TheGamedawg

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I've been think of putting some minigames in my game, but I want to make sure I do it right.  However this got me thinking, what exactly makes a minigame in an RPG fun for you people?  What is it about certain minigames in RPGs that make us pull out the game every now and then specifically to play them for an hour or 2?
 

ash55

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I think FF8's minigame was done brilliantly. It tied the card game into the core of the game because you could convert cards into materials. Often really valuable materials that can be used to craft your ultimate weapon. It also helped that it was just a fun game to play. So I'd say a link to the core game, as well as depth.
 

Ms Littlefish

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Beating records and keeping score tend to show up in a number of my favorite minigames. So, they're usually more high pace and about collecting things because of that. For me, Super Mario RPG is a pretty good example of being full of mini games I found insanely fun. Beetle Mania was a secret mini game, but I could really play that for hours.
 

TheGamedawg

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I think FF8's minigame was done brilliantly. It tied the card game into the core of the game because you could convert cards into materials. Often really valuable materials that can be used to craft your ultimate weapon. It also helped that it was just a fun game to play. So I'd say a link to the core game, as well as depth.

That's what I was thinking.  Giving tangible rewards for playing the minigame seems like a really good incentive to play it, especially if it's pretty fun on its own.


One of my favorite minigames in an RPG is Command Board from Birth by Sleep.  It's basically Monopoly but you can level up your attacks by placing them on your properties and winning the game with them.  You can also gain new abilities with this game.
 

Phonantiphon

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I think if they are relevant to the game itself and above all not intrusive - (although that is purely subjective) - examples, for me, of good ones being:

  1. The board\dice game in The Witcher
  2. The hacking game in Bioshock - it has a nicely paced sense of urgency, with a genuine reward if you succeed and proper forfeits if you fail

having said that, I do like the "Somewhere in this map are x Somethings and if you collect all of them then y will happen, or whatever" style of game. Provided it's implemented well I think that they work well too.
 

Wavelength

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Actually a really good question!  It's always a little tricky to get right down to the core of why is this fun and this isn't fun, but thinking through my own experiences with minigames, I feel like I have the most fun when:

  • Most importantly - the minigame feels like a genuine test of some type of skill or tactics (as opposed to feeling random, or feeling like a stat check)
  • The minigame is extremely intuitive, if it can only be attempted once
  • The minigame uses some form of randomization, it can be repeated multiple times
  • The control scheme is as similar as feasible to the controls used in the larger game
  • The minigame offers rewards that are useful within the larger game, especially if the minigame can be repeated (for the best example of this I've ever seen, check out Neopets.com)
  • Success at the minigame is not required for progress - if the minigame can be failed at all, the player can still move on in the game
  • The minigame ties in well with the current theme and mood of the game when the minigame is introduced
  • The minigame has its own music (seems like a tiny thing, but really enhances the experience)
 
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bgillisp

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For me, the game must be totally optional. Any time the game is mandatory, I usually find myself hating it with a burning passion as I played the game as I wanted to play an RPG, not an action game or a fishing game.


Beyond that, it depends. I actually found myself wasting an entire day playing that card game in FF8. Maybe it helped that it was easy to understand, hard to master? And, it probably helped that your skill played a huge role in how well you did (and not say how well you can mash 90000 buttons).
 

Wavelength

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For me, the game must be totally optional. Any time the game is mandatory, I usually find myself hating it with a burning passion as I played the game as I wanted to play an RPG, not an action game or a fishing game.





Just wondering - do you still hate minigames if you are forced to play them once?
 

bgillisp

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Just wondering - do you still hate minigames if you are forced to play them once?

Usually, yes, unless I go into the game knowing it is a bunch of mini-games. Then I'm ok with it, as then I've still chosen to play the mini-games. Otherwise, I better be able to fail the game with no consequence and move on with the regular game.


For those reasons though, I didn't mind the mini-games in your game, as I knew going in it was a bunch of mini-games. But if I start to play an RPG and then must complete a fishing game or I cannot proceed, then I'll  start to hate the game very quickly.
 

Wavelength

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Usually, yes, unless I go into the game knowing it is a bunch of mini-games. Then I'm ok with it, as then I've still chosen to play the mini-games. Otherwise, I better be able to fail the game with no consequence and move on with the regular game.


For those reasons though, I didn't mind the mini-games in your game, as I knew going in it was a bunch of mini-games. But if I start to play an RPG and then must complete a fishing game or I cannot proceed, then I'll  start to hate the game very quickly.



Ah, sure - timeblazer stands in its own little world since minigames aren't a diversion from the action, they are the action.  But I was asking about something more like Booster Hill in Super Mario RPG or the parade marching in FF7 where you just play it once as part of the plot (and in some cases can choose to play it again later) - and it sounds like you still tend to dislike these, which is suprising to me but a totally reasonable opinion.


While I personally enjoy this kind of plot-related minigame, I agree that it's absolutely imperative to allow players to fail your mandatory minigames and still immediately proceed in the main game (losing out on a reward of some kind, but preferably one that is not completely missable, or an aesthetic reward).  There aren't too many RPG players out there that enjoy being good at an RPG and then being thrown something that they never signed up for and being told they can't proceed until they beat this completely arbitrary diversion.
 
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AwesomeCool

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(for the best example of this I've ever seen, check out Neopets.com)



That game is still around!?


I loved playing that game in the 90s.


On-topic: I agree with bgillisp.  If your game has optional minigames, please do not force it in the main quest (unless your game is all about minigames).  I hate when games do that.


I hate that almost as much as requiring certain side quest clear percentages to proceed in the main quest.
 

bgillisp

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Ah, sure - timeblazer stands in its own little world since minigames aren't a diversion from the action, they are the action.  But I was asking about something more like Booster Hill in Super Mario RPG or the parade marching in FF7 where you just play it once as part of the plot (and in some cases can choose to play it again later) - and it sounds like you still tend to dislike these, which is suprising to me but a totally reasonable opinion.

See, I grew up on the 80's adventure games where developers loved to pad the games by adding mandatory mini games that if you could not pass them, you couldn't advance. I was stuck on some games for 2 - 3 years as I couldn't beat that $%#^& space shooter minigame (Space Quest 3, I'm looking at you!).


Classic examples of this used badly in the 80's (all adventure games):


Police Quest 1: Must beat a poker minigame 2x to advance the plot.


Space Quest 1: Must win the land rover minigame or else you cannot advance. Then, once you win that, you must win 250 coins in a slot machine or you cannot advance.


Space Quest 3: Must win a robot punch out minigame, then a space shooter minigame to win the game.


So I think due to those games (and a few others) I grew to hate minigames by the time I was 12. Thankfully most RPG's I've played didn't go down the mandatory route, else I would probably have never grown to like RPG's.

I hate that almost as much as requiring certain side quest clear percentages to proceed in the main quest.

THIS. If you are going to do this that makes the side quests mandatory. Just call them a main quest then.
 

Phonantiphon

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See, I grew up on the 80's adventure games where developers loved to pad the games by adding mandatory mini games that if you could not pass them, you couldn't advance. I was stuck on some games for 2 - 3 years as I couldn't beat that $%#^& space shooter minigame (Space Quest 3, I'm looking at you!).

2 to 3 years!


I salute your devotion to the cause!! :D
 

Aetherrevival

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Most of the time, I don't take minigames entirely well, because a lot of them can be too repetitive for me. Money is usually my greatest motivation. I even pass up special items, just because I don't want to play the game.


Now, things like the motorcycle race in Final Fantasy 7 and the card game in Final Fantasy 8 are cool, but they felt like more than just another fishing game, or press the correct button, or jump across the logs sort of thing. I can't exactly pin point what it is, but maybe it's because it would be the type of little game that you would be able to make an interesting stand-alone game with? Something a little more involved?
 

LaFlibuste

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I personnally stand somewhere between bgillisp and wavelength. I usually hate minigames, they must be totally optional for I don't really care for them. For example, I totally skipped the card game in FF8 & FF9, it didn't interest me at all. There are two main things I like RPGs for:

1) They are story-driven, I like a good story;
2) They are usually more tactical, slower-paced than some other kind of games.

So I guess I like a minigame that brings to the story and/or is more tactical in nature. For example, I liked the parade minigame and the one where you have to defend the monastery in the mountain (the place you get the phoenix materia, forgot the name) in FF7. I also liked the duel minigame at the beginning of FF9 (the music arguably was a big part of it). But I generally dislike minigames and always, always steer clear of casinos in RPGs. Hate those with a burning passion.
 

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