What's the most frustrated you've ever been with a mini-game?


I adore Yakuza 0, but the batting cages nearly broke me

Yakuza 0 comes to PC this week. It feels like word of mouth for Sega’s strange and sweeping action-adventure romp through 1980s Japan is at an all-time high, and with its budget price, I’m hopeful lots of curious players become hardened fans once they give 0 the chance it so rightfully deserves.

I don’t have it in me to play all the way through — not again. Never again. But for those of you who decide to go down the winding path toward 100% completion, good luck and godspeed.

Yakuza 0 has a riveting main story, numerous zany substories, and a handful of genuinely enjoyable activities. You can and should dip your toes in everything, especially the hostess club sim. As you become more invested in the world, you might even find yourself looking up mahjong guides. But then there’s the rest: all the optional fluff sitting between you and an accomplished to-do list.

The RNG in the rock-paper-scissors catfight tournament mini-game is beyond annoying, but it’s mindless enough that you can brute force your way through. The batting cages, on the other hand, require intense concentration and precise reflexes. Just thinking about them makes me apprehensive.

I distinctly remember dedicating a Sunday afternoon and evening to studying this and similar videos that make Yakuza 0‘s batting look so effortless. It took me countless hours to even come close to what’s shown in this three-minute video. I tried it all! Looking at animation cues to know when to swing. Focusing on the sound. Memorizing the exact timings needed for each individual pitch, and figuring out a way to reliably count down in my head. Everyone had an inside tip, but nothing seemed to work.

I probably should’ve just walked away — that would’ve been the rational decision — but I had come too far. I was so close to putting a cap on Kiryu and Majima’s ’80s adventure. I craved that sense of closure. When my reflexes, practice, and luck finally came together long enough for me to win, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t celebrate. All I could do was be thankful that I’d never have to go through the silly ordeal again.

Yakuza 0‘s impending PC release pushed this memory to the front of my mind, and now that I’ve shared my cautionary tale, I’m curious: what’s the most frustrated you’ve ever been with a mini-game?