Images courtesy of Grace Bruxner.
I'm a sucker for games about walking around and experiencing things. Dear Esther, Firewatch, CHYRZA, and the myriad works of dozens of independent game designers have all caught me up in moments of wandering around a designed world and just taking it in. Ironically, I hate doing this in my day-to-day life outside of games, and that's why I enjoy The Fish Market so much.
The beauty of a game like Firewatch is that it sets up a social situation and lets you play around in it. The characters and the environment create some context for you to explore the intersections of lots of different kinds of feelings.
Here is one sort of feeling that I have: I am endlessly frustrated with pop-up farmer's market trend in the United States. The deep trouble I have with them is that there's never anything for me. No, I don't need artisanal honey. I don't even need corporate honey. Likewise, I don't need multiple kinds of pickled delights, and I can't ever figure out why I would come to an open-air market to purchase a t-shirt. I think I would buy some lettuce or a carrot. Maybe a squash, weather permitted.
The Fish Market takes all of my anxieties and issues with markets and puts them out in the open. The fish that run these stands hock their wares, autobiographies, and chotchkies like there's no tomorrow, and I get to virtually experience the exact same feelings that I would physically: I walk by, I appreciate them, I nod at them (my god, I really nodded). The Fish Market makes it more fun, though, somehow. There's puns, at least, and a smiling starfish who gazes into the sky without regard for anything else.
There's even a goddamn band playing a terrible song. It's a simulation that misses nothing… and adds talking fish.
Play The Fish Market for Windows over at itch.io