Iconic mini-games in video game history

Written by Chad

April 24, 2021

Immersive gaming experiences have been a trend in the industry for some decades, and all of us enjoyed spending hours and hours playing games like Ocarina of Time, GTA: San Andreas or Skyrim, losing track of time while exploring extensive worlds and adventures. Some games were so good that they were able to let us kick back and take a break without even turning them off. Of course, we’re talking about mini-games.

Mini-games have become a tradition in the industry, and today most open-world games feature different types of mini-games, from hacking and lockpicking to card games and even fishing. We won’t deny it… there are some mini-games that are extremely boring and totally irrelevant. But the following mini-games are some of the best in video game history and kept us playing for countless hours.

Fallout series

Fallout is a series of post-apocalyptic RPGs created by Interplay Entertainment, and currently developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. Most games are set in huge open-world environments, featuring extensive stories, several side quests and many memorable mini-games.

In Fallout: New Vegas, players were able to indulge in a card game called Caravan. The game was played by caravan guards and other travelers out in the Mojave Wasteland, using decks of loose playing cards that could be found across the map. The game’s objective is to outbid the opponent by making three caravans of cards and keeping the number of points on each above 20 but below 27. Its rules could be a little strange and obtuse, but once you got a grasp of it, the mini-game could be really fun and a good distraction from the perils of the wasteland.

The fourth entry in the main series, Fallout 4 featured the Pip-Boy, a personal computer that players carried around on their wrists and is used to hack secured terminals. To access these terminals, it was required to beat mini-puzzles to find the correct passwords. But apart from these cool hacks, the Pip-Boy could be used to play game cartridges that were found around the map and were versions of classic arcade games like Space Invader and Pitfall.

 

Red Dead series

Red Dead is a series of Western-themed adventure games developed and published by Rockstar Games. Although the first title in the series is not very memorable, both Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2 became huge hits, receiving critical and commercial acclaim, and often being cited as two of the best video games in history.

Both entries featured comprehensive plots, with long mains stories and hundreds of side quests, spread across huge maps comprising regions of the United States and Mexico. Within them, players could find a wide selection of mini-games that, apart from playing a part in the stories, were a nice break from all the action in the Old West.

But blackjack and poker were the coolest of these mini-games. Found in saloons and camps across the map, they perfectly captured the excitement of Blackjack and no-limit Texas Hold’em, and provided an authentic thrill, as if we were playing one of these games online, while also being a good way to earn some money in the early stages of the games. In Red Dead Redemption, it was even possible to wear a special attire that allowed players to cheat and draw an extra card from the bottom of the deck, trying to avoid being noticed by other players.

 

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda needs no introduction. It’s one of the most successful franchises ever, and a staple in the video game industry. Through its many titles, the series always featured incredible mini-games and side quests that kept the fun going for much time. And one of the coolest activities that were present in many installments was fishing.

In Ocarina of Time, players could visit a fishing hole and try to catch the biggest fish possible to receive a piece of heart. After a few visits, it was possible to catch a fish so big that the owner of the place would deem it illegal and argue with Link.

The 2006 title Twilight Princess introduced new mechanics to fishing. There were different types of hooks, baits and lures available, and factors such as weather, time of day and seasons would influence the species and sizes of fish players could catch.

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