A River.exe Runs Through It

Thinking about buying the latest edition of Cabela Monster Bass Tournament Pro Extreme 3D for your angling-mad Uncle Barry this Christmas? Go ahead. Splendid idea. I’m sure he’ll love it. On removing the wrapping paper, he’s bound to beam…

…but inside he’ll be cursing you for not choosing one of the shoal of more realistic, more interesting indy fishing sims.


Assuming Uncle Barry isn’t some some sort of brazen graphics hussy he’d almost certainly have preferred something by Pishtech or Jason Spooner.



Jason Spooner is the chap behind FishSim2, one of the simmiest sims I’ve ever had the pleasure to ponder (and I’ve pondered Falcon 4.0, Dangerous Waters, and Steel Beasts Pro PE in my time).What makes FishSim2 so very simmy? Well, it’s definitely not the visuals. Like peer products such as TrueFish and Real World Fly Fishing you fish an animated photograph rather than a polygonal pond or stream. What makes the ‘game’ so gloriously, reviewer-baitingly hardcore is that your success is largely determined by how much real-world fishing experience you’ve had. If you don’t know what bait and tackle set-up will grab the attention of grayling in a Wiltshire stream on a warm summer evening, or tempt tench in a Cheshire lake on a cool rainy morning, you’re going to catch bugger-all.


Jason’s next project should be a lot more democratic. The almost complete Compleat Angler, will use Izaak Walton’s famous tome as the basis for a series of instructional challenges designed to introduce players to the art and science of angling. There’s a beta fragment available here. As it appears to be fishless only the truly curious should install.



Pishtech have come up with a nice solution to the whole ‘knowledge is power’ fishing sim conundrum. In the recently released VR Sportfishing you can call on a helpful guide for advice on tackle, probable fish locations, and such like. In ‘free fishing’ mode such consultations are costless, in tournaments they eat-up precious angling time.



Whatever the mode or difficulty setting, bites seem relatively easy to come by in VRS (play the demo and see for yourself). The challenge lies in locating and landing leviathans. The promise of catching something mantelpiece-shatteringly huge has kept me dabbling for the best part of a week, as has a rather neat dollar dynamic. Tournament wins and special tagged fish earn cash which can then be spent on better boats and kit. All the game really needs is a trophy room and a few European venues.


And if Uncle Barry isn’t worth £20 there’s always the impressively free, decidedly alien (for UK anglers at least) ice-fishing sim ProPilkki 2. The prospect of sitting motionless for hours over a small hole in Finnish lake ice has already attracted 300,000 downloaders.



  1. SKACE says:

    Pro bass fishing 2003… last game I’ve played

  2. A-Scale says:

    As someone who lived to fish from age 3 until 16, allow me to say “yawn”. The appeal of fishing can’t be caught (i’m punny) in a video game, because it rests in the environment and the actions of the fish, neither of which can be replicated to any degree. Call me when we get virtual reality fly fishing.

  3. Dinger says:

    Whatever. Rock on. RPS Sundays: Sunday papers and Tim Stone: what everyone else is saying, and what nobody else is saying: the perfect bookends for the last and first day of the week.

    Rock on.

  4. Virtual Slippers says:

    This is the future of RPS, what with PCs being the realm of old farts, and old farts loving their simulators. The fact that it’s about fishing is even more middle-aged. Terrific.

  5. Bhazor says:

    Fine if I’m going to have to be the person to point out pishtech is the worst name since big Gamecock.

    Pishtech is the worst name since Gamecock

  6. chris hyde says:

    I love you, RPS. I’d never hear about any of these things if it weren’t for you. You make my world a richer place.

  7. Cigol says:

    Tim have you ever written on Steel Beasts Pro – and if so, have a link to hand?

  8. I don't understand this comment system says:

    I can’t believe you guys left out World of Warcraft, the greatest massively multiplayer fishing sim out there right now. Though some, myself included, prefer the retro charm of Everquest, a pioneering work in the genre of mmofs.

  9. Hypocee says:

    In WoW, you mine for fish of course. Totally different!

    There’s less sitting motionless in ice fishing, and more drinking alcoholic beverages.

  10. Cyber Suppository says:

    Hmmm maybe the readership is not as middle-aged as it once appeared if faggots aren’t mentioning Ultima Online for MMOFS goodness. Of course, that also involved an ensuing treasure hunt if you were a GM fisher and lucky enough to snag a map from the depths of the ocean, so perhaps the fun memories aren’t entirely fisk scented.

    Anyway, side-tracking the thread.

    We want more simulator posts! The chance to half-heartedly study some ham-fisted interpretation of an already esoteric skill I have no intention of using in real life is the only way I can maintain a servicable erection…

  11. Muzman says:

    MMOFS? We can do better than that. What about MMOATS? (Massively Multiplayer Online Advanced Trolling Simulator. Actually I think I just came up with a alternate name for the internet. Never mind.)

  12. Love it says:

    Wow. These are the posts that really make RPS shine. Like a spoon. Spinnerbait. Or Rooster Tail.

    Still, no true real pro fishing gamer post is complete without a mention of the sim Oregon Trail. You could almost taste the water.

    Wait, wut?

  13. plastictrash says:

    Since you guys already talked about Drakensang and Project Nomads by Radon Labs, you could as well cover Sportfischen Professional by the same company, while you’re at it.
    link to radonlabs.de

  14. Tim Stone says:

    Cigol – The only writing I’ve done on Steel Beasts Pro PE was a page review for PC Gamer UK (not Gamesradared as far as I know). If you like your armour sims, the next issue of the mag contains my takes on Steel Fury and T-34 vs. Tiger.

  15. clovus says:

    Speaking of MMOFSs, how about A Tale in the Desert. It had a terribly confusing system of determining what types of fish you would get based on the coordinate you fished at. This changed throughout the day and moved in wave like shape IIRC. I can’t remember the point though; some kind of “gotta catch ’em all” challenge.

    I’ve always enjoyed games (even WoW) with pointless little fishing games. Hey, how about fishing in Okami? I just love wandering around to hidden little lakes and getting something new.

    Oh, and apparently I’m some kind of graphics whore. I just can’t play a game that uses an “animated photograph”. Do you have to be that grizzled fisherman in the other picture? I want my fishing simulator to have a character creation system with about 100 sliders so that I can make the perfect fishing avatar.

  16. aperson says:

    clever title.

  17. Serondal says:

    I loved fishing in UO, I remember the first time I found out I probably needed to give my fisherman a way to defend himself when he fished up a F@#$@ sea monster. Then I need to make him a GM lock picker just because I want some treasure that 99% of the time is useless junk? Oh well I still loved never having to worry about food for my other characters cause there was always fish steak on the menu ;P Just like my lovly tailor had no problem ganking a bunch of sheep for their fur to make bandages. That is what I loved about UO You could never go to a shop and still excell at the game if you wanted to. you can make /almost/ everything yourself. They need to add ship building skills in there hehe