Fishing Derby

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North American box art.

Fishing Derby is a fishing video game developed by David Crane and published by Activision in 1980 for the Atari 2600. The goal of the game is to earn points by collecting fish. Points are awarded by hooking fish and bringing them to the surface without the shark stealing them. The deeper the fish you hook, the more points are awarded. The first player to reach 99 points wins.


This was not part of my family's initial collection of Atari games. Instead, I bought it as part of a second collection even after I already had an SNES, so I didn't spend too much time with it. I liked the quaintness of the game, and, after I beat the AI, I had little use for it.

I own this game with the manual. I have beaten the AI.


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Best Version: Atari 2600

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • Although there is very little variation to the game, you can at least handicap superior players.
  • The game's AI is competent. A difficult feat on such weak hardware.


  • Once you can beat the AI, which your only takes a little practice, your only challenge comes from other humans. However, there is such little to the game, there isn't much strategy to develop.
  • Only one player can reel in their fish at a time. I presume this is due to a technical limitation, but it doesn't make any sense.


  • There is very little to the game. You see everything the game has to offer after a few seconds, and, after that, you're just honing your skills.
  • The right player has a disadvantage since the rows of fish that spawn on their side are always a little lower than those that span on the left player's side.


Box Art

Both the US and European releases use this art. The European releases have a slight variation on the layout and text. The art effectively conveys the game, both from what you do, and how simplistic it is.



Game play.


Role Staff
Designer David Crane
Programmer David Crane


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