Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fishing for toys of toys

I started going fishing a couple of years ago. I've only been five or eight times. I haven't caught anything except one pitiful specimen smaller than my hand. This is just to say...I've got an interest in fishing.

Then Tanya bought me a handheld fishing video game to take on a road trip. It's got a reel, it simulates casting, and it vibrates when you catch something. It was a fun novelty, kind of silly. There were a lot of these fishing games on the market right now, by different manufacturers.

Then one week she showed me a toy she got for Ethan, a toy based on these fishing video games. It's aimed at small kids. It also has a reel and it vibrates, but it has no electronics. It works like a slot machine: when you spin the reel, you rotate an internal wheel with pictures of different fish on it. The pictures are hidden by a white screen. Then you press a button to stop the wheel, and pull up on a lever to see if you've caught something. When you do that, it vibrates to show that something's on your hook, then you pull down the same lever, which turns on a light, lighting up the screen and displaying the thing you've caught. It's a simple idea--and about as much fun as the LCD game with its randomized simulation of the fishing experience.

And it really weirds me out. It's a strange thing to make a toy of...a simulation of a simulation of a real experience.

I found the Playstation bass fishing game to be fairly enjoyable too...I like the fact that it lets you see what's going on with the fish. The mystery of whether there are any fish out there to catch really bothers me. I like to fish in places where I can see some fish in the water, but it hasn't helped me catch anything.

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