Be warned! There may be inadvertent spoilers throughout - prepare to jump, dodge and squat your way through them...

Since the beginning of time it seems, gaming has attempted to wring as much extra content variety as physically possible in order to give some semblance of development. RPGs especially are more guilty of this than any other genre, primarily because of a need to give players plenty of deviation from the vast, intricate plotting and often ridiculous character back stories. Sometimes, these aspects come together in magnificent unity as mini-games are shoehorned into the plot in such a paper-thin fashion that they are either completely unnecessary, out of place, tedious or just plain silly. Today, I will be counting down the Top 10 Silliest Minigames of Final Fantasy!

Being a fan of the series to an almost delirious scale, I have "enjoyed" pretty much every silly minigame the series has to offer - Final Fantasy is more guilty than many other RPG series for this, to an almost laughable standard. The minigames I am about to gently deride are exactly what they are - side missions, main events or distracting games which use controls or mechanisms that deviate from the main game's formula - and all of them either bring cries of "what the hell did I just do?" to "why am I even bothering?", as many of them seem to be variety for the sake of variety. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes it's all a little bit silly...

I hope you enjoy this reminiscence! Be aware that I this is my own personal choice, cut down from a huge variety of options to choose from, but it is all in the name of gentle comedy and a lot of affection for this often silly series. With that said, on with the show!

A question for you; when you are out walking your dog or perhaps out with a friend going to a nightclub on a night of a tumultuous storm, have you ever thought about what would happen if lightning were to strike at your feet? Do you think you'd feel a sick thrill? Do you think you'd actively seek out more lightning bolts, to play with the Grim Reaper at a sick game of Thunder Chicken? Do you think you would try to do so 200 times?

If yes, then you can do it from the comfort of your own home!

Final Fantasy X's Thunder Plains is a land scorched by storms, so much so that there is a little game on in the local Travel Agency to see how many lightning bolts one can dodge in a row for a prize! Now before you rush off in excitement, do be aware that the bolts are random, with only a brief flash warning you on when to press the X button, and missing even one means you have to start all the way back at the beginning of the game. Yes. This is as tedious as it sounds, and many players have given up over the years because, sweet lord, spending hour after hour dodging bolts is just depressing.

As it fits the area, and as it's a fact that there is a specific location on the map that takes the randomness away (but not the soul destroying depression and hour of your life), this particular game comes low on my list. Nothing compares to some of the silliness below.

Thunderbolt and lightning; very, very frightening me! See also: Final Fantasy X is notorious for its tedious minigames, but at least many fit the locales of the game. However, I almost didn't forgive the Valley of the Cactuars quest for the Mercury Sigil, which takes an absolutely unforgivable amount of time to complete as it expects you to go backwards and forwards across vast terrain. Thank god Rikku, and her Celestial Weapon, are both very, very good.

Hey kids! What do you want in your absolutely enormous, sprawling JRPG which can take upwards of 200 hours to complete in full without help? Do you want more plot, character development or actual fun? Or do you want a completely meaningless running minigame which adds nothing and is just a bit silly?

Well have I got a solution for you!

Final Fantasy XII is massive, there is no denying. There are so many monsters to kill, so many areas to explore, and so much to do generally, that is can all get a bit overwhelming. Fair enough that some "small" distractions can be a good thing, but the Balfonheim footrace is utterly pointless.

Otherwise known as the "Pirate Olympics" (oh how I hate that name), you are asked to do button presses in such a way that you veer Vaan in the direction of the ending, which can be really quite dull, then you get a pathetic prize. But at least you only have to do it once -

What? There are 100 tiers?!

Yep, to get anywhere near the top prize of 10000 gil (which you could get in literally seconds by selling loot you've accrued) you have to do it over and over and over again until you brain melts into a porridge and starts streaming from your nose. The only other decent prize is the Slime Oil, a loot which is incredibly rare, but even that is at tier 90. And even then it is used to make a really boring item in the bazaar (Hi-Ether... woo).

Silly name, silly controls, silly prizes - it had to be included here.

Hey! Care for a bit of sport? See also: This minigame seems to be the spiritual successor to Hippaul's races in Final Fantasy IX, which I decided to not have as an entry in its own right because I feel like Hippaul is my spirit animal. But yeah, it's tedious and the rewards are pointless.

The beginning of Final Fantasy IX is just so lovely. Alexandria is in the grip of theatre excitement, and Vivi, everybody's favourite black mage, is off to see the show. Before doing so, however, he can take part in a little bit of skipping with three identical, vindictive, witchy little girls - they may as well be ripped straight from Macbeth, as these little girls are the cause of much horror, sadness and crippling carpal tunnel syndrome, and all because of a Key Item that is inherently useless.

Want to become the "King of Jump Rope"? Only if you want severe mental anguish.

The game starts off nice and slow - press X at the right time and you will jump over the rope. Thing is, it gets faster. And faster. And then after a while, it goes fast and slow at intervals. Then it becomes impossibly fast - 1000 skips later, and you will earn your title, and sense of disgust having spent so many hours doing so. As of writing, this is the only minigame I have never completed - and not for lack of trying. The only reason it is so low on the list is that, in the grand scheme of things, it is not an issue to not do it, and is a small distraction among a number of small distractions - but it still is unforgivably silly what it has to put you through for such an insignificant reward.

50,51,52- GOD DAMMIT NOT AGAIN! See also: Tediousness is also seen very clearly in Fossil Roo, as you are allowed to dig for treasure for a small fee of a potion. Couple of digs and you're done, right? Not if you want the PS4 trophy, because being forced to dig for a Madain's Ring is *horrible*.

Oh Final Fantasy X-2, how you are mocked.

It might be filled with "fan service", it might have some of most heavy exposition in games full stop and was probably not really wanted, but the game had so much potential. Great combat, a fantastic job system and some genuinely fun boss battles mean that it should be remembered much more fondly. Sadly, most of it was ruined by horrible writing and some incredibly silly moments.

Moments like the god-damn massage minigame.

Seeking a "sphere" which was stolen from the player party by the Leblanc Syndicate, you travel to Guadosalam to infiltrate their hideout while wearing the uniform of the Syndicate goons to sneak in. Sadly, you are then asked to massage the leader, Leblanc. Your objective? Satisfy her.

On a 3x3 grid, you must select a "body part" to massage, with each square randomly having a point score attached. You must reach 32 points to get the top prize, and that can be a massive pain in the ass to accomplish first time. It's also joined by some wonderful moaning sounds if you succeed, which I'm sure the teenage boys at home just loved.

It fits the game, but is just a bit... dreadful. Let's not beat about the bush here.

Oh yeah! Yeah, that's the spot! See also: Less pointless, more boring, the series of minigames in the Calm Lands are painfully dull, but at least playing them isn't needed for getting 100% completion of Final Fantasy X-2. Needless to say, I hate them all. And don't get me started on this game's Blitzball...

Oh, the weirdness.

Right off the bat, this entire section of Final Fantasy VII is both beloved and derided in equal measure. Cloud's cross-dressing quest to sneak into a horny old man's mansion is as ridiculous as it is brilliant: tasked with collecting a dress, a wig, perfume and lingerie, you have to do a wide range of silly things in order to get them. Silliest of all is the visit to Big Bro's gym, run by a cross-dressing fitness lover who tasks the player with squatting for a wig.

Even after 22 years, due to poor translation, I'm still not sure what the hell is going on in this little mission. And that's even more of a reason why I love it.

It's a rhythm game in all but name as you press three buttons sequentially without missing a beat. Your opponent tends to make mistakes towards the end of the 30 second time limit though, so it is pretty hard not to win and get that beautiful, flowing blonde wig and get an audience with the Don.

Don't worry, Final Fantasy VII fans - there's plenty sillier than this to come...

Big Bro, I'm so mad, I'm so so mad! See also: Button press minigames seemed to be the in-thing in Final Fantasy VII. You get to play with the coal train for the Huge Materia, play with a rocket to get... Huge Materia, press massive buttons together to gain access to Mako Reactor 5 - and all of them are inherently pointless.

Back to Gaia, and time for a bit of silly sneakery.

What I love about Final Fantasy IX is just how comedic the script is even in heavy moments. Trapped in prison cells and minutes from a fiery death, the party is doomed - except Regent Cid, in froggy form, is able to sneak away and unlock the door! One small problem - there's a hedgehog pie blocking his way. In a cage. Where it can't get to the Regent. But it still scares him... cue a stealth section as you try and tiptoe your way to the key which unlocks a sand-timer which you can only reach by climbing weighing scales.

Wait what?

The whole episode is just pure slapstick. Tiptoeing required precise button presses and not having an itchy trigger finger - you only get a few minutes, but you get plenty of time. After you manage to get past the monster, you then have to solve a little puzzle that involves putting the correct weights on the scales so that you can climb up to the lock, all to a delightfully comic Uematsu score. It's all in good fun, but it doesn't stop it being very, very silly.

I guess I should stand still when that creature looks this way [ribbit]... See also: Stealth minigames feature in a number of games: Final Fantasy VII has you avoiding guards in the Shinra Building, while Final Fantasy VIII aims for you to avoid Galbadian soldiers on the Timber mission. I personally love the way the latter works, especially as it feels like a serious moment even the though the stakes are low.

Theft is such hard work isn't it? Such a trying time. I know what would lighten the mood! Shoving some lazy musicians into an elevator! That would be just the ticket.

This particular minigame in Final Fantasy X-2 is just unnecessary. Having stolen a sphere from Kilika, Yuna wants to hold a concert to ease the miserable atmosphere aboard the airship. To do this, you have to shove up to four different characters down a corridor and into a lift, which is a bigger nightmare than it sounds as it requires you to keep moving in such a way that means that all will fit perfectly.

Sadly, the camera and the control work are against you right from the start.

What's worse, there's a good accessory locked behind the perfect completion of this completely unneeded minigame, especially in the Japanese version which locks one of the very best accessories behind this turgid divergence. In terms of silliness, this is close to perfection. Not quite, though.

"This minigame should have been ban(ne)d... sorry. See also: Pointless music-related minigames are elsewhere in the series - Final Fantasy VIII had the interlude where all the player characters magically learn instruments to help Squall and Rinoa get together, while Final Fantasy VII and VIII both have pianos that you can play, one to get Tifa's Ultimate Weapon and one... that opens a door.

Some things in life are completely self explanatory. Things you just do not need an instruction manual for. Things that just make complete sense.

This is not one of them. In fact, this still confuses me - and I've looked up what to do since!

Following on from the events of the next stupid minigame on my list, you are sneaking into the Junon Welcoming Parade for the new Shinra President, Rufus. Wearing your uniform and working with three other incredibly charming Shinra soldiers, you soon realise you are late! Finding a shortcut, you then have a very short moment into which you have to sneak back in, so as to increase TV ratings.

From there, it all gets a bit complicated.

You have to run into the parade and start marching, all while being shouted at by your captain, and all the while hoping to get the TV ratings to improve in the brief nanosecond you have control. In all the years of playing the game I have never done it perfectly, but I am quite happy to have grenades thrown at me for a poor performance. Sometimes, the best things in life are a terrible, poorly made but effortlessly endearing JRPG minigame.

What!? You're FIRED!! Send that soldier a bomb or something! See also: This part is followed by an actually useful minigame - racking up enough points while performing for Heideggar could earn you a better sword for Cloud or a HP Plus materia, depending on how well (or badly) you do. The whole sequence is just fantastic.

22 years have passed since Final Fantasy VII was released. In all of those 22 years, I still cannot understand who approved the atrocity that was this particular minigame... I mean, seriously, who thought it was a meaningful addition to an already overcrowded game full of weird minigames?

So many issues. I don't know how to even begin.

During the early part of their quest, Cloud and company need to reach the upper floor of the city of Junon to keep following Sephiroth. Irritatingly, a young girl called Priscilla gets in the way, gets attacked by a massive fish trying to save her pet trained dolphin (don't ask) then promptly passes out (?). Whatever happens, the old bloke who finds her asks Cloud to save her life.

By blowing air into her lungs in a completely counter-intuitive way.

The game prompts you to press square, which starts Cloud's inhalation - massively over the top inhalation I might add - and you are not allowed to give the kiss of life until the last possible second, otherwise it's just too inefficient. Leave it too late, and Cloud "over breathes" and... chokes...? Whatever the case, Cloud isn't asked to check whether she's actually breathing, doesn't do any chest compressions, and whenever it doesn't work does a sad little shake of the head in a defeatist, miserable way. This entire scene would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact a young girl is dying. Yes she's annoying but she gives you Shiva and that's OK with me.

I think I'm done venting. Or not. Maybe I'm just getting started...

Young man, CPR, now! See also: Thankfully, resuscitation is not necessary in any other games, but Final Fantasy VI's minigame where you attempt to save ol' grandpappy Cid with possibly toxic, mystery fish from a post-apocalyptic ocean comes a close second. Thankfully, it's not necessary to try too hard.

Here it is. The "minigame" which is seared onto my brain as one of the silliest moments in the series. You will probably disagree with me, and to be honest, I wouldn't blame you, as it goes hand in hand with one of Final Fantasy VIII's most emotive scenes. But see, it is for this reason that I think nothing else can possibly top this.

Let me explain.

Towards the end of the narrative, Rinoa has been possessed on the Lunar Base by somebody wanting to wake up the evil Sorceress Adel. After inevitably doing so, she sets off a chain of events which leads to her floating through space all by herself with critically low oxygen. This calls for Squall, her one true love and knight-in-shining-armour, to put his life at risk and save her. Here is where the minigame comes in.

At this moment, you as the player have to keep Rinoa centered using the control pad, under a time limit, in order to safely scoop her up in your arms before the deus ex machina occurs - it is such an emotionally charged moment, such a pivotal moment in the plot... but what if you miss? What if you fail to catch her? Well... my favourite piece of script pops up on screen.

"Rinoa was lost in space... forever".

"Try again?"

I'm sorry, but this completely ruins the moment. Not only can you not game over (which would have been quite a fitting moment for your inadequacy as a hero), but it's so ham fisted that it feels like it was written by a small child. I laughed when I first saw it, which I know is heartless, but there is no question that this alone means there is no equal for silliest minigame moment in Final Fantasy.

Rinoa!!! No!!! See also: Final Fantasy VIII may have very few minigames, but those that do feature have almost completely useless rewards for doing them. Chocobo Forests are nice distractions but are really terrible for the amount of time they take against the rewards. Moreover, there's a really dreadful minigame where you get to kick a defenceless chicobo as it crosses the road for a Phoenix Pinion; although it allows you to summon Phoenix, the game is so easy you will never need to us it.

So there you have it! I hope you had a good laugh reading through this selection of absolutely atrocious minigames. Just remember - I trawled through every game to pick what I believed were the silliest minigames, which means I left out some corkers - things like:

Final Fantasy IX's Blackjack, which was originally locked behind a cheat code, but what the next-gen port added to the home screen upon the game's completion, ruining the weirdness of it.
Final Fantasy VII's Mog House, which is less of a game and more of an interactive movie. Which takes far too long. But is so damn cute.
Final Fantasy X's Catcher Chocobo, the most unfair minigame in the history of mankind. In fact, anything to do with Chocobos in the Spira games is stupid.

as well as all the others mentioned in the entries themselves!

Please feel free to leave a comment on the Top 10 Board if you wish - do regale me with your own horrid examples of minigames, both in Final Fantasy and across all gaming. Until next time, have fun kids!


List by sirloinestake (04/29/2019)

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