Old school gaming is booming, and modern-day studios and publishers have gotten the memo. Many developers have sprinkled their titles with vintage references only hardcore retro gamers may catch. Several video games of the current era have also rekindled the nostalgia for past classics by introducing Easter eggs and minigames with retro aesthetics.
As we explored on Old School Gamer Magazine, fun minigames are nothing new in the gaming sphere. But many modern titles have jumped on that bandwagon in style, going as far as to include actual retro games for players to enjoy on next-gen devices. So, if you’re willing to revisit some good old arcade cult classics, the following video games boast their fair share of retro minigames.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2
Admittedly, Call of Duty isn’t all the rage in retrogaming circles. One of the most influential FPS franchises in history has been prone to many controversies over the years. Similarly, the series has been milked for all it’s worth with so many installments and spin-offs even die-hard fans might have lost count.
But that didn’t stop Activision from nodding at retro gamers, as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 contains several Atari 2600 classics. These Easter Eggs can be unlocked on the Nuketown map when shooting the heads off mannequins within 30 seconds. The Activision logo popping up on the nearby TV means you can play 80s Atari games, such as River Raid, Pitfall II, Kaboom!, and HERO.
Past the initial surprise, this move is actually in line with the series’ previous ventures into old-school territory. Indeed, Call of Duty: Black Ops had already introduced its own retro minigame. Based on the eponymous title first released in 1977, Zork is a text-based adventure game available on the Black Ops computer terminal.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the best-selling game in Naughty Dog’s popular action-adventure franchise for a reason. Apart from its emotional depth serviced by a gripping storyline and impressive cinematography, the epic conclusion to Nathan Drake’s story introduced open-world elements that revolutionized how players interact with the levels they’re exploring.
But before the game’s main events unfold, A Thief’s End provides a delightful nostalgic experience for all retro gamers. In the fourth chapter titled “A Normal Life,” players can discover a hidden retro game within the game, as Nathan’s wife Elena Fisher challenges him to a gaming session of Crash Bandicoot.
As Kotaku put it, this bizarrely difficult version of a PS1 classic is much more challenging than meets the eye. For narrative reasons, surpassing Elena’s score can only be achieved much later in the game. That said, this self-referential nod to Naughty Dog’s early days is a heartwarming Easter egg in its own right.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Formerly known in the West as Yakuza, the Like a Dragon franchise is pretty much a minigame galore. In this mobster series, players can explore the ins and outs of seedy districts modeled after real Japanese neighborhoods. Kamurochō is the virtual counterpart of Tokyo’s Kabukichō red-light district, while Sotenbori takes after Osaka’s Dōtonbori entertainment area.
And many entries in Sega’s iconic franchise boast an array of retro arcade titles in the in-game Club Sega gaming arcade. In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, you might toggle between Sega classics, such as Out Run, Virtua Fighter 2, and Space Harrier. The retro minigames on display change from one entry to one another. For instance, the spin-off Yakuza 0 plays out its 80s vibes with arcade games like Fantasy Zone and Super Hang-On. Some fan-favorite minigames come back with every new title, however.
Batting cages, karaoke parlors, and gambling dens rank among the series’ staple features. Completing quests to unlock secret casinos might even get gamers in the mood for real gambling. And platforms like CasinoBonusCA help them kick off their journey. Expert insights make it easier for newcomers to make informed decisions thanks to free guidelines and reviews. From customer service to payout speed and overall reputability, reviewers assess online casinos according to various criteria. They also keep track of all current casino offers so that players make the most of their online experience.
Minigames are in fashion. Tellingly, several minigames like The Witcher’s Gwent and Sonic the Hedgehog’s Chao Garden have inspired standalone titles. But the games above add a distinctive old-school flavor to their minigame roster, paying fitting tribute to the timeless classics that came before them.