I’ll be honest, growing up, we only had a few games on our family’s old Nintendo 64, and it’s been through a lot over the decades. Considering how young I was then, my brother could just plop me down in front of the N64 and let me go play some of our more… simpler games. Personally, I was more of a fan of Pokémon Stadium 2, but with the release of Pokémon Stadium on the Nintendo Switch Online Pass, I thought, “Hey, why not go back to some of the ol’ mini-games I used to play?”
Now that this year marks the 25th anniversary of Pokémon Stadium, it feels like a good time to go back to the ol’ mini-games I enjoyed so much. Will this be a mistake? Maybe so, especially as I know some of these controls were fairly incompatible with my Switch Lite. So, let’s take a closer look at my ranking of the Pokémon Stadium mini-games at the… Kids Club? Wow, they really left me here to be babysat by mini-games when I was little.
So, let’s begin the ranking of all nine mini-games based on worst to best.
9. Ekans’ Hoop Hurl
In Ekans’ Hoop Hurl, you compete against the NPCs to throw your Ekans around the Digletts that pop up from the ground. You need to aim with the directional buttons and use the analogue stick to unleash the power. Now, considering the layout of the Switch Lite, this was not an easy task at all. After all, unlike the old N64, I don’t have a mysterious third handle to toss my Ekans over to a Diglett. So, because of that, Ekans’ Hoop Hurl is last on the list.
8. Run, Rattata, Run
In Run, Rattata, Run, you play as a Rattata who races others to the finish line at the end of the conveyor. Simple, right? Unfortunately, the obstacles prove to be a really significant annoyance. You need to use the directional buttons to jump and the A button to run. However, that tripped me up the first time I played this. After all, I’m used to the A button to jump, which can be a little bit confusing when I’m using it to pick up speed. Plus, when you’re used to using the analogue stick… Well, this is a little bit of a recipe for disaster.
7. Magikarp’s Splash
In Magikarp’s Splash, your job is to get the highest Splash to get it counted on the counter at the top of the screen. It’s simple enough; all you need to do is hold the A button to make a splash and press it again just as Magikarp lands. Overall, it’s an easy game but not the most compelling. After all, you’re just using Splash, and you don’t even have to concentrate, either.
In Sushi-Go-Round, you play as Lickitungs, who aim to spend the most money at the sushi restaurant. All dishes cost different amounts of money, and you know what? This wouldn’t have been a bad mini-game if it weren’t for the frustration of the analogue stick. You need to move around and tap the A button to eat, but the only issue is the CPUs that will get in your way, even when they’re not necessarily near you.
5. Thundering Dynamo
In Thundering Dynamo, you play as three Voltorbs and a Pikachu who is also there vibing away. You need to see who can charge up first by tapping the A and B buttons when matching the right colours to the machine. You need to tap the buttons repeatedly; the A button when it’s blue and the B button when it’s green. Overall, it’s not difficult, but it is a button-smashing game.
4. Rock Harden
Rock Harden isn’t necessarily a bad mini-game. In fact, it does a pretty good job of having you think about when it’s best to hit the A button to use Harden to stop yourself from getting smashed by a boulder. You need to time your A button with the rock’s shadows, but you also can’t keep using Harden, or you’ll lose HP. Overall, it is pretty fun and a little bit more dynamic than some of the other games. However, it doesn’t stand out much, either.
3. Dig! Dig! Dig!
In Dig! Dig! Dig, you play as a Sandshrew, racing the others to reach water first. The reason this is higher than some of the other button-mashing games is just because it felt more speed reliant as you need to use the L and R buttons to dig. You just can’t press the buttons at the same time, or you stop digging.
2. Snore War
In Snore War, you play as Drowzee, and you need to press the A button when the pendulum hits the centre of the screen. When you hit the centre of the screen, you cast Hypnosis, and to win, you need to be the last one awake. The pendulum will continue to go faster as you progress, which offers a fun little challenge, and does allow you to focus more on luck than anything else.
1. Clefairy Says
In Clefairy Says, you must read Clefairy’s instructions on the chalkboard. You then need to follow the directions with the directional buttons and memorise them before they go off the screen. The reason I like this one is that despite my having the memory of a goldfish, it was more immersive than most of the other mini-games.
Naturally, all nine of these games were designed for children, and honestly, it does show. But, considering the age I was when I played these mini-games? Oh man, you could lose me for hours in these.