of those same people start complaining about how things like Fishing Resort here or Endless Ocean shouldn’t exist or are worth less than other games, based purely on what they aren’t.
Boring! I don’t even get to kill anything!
A rising tide lifts all boats. More people, more ideas and more kinds of experiences is always a good thing for an art form. And all though I enjoy debating the actually quality of a lot of so called gaming “masterpieces” here, I’d never accuse any of them being worthless. Because every little thread contributes something of value to the tapestry of an artistic medium. You can argue which parts are the best or most important, but to ask certain pieces not be considered or even made because you don’t personally enjoy them is foolish.
As I recently realized, Assassin’s Creed, a game I loathed, quite likely set the groundwork for Arkham Asylum, a game I love. I and some others finding Grand Theft Auto IV terribly dull likely inspired the people making Saint’s Row to take the sequel in a different direction. Fishing Resort provided a lot of people with some quality entertainment who may not have played a game otherwise. And if you really want your mind blown, go look up how pornography has been a driving force behind technological innovation through out human history.
I’ve never been one to engage in the “Is it or art or not?” discussion, for video games or anything, because I always feel anything that requires some kind of creativity is art. Now whenever an individual piece of art is good or not is something I enjoy talking about, but even then it’s not to assess its value, it’s just because I’m curious what can be taken away from it. Far as I’m concerned, everything has some value, but how much will always vary from person to person since any piece of art is open to interpretation, and different people have different interpretations.
As such, I’m comfortable in saying Fishing Resort is amongst my favorite games released in the last generation. Shoulder to shoulder alongside other titles such as Earth Defense Force 2017, Super Mario Galaxy, Fallout: New Vegas, No More Heroes, The Beatles: Rock Band, Saint’s Row 2, World of Goo, The Walking Dead and Batman: Arkham Asylum. These games offer different experiences, but the one thing that they have in common is, for me, they were experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything. As such, I don’t see any pressing need to compare their worth to each other, because, for me, they’re all invaluable.
Wait, what the hell was I talking about again?
…wow, really, REALLY went off topic this time. O_o