Mini-games have been around for almost as long as video games themselves, going all the way back to the original Final Fantasy and Super Mario Bros. 3 in the 1980s. They give players a chance to experience a game within a game, changing up the regular gameplay for a quick breather.
Mini-games can be tests of reaction speed, pattern recognition or even knowledge...but they can also get pretty bizarre, with elements that seem out of place in the context of the main story. Here are examples of the weirdest moments in mini-gaming.
1. The Sex Mini-Game (God of War II)
After a long day of killing titans, gods and other mythical creatures, there's only one way our friend Kratos likes to relax: by sleeping with various women. On his adventures, Kratos can encounter a number of topless ladies, including the goddess of love, Aphrodite.
All of this happens off-screen (watch a NSFW demonstration here), but while the act is occurring, the player is tasked with a mini-game that will yield Red Orbs when complete. These orbs can be used to level up Kratos' weapons and magic powers. If you ask me, it seems like his magic works just fine — the perks of being a demigod, I suppose!
2. The Game Show (Earthworm Jim 2)
And now for something a little less sexy. One of my favorite games as a kid was Earthworm Jim, and its subsequent sequel did not disappoint. It's the story of a worm who is accidentally thrust into a quest to save the universe from the Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Puss-filled, Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt. While one day minding his own business burrowing through the dirt, a super suit lands on him and causes him to mutate a couple of eyes and a mouth. It's from then on he becomes a hero and goes out to save his beloved Princess Whats-Her-Name.
The game was as quirky and random as the character names promise, but there was one level in Earthworm Jim 2 that really stood out as bizarre. The Villi People (aka Jim's Now a Blind Cave Salamander) featured Jim taking the form of a blind cave salamander and floating through the intestinal tract of a giant creature. At the end of the level Jim encounters a path lined with velvet ropes and ends up at a podium emblazoned with his name. It is here that he must answer a series of questions in order to gain power-ups. In an already unique game, this moment certainly stands out!
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3. Save the Curry! (Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance)
The Metal Gear Solid series allows you to take control of gaming's greatest expert of stealth and infiltration. The games are critically acclaimed and loved by fans across the world.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance has a huge choice of extra missions to hone players' skills, from photographing a specific target to eliminating enemies with only one weapon. And in one particular mission, we protect a plate of curry.
There are some other totally bizarre missions that feature giant Godzilla-esque guards that you have to avoid. But this one curry mission is truly crazy. A plate of curry sits in the middle of the floor a few hundred yards away, and it is up to you to stop all of the guards from eating it (presumably). Someone at Konami must really like curry!
4. LeBlanc's Massage (Final Fantasy X-2)
So, here's another slightly sexy one. In the first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy X-2, we take control of Yuna, the high summoner who successfully defeated Sin in the first game. In the two years that have passed since that fateful day, Yuna has undergone somewhat of a personality transplant, changing from reserved summoner to outgoing pop star.
At this point in the game, Yuna and friends have to infiltrate one of their enemies' bases by disguising themselves as her goons. And then it all gets a bit weird. We suddenly find ourselves having to give Leblanc a massage, as she has mistaken Yuna for her masseuse apparently. Believe me, when you're 14 and playing the game in your room, it's really awkward if your parents walk in at this moment.
Perhaps the strangest part of this particular mini-game is that it is essential to the plot! You can't continue the game if you don't complete the massage.
I'm a big fan of the Final Fantasy series, which has some stranger moments for sure, but this is just weird! Final Fantasy X-2 has been met with a mixed reaction by fans; I think you see why.
5. WarioWare (Series)
Okay, I admit, it's cheating slightly to use a whole series of games in the weirdest moments in mini-gaming — but come on, have you played any WarioWare game?
They're a collection of completely random mini-games that don't equate in any way to Wario as a character. Often he isn't even featured in the random choices. Basically, it's just a bit crazy.
The invention of the Nintendo Wii added a new dimension to the series thanks to the Wii Remote motion controller. In "The Big Cheese," you hold the Wii Remote by your hips; "The Elephant" required you to hold the remote in both hands in front of your nose; and "The Waiter" had you hold the remote flat on your hand as if it's a tray.
Each game lasts only around five seconds and you don't get a second chance. The frantic music and quick changes kept the player guessing, often infuriating you. Basically, the whole series is mad!
Those are just some of the weirdest and most random mini-game moments I can think of, though I'm certain there are many more. Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments!