by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
This one was hard to do because I found myself simply listing Final Fantasy X mini-games. I love FFX in more ways than I can possibly express, but I detested, loathed most of the mini-games that came along with it. Maybe part 3 will just be garbage FFX mini-games. They were ridiculous, needlessly challenging, and frankly, in many cases, the rewards were just not worth it. But today, I have a separate list of trashbag mini-games. Some of the worst mini-games are ones where you mash a button fast for virtually no profit. Then there are math mini-games. Let us not forget “timing” mini-games. There were a few honorable mentions that were not RPGs but belong somewhere, being mentioned. The first of these is Super Mario Bros. 3. Unless you had a strategy guide (like I did, thanks Nintendo Power!), the matching mini-game was an absolute nightmare. There were seven or eight possible boards you could get, and figuring out which one is a chore and can wind up a waste of time.
Another “mashing” mini-game that needs to be mentioned was in Mortal Kombat 1. As you progressed through the game, you had the “Test Your Might” mini-game where the goal is to smash whatever object is in front of you, and you have to mash the buttons as fast as you can to reach a certain mark on a bar. Why would you do this in a fighting game? This wears your fingers/wrists down, making it harder to play. Not to mention all you get for it are points! Who cares about points in a fighting game?! I want wins! Character unlocks! A hint on how to do the dumb as hell finishing moves! Give me something, not a waste of time. Come on, Midway. You were better than this. With that said, let’s talk some trash!
5: Chrono Trigger – Drinking Mini-Game: This is done not once, but twice in the game, and neither one of them is worth a good god damn! The first time is in the Millenial Fair, where you get plastered as a teenager with a mustached man, with your new friend/kidnapped princess watching on and cheering away! How do you win this mini-game? You mash as hard and fast as you can (or use a turbo controller – no judgments here). Your reward? Knowing you out-drank a drunk. It also affects how you’re handled at the trial, so maybe it’s best not to do it at all. Your next adventure is a “Soup Drinking Contest” in Pre-History. It doesn’t seem like soup, despite looking like it. Ayla’s suspiciously hungover the next morning and so is Lucca. What’s the point of this? To waste my damn time, that’s what.
4: Zelda 3: A Link to the Past – Digging: In A Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, there’s a randomized digging mini-game, you pay some Rupees to dig in a field. You can gain Rupees, Hearts, and if you’re really lucky, a Heart Piece, which goes towards increasing your overall health. These are incredibly useful, but the spot it’s in is located in a random spot every time. Sure, you can game the system by just digging in a straight line every time and eventually, it’ll be in one of those spots. But again, chance/percentages. It’s tedious and annoying, and mini-games where there is luck involved instead of skill? You can get lost, Zelda 3, and take your stupid mini-games with you. This isn’t the only terrible Zelda mini-game, but Zelda as a franchise has fewer than say, Final Fantasy.
3: Super Mario RPG – Yoshi Races: Ever want to do the Chrono Trigger future bike race but at a snail’s pace? No? Well too bad, that’s what you get in Super Mario RPG, on Yoshi Island! Sounds easy, but as a kid, it is anything but. You have to find a good rhythm and mash A and B alternatively, and you can bet your Yoshi Cookies on you winning. If you win, you get double the Yoshi Cookies, and I think you can store up to 200. But it’s a dreadful, tedious, painful waste of time that I can’t see anyone doing other than for completion’s sake. Super Mario RPG also has a lot of mini-games, but thankfully, the majority of them are fun or at least good. In order to wager cookies though, first you have to beat him in a race on Yoshi to start with, and it’s a waste of my damn life.
2: FFX-2 – Sphere Break: Or, Maths: The Mini-Game. Sphere Break is great if you’re good at thinking about multipliers of numbers on the fly. Otherwise, this is a disgrace and frustrating on top of it. All it does is remind me of how bad I am with Math/Numbers, and in order to 100% for the best ending, you have to complete a Sphere Break mission, and it’s not an easy one either. There are 64 possible coins, and the goal is to combine a series of coins that equal/are a multiplier of the Sum you are given at the start. Sometimes that Sum is 1, and that’s going to ruin any combo you have, because combos are important. It’s tedious, frustrating, and unless you can think fast on your feet, have a solid grasp of Mathematics, I recommend having someone else play it for you (that’s what I did on a few occasions, no shame here). But there’s one worse than this today. . .
1: Final Fantasy IX: Jump Rope: Whoever designed this mini-game, coyly put at the beginning of Final Fantasy IX, I hope they know that they are a villain of the highest caliber. It seems innocuous enough: You tap a button in time with the rhythm to jump over the rope, up to 99 times. There are amazing rewards, but every so often, at set intervals, the timing changes ever so slightly. Whoever decided this needed to be a way to unlock in-game stuff needs to have their head examined. It is ridiculously challenging, and the rewards hardly seem worth it. I mean, they are, but it doesn’t feel like it when you’re doing it. The PC version allows for mouse inputs, meaning you can cheat your way through this (It’s not really cheating if it’s in the game) since you can click the exclamation mark and get 1,000 jumps easy-peasy, but that’s not how it was meant to be. This is one of the most soul-crushing mini-games I’ve ever played, next to Lightning Dodging in FFX.
What about you guys? What are some terrible mini-games that you remember?