#3. Pipe Dream [Bioshock & Star Trek: Elite Force 2… and an Inspector Gadget Game]
This is easily the ‘best’ of the mini-games on our list, but it still deserves a place here for being so oddly ubiquitous. Bioshock, Star Trek: Elite Force 2, and so many other games have this exact same hacking mini-game! The problem isn’t the game itself, which is a perfectly fine puzzler, but the absurd amount of time you’ll spend solving these mini-games! If you don’t build up your Hacking skills in Bioshock, many of these puzzles are completely impossible to solve. That’s by design, but still a frustration for lots of gamers.
You can tell that the Pipe Dream puzzles were a sticking point, because they were completely removed in Bioshock 2. In the sequel, hacks were much faster and less obtrusive to the gameplay. And yet… I kind of missed my Pipe Dream adventures. There’s something oddly satisfying about aligning all the pipe pieces, and then pressing a button to make the water shoot through straight to the end. Maybe I have Stockholm Syndrome.
#4. Collecting Scorpions [No More Heroes]
No More Heroes is an all-time offender for bad mini-games. Between assassination missions, our dumpy hero Travis Touchdown has to complete absurd odd jobs to earn cash. Mowing the lawn? Yes, that’s an activity in this game that everyone hates, but I can’t get over the fugue-state-inducing Scorpion Extermination missions.
In this missions, you’ll scamper around an empty field looking for scorpions. If you get to close, you’ll get stung. You have to use your tongs to grab scorpions and throw them into your big bin. These missions take almost five minutes, where you’ll very slowly scoot around, looking at a brown death landscape of nothingness, and use your waggle (this was a Wii game, so motion-controls are a must) to capture the pests. It’s plain awful, ya’ll.
But this story has a happy ending. No More Heroes 2 is the complete inverse of the first game, replacing the boring tasks with retro-inspired arcade game simulations of odd jobs. No More Heroes 2 has some of the best mini-games in the business.
Bring back even more bad memories of the worst mini-games on the next page.