3 Video Games with Interesting Mini Games

Mini-games are defined as relatively small, self-contained activities present in a larger video game, often implemented to add unique flare, challenge, or a distraction to the player, with smaller stakes, but ideally, still fun mechanics. Under this umbrella, many things can be classified as mini-games, some of which are certainly not what first comes to mind when thinking about the matter. 

A great example of this can be QTEs (quick time events), or perhaps even puzzles, very commonly implemented in various genres across the industry, with great success and good responses from fans. While both of these mechanics can technically fall under the lens of mini-games, this article is going to be exclusively focusing on self-contained gameplay experiences that are separate from a game’s core mechanics.

If this is all a bit vague, do not worry, as the examples are coming up below, and it will hopefully convey what specific types of mini-games are being discussed.

Grand Theft Auto V

To set a clear precedent, let us first explore one of the most successful, popular, and well-received games of all time, at least in regards to its single-player mode, GTA 5. 

An element of that game that is very commonly praised is the open world. Players often describe how amazing it feels just driving around Los Santos, exploring its regions and simply interacting with the world. The city feels alive, and a huge part of that, among many other things, is the plethora of activities that a player can engage with, completely detached from the core mechanics or the narrative of the game.

Think tennis or golf, for example. These two activities are mini-games under our definition since they do not utilize the core mechanics of the game, instead focusing on offering a refreshing break from the chaos and mayhem that typically defines the typical Grand Theft Auto experience. 

Since these are sports mini-games, it is self-explanatory as to what the player is going to be doing when engaging with the systems. In regards to the complexity of the said systems, both mini-games are surprisingly deep and well-executed, providing hours of entertainment for those seeking a more relaxed gaming experience. 

The online mode for GTA 5 gives the players something even more interesting when it comes to good mini-games though. The introduction of the Diamond Casino & Resort in GTA Online was a massive update in 2019 that gave players access to a fully realized casino experience right in the heart of Los Santos.

Accessed not only through the physical location on the map but also through a dedicated casino, present on the in-game phone, the update gives players the most popular casino games in interesting and unique forms. The casino serves as a simplified version of popular mobile casino platforms, which players can access via mobile devices – be it iOS or Android. Just like a real-life mobile casino, it contains gambling games of all kinds. 

Slot machines, table games, and spins are all present and functioning in the game, once again, completely detached from the core mechanics of the game, thus qualifying as perhaps the textbook examples for mini-games under the context of the article. 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Moving on from Rockstar games, we have one of the best, most beloved, and well-received video games of all time, Witcher 3. Among many praiseworthy aspects of the game, it has a unique mini-game, designed and implemented specifically for the game, Gwent. 

Of course, the Witcher novels were used as a strong reference point when creating Gwent for the game. To be more specific, it is a card game, initially introduced as a simple side activity, that quickly evolved into a full-fledged mini-game with a dedicated fan base. The gist of it is that players can challenge various NPCs throughout the game world to intense matches, building their deck and mastering strategic card placement and combination. 

Gwent’s depth and replayability have made it a beloved part of The Witcher experience, so much so that it has earned a separate release in the format of a card game both in physical form, meaning an actual table game with physical cards, as well as in digital one, with a separate free-to-play app available on many systems. 

Genshin Impact

While we discussed mini-games almost exclusively in a positive light up until now, Genshin Impact, a highly successful Chinese Gacha game can potentially serve as a vehicle for their more flawed implementations.

The way the game utilizes mini-games is through limited-time events. The range and the pool for said mini-games are truly enormous, with players getting to do just about everything over the course of the lifespan of the game, with genres such as platforming, tower defense, puzzle-style mini-games, and many more all being implemented one after the other. 

Where the issue arises for many players, is from the fact that while all of these events are technically optional, they are by far the best way they can earn the game currency needed to purchase the characters and the weapons from the game. In other words, due to how the system of the game is set up, players are somewhat forced to engage with mini-games that they often find underwhelming, at least in comparison to the core mechanics of the larger game, such as combat and exploration.

Arguments regarding this topic are somewhat common within the community, as the game is still very popular and beloved by many, with a ton of players enjoying these mini-games and events due to a more laid-back, simple experience. Regardless, it does open up an interesting conversation concerning the potential misuse of mini-games in video games. 

Growing up, I was the kid who was obsessed with classic games. Fast forward to today, and not much has changed. I'm all about emulation ROMs, diving deep into retro gaming, and sharing that nostalgia on this blog. Ready to take a pixelated trip down memory lane?

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