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On fishing and an incomplete GGJ game for 2021.


I sit lazily staring at my screen, dulcet greys blend in with the white foreground as the piercing orange highlights ask me to run the game. A new world is calling as the window surrounding it reminds me of the bleakness of the real one I inhabit. I click into the game with my offbrand gaming mouse that pulsates through various RGB values with a logo that is meant to give the essence of gamer but in reality came free with the PC I purchased during a black friday deal since I never really liked desktops but wanted to play Overwatch alongside my wife. While the mouse isn't the highest quality I wouldn't say it's of poor quality either, though in fact I must confess that I never really had a high quality mouse, this off brand being my best, I can still tell that there is room for improvement. I click into the game. The small world fills me with memories. Memories of childhood, of the real world, of other virtual worlds. It reminds me both of the first time I went fishing at a lake in the most north east section of the land that you can call the south west, and of the time I first caught a bass in Sega's aptly named Sega Bass Fishing. Each experience bringing with it a tension, both physical and emotional. Every single one now nostalgic. In real life I never fished with my family, that I must confess, so to I can relate to the protagonist on this incomplete GGJ game for 2021. The person that occupies the space with them seems distant, cold, and demanding. Like the love that they may of had either vanished or was never there. I must comtemplate on their relationship, are they strangers such as ships in the night passing by giving the briefest signal of humanity, or did they once have strong connections but barely hanging by a weathered fishing line?

I think again of fishing in my past. I must again confess that I have a troubled relationship with fishing. I can look back and enjoy the two times in reality with my friends on fishing trips, though I know looking forward I will not fish again. That is except in virtual worlds. I also think back to other virtual worlds and the friendships I made there. In Animal Crossing, lazily bobbing a rod waiting for a bite to slam down the round green A button of the GameCube controller after renting the game for a third time from Hollywood Video to take to my best purple cat friend Bob. I still visit Bob in the town of Varrock from time to time and take them a fish or other gift. I also think to my time in Hyrule just after meeting Princess Zelda and heading to the fishing hole and spending many in game days there trying to catch the biggest fish there. Afraid to grow up as I saw what lied ahead in the player's guide. I still haven't caught that fish over 20 years later but I did grow up, both in the game, and in real life.

I approach the watering hole in the incomplete game and activate with Z. I expected a relaxing time but often in life you are caught by surprise. The fish wrangled away from me and I fought for it for what felt like ten minutes, though when I looked at the black numbers on the pale grey slate of my windows taskbar I saw that only a few moments have passed. I decided after the excitement to explore the world beyond my cold companion. I was met with sadness. The world confining me to my place, with the one who I don't know if I ever loved yet still demanding me to fish. I followed their stern command. This time the fish was more subdued in nature, and ebbed and flowed with me as we danced our dance, and eventually towards capturing each other into our lives. I fished again. This time more tumultuous, even more so than the first. Reminding me that life is rarely predictable.

I tried to enjoy other virtual worlds as well growing up, many with the same escapist fantasy that is also an escapist reality of fishing, games like Stardew Valley and Final Fantasy 14. Both provide a narrative of conquer in some regards, one more grand than the other, yet both find kinship with fishing. I would play Final Fantasy 14 to relax though I found the act of fishing tedious. And I would try to relax with Stardew Valley and found myself wanting.

I turn my mind back to the incomplete GGJ game for 2021 wanting to fish one last time. I take aim and cast my line. The fish eventually becoming mine. I finally think back to the first fish I caught. It was at camp near a river. I remember it well as I brought it up taught on my line. I remove the hook, and return it to whence it came. I remember it well. I wonder if it remembered me.

I enjoyed my time with the incomplete GGJ game for 2021.