Lightning-cognition: Made Up Minigames

Hello, internet!

LightningEllen here and filling in for the almighty Goddess of Wisdom while she takes a well-deserved break from writing brilliant articles here on AmbiGaming. Warning: I’m certainly not a great Athena substitute, but I’ll be babbling at my best during this blog-sitting gig, eh! Watching over a best friend’s website is very important to me and I will take this task very seriously. Yeah… as long I remember to feed AmbiGaming regularly everything should be good… right??

Ahem. Let’s get to it! So Lightning-cognition will be my version of Athena’s epic Metacognition series of posts where she explores deep thoughts (and occasionally not so deep thoughts) on gaming. This week I’ll be talking about made up minigames! And what exactly is that? Lemme explain.

I think we’re all aware of what minigames are – little side games within a larger game world. For example, the slingshot and arrow shooting galleries in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Chocobo Racing in Final Fantasy XIII-2, the Gwent card game in the Witcher 3, the Donkey Kong arcade game in Donkey Kong 64, etc. Those are all “official” minigames that the developers intentionally added to their game and want the player to, well, play! They often reward you with items and things useful in the game’s main world. Made up minigames are little side games within a larger game world that I dreamed up all by myself. They offer no in game rewards other than some cheap fun.

Donkey Kong 64 Arcade
Ah, the classic DK arcade game within DK64. It took a ton of coins for me to hear that glorious “Ooooo… banana!!” sound effect, let me tell you.

The first example of a made up minigame I enjoyed was in Superman 64, of all the terrible games in the world. I won’t go into a rant about how awful this game truly is, but I actually had fun with my minigame I like to call “Blocky Car Catch”. The goal was to pickup the terribly animated car thingy, fly as to the highest point in the desolate landscape, throw the car-like object, and then overcome the terrible control scheme to try to catch it before it hit the ground. I had a childhood friend visiting me when I rented this game (yes, renting games was a thing back in my day) and we took turns to see who could catch the car first. I beat him and it was legit fun! I know it’s hard to believe…

Blocky Car Catch Superman 64
You can always find a shred of fun in the suckiest of games!

My next example comes from my 4th place all-time favourite game ever, Diddy Kong Racing on the Nintendo 64. This was my first 3D game and I played the heck out of it as a kid. Once I had pretty much 100%’d the game, more than once, I decided to undertake an important made up side mission – find out who the fastest character was. To answer this question, I took every racer through every single track and recorded their time on paper. Whoever came first the most won. In my defense, I’m an only child who lived in the middle of nowhere at the time. I had to make up my own fun… Oh and I’ll admit my results were heavily biased. My favourite characters had flawless runs, while my not-so-favourite ones “accidentally” missed a shortcut… or two.

Diddy Kong Racing Timber
Unsurprisingly, my favourite character Timber won my little experiment. Pipsy and Diddy were close behind.

And so many more examples are popping in my head! My childhood imagination really went wild in the those glorious games from my young gamer days. In this age of backlogs and never-ending game launches, made up minigames are something I haven’t been able to dream up much as an adult. Thinking on it more, I’d also consider the Nuzlocke challenge in Pokemon games and speed running to be more offical examples of made up mini games.

What about you, internet? What are your thoughts on made up minigames? Did I have way too much time on my hands as a kid? Do you have any examples you wanna share? I’m curious so feel free to use the comments section thingy down below!

Thanks for reading!
~ LightningEllen

You can totally help the Goddess of Wisdom’s Video Game Relevancy Crusade by supporting AmbiGaming on Patreon. You know, only if you wanted to, of course!

11 comments

  1. Crackdown was good for this. In fact, several of the achievements were specifically designed to encourage you to mess around with the game world. I have fond memories of a friend and I playing co-op and getting the “rocket launcher tennis” achievement, where you have to shoot a car up into the air with an explosive, then keep volleying it back and forth with further explosives for about 10 seconds or so.

    Can’t forget the classic Grand Theft Auto “cause as much chaos as possible then see how long you can survive” game, too. Oddly enough, I found this much more fun in III and Vice City than in more recent installments; perhaps it was the more confined map.

    Any game with a physics engine and moveable physics items (Bethesda games work well) is good for an impromptu game of skittles, too. Line up your targets, equip a powerful projectile weapon and let loose.

    Oh, and finally, Deus Ex 2 was the first game my friends and I ever played with a ragdoll physics engine on enemy corpses, so we spent an inordinate amount of time in the first mission trying to drape bodies over pipework in the ceiling.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love it when games encourage players to mess around with the environments! And “rocket launcher tennis” sounds freaking awesome 😀

      Oh I’ve done the cause as much chaos as possible thing in many GTA games. I get what you’re saying. I remember having way more fun barricading myself inside hardware stores in Vice City while trying to get those sweet tanks to show up. Oh and I just remembered the cheat to turn all the civilians crazy while being armed to the teeth. Fun times 😂

      Great examples! Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  2. Question: is extensive role-playing within a game a sort of extreme version of this or something else entirely? Take Skyrim, which doesn’t mandate that you live a ‘realistic’ life, but a lot of people will choose to eat regularly, sleep once a day, maintain a home, or even develop a profession like book collecting or smithing or something. It’s kind of a fun addition to the game but I can’t work out whether it’s something distinct from either a made-up mini game or something like a self-imposed challenge where you restrict your options to make things harder.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oooo! Good question, dude. I’d say extensive role-playing most definitely counts as a made-up minigame. Anything that adds your own game within the game qualifies, I’d say! And now I have more reasons play Skyrim one of these decades, haha.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. These are good! One my wife made up that we’ve done before is hide and seek in FPS titles. Our friends who play stuff like CoD or Halo would invite a bunch of people over and whenever she and our friend Hannah ended up in a match, they’d take turns hiding and not actually shoot each other.

    Liked by 2 people

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