I was listening to the July 11 episode of the Conference Call and hearing Lara talk about how her son happily plays Super Mario World for hours simply collecting berries at Yoshi's house in the first stage reminded me of all the time I would play games and "ignore" the game's intended purpose.
My brother and I would spend hours in Worms, not as a fighting game but rather as a construction game, building sprawling structures from girders and tunneling across the level to join each of our mighty fortresses. We did the same thing in the original Red Faction and built tunnels using rocket launchers and the destructable terrain (it was the 90s, we're British, the Channel Tunnel was cool, ok?). And I'm sure I'm not the only one who played Ecco the Dolphin and spent more time on the first screen perfecting those jumps out of the water rather than being the super dolphin who defeats an alien invasion (or whatever the plot to that game was).
So tell me, what games have you played by "ignoring" the game's intended purpose?