There are hundreds of thousands of console and video games out there, all striving to be the next best thing that players have to buy. But over the years there have been some titles that have added other games within, adding an extra layer of immersion to their storytelling.
Take The Witcher as a prime example. Developers CD Projekt Red integrated table games within their second and third games in the franchise. In the second Witcher title, Assassins of Kings, there was a dice poker game, and in Witcher 3:Wild Hunt there came the introduction of Gwent. A card game so good, it has since spawned into a whole game of its own.
Whilst not all minigames have seen the success of the aforementioned card game, neither have they been as unique. But there have been plenty of notable ones featured in console gaming. Take a look at our list below to find some of the best.
10 Best Minigames in 2023
#1. A Way Out
This co-op adventure title from EA follows the story of Vincent and Leo as they work together to break free from the prison in which they have found themselves. It’s a great multi-player experience that didn’t get the universal acclaim it arguably deserved, despite positive sales numbers. Within the main story arc, there’s a nod to a true classic of video gaming history. For anyone old enough to remember Pong, when you are given the chance to play with your co-op partner it’s a real buzz. After all, without Pong, there’d arguably be no video games at all.
#2. Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s homage to the Wild West is no stranger to the mini-game as it has four as part of its epic story. Three of them are games that most people will be aware of and the other one is a little more, dangerous. The sedentary experiences are delivered from the gaming table, as Arthur Morgan samples a game of poker that is loosely based upon the Texas Hold’em variant of poker. Also, there are a few rounds of blackjack and dominoes to entertain should that be your thing. But the one game which raises many an eye is the five-finger fillet. It’s definitely as much of an eye-watering concept as its name suggests!
#3. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog’s nod towards Raiders of The Lost Ark and Indiana Jones caught the imagination of Sony PlayStation players across the world when it was first released back in 2007. Since then Nathan Drake, the modern-day relic hunter, has gone on to feature in three more games in the franchise. It’s revered as one of the best games of its type alongside Tomb Raider. Also similarly to Tomb Raider, we’ll see it on the big screen too. Tom Holland is taking up the task of playing the part of Nathan Drake in movie theaters soon. The mini-game featured in Uncharted 4 is a fully playable level of another Sony classic, Crash Bandicoot. To see the in-game stars owning a PS1 is heart-warming in itself in the cut scenes. But then to be able to then pick up the controller and play a level of Crash ‘in character’ brings an even bigger smile. It’s a nice touch that adds to the level of immersion in the game.
#4. Grand Theft Auto V
For a title synonymous with violent shootouts and gang warfare, those not in the know would hardly expect to see the serene pastime of golf feature in the universally recognized franchise. As out of place as golf may seem, it’s not the only sport accessible for players either as GTA V is chocked full of minigames. There is an 8-ball pool, arm-wrestling, darts, tennis, ten-pin bowling, triathlon, and the most sedate of options, yoga. These are all available as diversions from the chaotic city life found in the fictional place known as, Los Santos.
#5. Final Fantasy 8
Although Triple Triad, the card game which is playable in this popular RPG series didn’t spawn a breakaway game like Gwent, it does feature in the Final Fantasy Portal app. Players have been known to find themselves transfixed by it, often getting side-tracked from the main game! With cards featuring characters from the game, with their own stats and elements, it’s easy to see why it’s become such a draw. Triple Triad’s return came in Final Fantasy 14, further stamping its authority as a true mini-game classic.
The hacking mini-game in Bioshock is a real throwback to a classic from the time of the Commodore Amiga. It’s almost a direct replica of Pipe Mania. The puzzler tasked players with getting water from one side of the screen to another, by rotating pipes to direct the liquid around various obstacles. In Bioshock, the game appeared as a means to unlock vending machines to access superpower hormone injections. It’s not the most involving of mini-games but a nice homage to a former classic.
This is definitely a different take on the mini-game. Namco offered players the chance to play something as the main title actually loaded! Back in 1994 when the beat-em-up first appeared on the PlayStation, such the power needed from the console to load the game, it wasn’t a quick process. So, to alleviate the potential impatience of gamers, they dropped in the arcade classic, Galaga, to play as Tekken loaded! Whilst loading times are much shorter now, it seems strange that we’ve not seen this concept replicated since.
#8. Project Gotham Racing 2
Following on with the arcade game theme, this racing title which appeared on the Xbox 360 in 2003 had its own coin-op game within it. Rather than being a replica of a much-loved game, the arcade game which could be found in the garage beside the shiny cars was a totally new title. Geometry Wars, which is like a hybrid of Robotron and Asteroids is a fantastic game, and rightly became a title of its own a few years later.
#9. Fallout 4
The computer worn on the wrist of the sole survivor in the post-apocalyptic world seems like a homage to the modern-day Apple Watch. The green-screened ‘Pipboy’, has a number of titles on it that can be likened to other games, Pitfall is yes, Pitfall, Zeta Invaders is Space Invaders and Automatron is a version of Robotron. The link with the current tech continues too as there is a mobile app available to download, further replicating the device in the game.
#10. Wolfenstein: The New Order/The Old Blood
Whilst the titles listed above have nods to other games, this first-person shooter harks back to its own past. In the New Order, players have the option to revisit the first level of Wolfenstein 3D, the original which was released in 1992. In the follow-up, The Old Blood, that easter egg was expanded to include all levels from the original title. Some would say it’s a little egotistical of the developers but, when it’s such a classic, why not?
We hope you enjoyed our look back at some of the best minigames which can be found amongst the plethora of video games available out there. If you do own one of those titles and never realized what you’re missing out on, boot them up and have a go, you won’t regret it.