Thursday, October 11, 2007

When the Mini Games take over

There are some games that I will probably never finish or even get out of the first level. Why? Because they have mini games.

I remember when I first played Blitzball in Final Fantasy X. I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I think my first win was more accident than skill. But I was hooked. When I lost the tournament and Wakka had to leave the sport as a loser I was devastated. I just had to win that trophy. I restarted from my last save and played through 3 or 4 times before I was finally good enough to win. I was thrilled. Every chance I got I played a Blitzball game. Or a tournament. I traded players that weren't working for me as I tried to put the best team together. (And yet I don't understand why people play fantasy sports leagues.)

When I started to play Knights of the Old Republic I became giddy with excitement when I found myself learning how to play Sabacc. Now here's a great game. Easy to master but hard to play against the right opponent. I think I had 20+ hours of game time but only 1-2 hours of actual game play in the story. I had a Sabacc habit and I couldn't stop.

And even though I still don't fully understand how all the numbers on the cards work in Tetra Master (Final Fantasy IX) I love that game. I want every card. I'll play anyone to get them. I've logged countless hours just wandering around villages looking for someone to play with me. Can't a girl get some game around here?

And games that have mini games as part of the way you play the game (Party Game)? Just let me play the mini games and I'm fine. I'd rather spend a hour or two playing several games of Too Cool (the ice cubes) or Speed Bingo in Muppet's Party Cruise than play an actual cruise length game. And my brothers and I always want to play the Waterfall mini game in Fuzion Frenzy instead of a tournament. And Monkey Target and Monkey Bowling (Super Monkey Ball 2) are so much more fun than those mazes (especially when you're stuck getting past one like I am). Even things you wouldn't normally think of as "mini games" like Terrorist Hunt in Rainbow 6: Vegas have been taking up all my time instead of playing the story mode.

When I find these little gems in the story or a side menu I can't help but play them. And when I play them, I fall in love with them. So much so that my progression in the story comes to a screeching halt as I plug in for another mini game playing session. It took a lot of effort to go back to the story in Final Fantasy X and finish it. I still have a previous save ready so I can go back and pick up a game of Blitzball if I feel like it.

So there's going to be a lot of games that I won't get very far in or even have the chance to finish. But that's what happens when the mini games take over.

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