Angling for Accuracy

Growing up between the 1980’s and early 2000’s meant at least some influence of the flourishing industry of video games on some aspect of your life. Whether it was a trip to the arcade with friends or waiting for the newest gaming system or that long-awaited game release, the gaming industry has had a far-reaching and substantial effect on the world. “Angling for Accuracy” is a new, reoccurring, blog post that focuses on video game fishes (from video games not solely intended for angling or are specifically fish themed). This blog theme was suggested by Nick Kramer (Twitter @Nicktalurus), fisheries biologist in KS and creator of the Fisheries Podcast. When Nick first proposed a video game fish theme, I was immediately on board. I grew up immersed in both nature and video games. My interest in nature was heavily influenced by my parents whereas my interest in gaming was tied to my brothers. Now, as an adult and a scientist, I can appreciate both worlds of technology and nature and the efforts of technologically adept professionals that appreciably merge the two.

Many video game creators incorporate a wide variety of nature in their games. Whether it is to set the scene for gamers, to incorporate in-game challenges, or just for fun, in-game wildlife has been around basically since the beginning of gaming. For this blog series, each time I post an ‘Angling for Accuracy,’ I will highlight one video game and delve into the accuracy of its rendered fishes. I will use various judging categories which may change or update as the series progresses and evolves. Video games will be scored for their fish accuracy out of 5 points. If more than one fish is included in the game, I will randomly pick up to 4 fishes to judge and average their scores.

Judging Categories

(subject to change)

Name (1pt): Does its name match the general description?

Morphology (2pts): Does it have the right number of fins and general body shape?

Color (1pt): Is the color realistic for the species/fish group it comes from?

Habitat (1pt): Is it found in the proper habitat (water salinity, pelagic/benthic, temperature)?

I hope you enjoy this new series. Continue reading for our first video game!


Majora’s Mask (3D)

This series’ focus is on fishes in each of these games, as such, I won’t be going into detail regarding the game itself. Historically, The Legend of Zelda games only include a handful of fish. In the 2015 3D remake of Majora’s Mask, Nintendo went all out in its inclusion of fishing and different fish species in this action-adventure focused RPG game. Below are the fishes that can be found in the game.

Fishes likely intended to be realistic

Fishes clearly intended to be mythical

Since this version included many fish types, I randomly selected 3 to judge from the ‘likely intended to be realistic’ category. Below you will find their in-game names and the scores for each category.

Ferocious Pirarucu

Habitat: Swamp

Name: 1/1
Pirarucu is a common name for Arapaima gigas, which this fish clearly is.

Morphology: 2/2
For an Arapaima, it has all the correct fins and general body morphology.

Color: 0.5/1
We give it half a point for color, it is a little bit out there for this group, but not completely out of the wheelhouse for the coloration of these fishes.

Habitat: 1/1
This fish is caught in a swamp in game. Arapaima are found in the freshwaters of the Amazon River basin.

TOTAL: 4.5/5

Ancient Fish

Habitat: Swamp

Name: 0.5/1
We give the name for this fish half a point. Representing a Coelacanth, these fish were thought to only be an extinct lineage until one was discovered alive in the late 1930’s.

Morphology: 2/2
This rendition of a Coelacanth seems to have all the correct fins and their unique morphology.

Color: 1/1
It also accurately reflects their color, although they’re known to have a much more blue tinge at times.

Habitat: 0/1
Coelacanth are found in marine caves. In game, this fish can be caught in a freshwater swamp.

TOTAL: 3.5/5


Habitat: Ocean

Name: 1/1
We give the full point for name, since this is clearly a tuna.

Morphology: 2/2
The rendered fins and body-shape accurately reflect a tuna fish.

Color: 1/1
It’s color is also very normal for a tuna

Habitat: 1/1
In game, this fish can be caught in the ocean.

TOTAL: 5/5

So, how does The Legend of Zelda franchise do regarding the accuracy of its fishes? Disregarding the clearly mythical fishes, we give them a:


Have a video game suggestion, a judging category suggestion, or don’t agree with our final score? Be sure to comment below!

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