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☑️Mini-Games

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Angelo85, Oct 13, 2019.

?

What's your stance on mini-games in RPGs?

  1. Great all-around! A fun way to spice up the monotony of Loot & Level

  2. Acceptable, but only if they are somewhat tied to character skill e.g. picking locks in new Fallouts

  3. Only tolerable as (optional) side activities e.g. card games, racing etc.

  4. Cancer! Precious Dev-time wasted. They deserve to die and I hope they burn in hell

  5. My stance?! Life is nothing but a tedious mini-game bro (KC)

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Angelo85 Arcane Patron

    Angelo85
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    Let's talk about mini-games! Love 'em or hate 'em, many RPGs feature mini-games in one form or another.

    What are mini-games to you? Merely a necessary evil to appeal to filthy casuals and artificially pad out game time, vaguely disguised i-win-buttons, or perhaps a welcome change of pace and haters simply suffer from a bad case of "customers don't know what they want"?

    One big aspect of mini-games is the topic of immersion. Do they actually help or hinder in this regard?
    Let's say you want to hack a computer. Is it more immersive (breaking) to either
    - click on the computer and the game checks your hacking skill in the background (whether with or without a skill roll attached) and the feedback is immediate i.e. "You managed to decipher the algorithm and gained root access"
    or
    - click on the computer and a hacking mini-game pops up. You click your way through a pipe/number/word/whatever puzzle (whether with or without difficulty modifiers based on your hacking skill) to gain access?

    Are there any memorable mini-games which you particularly enjoyed or hated?
     
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  2. Goose Learned

    Goose
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    Hacking/lock picking mini-games are atrocious. They're wastes of time and extremely repetitive and shallow. I haven't seen any good ones. I just want to get back to the normal game.

    Dice/Card games or gambling is pretty cool to me. I always enjoy seeing it. As long as it's not rigged.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
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  3. Butter Arcane

    Butter
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    Caravan is better than Fallout 3.
     
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  4. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    The upshot of being on a forum for more than a decade is that you can usually just paste a link to your old post or thread like so:
    https://rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/legitimate-use-of-minigames-in-crpgs.21190/

    Other than that, there two kinds of minigames:
    • In-universe games (poker, etc) - acceptable, provided that dev team doesn't go overboard and that it's a good use of their time (providing flavour).
    • Activity minigames (lockpicking, hacking, etc.) - those almost universally suck.
    For a rare case of the latter that doesn't suck you need it to:
    • Provide some sort of thematic consistency with the task it stands in for (the more involved or longer it is, the more thematic consistency needed)
    • Not override character skill (limiting minigames for skill based activities to being mostly attention sinks - those need to be real time too to make attention penalty meaningful)
    • Be fucking brief.
    tl;dr:
    When in doubt, don't make one. When not sure when to be in doubt - always be.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  5. TheSentinel Arcane

    TheSentinel
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    mini-games are a waste of time, just like life.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  6. racofer Thread Incliner

    racofer
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    Care for a game of Gwent?
     
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  7. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    And an obvious thing that perhaps still needs to be said (because morons):

    When you want to play a space opera or perhaps a biopunk shootan with thinly disguised magic powers, do you know what you don't want to play?
    Show Spoiler
    Pipe fucking Mania minigame.
     
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  8. MpuMngwana Arbiter

    MpuMngwana
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    Usually I’m not fond of hacking/lockpicking/etc minigames, but it’s more that they tend to suck than me hating them conceptually. On the other hand, I tend to like side activities such as poker, caravan, gwent or a whole bunch of stuff from the Yakuza games (not rpgs but whatever). These can provide nice respite between quests, combat and dungeon crawling.

    What I would really like to see sometime is, say, a poker minigame that heavily utilizes skill checks. So, depending on your perception you can see through your opponent’s poker face or notice attempts of cheating, or you can attempt to cheat yourself using sleight of hand. Or strait up use that fancy telepathy spell to see the other guy’s hand. That would be neat.
     
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  9. luj1 You're all shills Vatnik

    luj1
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    Enjoyed?

    Pazaak.

    It was very peripheral. You can collect some cards here and there. If you beat the Rodian on Yavin 10 times he will give you a permanent discount. That's it. The game itself is cleverly designed and authentic.

    Hated?

    Kingdom management.

    A central feature which drives the whole gameplay. It made the whole game feel awkward and tedious and shat on an otherwise promising RPG. Furthermore, it's not a very entertaining minigame either. Very simplistic and rudimentary.

    Personally, I think minigames have become cancer. In my poll here, minigames were voted as the 3rd least important feature in an RPG, behind romances and housing.
     
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  10. The Red Knight Erudite

    The Red Knight
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    Arcomage was very addictive.
     
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  11. RK47 collides like two planets pulled by gravity Patron

    RK47
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    Dead State Divinity: Original Sin


    :lol:
     
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  12. Modron Arcane

    Modron
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    Depends on how well the minigames are integrated, I've enjoyed games that are basically just a collection of different minigames tied into one game like Sword of the Samurai quite a bit
     
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  13. biggestboss Savant

    biggestboss
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    I've always liked the lockpicking/trap defusal minigames in Wizardry 6-8 because they make you feel like you're actually performing the act somewhat in the context of a weird magical fantasy/sci-fi world.
     
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  14. Reinhardt Arcane

    Reinhardt
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    Yakuza has lots of optional mini-games. And they are really optional.
     
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  15. Mr. Magniloquent Arcane Patron

    Mr. Magniloquent
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    I actually like mini-games. There are many done very poorly, this is true. That aside, I feel like they are the only way for cRPGs to move forward. They need to better simulate challenges outside of combat, and mini-games are the way to do that. The problem with too many though, is that the core game play can become unfocused. Burn the heretic if you will, but I actually thought the mini games in Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Alpha Protocol were pretty decent. I feel like the lock-picking mini-game in Fallout 3 didn't go far enough.
     
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  16. RickOmbo Learned

    RickOmbo
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    That talking mini-game is super annoying, don't know why most RPGs have it.
     
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  17. Funposter Magister

    Funposter
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    What if the Persuasion Wheel in Oblivion was actually a 3 stock game of Ikaruga?
     
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  18. Generic-Giant-Spider Arcane

    Generic-Giant-Spider
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    As a wise Neanderthal once said:

    "IT CANNOT BE GREAT WITHOUT MINIGAMES."
     
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  19. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    I think a lot depends on 1) how we define a mini-game and 2) how the game handles its core systems.
    For example, is stealth a mini-game? Or environmental puzzles in DM-like blobbers? On the one hand, they are because they follow their own rules which are usually simpler than the rules of combat. On the other hand, they are not because they happen in the main game environment and don't break the flow of exploration. If we do consider such systems to be mini-games though, then I doubt anyone (except maybe for hardcore combat- and storyfags) would object much to their inclusion.
    On the other hand, if we adopt this criterion - that a mini-game is something that happens in a separate environment and/or breaks the flow of exploration - then combat in most TB RPGs, and definitely in all TB blobbers, is a mini-game in itself. Thus it wouldn't be much of a stretch to apply the same requirements to mini-games as one would to combat: that it provides a challenge rather than simple busywork; that it allows for different tactics; that it interacts with the game's other systems - skills, equipment, consumables; and that mechanics of it make thematical sense (i.e. that it's not too abstract and disjointed from the task). From that perspective, a good example of a mini-game done right is Wiz 6-7 trap disarming and lockpicking, as already mentioned in this thread. It's just complex enough not to get old too fast, and at the same time its mechanics are more or less sensible. Morrowind's alchemy, where you experiment with reagents and equipment to figure out effects and side effects is another good one, I think.
     
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  20. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Playing through New Vegas right now and I genuinely enjoy some of its minigames.

    Namely Caravan and Blackjack, because card games are always fun.

    I also greatly enjoyed Arcomage in M&M7. I even play multiplayer Arcomage on arcomage.net because it's so fun. Join the site, it's free! More players are always welcome.

    Playing dice poker or Gwent in Witcher is fun, too.

    Optional action minigames like KotoR's pod racing can also be fun, as long as they're optional and you don't have to do them as part of the main quest.

    But lockpicking and hacking minigames? Just give me a simple skill check and be done with it. The lockpicking and hacking in New Vegas would be a lot more fun if having a high enough skill level to open a lock or hack a PC would automatically open the lock or hack the PC, rather than forcing you through a trivial minigame that gets old quickly. Minigames like that are kinda fun for the first five times or so, but then they just grow samey and tedious, especially in an open world game with potentially hundreds of locks to pick. The longer such a minigame is, the more tedious it can become: hacking in Fallout New Vegas is at least quick, but in Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Way too long and involved, breaks the game flow when you're sneaking through vents and trying to infiltrate a heavily fortified research station. I don't wanna spend half a minute on a logic minigame to hack the security console when I'm dodging enemy patrols and exploring hallways.

    Basically those minigames lead to situations where you're having fun with the core gameplay, sneaking or fighting or exploring or whatever, and then you come across a locked door and let out a sigh because you just wanna continue exploring, sneaking, fighting - but now you have to play through the very same minigame you already played through a dozen times if you want to continue.

    Simple skillchecks are a lot less intrusive and therefore preferable. I don't even mind when player skill can overcome character skill, but I do mind when I have to deal with tedious boring shit that breaks the flow of the core gameplay. Deus Ex also did it really well, by having locks consume a certain amount of lockpicks or hacking tools, the exact amount depending on your hack or lockpick skill. Your skills have a direct effect on the action, and the action itself is very quick and doesn't interrupt the core gameplay. It even ties in with the core gameplay as finding additional lockpicks and hacking tools is a matter of exploration, and exploring non-linear levels is one of the main gameplay elements of Deus Ex.

    Lockpicking and hacking minigames are usually the equivalent of a 2005 Newgrounds flash game, which you have to play every single time you encounter a locked door or container.
    Yeah, no thanks.
     
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  21. ItsChon Resident Zoomer Patron

    ItsChon
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    KotOR's pod racing minigame and Pazak are the only minigames I can remember actually enjoying. Other than that, gtfo.
     
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  22. Max Damage Savant

    Max Damage
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    Mini-games as optional side activity are completely fine (Triple Triad, Pazaak, blackjack, fishing etc). Mini-games otherwise (including rolling for stats on chargen) need to GTFO. Lockpicking/hacking sequences do not belong in RPGs, especially when locked chests/doors/terminals are frequent and unavoidable.
     
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  23. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
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    Good ones, Arcomage from M&M VII and VIII was way better though.

    Xulima almost had it right with its lockpicking mini-game but it should have been a minesweeper instead.

    A flash "RPG" i played a couple of years back had a mastermind mini-game, very good.

    But honestly, if the mini-game isn't going to be as good as these examples, we're better off without it.
     
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  24. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    DraQ
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    DX:HR hacking minigame is a funny thing:
    • For one, it has pretty good thematic consistency (even though it's somewhat short of being Uplink) with what it tries to represent and has some diversity in addition to being fast.
    • Second, it happens in real time and you can actually get spotted or shot at while hacking (attention sink!) - this already makes it much better than DX1 hacking that could be done from weird hiding places (like under the desk) and that made enemies behave in a weirdly gentlemanly manner, refusing to harm you until you logged out.
    • Third, it falls just a bit short of not being a minigame - imagine for a moment that the hackable systems in game (in the same area) are interconnected instead of being standalone. Then you could compromise a computer and work your way through the network, opening locks, switching off lights, disabling security and stealing data. At this point, hacking minigame would no longer be minigame as its structure would be intertwinned with physical gameworld, just like well designed combat is not combat minigame.
    DX:HR dialogue was, obviously, not a minigame and needs no mention.
     
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  25. Mark Richard Arcane

    Mark Richard
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    RPGs tend to be lengthy, so it's natural for the story-oriented players to wonder if their character has a life outside of their current mission. What does the hero do when they're not saving the day? Do they have hobbies? Mini-games can answer these questions and also help provide appropriate breaks in the story. Or inappropriate breaks, as is the case with Final Fantasy 8 which prompted you for a round of cards in the middle of a full scale attack. When handled well I usually like the optional mini-game activities, appreciating the opportunity to turn the hero into alcoholic gambler like Doc Holiday.

    The lockpicking & hacking minigames are another story. They're often uninspired (Pipemania!) and obtrusive. There are exceptions though. The alchemy system in Kingdom Come: Deliverance is great.
     
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