Mini-games have been a tradition in the video game industry since the age of arcades. These cool extras were always responsible for keeping us playing for several hours, even if the rewards weren’t all worth it. Of course there were mini-games that were incredibly boring and had no reason to be there. But throughout four decades of gaming, there were some memorable mini-games that still bring us a nostalgic feel.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Ocarina of Time is the fifth installment in The Legend of Zelda franchise and the first to feature 3D graphics, released for Nintendo 64 in 1998. The game is considered one of the best video games of all time, and some even cite it as the best video game ever. It was praised for its complexity and immersiveness, as it featured extensive quests, puzzles… and mini-games!
And the most memorable mini-game present in Ocarina of Time was fishing. Although it has been replicated in many subsequent Zelda titles, the fishing mini-game in Ocarina of Time was certainly the most fun, and kept us playing for hours and hours, just to earn a piece of heart.
One of the most popular fighting video game franchises, Tekken had its first title released for arcades in 1994, and ported to Playstation in 1995. The game featured several playable characters, each with its own sub-boss, and locations that were based on real places, like Chicago and Monument Valley. It became one of the earliest hits for Playstation.
But the coolest feature in Tekken was a mini-game based on another Namco hit: Galaga. The classic space-shooter was present in every loading screen of the game, and by beating its eight stages, players could unlock a special costume for the character Kazuya.
Pokémon Red and Blue (1998)
The first entries in one of the most successful franchises in the history of pop culture, Pokémon Red and Blue brought us the first generation of pocket monsters, and revolutionized the way we play video games. It was released in 1998 for the Nintendo Game Boy, and became the fastest-selling Game Boy title, having sold 4 million copies by the end of 1998.
Apart from all the cool concepts the game introduced and made it so popular, even today, Pokémon Red and Blue had a really interesting feature hidden in one of the cities in the region. In Celadon, players could find the Game Corner, which was the game’s very own gambling house. Inside the building, it was possible to play several slot machines, just like the slots players would find in one of the online casinos featured in this US gambling brand, and earn coins that could be traded for special items and Pokémon.
Super Smash Bros. (1999)
Super Smash Bros. is a fighting video game released for Nintendo 64 in 1999, and the first title in the series. It is a crossover between different Nintendo franchises, and featured characters from games like Mario, Zelda, Star Fox, Metroid and Pokémon. The game was a commercial success and, by 2001, had sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.
Today, the series is known for its several mini-games with different gameplays, and the original game featured the “Break the Targets” mini-game, in which players had to smash ten targets in a special arena as quickly as possible. Each character had a different challenge, and some of them were incredibly hard, but the rewards made it all worth it.
Final Fantasy VI (1994)
Final Fantasy is one of the best-selling RPG franchises in the world, and it has been praised over the years for its many intricacies, immersive gameplays, and complex storyline. The sixth entry in the main series, Final Fantasy VI was released in 1994 for Super NES, and is widely regarded as a groundbreaking title for the RPG genre.
During the main storyline, players would reach an opera house, owned by one of the main characters in the game, that featured an incredible mini-game. In it, players had to look at a script, memorize the lines and recite them in a live opera. This crazy mini-game then concluded with a boss fight.
Mario Paint (1992)
Mario Paint is certainly one of the most ingenious video games ever. It was released in 1992 for Super NES, and it came with a Super NES Mouse peripheral. The gameplay revolved around drawing and creating original paintings, using 15 colors and 75 patterns, and then animating these drawings with special tools to create multiple frames. It was also possible to compose soundtracks using 15 instruments samples.
But Gnat Attack, the mini-game present in the title, was probably the coolest feature in Mario Paint. Players could use the mouse to control a hand holding a fly swatter, and swat flies that would swarm the screen. After swatting 100 flies, players would face a boss that was a robotic wasp called King Watinga. If the boss was beaten, the game would restart at a faster speed.