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A minigame (also spelled 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. Some minigames can also be bonus stages or secret levels.
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.
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.
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.)
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.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.
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.
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(which is also playable on PC), and 'Chao Adventure', a minigame in Sonic Adventure .
Sonic Adventure is a 1998 platform game for Sega's Dreamcast and the first main Sonic the Hedgehog game to feature 3D gameplay. The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Amy Rose, Big the Cat, and E-102 Gamma in their quests to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds and stop series antagonist Doctor Robotnik from unleashing Chaos, an ancient evil. Controlling one of the six characters—each with their own special abilities—players explore a series of themed levels to progress through the story. Sonic Adventure retains many elements from prior Sonic games, such as power-ups and the ring-based health system. Outside the main game, players can play minigames like racing and interact with Chao, a virtual pet.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a 1991 side-scrolling platform video game and companion to the 16-bit Sega Genesis game of the same name for the 8-bit Game Gear and Master System consoles. Ancient—a studio founded by composer Yuzo Koshiro for the project—developed the game and Sega published it to promote the handheld Game Gear. The 8-bit Sonic is similar in style to its 16-bit predecessor, but reduced in complexity to fit the 8-bit systems. It was later released through Sonic game compilations and Nintendo's Virtual Console.
Mario Party 5 is a party video game developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It is the fifth installment in the Mario Party series and the second game in the series to be released for the GameCube. It was first released in North America and Japan in November 2003, followed by Europe a month later. The game is set in the fictional Dream Depot, consisting of seven game boards. The single-player "Story" mode involves the player winning multiple games against the Koopa Kids to prevent Bowser from conquering the Dream Depot. The main multiplayer game mode consists of four characters from the Mario series playing a board game, with each board having a set theme. The game also features several minigames, which are played after every set of turns. Mario Party 5 introduces the "Super Duel" mode to the franchise, which requires players to assemble and control custom made battle vehicles which can be used in combat against other machines. The game features ten playable characters, with playable debuts to the series from Toad, Boo, and Koopa Kid.
Sonic & Knuckles is a 1994 platform video game developed and published by Sega. The sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994), players control Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna in their quests to save Angel Island; Sonic tries to prevent Doctor Robotnik from relaunching his orbital weapon, the Death Egg, while Knuckles scuffles with Robotnik's minion, EggRobo. Like previous Sonic games, players traverse side-scrolling levels at high speeds while collecting rings and defeating enemies.
Sonic Blast is a 1996 side-scrolling platform video game known for its use of pre-rendered visuals. To stop Doctor Robotnik from using Chaos Emerald shards to fortify his base, the player controls Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna through 15 levels. As a Sonic the Hedgehog series platformer, the characters run and jump to reach the end of a level while defeating enemy robots and collecting rings. In separate bonus stages, the player must run forward and collect rings to earn one of the Chaos Emerald shards.
Sonic Advance is a 2001 platform game developed by Dimps for the Game Boy Advance (GBA). It was the first Sonic the Hedgehog game released on a Nintendo console with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the Nintendo GameCube (GCN), and was produced in commemoration of the series' tenth anniversary. The story follows Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy as they journey to stop Doctor Eggman from taking over the world. Controlling a character, players are tasked with completing each level, defeating Eggman and his robot army, and collecting the seven Chaos Emeralds.
Sonic Advance 2 is a 2002 side-scrolling platform video game developed by Dimps for the Game Boy Advance. It is an installment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series and the sequel to 2001's Sonic Advance. The story follows Sonic as he sets out to save his friends and retrieve the seven magical Chaos Emeralds from series antagonist Doctor Eggman. Gameplay consists of the player completing various levels as one of five characters, each with their own unique attributes. After each zone is completed, the player faces Doctor Eggman in a boss battle.
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!, stylized as WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! and known as WarioWare, Inc.: Minigame Mania in the PAL regions, is a minigame compilation video game developed by Nintendo R&D1 and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. The debut title in the WarioWare series, the game is about rapid completion of "microgames", short minigames given to the player consecutively and with increasing speed per each game complete. The game's concept was inspired by the "Sound Bomber" mode of Mario Artist: Polygon Studio for the Nintendo 64DD. The music and sound effects were recycled from Wario Land 4. The game was produced by Takehiro Izushi and directed by Hirofumi Matsuoka. Matsuoka was also the director of Polygon Studio. Mega Microgames! was released in 2003; in Japan in March, in North America and Europe in May and in Australia in June.
Sonic Shuffle is a Sonic the Hedgehog-themed party game developed and published by Sega for the Dreamcast in 2000. The game plays like a board game much in the same vein as Nintendo's Mario Party series, with up to four players moving their characters across a game board filled with a variety of spaces which can trigger different events. Some spaces will launch minigames that pit the players against each other in short competitive events.
Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure is a platform game developed by SNK and released for the Neo Geo Pocket Color in 1999. The game is based on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) for the Sega Genesis, borrowing much of the stage themes and gameplay elements, but featuring unique stage layouts, elements from other Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games, and extra game modes. Sega's Yuji Naka and the rest of Sonic Team supervised over production.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 1992 platform game developed by Aspect and published by Sega for the Master System and Game Gear. It is the sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and follows Sonic as he attempts to find the Chaos Emeralds to save his friend Miles "Tails" Prower from Dr. Robotnik. Like the first Sonic the Hedgehog, players run through levels at high speeds while collecting rings and defeating enemies. Although it shares the same title with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Genesis and their releases coincided, the games have little in common and share no levels.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main Sonic the Hedgehog games are platformers mostly developed by Sonic Team; other games, developed by various studios, include spin-offs in the racing, fighting, party and sports genres. The franchise also incorporates printed media, animations, a 2020 feature film, and merchandise.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves is a party video game developed by Nintendo SPD and Intelligent Systems. The game was published by Nintendo for its Wii video game system in Japan in December 2006, and in Europe, North America, and Australia in January 2007. It was re-released on May 20, 2011 in Europe as part of the Nintendo Selects program. It is the fifth game in the WarioWare series of games, and the only game in the series to be released for the Wii. Like its predecessors, WarioWare: Smooth Moves is built around a collection of microgames that last about five seconds each, and which require that the player hold the Wii Remote in specific positions. The game offers the microgames to the player in rapid succession, by first instructing the player to hold the Wii Remote in a specific manner, and then showing them the microgame. The microgames are divided into several stages, each of which loosely connects the microgames with the help of a story. Additionally, this was the first Mario game to be released for the console.
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales, released in Japan as Chocobo to Mahō no Ehon is a Nintendo DS adventure game developed by h.a.n.d. and published by Square Enix. It was released in Japan on December 14, 2006, in North America on April 3, 2007, and in the PAL region in May 2007.
Wario is a video game franchise, a spin-off of the Mario series. It comprises various video games created by Nintendo, starring the character Wario. The franchise began with Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3, the first game to feature Wario as a playable character. The Wario series includes mostly platforming video games and minigame compilations, but also includes other genres.
Sonic Rush Adventure is a 2007 adventure platform game for the Nintendo DS and the sequel to 2005's Sonic Rush. It follows Sonic the Hedgehog and Tails, who are teleported to an alternate dimension and seek the help of Blaze the Cat, while battling a band of robot pirates. Gameplay is similar to prior installments in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, with players controlling Sonic or Blaze through a series of side-scrolling levels while collecting rings and defeating enemies. Sonic Rush Adventure deviates from prior games with its elements of sea travel, featuring boating minigames that take advantage of the DS's touchscreen.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is a 2010 side-scrolling platform game developed by Dimps, with assistance from Sonic Team, and published by Sega. It is part of the Sonic the Hedgehog series and acts as a sequel to Sonic & Knuckles (1994). Episode I follows Sonic as he sets out to stop Doctor Eggman, who has returned following his defeat in Sonic & Knuckles. The game returns to the Sega Genesis style of Sonic gameplay, with movement restricted to a 2D plane. Like previous Sonic games, the player races through levels, collecting rings while rolling into a ball to attack enemies. The game also features special stages in which the player collects Chaos Emeralds and online leaderboards comparing level completion times and high scores.
3D Classics is a label applied to certain remakes of old games for the Nintendo 3DS, with added stereoscopic 3D functionality and updated features while retaining their original art style and graphics. There are two unrelated series of releases under the 3D Classics title: a first-party series of NES/Famicom and arcade games, and a Sega-published, M2-developed set of classic Sega games, mostly from Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Sega arcade hardware.
As the Sonic the Hedgehog series of platform games has grown in popularity, its publisher Sega has expanded the franchise into multiple different genres. Among these are several educational video games designed to appeal to young children. The first attempt to create an educational Sonic game was Tiertex Design Studios' Sonic's Edusoft for the Master System in late 1991, which was canceled despite having been nearly finished. When Sega launched the Sega Pico in 1994, it released Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld and Tails and the Music Maker for it. Orion Interactive also developed the 1996 Sega PC game Sonic's Schoolhouse, which used a 3D game engine and had an exceptionally large marketing budget. In the mid-2000s, LeapFrog Enterprises released educational Sonic games for its Leapster and LeapFrog Didj.