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A minigame (also spelled mini game and mini-game, sometimes called a subgame or microgame) is a short video game often contained within another video game. A minigame contains different gameplay elements, and is often smaller or more simplistic, than the game in which it is contained. Some video games consist entirely of minigames which tie into an overall theme, such Olympic Decathlon from 1980. Minigames are also used to represent a specific experience, such as hacking or lock picking or scanning an area, that ties into a larger game.

Minigame compilations[edit]

Some games, such as the WarioWare series (which are called microgames in the series), 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 decathlon in track and field competitions is a collection of ten different events. Beginning with 1980's Olympic Decathlon, video game interpretations represent each event with a minigame. Later games using the same concept include Track & Field and The Activision Decathlon both from 1983.

The 1982 arcade video game Tron consists of four minigames, all of which need to be completed to move to the next level. Journey, from 1983, follows the same structure with five games, and there is an additional game after the others have been finished.

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 includes 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.[1] 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. Chronomaster has similar puzzle minigames which are 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 Chaos Emerald, 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[2] (which is also playable on PC), and 'Chao Adventure', a minigame in Sonic Adventure.


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

See also[edit]