Game Mechanics and Fly Fishing

So, I wouldn’t have know this if I hadn’t started a job at a software startup recently, but it turns out game mechanics are all the rage.  I don’t mean game mechanics in games, I mean the mechanics of games applied to products or life.

It recently occurred to me that fly fishing has a bunch of very, very compelling game mechanics inherent in it.  Let me explain.

A game I’ve played a bit (although not recently) is Fall Out.  I was pretty much addicted to Fallout 3.  In the game the character starts off with a bat and a BB gun and is shooting things like giant cockroaches.  You are pretty weak at that point and this is actually a challenge.  As you master each weapon and grow in strength something strange happens.  Your opposition gets stronger and stronger.  You get bigger guns and the monsters get bigger and bigger.  As you get stronger you end up finding more difficult challenges.  If you got stronger and more powerful and the opposition stayed weak… well… it wouldn’t be much fun.  That the game keeps pace with you is vital to the game continuing to be fun.

You can draw a pretty clear comparison to fly fishing.  You start off just hoping not to hook yourself.  Then you catch one.  Then you catch a few.  Then you become the master of your little creek or pond and you try bigger waters.  Those bigger waters are tough and you start learning them and once you have mastered them, you start looking to find other species.  Maybe you move from trout to bass to stripers and then you go find some bonefish somewhere and then you start thinking about tarpon and once you’ve landed a 100 pounder you start thinking about permit and then you start looking at flat spring creeks or Mongolian taiman or whatever.

There is always some bit of growth to be had, always some challenge that will actually be a challenge for you.  You are never done, you are just on a path.

If you rocked your little creek and never ventured beyond it, it would lose its appeal.  You’d get tired of it.  You’d move on.  You’d take up golf.

Right now… I’m kind of stuck on the bonefish part.  There’s enough to keep me busy there for a long, long time.

photo credit - Andrew Bennett

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