With last month’s release of Bitmoji Party, a selection of mini games to be played on the Snap platform, we could not help but start to reminisce on some of our favorite-ever console mini games. From the Mario Party series to Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2 and much more, we look back at some of the most important console mini games of all time.
The first mention has to be Poker on Red Dead Redemption. Though it was perhaps slightly formulaic in the way that you could generally bully your opposition into folding by upping your bet to unreasonable heights, it was also one of the most immersive experiences on that game. Strutting into a saloon, through the swinging doors and taking your seat to be dealt in by a fellow frontiersman was a truly special experience and will live on in the memory.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was slated by a lot of people for not quite finding the correct balance between immersion and boring everyday tasks, but in its mini games it definitely recreated some of the joy they managed in the poker of the first game. This game delivered five mini games, which will be looked back at with differing levels of nostalgia. Five Finger Fillet, for example, was never going to be the most exciting game, but then playing Dominos at the camp or poker at the casino conjured stunning levels of immersion and realism that added a lot to the experience.
Next mention has to go to Mario Party. The series has so many positives to recommend, most of all the fact that it was so simple and inclusive. All of the drawing and puzzle games were incredible and put Mario Party on basically every list of great mini games that will ever be written. To the extent that even if players can now have the option of actual live roulette, there will always be something extremely charming and super fun about Game Guy’s Roulette in Mario Party 3 that will persist in memory forever.
Any list would be incomplete without mentioning Gwent, the strategic card game that came as a mini game in The Witcher 3 and has grown into its own entity due to its massive popularity. This mini game massively outdid its humble title and spawned a whole fanbase of its own. The brilliance of this game was not just in its ability to immerse you further into the huge world that was created for the game, though it certainly did do that. The true beauty of Gwent was just how great it was as a standalone game, not to mention challenging.
Another memorable mini game for the sake of immersion was Caravan in Fallout: New Vegas. While it was certainly not as entertaining a game as the aforementioned Gwent, it did more to conjure up what that world was like and how it would feel to live there. It is an extremely interesting thought that simple possessions can become valuables in a world defined by scarcity, and Caravan is one of the most effective ways that the Fallout team showed that.
While all these mini games are seriously fun, the hat ultimately has to be tipped to the Mario Party series, simply for the fact that it was arguably the game that forced us to fall in love with mini games in the first place. It proved they can be entertaining as a standalone and paved the way for future games to adopt them.
Photo credit: Sergey Galyonkin