Rich Tauber's Bass Champ computer game released in 1989. The first computer game that touted itself as not just a fun game to play, but a tool to learn by.

Scanning over a 1989 issue of American Bass Association’s (the southern California version of ABA, not the national organization) newsletter I ran across this little product – the Rich Tauber’s Bass Champ computer video game.

The game, developed by Shadowfax Software Inc. of Orange, California, claims to have brought bass fishing into the “computer age” with the development of the software and, from what I remember at the time, was actually the first in a long line of computerized bass games to make it to the industry.

Shadowfax developers, Karl Schorr and Scott Hartley teamed up with western pro Rich Tauber to develop what they felt wasn’t just a computerized bass fishing game but a tool to learn from. Using Tauber’s experience, the game was designed to replicate actual fishing conditions – weather, time of year even tackle selection.

“We’ve made BASS CHAMP as realistic as possible,” Schorr said. “We wanted players to feel that they were actually out on the water. Everything but the mosquitoes has been one of our mottos. They’ll be coming in version two.”

The formal write-up on Rich Tauber's Bass Champ computer game.

Coined a “simulator” by its developers, BASS CHAMP allowed players to review anything a would-be angler would face prior to hitting the water. The computer would then put forth a scenario (weather, time of year, temperature, etc) and then generate a pattern or patterns that the fish would follow. It was then the angler who had to find the fish, pick the right depth, lure and retrieve and catch the fish.

The player could also consult Tauber at any time during the game to get his opinions on the conditions. The game also included a sonar screen that could be called upon.

Another interesting deal about the write-up is the system requirements for the game. The game came on a 5 1/4-inch floppy disk (remember those?) and needed a minimum of 256k – yes kilobytes – of memory. It also required DOS 2.0 or higher. How long has it been since you heard the term DOS? Optional equipment that could be purchased was a graphics card and color monitor. The standard game retailed for $35.

Although these games are great for entertainment value, I still regard them as barely realistic. There are just too many variables in bass fishing to make a 100% accurate simulator that combines all the variables. Still, they’re fun to play if you take them at face value. Looking back, though, I would have liked to have played this game just to see how accurate and realistic it was.

Did any of you play this game or any of the other early bass fishing games back in the day?