Yesterday I finally obtained the airship in Final Fantasy IX and the story is building up to a big climactic battle where my party has to assault a stronghold in order to break down a barrier and invade another planet. Instead of making haste directly there I take the 'minor' detour to go play the chocobo mini-game! A little under 6 hours later I've dug up all the chocographs, found all of their treasures around the world, and have a ton of awesome new cards and gear.
Chocobo Hot and Cold has a fairly straightforward premise. You pay a moogle some cash and he lets you dig for a minute. When you dig in a location you get told how close you are to a randomly generated treasure by how excited your chocobo sounds. Use those sounds and future digs to narrow down the treasure. Once you've found it, mash the button until you dig it up. Repeat until you find 8 treasures or the minute runs out. Mostly the treasures are worthless junk like potions but every now and then you'll find a chocograph which shows a little picture of the world along with a hint for what is being pictured. Head out into the world, find that spot, and dig again to get the loot! Some of those outside treasures power up your chocobo to let him swim, or climb mountains, or fly. Each new ability unlocks a new way to dig up chocographs and opens up more of the world for finding chocographs.
Anyway, this is at least the third time I've done this. I find it pretty easy to zone out and play the mini-game. It's fun, and it gives good rewards. One thing that changed this time is I didn't have to look up anything on the internet in order to finish it off! There's this one chocograph where the picture is just ocean and the hint isn't very useful. And it's not that I remembered where it was, either... No, this time I just refused to give up until I'd searched the entire area of the ocean. And I did pretty much that, too... Not only was it in the last place I looked (because I stopped looking when I found it, duh) but it was pretty much in the last place I was going to look. I was just about to give in and turn to the internet once more when I got it. Woo!
Final Fantasy IX has a lot of little mini-games in it, and most of them have fallen pretty flat for me this time around. The card game is tedious and a lot of the games rely on precise button timing which flat out don't work on a non-CRT tv. But the chocobo game remains a lot of fun. Think about it more, it's probably the 3rd best mini game in the series...