Monday, July 3, 2006

General RPGs Minigames 2: Chinchirorin

Alright, folks. You know I love Suikoden. Like, just really love the series a helluva lot. So much so that I'll neglect ranting, and just about all other aspects of my internet life, for about 2 weeks to finish a new installment in the series.

But the series has its faults (besides the entire game of Suikoden 4). I mean little faults, annoying things that happen inside even the great games (which would be all the others). There's that frustrating problem in the endings of not giving you enough damn time to read the little bits for each character about what ends up happening to them post-game, the strange feeling of It's Here Because Plot Needed It that always springs up near or at the final boss, and the never-ending problem of not having enough money regardless of how long you've been whacking monsters.

The fault I'm really interested in today, though, is the minigame angle. Yes, Suikoden has minigames. Lots of them. Suikoden 5, in particular, seems to be littered with the damn things. And you know, sometimes, they're not all terrible. I mean, Suikoden 3's horse racing minigame was kinda sloppy and choppy in its controls, but nothing anyone who's handled Epona in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time can't deal with, and you do get some kinda okay rewards from it, and it's not, to my memory, mandatory in any respect.

And of course, there's always the Suikoden 2 Iron Chef minigame. That was actually pretty damn awesome.

But man, most of the time, these minigames are boring and stupid in their best moments. You take this one from the earlier games, Chinchirorin (you can tell it's going to be a BLAST with a name like that). Now, this one you can count as mandatory, because you have to play it to get a couple of characters, and without them you can't get the good ending in either game. What it basically is, is you throwing some dice in a bowl and seeing what number they turn out to be. Then, if it's a good number, better than your opponent's, you win money. If it's not, you lose money. It seems to be at least 98% random as to what you're going to get regardless of where or when you throw the damn little things.

Yeah. Fun. Let's play a game where you press a button, and a random number is generated beyond your ability to influence it with any skill or reasoning, and, depending on what number comes up, you might win, or you might lose. They might as well just call it Random Number Generator Minigame, drop all the pretense and save themselves some time on animation and programming by just having a random number come up and tell you that you lose. Who knows, maybe it'll be so stupid that it'll really catch on and become a classic (worked for Rock Paper Scissors). I know casinos would LOVE it; so much easier to rig than slot machines.

How does a game that stupid even come to exist, anyway? Like, I mean in real life here. There are plenty of incredibly simplistic and frankly dumb pastimes people have invented, often involving dice or cards or hunting rifles. But what exactly inspired this one, I wonder? Why the bowl? Was randomly rolling dice to see if a certain number came up just not exciting enough? Did somebody think, while watching his comrades bet their livelihoods one day on a set of dots adorning a certain face of a tiny cube, "You know what would liven this game up a lot? A bowl. This game needs a bowl." And thus was invented the game of Chinchilla or whatever it is, dice tosses made special, somehow, by the presence of a salad bowl.

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