Final Fantasy Friday: Sidequests and Minigames

A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!

Sidequests and minigames are paramount for fleshing out and breaking up the main story of an RPG.  Not to say that a main story is monotonous if done well (a proper narrative will have its own breakups/reliefs from the often dramatic tale at hand), but SQs and MGs are a nice little diversion away from the mise en scene, and the latter could be considered meta-games as they’re games that take place within a game (or gameception if you will)..

I count a sidequest as anything that doesn’t have to be done in order to complete the game and/or something that isn’t necessary for the game’s narrative.  There’s definitely some grey ground here.  Not all of the weapons in FFVII need to be defeated, but there’s a great deal of narrative value to their inclusion and demise.

Without a doubt, my favorite minigame is Triple Triad, the card game from Final Fantasy VII.

No seriously…I fucking LOVE this game

I love the strategy.  I love that you have to plan where you’re going to place even your strongest cards, and I don’t mind the Same, Plus, or any of the Wall rules.  I do detest the Random rule with a passion, nor do I like any games that aren’t Open.  You can get around the Random rule (if that’s the region you’re in) by modding all of your weaker cards, so only the stronger ones remain, and if you’re stuck in a region with Closed, that’s a sound strategy for that as well.

For Trading rules, I abhor Direct, since it’s often a crap shoot as to when a player will play a rare card (though sometimes the computer will give you a break and throw the card right where you need it, though you might have to sacrifice the card you use to do so. Strategy!), and if they stick it into an appropriate corner, you’re SOL.

There’s a great deal of resetting when playing Triple Triad, and if you ever want to play, always make sure you save first, because you do not want to spread the Random or Direct rules anywhere.  All rules are in place on the moon, which is where you can win the rare Laguna card.  I don’t even want to talk about how long that took.  Ellone is an expert player.

I think the last time I played, i had nearly all of the rare cards, and even if you mod them, you can still see that you had them in your collection.  I wish I could play this game outside of FFVIII.  Not that I have a problem playing FFVIII, but Triple Triad has transcended its origins, and I’d love just spend hours playing it on its own.  There’s a site for doing so, but I don’t think it’s active anymore.

I know there’s a particularly literate mage who prefers FFIX’s card game Tetra Master, which I enjoy, too, but I’m not as big on the more random nature of that game.  Though he’ll see, I’m not going to leave IX out in the cold…

For sidequests (I should try to think of one), the one that comes to mind is the Stellazio gathering in Final Fantasy IX.  I have a fondness for astrology, though I do maintain some skepticism about the stars themselves influencing your personality/life (I have seen personality differences in people born at different times and similarities in those born under a particular sign, but one, this is anecdotal, and two, I think the differences that exist could be due to scientific factors e.g. the weather conditions while you were in utero).  I’d love to see some peer-reviewed research on this), but I’m 100% a Taurus.  I use the horns to hold up my halo :p

I like the snippets of story that each piece contains feeding into the whole, and I love that it’s a riddle leading you the mythic 13th Stellazio, which refers to the 13th sign Ophiuchus, the Serpent-bearer. I would not have known about the 13th sign were it not for FFIX, which joins the ranks of other Final Fantasies such as VI and VII in teaching this Narcissist a thing or two.

What’s your favorite sidequest and/or minigame?  Let’s discuss in the comments!

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17 thoughts on “Final Fantasy Friday: Sidequests and Minigames

  1. Cloud snowboarding! Haha, in all seriousness, I’d probably also say Triple Triad. It was a full card game that gave you gameplay rewards. I actually enjoyed that part of VIII (something I don’t say often). It’s better than IX’s card, which I ignored for the most part. Sidequest-wise, the biggest ones that come to mind are getting Yuffie and Vincent. Those are sidequests, right? 😉 And also on that same note, re-recruiting everyone in VI that wasn’t required.

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  2. I completely ignored that card game on my failed attempt to beat FFVIII. When I give it another shot, I’ll have to check this out! Still haven’t played IX yet either so I’m looking forward to that as well. I had no idea there was a 13th sign.

    Warning – More biased FFXIII fanatic ramblings incoming (feel free to ignore me):

    I’ll admit that my beloved original XIII is mostly: Keep going straight through a beautifully rendered world and have fun kicking ass. But I did enjoy the C’ieth Stone side quests near the end when the game opens up (it’s kind of like the “hunt board” side activity in XII).

    XIII-2 had some great optional quests (especially after the “end game”). There are lots of time paradox things happening so there were some interesting events to see, to say the least (tip toeing around spoilers). I also enjoyed the Chocobo Racing and slot machine mini games. I needed to win enough tokens on one of the machines to claim an important optional item, so I put an elastic band on my PS3 controller, took a walk, and came back to claim my prize, haha.

    Lightning Returns has my absolute favourite implementation side quests, by far! There are a total of 66 different ones you can find, and they are all about helping the depressed people of a dying world (yes, I did them ALL on my playthrough, haha) It’s optional for the badass Savior to help these random strangers, but doing so saves the person’s “soul” (I won’t ruin anything, but something cool happens if you save enough people) and boosts Lightning’s stats. Some of them are tricky to find since they can only be triggered during certain times of day (sadly, you only have XIII days before the world ends though. I really wish Squeenix would have omitted that damn timer! It would have made the game so much more enjoyable to me… I still loved it though!! Lightning is so awesome!!! [sorry]) *calms self* 🙂

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  3. You have to progress a bit in the game before someone gives you cards to start out I believe, and there are certain people you want to play to grow your collection! You can also turn monsters into cards at some point, which is very handy. I didn’t get very far the first time I played FFVIII either, because I was absolutely stupid with the Junction System lol. Then I read up on how to use it properly, and it was light bulb time lol. Once I understood the mechanics, I exploited it sooo badly. It does take time though because you have to draw a ton of magic to have 100 of each useful spell, and that’s not for everyone. It’s one of the reasons I do love Final Fantasy though. It’s like listening to your favorite radio station. You might not like every single song, but there’s a song for everyone to love. IX has Tetra Master, which I’m not as fond of as Triple Triad; however, I can see the appeal. The Well-Red Mage prefers TT, so if there’s ever a Final Fantasy card game contest, the world better watch out!

    Bring on the FFXIII ramblings! You listen to me gush about the Great General enough, and hell, I have fanfictions about him, not a fanfiction, FANFICTIONS. It’s the least I can do, plus the more you talk about it, the more I want to play it so we can mutually fangirl. There’s nothing better than being able to fangirl with someone over something.

    I loved the hunt board in FFXII, so I could see myself liking this question in FFXIII. Granted I once ran into a monster that utterly decimated me, but it was still a fun quest.

    Time paradox stuff makes me want to drop everything and play. I love that paradigm (shift lol). That’s awesome that they’re still touching on that, because I have a huge theory about it that’s ubiquitous for the whole series. It starts with a time loop in one. I also discovered that Roman numerals are generally used to break up parts of one work, which aligns with what I’ve been thinking, too, so the gears in my head are a-turning.

    There’s a side quest in FFVIII that involves you pretty much leaving the game on all night lol. I woke up the next morning and I had so many things. It was amazing.

    66 side quests?! Wow. The world ending in a number of days reminds me of Majora’s Mask, though with that you can at least reset with the Ocarina of Time.

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  4. Yasss! Soon I will get you to love FFVIII mwahaha. In all honesty, it’s very possible to like or dislike aspects of something you like or dislike. I love FFVII, but I wasn’t a big fan of its mini-games and/or side quests. Chocobo breeding just wasn’t for me, and I even had to abandon my first play through because I messed up the submarine mini-game. IV didn’t really have any side quests or mini games,

    According to the Well Red Mage Tetra Master isn’t as random as I believed, but I was never able to…master its methods. I do like how both VIII and IX had the mini-games incorporated into the game’s story’s culture/background, so you were kind of roleplaying playing the game since it’s your character playing them not “you.”

    Ooooh, I need to think about that. They are optional characters, but Vincent is such a HUGE part of the back story of the game. Yuffie is my least favorite character in VII (I find her annoying), but the back story of Wutai is also insanely important. You don’t need them to finish the game, but they’re integral to fleshing out the story of it. I think I’d put finding characters into another category, and you’ve made me think of another FFF question so bravo!

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  5. I’ll be honest: I had no clue what I was doing when I played VIII. It’s a miracle I made it to the 2nd last boss, haha. I intend to give it another try someday. I’ll also admit teenage me had a tiny crush on Squall, lol.

    Yay! Thank you. Sometimes I do feel like I’m being annoying with my ramblings, haha. Feel free to tell me to shut up whenever, but It has been so awesome talking about Lightning and the Great General with you 🙂

    Some of those Cie’th Stone missions were quite a challenge. XIII-2 is one big interesting paradox. I love it when you can farm things without actually playing the game, haha. Lightning really needed to borrow Link’s Ocarina of Time. It would have made the game so much better!

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  6. I’m a completion artist, too! I always feel like there’s something hanging over my head if I don’t do all of the things! Sometimes the side quests are really difficult though and don’t add much to the game experience. There’s one in FFIV where you have to find an fight his rare enemy in order to obtain a bunch of this rare item in order to forge the best armor in the game. I’ve never done it because it’s so time consuming, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll run into the enemy that often. I like side quests where you have more control and it’s less randomized 🙂

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  7. Neither did I lol. It was so different from the Final Fantasies I’d played in the past and was the first where I really needed a strat guide. I managed to muddle through VII until I messed up the submarine part, which is one of the reasons I bought a strategy guide in the first place.

    I think Squall was the center of many a teenage crush. He was cute and broody. What more could you want??

    I often feel that way, too. I think it’s a common geek thing unfortunately come from talking to people who don’t have any interest in the obsession and who can too often be mean about it. I remember reading somewhere that apologizing a lot is a general sign of emotional abuse, and I know many people who apologize all the time (most of them women). The worst thing you can do, too is tell them “Stop apologizing!” because then they’ll just apologize for that and feel bad D:

    I have had NO luck starting any new Final Fantasies or really even playing WOFF except for Wednesdays. People keep wanting me to be social! What the hell is wrong with them? I have Final Fantasies to play.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh I apologize for everything… Including apologizing too much. I think that’s a Canadian problem too, haha.

    I hope you get to embark on those new Final Fantasy adventures soon! My family and friends gave up on me years ago, so I can play games whenever I want now 🙂

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