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Mini-games: love em or hate em?

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@Crazycrab was very kindly helping me to figure out the lockpicking mini-game in Oblivion, which I just didn’t find intuitive. Naturally, struggling with the mini-game made me think about all the other mini-games I’ve encountered in Oblivion, Skyrim, BioShock and other games.

On the whole, I think I find mini-games annoying for a couple of reasons. One is that many of them are reflex-based, and, well, I have horrible reflexes. The other reason is that they simply feel like a disruption to me of the main game play and like something I didn’t remember signing up for.

Thankfully, they do tend to be optional in most games. I really dislike the mini-game with the pipes in BioShock, but you are only forced to solve one, after which you can just avoid them completely with those auto-hack tools. Though the BioShock 2 hacking mini-game I half-enjoyed, despite it being reflex-based, maybe because it illustrated such a clear, strange principle to me regarding mine. I discovered that if I tried to click just a moment too “early” according to my brain, my hand would get the message and do it just in time. Eventually, I got really good at timing my own reflex delay.

By far my least-favorite mini-game ever so far is the persuade wheel in Oblivion. I kind of grasp the concept, but don’t seem to have the “plan ahead” skills to execute it. I gather from posts in various places online that if I did, it wouldn’t be that difficult. But as I don’t, I can’t stand it.

Do you like or dislike mini-games? Which mini-games are your favorites? Which are your least favorites?



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Mini games and side activities in general can be a very effective and fun way to flesh out a game's world, but only if they're done well. Most of the time I enjoy them, but there is a couple of them I hate.

The first one that comes to mind is the chest dispel mini-game in Kingdoms of Amalur. It's not only quite hard, but it's also merciless. Hurting you, inflicting a crippling curse or even killing you if you fail. I found myself just not bothering with them.

Then there's pretty much everything in GTA4. The mini games like bowling, pool and... getting hammered, were admittedly well programmed and well deigned, but those NPC's constantly badgering you do them were so annoying.

Edited by Shagger
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There's only two that I have ever played that I enjoyed, but one of them may not count. The one that may not count is the fishing in Zelda OoT. I enjoy it because depending on the size of your catch, you get really good rewards. A heart piece as a kid, and the gold scale as an adult. It also gives you a distraction from the main game if you're kinda stressing out. Getting Epona is another fun one.

The other minigame that I really enjoy is Triple Triad in FF8. It's a simple card game that most always took for granted, until they taught Quezacotl the card mod ability. Then they saw that the cards could be modified into really useful and important items. Also I just think it's loads of fun to play, and collect the cards. I just never go anywhere near the Queen Of Cards side quest. That always goes so far beyond enraging me, that I'll not only blow a gasket, everyone reading this will get a migraine that they can't find a reason for. When there's something like that, that pisses me off that much, I quit right then and there. It's also the reason I don't play DKC anymore. That game went above and beyond the psycho bitch factor. I have all 3 on SNES, but I don't touch them. That's a blown valve that I don't need.

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