Extra reasons to play.

Final Fantasy means something special to every fan of the series for various reasons. The love of the franchise is different for each person, but the longevity of Final Fantasy is a telling accomplishment of its impact on gaming and gamers. Fans have come to love falling into compelling storylines, addictive and innovative battle systems, and, perhaps sometimes more than everything else, the balling mini games. And who doesn’t like mini games? Final Fantasy is loaded with some of the best in the business, and today we’ll be taking a look at five of our favorite Final Fantasy mini games.

5 – Snowboarding – Final Fantasy VII

Perhaps it’s a bit of nostalgia and bias on this one, but there’s something about snowboarding in Final Fantasy VII that’s always stuck with me. Flying down the course for the first time was something special, especially if you got a good jump into that labyrinthine snow… zone? Either way, the snowboarding mini game sure beat the pants off of both the submarine mini game and the motorcycle mini game (damn those Shin-Ra cyclists who crash in front of the car!). It’s something that rivaled even the best snowboarding sims of the PSOne (Coolboarders, anyone?), making it a pretty quality mini game to top off this list. Here’s to hoping the remake does a swell job with this.

4 Fishing – Final Fantasy XV

The newest entry to the Final Fantasy saga takes our number four spot on this list. As a completionist (and at the minimum, a trophy hunter), fishing become something I needed to tackle (eyyy, get it?) on my way to the platinum trophy. The mechanics were solid, and it provided an active fishing experience that was more than just a simple push of a button when prompted. In fact, the fishing mini game in Final Fantasy XV was so popular and well done that it spawned a $40 VR spinoff that met with solid critical success. Here’s to you, Square-Enix, for turning that ten year development cycle into a pretty well rounded game.

3 Battle Arena – Final Fantasy VII

Our first – and only – repeat offender on this list is Final Fantasy VII. Intentionally left out of the mini games that I felt were subpar, Final Fantasy VII’s battle arena provides a slot take on the traditional arena setup. After each battle, you have the choice to leave with your rewards or continue to battle. If you choose to continue, you’ll have to test your luck with a slot gamble, which could reward you with boosted health or power, or completely devastate your chances of winning. With a ribbon equipped, the stakes drop, as you can effectively shrug off any debuff, and the rewards you can obtain after earning enough GP are fantastic. I mean, it’s the only way to obtain Cloud’s final limit break.

2 Triple Triad – Final Fantasy VIII

Hands down, Triple Triad is the best card based mini game in the Final Fantasy series. While other card games have all been pretty good, and the one from IX made it onto PlayOnline, Triple Triad, with its simple to play and difficult to master approach – particularly when rules are spread – provided me with countless hours of additional gameplay. The series of side quests that led you to do battle with the highest ranked Triple Triad player rewarded you with some of the best cards in the game. Additionally, Final Fantasy XIV and the Final Fantasy Portal app on iOS and Android each feature versions of Triple Triad that comes with cards from characters spanning the entire series of games.

1 Blitzball – Final Fantasy X

I have put in well over 100 hours in every playthrough of Final Fantasy X directly because of Blitzball. I still have my original save data stored on a memory card in my basement that holds my stellar Blitzball team. I made sure to scout and sign the best players from all over Spira and level them up, equipping them with the best moves in the game. There’s nothing like getting a Jecht Shot 2 off and sneaking your shot through two defenders and the goalie. In fact, this article has gotten me so revved up for Blitzball that I think I’m going to go play it now.