Even two console generations ago we stopped batting our eyelids if games contained other, smaller games within them. It didn’t even seem odd if whole games were made up of dozens of little ones. Nowadays we use minigame mechanisms to open doors, enact fancy stealth kills, slaughter bosses or open chests. Minigames are everywhere, be it shoving boulders in Conan, coercing peasants in Oblivion or doing anything at all in Thrillville or Jackass.
Five years from now, we’d not be surprised to see Sony Japan release Ultimate Life Sim for PS3, where you’ve got to tap a button sequence in time with the music in order to open a jar of pear halves for breakfast or starve. Don’t scoff, it’ll shift more units than The Bible, without a doubt. And so, we offer you a diverse glimpse of some of the maddest, baddest or just best minigames that cropped up in recent years...
From: Resident Evil 4
Unlock: Finish the game
Minigames don’t get much bigger than this hectic, beautifully stressful, arena-based set of survival challenges. The essence of the combat in easy-to-swallow pill form.
From: God of War 2
Unlock: Hidden in first stage
Here, Kratos ‘entertains’ buxom nymphs at the local spa. You don’t see much, for better or worse, but we suppose a god has to get what he can when he’s on the move so often.
From: The Guy Game
Unlock: There from the start
This is, bluntly, a quiz about women getting their melons out. Oddly it has ball-based minigames, including this: use your big ball to hit more little balls out of the arena than your rival.
From: TimeSplitters 2
Unlock: Find in the first stage
An homage to thumb-defiling phone classic Snake. It’s far from sparkly when on your own, but throw a second player into the mix, and it becomes damned competitive, damned fast.
From: Viewtiful Joe 2
Unlock: Appears in main game
The 36 Chambers, like their kung fu namesake, are a set of grueling trials, designed to push your ability to the limit. Short and sweet enough to persuade you to test your mettle.
From: Mortal Kombat: Deception
Unlock: Not needed
Chess? A Mario Kart clone? Hilariously bad RPG off-cuts? We loved it when Mortal Kombat started going senile and let its hair down. A bit like Puzzle Fighter copycat, Puzzle Kombat.