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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.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

Gameplay is the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it. Video game gameplay is distinct from graphics and audio elements.

<i>Pokémon Stadium</i> 1999 video game

Pokémon Stadium is a strategy video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 video game console. First released in Japan on April 30, 1999, it was later released as the first Stadium title in Western regions the following year, and is a sequel to the Japanese-only 1998 Nintendo 64 release Pokémon Stadium. The gameplay revolves around a 3D turn-based battling system using the 151 Pokémon from the Game Boy games Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow.



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. [1]

Easter egg (media) intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work

In computer software and media, an Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work. It is usually found in a computer program, video game, or DVD/Blu-ray Disc menu screen. The name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt. The term was coined to describe a hidden message in the Atari video game Adventure that encouraged the player to find further hidden messages in later games, leading them on a 'hunt'.

Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet editor, part of Microsoft Office

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It has been a very widely applied spreadsheet for these platforms, especially since version 5 in 1993, and it has replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets. Excel forms part of the Microsoft Office suite of software.

A dot-matrix display is an electronic digital display device that displays information on machines, clocks and watches, public transport departure indicators and many other devices requiring a simple alphanumeric display device of limited resolution.

Minigame compilations

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.

UPL Co., Ltd (株式会社ユーピーエル), formally known as Universal Play Land (ユニバーサルプレイランド), was a video game production company headquartered in Oyama, Tochigi, Japan. It was founded as a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment. Even none of the staff remember when exactly it was founded. In 1984, it was renamed as "UPL Co. Ltd". The company filed for bankruptcy in March ‹The template Vgy is being considered for deletion.› 1992.

Cinemaware video game developer

Cinemaware was a computer game developer and publisher that released several popular titles in the 1980s based on various movie themes. The company was resurrected in 2000, before being acquired by eGames in 2005.

<i>Defender of the Crown</i> 1986 video game

Defender of the Crown is a strategy computer game designed by Kellyn Beck. It was Cinemaware's first game, and was originally released for the Commodore Amiga in 1986, setting a new standard for graphic quality in home computer games.

Notable examples

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.)

<i>The Legend of Zelda</i> video game series

The Legend of Zelda is a fantasy action-adventure video game franchise created by Japanese game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. It is primarily developed and published by Nintendo, although some portable installments and re-releases have been outsourced to Capcom, Vanpool, and Grezzo. The series' gameplay incorporates action-adventure and elements of action RPG games.

Quiver container for arrows, bolts, or darts

A quiver is a container for holding arrows, bolts, darts, or javelins. It can be carried on an archer's body, the bow, or the ground, depending on the type of shooting and the archer's personal preference. Quivers were traditionally made of leather, wood, furs, and other natural materials, but are now often made of metal or plastic.

Wallet small, flat case that is used to carry personal items such as cash

A wallet is a small, flat case that can be used to carry such personal items as cash, credit cards, and identification documents, photographs, transit pass, gift cards, business cards and other paper or laminated cards. Wallets are generally made of leather or fabrics, and they are usually pocket-sized but not always foldable.

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. Considered to be the first RPG minigame, it was added into the game by programmer Nasir Gebelli despite it not being part of Squaresoft's original game design. [2] 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.

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

<i>Final Fantasy</i> (video game) 1987 video game

Final Fantasy is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1987. It is the first game in Square's Final Fantasy series, created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Originally released for the NES, Final Fantasy was remade for several video game consoles and is frequently packaged with Final Fantasy II in video game collections. The story follows four youths called the Light Warriors, who each carry one of their world's four elemental orbs which have been darkened by the four Elemental Fiends. Together, they quest to defeat these evil forces, restore light to the orbs, and save their world.

Sliding puzzle

A sliding puzzle, sliding block puzzle, or sliding tile puzzle is a combination puzzle that challenges a player to slide pieces along certain routes to establish a certain end-configuration. The pieces to be moved may consist of simple shapes, or they may be imprinted with colors, patterns, sections of a larger picture, numbers, or letters.

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 interacting with other spheres, who have special properties. This bonus stage actually became its own game. By inserting the original Sonic 1 (or Sonic Classics 3 in 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.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog</i> Video game series

Sonic the Hedgehog is a media franchise owned by Sega, centering on a series of high-speed platform games. Sonic, the protagonist, is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog with supersonic speed. Typically, Sonic must stop antagonist Doctor Eggman's plans for world domination, often helped by his friends, such as Tails, Amy, and Knuckles.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog 3</i> 1994 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is a platform game developed and published by Sega. It is the sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) and was released worldwide for the Sega Genesis in 1994. Following the events of Sonic 2, Doctor Robotnik's spaceship, the Death Egg, crash-lands on a mysterious floating island. There, Sonic and Tails must once more retrieve the Chaos Emeralds to stop Death Egg from relaunching, while making rounds with the island's guardian, Knuckles the Echidna. Gameplay is similar to previous entries, with players controlling Sonic and Tails through side-scrolling levels at high speeds while collecting rings and defeating enemies.

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 [3] (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

Fifth generation


Nintendo 64

  • 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.

Sixth generation (Dreamcast, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox)

Seventh generation (PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360)

Eighth generation (Wii U)

Nintendo Switch

Handheld sixth generation (Game Boy Advance)

Handheld seventh generation (Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable)

Handheld eighth generation (Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita)


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  1. "Streetpong". Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  2. "インタビュー『FINAL FANTASY I・II ADVANCE』". Dengeki (in Japanese). 2004.
  3. FFVIII PocketStation Opens Up Chocobo World Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine , IGN, July 15, 1999

See also