Summertime vibes only, baby. It's July, it's hot, I'm thinking fun in the sun, I'm thinking Sega Bass Fishing. Sega is offering free Steam keys of the oft-ported Arcade/Dreamcast classic as a limited time promotion—you just have to sign up for the company's mailing list to receive a free copy of the typically $8 game on August 1.
I did so immediately, verified my email, and eagerly awaited my code only to discover that lone catch: Sega will not be sending out the codes until after the promotion ends. You have until July 31 to sign up for your free copy of Sega Bass Fishing, and codes will then be sent out August 1. That's ok, instead of instant gratification you're sending a gift to your future self, like when there was a six-month wait on Steam Deck preorders.
August 1 doesn't offer a lot of time to catch "The Big One" before Baldur's Gate drops just two days later, but I am confident that I will be able to get my fill of fishing in before Larian's mega RPG drops and I fully embrace my Forgotten Realms alter ego: an Elf Who is Good at Everything.
One note about Sega Bass Fishing on PC: it does not seem to work terribly well with the Dreamcast's original fishing rod controller, even with an adapter. According to user AV on the game's Steam forums, "The rod movement in this PC port is hard-coded to be tied to the the analog stick on an Xbox controller, so you either still have to control the rod movement with the stick (recommended) or have a surgically steady hand for menu navigation by setting everything to your rod movement (more frustrating than it sounds)." Do not drop $86 on a Sega Dreamcast fishing rod controller on Amazon expressly for use in the PC version of Sega Bass Fishing.
I have never even beheld a Dreamcast in person—I was a Nintendo kid—but looking at screenshots and gameplay of Sega Bass Fishing fills me with the same sense of formless, nostalgic yearning as all of that '90s Sega "Blue Sky" stuff—the vibes are impeccable, from those early water reflections, to the extremely Dreamcast fishermen designs, to the neon cursive "Fish!!" message that pops up in gameplay. But don't just take my word for it.
In Gamespot's original April 28, 2000 review of Sega Bass Fishing on Dreamcast, James Mielke wrote, "As an all-around title for the everyman who might own a Dreamcast, Sega Bass Fishing is a non-threatening, lightly challenging little game that should keep fishing fans more than happy with its placid, lakeside offerings."
In IGN's 2008, 6/10 review of Sega Bass Fishing's Wii port, Mark Bozon wrote that "No matter how you look at it, Sega Bass Fishing simply comes up short." Wait, that one's not as good. IGN credits original NieR and Drakengard development house Cavia for porting Sega Bass Fishing to the Wii, though MobyGames only lists a single Cavia employee, producer Ryuichi Makino, in the game's credits. Did IGN's 2008, 6/10 review of Sega Bass Fishing stick in the mind of a young(?) Yoko Taro, inspiring the sense of hurt and injustice in his later masterpieces of the NieR series? Who can say for sure.