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The mini game – an expression of appreciation

Mini-games can increase our enjoyment of video games considerably. In effect, they’re additional games to take a break from the main game. 

kid playing video games
Image: KidsCode

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from things. You can clear your mind, relieve your stress and frustration, and do something different. In video games, this doesn’t mean you have to put the controller down and go outside though. You can just load up a mini-game. 

Mini-games have been around for a long time, with them becoming more common on the fifth generation of games consoles: the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. These had more processing power and storage, allowing them to fit mini-games onto CDs and cartridges, where it had not previously been possible.  

They’ve since become commonplace in video games of all kinds, helping us to mix it up a little during long gaming sessions, and helping us to escape without having to actually stop playing. Here are some of the best.

Grand Theft Auto

gta san andreas casinos
Image: GTA Site

Grand Theft Auto is the king of mini-games. Since the very first, top-down release on the PlayStation, games have been able to find power-ups that have activated “kill frenzies” and other similar activities. By Grand Theft Auto III, vehicle and remote control missions were added, giving you the chance to explore the city in a fun way. 

By San Andreas, players could travel to casinos and play card games, visit bookmakers and place bets on horses, and sit at home and play games on a games console. They had made minigames a representation of how we do these things in real life. This was taken a step further by Grand Theft Auto V, with players able to invest in and affect the stock market, bringing the mini-game a step closer to reality. 


Sometimes slots can be the mini-game, but other times, slots have their own mini-games. The premise of slots games hasn’t changed much since the first slot machine was invented in the late 19th century. Video slots both in land-based casinos and their online equivalents have made it easier for additional features to be added to these games. One way that games designers have done this is by creating bonus rounds. 

These bonus rounds often come away from the standard reel to create a more engaging play. For example, leading brands are already releasing online slots games, such as Ted, which has a bonus pyramid that players can work their way up to for a chance of reaching the final bonus round. In this, the game gives the player the chance to multiply their original stake in a final level mini-game.

Zelda Fishing

legend of zelda link's awakening on nintendo switch
Image: Nintendo

Fishing features in several Zelda games and perhaps stems from a trend in the late 1990s and early 2000s for fishing games. Around this time, a separate fishing rod controller was released for the Sega Dreamcast which had mild success.

Arguably the best fishing mini-game in a Zelda title is Ocarina of Time. The aim is to catch the biggest fish you can, which gives you some health. The more you fish, the better you get at catching bigger ones, until you reach a point where the man running the joint tells you it’s “illegal”. If he tells you off, the game lets you take the hat from his head and throw it into the pond. 


Driver was one of the greatest games released on the PlayStation and was let down by a string of botched sequels until it eventually died. However, the original Driver and even Driver 2 had some fantastic mini-games that led to hours more fun. 

 They were all cops and robber themed and all involved driving. However, they were great fun, particularly “Survival” which saw you trying to evade an ever-increasing number of police cars who tried their hardest to crash into you. 

If you managed to unlock the secrets for Rio in Driver 2 there is a mini-game which lets you drive around a horse race track, jumping your car over the different fences at high speed.  

Mini-games can increase our enjoyment of video games considerably. All of these mini-games allow the gameplay to be much more varied, making the games more engaging, and leading us to playing longer. In effect, they’re additional games to take a break from the main game. 

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