A minigame (also spelled mini-game or mini game, sometimes called a subgame or microgame) is a short video game often contained within another video game, and sometimes in application software or on a display of any form of hardware. A minigame contains different gameplay elements than the main game, may be optional, and is often smaller or more simplistic than the game in which it is contained. Minigames are sometimes also offered separately for free to promote the main game. For instance, the Pokémon Stadium minigames involve merely pressing a few buttons at specific intervals, with little complexity. Some minigames can also be bonus stages or secret levels.
Minigames occur variously as gameplay features, or as time fillers while levels are loading, or as Easter eggs even in non video games e.g. a DOOM-like game or a flight simulator in different versions of Microsoft Excel. In the latter case, they are often called "secret games". In the former case, the successful completion of such minigames may or may not be required to finish the encompassing game. They are often included as extra content to use once the main storyline is completed. Minigames occur also on other forms of hardware e.g. on a dot-matrix display of a pinball machine or even as time filler on a traffic light e.g. StreetPong.
Some games, such as the WarioWare series (which are called microgames in the game), Universal Research Laboratories's Video Action, some Cinemaware titles like Defender of the Crown, David Whittaker's Lazy Jones or the smartphone satire Phone Story are made up of many minigames strung together into one video game. Some similar games, such as Nintendo's Mario Party series, are considered party games, specifically developed for multiplayer. In party games, minigames usually involve performing an activity faster or collecting more of a specified item than other players to win.
The Legend of Zelda games have many minigames in each game, often having prizes such as Pieces of Heart (increasing Link's health), Rupees (the games' currency), and upgrades (quiver, wallet, etc.)
The Final Fantasy series is notable for featuring minigames in every entry of the series, ever since the first Final Fantasy (1987), in which a sliding puzzle in the form of an Easter egg can be unlocked while boarding the ship. In Final Fantasy II (1988), a matching game can be unlocked while boarding the ice sled and meeting a certain requirement. Later in the series, Final Fantasy VII (1997) was the first video game to include within it at least thirty minigames, which remains the largest number of minigames for a role-playing game. The PC game Chronomaster featured similar puzzle minigames which were crucial to the plot.
The early Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Sega Genesis had minigame bonus/special stages, such as bouncing around a maze searching for a special gem, or collecting gold rings while running down a tube, and stray from standard gameplay. Sonic the Hedgehog 3, for example, has a special stage in which Sonic must run around trying to touch all the blue spheres, while avoiding red ones, and some spheres have special properties. This bonus stage actually became its own game. By inserting the original Sonic 1 cartridge into the Sonic and Knuckles lock-on slot, you can then press A, B, and C, then enter any given password to play the special stage corresponding to that password, which plays exactly like those of Sonic 3.
Like above, some minigames become so popular that they are eventually published as individual titles by themselves. Notable examples are Geometry Wars, which was originally a minigame in Project Gotham Racing 2, and Arcomage, a relatively complex minigame, reminiscent of Magic: The Gathering, first introduced in Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor.
The PocketStation (for Sony PlayStation) and VMU (for Dreamcast) accessories allowed the user to download minigames from the main console onto the pocket device, and often then sync progress in the minigame back on to the console. Two examples of this include the Chocobo World minigame inside Final Fantasy VIII (which is also playable on PC), and 'Chao Adventure', a minigame in Sonic Adventure.
The tabletop game Mansions of Madness also features minigames in the form of simple puzzles.
Capcom's Street Fighter series features two minigames as bonus stages in Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III and Street Fighter IV, after winning matches.
List of minigames
- Ape Escape: Galaxy Monkey (a shoot 'em up), Ski Kidz Racing & Specter Boxing.
- Crash Bash: Compilation of minigames.
- Digimon World: Collecting cards, as well as some minigames in shops.
- Legend of Legaia: Baka Fighter, Coliseum, Fishing, Sol Fever Disco and Slot Machines.
- Metal Gear Solid: Some Virtual Reality missions can be played.
- Syphon Filter 3: Assassinate, Eliminate, Demolition, Thief, Biathlon.
- Suikoden: Cups Game and Matching Cards.
- Suikoden II: Chinchirorin, Dancing Stage, Cooking, Fishing, Rope Climbing and Whack a Mole.
- Tekken 1: Galaga.
- Tekken 3: Tekken Force, Tekken Ball.
- Donkey Kong 64: Included a variant of the original Donkey Kong arcade game.
- Mario Party: Compilation of minigames.
- Mario Party 2: Compilation of minigames.
- Mario Party 3: Compilation of minigames.
- Pokémon Stadium: Nine minigames through Kids Club: Clefairy Says, Dig! Dig! Dig!, Ekans' Hoop Hurl, Magikarp's Splash, Rock Harden; Run, Rattata, Run; Snore War, Sushi-Go-Round, Thundering Dynamo.
- Pokémon Stadium 2: Twelve minigames: Gutsy Golbat, Topsy-Turvy, Clear Cut Challenge, Furret's Frolic, Barrier Ball, Pichu's Power Plant, Rampage Rollout, Streaming Stampede, Tumbling Togepi, Delibird's Delivery, Egg Emergency, Eager Eevee. There is also a Pokémon quiz mode.
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards: Three minigames: 100-Yard Hop, Bumper Crop Bump, Checker Board Chase.
- Animal Crossing: Around twenty Nintendo Entertainment System games are available.
- Ape Escape 2: Dance Monkey, Dance!, Monkey Climber & Monkey Soccer.
- Ape Escape 3: Mesal Gear (Mesaru Gear) Solid, Monkey Throw Stadium (Ape Olympic) and Utlim-ape Fighter (Sarutimate Fighting).
- Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed: A compilation of minigames.
- Death By Degrees: Honeycomb Lock.
- Dark Cloud: Fishing.
- Dark Cloud 2: Fishing, Finny Frenzy, Spheda and a Fishing Contest.
- EyeToy: Monkey Mania: A compilation of 50 minigames.
- Fable: The Lost Chapters: Chicken Kicking Competition.
- Final Fantasy X: Blitzball.
- Final Fantasy X-2: Sphere Break.
- Final Fantasy XII: The Fishing minigame can be played in the South Bank Village of the Dalmasca Estersand.
- FlatOut 2: Many minigames that consist of ejecting the driver through the windshield to complete an objective, like knocking down bowling pins.
- Grand Theft Auto III: RC Toyz missions. (a Van that can unlock a rampage mini-game involving an RC car with a bomb attached to it)
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Numerous minigames are available, including basketball, pool, rhythm-based challenges (dancing and 'bouncing' lowriders with hydraulics), and video game machines that pay homage to classic arcade games. In addition, there are the aforementioned casino games and methods of gambling, such as betting on virtual horse races.
- Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland: Fishing.
- Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life: Fishing, Fireworks, Grave Cleaning and Territory Capture.
- Kingdom Hearts: Dueling Riku, Racing Riku, Phil's Training, Jungle Slider and Vine Swinging.
- Kingdom Hearts II: Skateboard, Phil's Training, Magic Carpet, Chasm of Challenges, Gift Wrapping, Light Cycle, etc.
- Legaia 2: Duel Saga: Arena, Auction, Knife Throwing, Rice Planting, Roulette, Sidejump and Slot Machines.
- Mario Party 4: Compilation of minigames.
- Mario Party 5: Compilation of minigames.
- Mario Party 6: Compilation of minigames.
- Mario Party 7: Compilation of minigames.
- Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction: Multiple minigames such as checkpoint time trials between cities and patrols for various factions.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance: Skateboarding mode.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Snake's Nightmare (through the story), Snake Vs. Monkey mode (based on the Ape Escape series).
- Persona 4: Fishing.
- Ratchet & Clank: Hoverboarding.
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: Arena battles, racing, gadget puzzles.
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal: Arena battles, gadget puzzles.
- Sega Superstars: Compilation of minigames.
- Shenmue: Many minigames are available, including Forklift, motorcycle races, bar fights, chases down crowded alleys, full versions of Sega arcade games Space Harrier and Hang-On, dart games, and fighting sequences.
- Silent Hill 2: Director's Cut: The Born from a Wish minigame consist of taking control of Maria shortly before she and James meet at Silent Hill.
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves: Biplane Duel, Cops and Robbers, Galleon Duel and Hackathon.
- Sonic Shuffle: Compilation of minigames.
- Suikoden III: Goppu, Kabu, Lottery and Horse Racing.
- Suikoden IV: Chinchirorin, Coin Tossing, Down to One, Fifty One, Fishing, Heads or Tails, Lottery, Mice Catching, Mint and Mushroom Cultivation, Ritapon, Tops and Treasure Hunt.
- Suikoden V: Blind Man's Bluff, Checkers, Dragon Horse Race, Dragon Horse Race Betting, Feitas and Fishing.
- Tekken Tag Tournament: Tekken Bowl mode.
- Tekken 4: Tekken Force mode.
- Tekken 5: StarBlade (intro), the Devil Within mode and the arcade version of Tekken 1, Tekken 2, and Tekken 3.
- Time Crisis 2: Clay pigeon shooting mode (including a port of Namco's Shoot Away II light gun clay shooting arcade game) and Quick & Crash.
- Yakuza: Batting Cage, Baccarat, Black Jack, Crane Machines, Odds and Evans, Roulette and Slot Machines.
- Yakuza 2: Batting Cage, Baccarat, Black Jack, Crane Machines, Driving Ranges, Mahjong, Roulette, Slot Machines and YF6.
- Fallout 3: Reign of Grelok, a small Text-adventure game that's only a few pages long.
- Final Fantasy XIII: Pulse Armament.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2: Brain Blast, Chocobo Racing, Serendipity's Slot Machine.
- Grand Theft Auto IV: Bowling, darts, etc.
- Grand Theft Auto V: Tennis, golf, etc.
- Kinect: Disneyland Adventures: Compilation of minigames accessed through an open world environment (that of Disneyland Park).
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars: Contains a minigame in one level which involves Indiana Jones.
- Mario Party 8: Compilation of minigames.
- Mario Party 9: Compilation of minigames.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: On the Act 4 (Twin Suns), Metal Gear Solid 1's Heliport Level can be played.
- Red Dead Redemption: Poker, Liar's Dice, Five Finger Fillet and Blackjack can be played around the west.
- Sly Collection: Bentley RC Race, Guru Dart Shooter, Interpol Target Practice and Treasure Snagging.
- Sonic and the Secret Rings: In mode party.
- Tekken 6: Scenario Campaign mode.
- Wii Party: Compilation of minigames.
- Wii Play: Compilation of minigames.
- Yakuza 3: Boxcelios Arcade Game, UFO Catcher.
- Yakuza 4: 23 minigames, including billiards, karaoke, and bowling.
- Yakuza 5: Bowling, etc.
- Yakuza: Dead Souls: Pachislot, etc.
- 1-2-Switch: Compilation of minigames.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Bird-Man Research Study, Boom Bam Golf, Blue Flame, Deer Hunting, Flight Range Trial, Footrace, Gambling, Ice Delivery, Mounted Archery Challenge, Mounted Obstacle Course, Paraglider Course, Sand-Seal Racing, Shield Surfing, Snowball Bowling, Super Gut Check Challenge.
- ARMS: V-Ball, Hoops, Skill Shot, 1-on-100, Get ARMS.
- Splatoon 2: Squid Beatz 2.
- Super Mario Odyssey: Beach Volleyball, Bound Bowl Grand Prix, Jump-Rope Challenge, Koopa Freerunning, Koopa Trace-Walking, Picture Match, RC Car Challenge, Slots.
- Advance Wars: Dual Strike: A Combat of minigames have similar to Combat version.
- Ape Escape: on the Loose: Ape Ping Pong, Jake Attacks, Specter Boxing and Ski Kidz Racing.
- Ape Escape Academy: A compilation of minigames.
- Ape Academy 2: A compilation of minigames.
- Feel the Magic: XY/XX: Compilation of minigames.
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days: Beginner's Training, Practical Application, Champ's Challenge, Games, Grandstander.
- Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep: Rumble Racing, Command Board, Ice Cream Beat, Fruitfall, etc.
- Mario Party DS: Compilation of minigames.
- Super Mario 64 DS Contained 36 minigames which could be unlocked by catching rabbits the main game. (New Super Mario Bros. recycled some of these; 18 single-player and 10 multi-player)
- Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection: Tekken Bowl.
- The Rub Rabbits!: Compilation of minigames.
- Retro Game Challenge: Compilation of fifteen games in a world where the player grows up with the games.