Although Animal Crossing: New Horizons is immensely popular, it isn’t without its faults. One issue, in particular, is the abundance of sea basses a player encounters while fishing. All gamers want are rare aquatic animals for their collection. Instead, they are treated to the same joke over and over again once the common species rears its ugly face. Interestingly, one of the title’s own localizers, who wrote the clever play on words, is sick of the joke, as well.
Puns are essential to both New Horizons and life in general
For those unaware, island inhabitants are treated to the following whenever they catch a sea bass:
I caught a sea bass! No, wait – it’s at least a C+!
Hilarious AND clever. Like all puns should be.
Nintendo’s Rob Heiret, the joke writer in question, both explained the quip’s origins and his feelings on its impact in a Twitter thread:
If you’ve played the game, you’re tired of the sea bass joke. I get it. *I’M* tired of the sea bass joke, and I wrote it. But here’s a secret about the sea bass joke: It was originally “I caught a sea bass! Well…maybe a C- bass…)
And when we were workshopping the fish jokes, someone pointed out that, as a joke people were going to see many, many times, generally along with disappointment they didn’t catch something better, maybe it would be better to spin it positive. Make it a C+ instead.
From a comedy-mechanics perspective, it’s the same joke, relying on the homophones “sea” and “C” to change how you perceive the description of the animal (and, let’s be honest, it would work better as a verbal joke than it does in print, but that fish has sailed).
Rob, I see what you did at the end of your quote. Have a star.
I’m glad the team behind New Horizons changed the witticism. Adding “bass” to the end of the wisecrack is too redundant, and jokes get less funny the more complicated they are. Also, going from “C-” to “C+” takes the sting out of receiving a sea bass for the 70th time.
Enthusiasts, how many sea basses have you hooked in New Horizons? Are you tired of the jest that accompanies them? Let us know below.