The game: Mass Effect
The in-game game: High Stakes Quasar
Want another boring black jack clone that allows you to enjoy the fine art of saving and reloading in order to line your pockets with extra credits you don’t really need? Head over to the Flux club in Mass Effect and feed some cash to the Quasar machines there. Like KOTOR’s pazaak, the goal in Mass Effect’s Quasar game is to get as close to 20 without going over. But unlike pazaak, Quasar game doesn’t even try to be anything more than a screen with a number.
Above: Mass Effect’s Quasar takes minimalistic design to the extreme
Above: It also saddens us that Flux is the most happening place in the galaxy
The game: Dead Space
The in-game game: Zero-G Basketball
Was anybody surprised when EA set its mind to original IP, then pulled it off without a hitch? Hell no - we knew they had it in ‘em! However, we were a bit taken aback when we arrived at Dead Space’s zero-grav basketball minigame only to get a face full of jarring and pace-ruining suck. Under the misguided assumption that gorehounds needed a break from dismembering reanimated hellbeasts, the developers threw in agonizingly slow version of Space Whack-A-Mole, involving floating balls and four defensive “hoops.”
To Dead Space’s credit, it’s an entirely optional aside in an otherwise fantastic game. Yet there are several incentives just too damned alluring to avoid entering the offshoot arena and killing an isolated room packed with of annoying enemies. Make it to the final round of Z-Ball and a scare and coveted Power Node is yours! But anyone who played on a harder difficulty and/or didn’t have their kinesis ability set to overflowing was in for an arduous endurance run of brick after failed brick. (And that’s to say nothing of all the Achievement Whores and Trophy Sluts trudging through for bragging rights alone.)
It can be unbelievably frustrating, but at least forgettable under the scope of the entire game. We point it out mainly as an act of vigilance following the recent announcement of Dead Space on the Wii, a system that too many shitty minigames already call home.