If you've played Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you won't need us to explain just how common - and infuriating - the pesky sea bass can feel. It's everywhere, standing between you and the more rare and desirable alternatives at every corner, and each time you catch one, you're greeted with the line, "I caught a sea bass! No, wait - it's at least a C+!"
Having to read that one line over and over again has driven players mad; popular YouTube channel Girlfriend Reviews actually went as far as creating a Billie Eilish parody called 'Bass Guy' to demonstrate just how often you can stumble across them.
As it happens, the joke's author himself admits that even he's tired of seeing it. In a thread posted to Twitter, Nintendo's Rob Heiret has told us how the joke was put together, explaining that the team knew players would be forced to see it again and again and how that thought affected its creation. Here's what he had to say:
"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).
Anyway, my point is, we were doing our very best, down to details you might not have considered, to make this the most positive, comforting, funny game we could. And I know the dev team was doing the same."
So, next time you find yourself getting annoyed at the "it's at least a C+!" joke, spare a thought for the poor localisation team who had to come up with something, knowing that whatever they wrote would start to grate eventually no matter how good it was.
For what it's worth, we think the fish and bug puns are pretty great!