The Best Mini-Games of All Time

best mini games

One of the best things about gaming is the mini-games within games that dedicated players can scope out. Although rarely central to the plot of a video game, mini-games are a chance to take a break from the action and flex some skills that you might not normally be able to do in the primary game mode. They often serve as a chance for the game developers to have a little bit of fun with the player, as a kind of Easter Egg that very often breaks the fourth wall, or simply reminds the player of a time when games were a lot more simple and arcade-style. Here are some of the best mini-games in history.

Resident Evil: Mercenaries

The release of the absolutely terrifying Resident Evil 4 title sent shockwaves through the gaming world, who saw the once-tired Resident Evil franchise completely revitalized as a force of nature, and one of the top-selling games ever. The Mercenaries game is only available to those who complete the main story, but the reward is well worth the effort. You get to utilize the combat skills and weapons earned over the course of gameplay in an arena-style survival challenge against hordes of the undead. Probably the most stressful gaming experience ever.

Bioshock Hacking

As much a mini-game as a plot device in its own right, the hacking feature in Bioshock is a deceptively simple brainteaser that pops up through the game, offering lucrative rewards to those who can crack it. It’s essentially a classic pipe swapping game in the same vein as say, the Konami classic Loco-Motion, where you have to arrange a series of pipes to connect a water flow and power up an electronic lock. It’s miles ahead of other video game lock picking tropes, and one that manages to stand out as the most memorable aspect of an already amazing game.

Mario Party: Slots

The lighthearted multiplayer game Mario Party was released on the Nintendo 64 to great fanfare for the innovative ways in which it utilized multiplayer technology. While the main game itself is a fun, quirky exploration of the Mario world, it’s the mini-games that are the most impressive. The slots mini-game is essentially the same popular slot format you can find at online casinos like William Hill Games, except that it is dripping in self-referential Mario kitsch. The most enjoyable aspect is the way that it allows you to take a break from the organized chaos of the Mario world to sit bag, pull on some slots, and hope to hit the jackpot.

Fishing with Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is hardly a nail-biting experience, being possibly one of the most soothing and relaxed video games ever released. That doesn’t mean that a nice spot of virtual fishing won’t end you to your happy place. You can return to the river throughout the game to try and catch some of the biggest fish in the water, with every catch soliciting a humorous response from the nearby shopkeeper. It’s a mini-game that all of us have probably spent countless hours on, even though you don’t really do anything. This is perhaps the beauty of a good mini-game.

About the author


35 years old, married with children (1). My gaming is done exclusively on the Xbox One these days, but my gaming history goes all the way back to the Atari 2600. FPS and racing games mostly, but I dive into other genres on occasion.

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