It’s often a good idea to take a break from whatever you’re doing. It helps you refocus your mind, control your stress levels, and give you some variety. For video game players, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put down the controller though.
Instead, you can just play some mini-games.
The concept of the mini-game, which is a smaller game uses many of the same functions of the main game but has a different premise, has been around since the fifth generation of consoles.
The increased performance and storage capacity of the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 made it technically possible to include mini-games for the first time. The CD-ROMs used by the PlayStation were particularly useful for this since they had 700 MB of storage capacity, while the Nintendo 64 cartridges had around 64 MB.
Developers had fun with these mini-games, designing creative extra features to keep gamers playing for longer. Gamers loved them so much that there have even been titles released that are just a selection of mini-games, such as Wii Play for the Nintendo Wii which contained 9 separate games including Tanks!, Fishing, and Laser Hockey.
Here is a selection of some of the best mini-games ever to be released.
Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto redefined the open-world gameplay concept, creating busy cities that seemed to live a life of their own, independent of what the player did.
From the very first release on the PlayStation, Grand Theft Auto has included unique minigames including rampages, vehicle missions, and racing. Some of these were activated by randomly placed “power-ups” around the maps, while others could be found by getting into police cars, taxis, or ambulances.
San Andreas, which was released in 2004, took the mini-games to a whole new level. Inside some of CJ’s safehouses was a game console that the player could turn on and play arcade-style mini-games.
There was also a chain of sports betting shops where the player could place bets on horse races. In Las Venturas, the GTA equivalent of Las Vegas, players could go inside casinos to play classic games like blackjack and roulette. There were even slot machines, with games similar to popular real-life games like Playtech Gladiator slots in these giant casinos.
Before Grand Theft Auto became the juggernaut that it is today, the Reflections game Driver had made waves. Its original title for PlayStation was widely considered to be one of the best games for the console, but it was let down by a string of poorly thought out and botched sequels. The franchise eventually died, although elements of it have lived on in other games like Stuntman.
In Driver, the mini-games could be accessed from the main menu and were all driving based. The majority were themed around cops and robbers, such as the ridiculous “Survival” game which required players to escape from a continuous barrage of police cars all intent on smashing into your car.
Another popular title that has lived on across many generations of console is Zelda. A fishing mini-game can be found in several Zelda titles, although the best is in Ocarina of Time.
As you would imagine, the premise of this mini-game is to catch fish which you can use to boost your health. The more you practice your angling skills, the better you will get at catching big fish.
Somehow though, if you catch one that’s too big a man comes to tell you off for getting an “illegal” fish. If he gets on your nerves, just steal his hat and throw it in the water.
While most people don’t buy video game titles to play the mini-games, these examples certainly make the playing experience much more fun.