Last week, we started our exciting adventure to determine the best thing in video games. Your votes are in and: yes, seeing your legs when you look down in first-person games is officially better than cloud saves. This week, our scientific inquiry continues with a question that's already divided the RPS treehouse. What's better: inventory Tetris, or fishing minigames?
In some games, your inventory is a list of items. In some, it's limited by weight. In the best, your inventory is an area to fill, and different items have different shapes which can fit together in different ways. I adore inventory Tetris. It's a limitation that's a minigame in itself, an opportunity to creatively envision a space and how you can fit it all together. Waterproof jacket here, rotate the toothbrush there, flip the shotgun vertical to open up a square for the Aeropress and hiking socks, whoops those hairpins can combine into a single stack, et voila! Wait no, hang on, gotta go back and organise the different ammo types by box colour. It's everything packing for moving house or going on a trip should be.
As someone who lives in chaos, I appreciate video games making organisation a fun skill to master. While I wouldn't quite call inventory a minigame, it is a fun diversion from the business of the main game, and with tangible benefits. A well-Tetrised inventory can strike a strong balance between immediate needs and long-term opportunities. And hell, it's just plain fun to flip and arrange things, especially when you get into aesthetic considerations - and double especially if a game gives me multiple bags. As I recheck and rearrange, I am glad to be reminded of the items I have and the opportunities they open for me, even if I know I will devote more and more space to precious items "just in case I need them" then end the game with every single one unused.
The fishing minigame is an opportunity for developers to create off their particular take on a theme. Unlike many real-world activities, video games have not quite formed a consensus for how virtuafishing 'should' work. The devs know broadly that it will involve taking a breather from whatever else they were doing, that you will probably stand near water, and you might catch something. In this broad space, they can do whatever they want. It's like how chefs demonstrate their culinary styles by producing their own spin on the classic British three-course dinner (for the benefit of international readers, that's: a chip butty, a cup of tea, and a Viennetta). Or, to use a video game analogy, like lockpicking minigames.
Some are pure timing: watch the float, wait, then strike. Some go directional, bending rods this way and that to fight the fish's pull. Some are about balancing stamina bars. Some have you tempt fish into nibbling by making lures and bait dance before their wet noses. Then some, like Deadly Premonition, have a big daft roulette wheel of prizes and garbage. I'm sure you've seen many more, a wide world of excuses to take a break and be near some water. Which I think is the draw to main actual fishing too. Water is great, isn't it?
But which is better?
This is a toughie for me. Hmm. Ahh. I think I lean towards inventory Tetris, though I could be swayed. I did spend an awful lot of time fishing in World Of Warcraft, and Deadly Premonition's fishing music was one of my motivations for learning how to whistle properly.
What do you say? Name your winner and make your case.