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.
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.
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 gameChronomaster 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.
Final Fantasy XII: The Fishing minigame can be played in the South Bank Village of the Dalmasca Estersand.
FlatOut 2: Many minigames that consist of ejecting the driver through the windshield to complete an objective, like knocking down bowling pins.
Grand Theft Auto III: RC Toyz missions. (a Van that can unlock a rampage mini-game involving an RC car with a bomb attached to it)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Numerous minigames are available, including basketball, pool, rhythm-based challenges (dancing and 'bouncing' lowriders with hydraulics), and video game machines that pay homage to classic arcade games. In addition, there are the aforementioned casino games and methods of gambling, such as betting on virtual horse races.
Shenmue: Many minigames are available, including Forklift, motorcycle races, bar fights, chases down crowded alleys, full versions of Sega arcade games Space Harrier and Hang-On, dart games, and fighting sequences.
Silent Hill 2: Director's Cut: The Born from a Wish minigame consist of taking control of Maria shortly before she and James meet at Silent Hill.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Bird-Man Research Study, Boom Bam Golf, Blue Flame, Deer Hunting, Flight Range Trial, Footrace, Gambling, Ice Delivery, Mounted Archery Challenge, Mounted Obstacle Course, Paraglider Course, Sand-Seal Racing, Shield Surfing, Snowball Bowling, Super Gut Check Challenge.