The Top 7… worst games in great games

Today, we’re taking a timeout to break through the fourth wall of online features about games to highlight the seven worst games set in the worlds of great games. Why? Because these minigames are a special breed of boring. We’re tired of tacked-on gambling activities, awful fictional sports, and stale satires of classic arcade hits that dwell in the bowels of some of the best games ever.

Why does this happen? Are all in-game games doomed to blow? The answers: We don’t know, and probably.  At any rate, join us as we journey through the worst games that great games gave us, the ones we remember avoiding at all costs.

The game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
The in-game game: Pazaak

Being a Jedi isn’t all about adventure, excitement or having fun with lightsabers. Sometimes, it’s about saving and reloading repeatedly until you can win a god damned hand in a stupid Star Wars card game.

Pazaak is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’s answer to what we present-day people call black jack, and it’s a terrible attempt to artificially lengthen your stay in the game’s various space ports. Instead of shooting for a hand of cards that adds up to 21 or less, you r goal is to hit 20.

Above: Primary colors and prime numbers? We’ll pass

Above: Unlike Pazaak, wielding two lightsabers at the same time was great

The only counting we want to do in a Star Wars game involves estimating how much damage we can deal with our force choke. So why are we staring at rows of numbered cards when the galaxy is in peril? We’ll just file pazaak away with the Ewoks’ victory on Endor, Boba Fett’s lame death, and other Star Wars moments we’d rather forget.

Useless Trivia: Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian in a game of sabacc. Because sabacc sounds a lot like pazaak, some Star Wars fans have surmised that pazaak may be an earlier version of sabacc.

The games: Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon and Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers
The in-game games: Astro Chicken and Ms. Astro Chicken: Flight of the Pullet

It’s stupid. It’s silly. It’s Space Quest, the series that earned its stripes as one of the snarkiest adventure series to appear on a VGA monitor. But Space Quest didn’t just introduce gamers to the prolific janitorial hero, Roger Wilco and his pursuit of “truth, justice, and really clean floors.” It also helped make purposefully bad in-game games a go-to staple for all future game-related satire.

The Astro Chicken arcade game made its first appearance in a diner in Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon. For the price of a buckazoid, you could try your hand at safely leading the plucky bird to a landing pad in the middle of the screen. But because of the super sensitive controls and Astro Chicken’s tendency to explode if you were a few pixels off target, the game itself was fairly infuriating and hardly worth the price of admission.

Above: Astro Chicken was a waste of a buckazoid

Above: Developers seem can’t get enough of in-game arcade games that play poorly. Thanks a lot Astro Chicken!

The Astro Chicken series later returned to deliver more half-hearted yucks in Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers. It was here, that Roger Wilco discovered another arcade machine featuring the sequel, Ms. Astro Chicken: Flight of the Pullet.

Above: Ms. Astro Chicken in Space Quest IV. Still not fun. Still not that funny

As a satire of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, and a throwback to old school games, both Astro Chicken and Ms. Astro Chicken were fine for a forced chuckle or two. But the games themselves were torturous, with irritating sounds and painfully retro graphics. They were meant to be bad. And they were. They really, really were.

Ever since then, it seems like every game’s got to have some purposefully bad arcade game as an Easter egg, and it’s even less funny now than it was over a decade ago. That’s why we blame the Astro Chickens and their rotten eggs in part for the awful games-in-games that have appeared since then.


Top 7

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  • Assassin4than - April 11, 2009 2:47 p.m.

    you should make the best games in better games and have the entire ninja gaiden series in ninja gaiden for xbox,ffvii card game was so fun and also DOA xtreme 2 has half naked girls on jetskis waterslide playing cards and on poker machines so that should be in it somewhere.
  • blackninja2004 - April 10, 2009 5:13 a.m.

    hate Blitzball. when a game inside a game has to have lengthy tutorials then that ruins it for me. wakkas okay but doesnt do anything but wine like a little baby
  • RaIdEn - February 21, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    what about that piece-o-crap email decoder in double agent?
  • Stuffgamer1 - February 20, 2009 10:37 p.m.

    I liked Blitzball enough, I was kinda hoping they'd make a stand-alone version with improvements including multiplayer (online, maybe also off if they could manage it)! That's obviously never going to happen, though. I do fully agree about Pub Games, though. Well, except for the fact that I got it free with the reserve deal. The most annoying part was definitely the Achievements (which I do have all of, amazingly).
  • Flapjackturd - February 19, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    ive nevr played any of these games so i posted dis comment to show i dont care
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - February 19, 2009 1:25 p.m.

    @ Russianred90: They were more training games than actual minigames. Think of them as additional tutorials And In addition to Cyhsquid77's comment, what about the Quark Vid-Comics in R&C Up Your Arsenal? They weren't TERRIBLE, though needing to complete them at high speed to get Skill Points and collecting all the Quark Tokens to get the Titanium Bolts (Yes, these are just bragging rights, i know) was kinda irritating. But yeah, The Quark Vid-Comics were bearable. Not ALL minigames = evil... Just most of them. lol, ReCaptcha : "ignorant 10" - description of most people on XBL possibly? xD
  • crossed23 - February 19, 2009 2:03 a.m.

    Sorry Cronoman66 but Blitzball sucked. I actually quit playing FFX just because of the blitzball force on to the player segment of the game. But that is just me so I have to agree with the site on that one and OH.... Boba Fett didnt die but Im sure you guys really knew that, I mean come on could Lucas really kill off a Mandolarian that easily.... I think NOT!!!
  • Darthkeyblader13 - February 18, 2009 10:15 p.m.

    hey!!!Blitzball was actually a good game! I get how you could hate Wakka
  • Auron - February 18, 2009 9:36 p.m.

    I thought Blitzball was quite good -.-
  • Clownsarescary - February 18, 2009 9 p.m.

    Awsome article, but you missed out Fable 2 - a bad mini game in the overall game of life.
  • sadowolf - February 18, 2009 8:19 a.m.

    i absolutely loathed blitzball at first. but then after suffering thru over 90 games of it to get a goddamn jupiter sigil it kinda grows on you. i never lost a game (i was like 95-0...) so it became kinda fun seeing how badly i could beat the other team and if i could make a goal from over 3/4 fields length away with 3 people guarding me (actually did it a few times). but yea, blitzball sucks haha
  • triforcerpgfreek - February 18, 2009 5:35 a.m.

    yeah pazaak is the only boring part about KOTOR.
  • Spunkypikachu89 - February 17, 2009 11:20 p.m.

    Are you implying that freecell is a bad game? Huh beyatch, u wanna go. Iz gun kik ur azz wit mai roflcopter. See what you did. You made my I.Q. go down because of my frustration with you.
  • Russianred90 - February 17, 2009 11 p.m.

    old game but the god awful arcade games in spiderman 2 ya all the same crap then one in doom 3 and also hated the one in prey in the bar
  • noobeater - February 17, 2009 9:40 p.m.

    oh i menat to say on banjo kazooie if some of you need to know sorry for bouble post
  • Jordo141 - February 17, 2009 6:55 p.m.

    Oh God, the minigames in GTA:SA were truely crap, and hard too. And that cube one in GTA IV was a pain in the ass too.
  • BodyDamage - February 17, 2009 5:12 p.m.

    I actually really enjoyed blitzball in FFX, but man did i hate stupid wakka.
  • SOLIDSNAKE1983 - February 17, 2009 3:08 p.m.

    The mini games in bully were annoying especially the bloody sumo one that you had to do to progress the the story!!!
  • TheKraige - February 17, 2009 11:57 a.m.

    And a great game in a great game, Hero Klungo in Banjo Nuts and Bolts. I like Blitzball and the pub games and ME just needed more indepth version of quasar and an actual need for money seriously thats a game that needs to be like grinding on cetain planets and playin gambling games to get money it basically threw it at you thats my one critisism of that game maybe in ME2.
  • swinghi - February 17, 2009 8:58 a.m.

    C'mon. That air hockey game in Beyond Good and Evil is not on the list. That thing was crazy hard at the higher levels.