Gaming at Its Most Immersive: Minigames to Explore Within Games

Whether for creative or marketing purposes, many video games pay homage to cult classics from years past or expand their lore through minigames. Hidden or in plain sight, minigames have become a staple in indie hits and triple-A titles. Some franchises have made it a hallmark to include a wealth of subgames, while others have created minigames so successful that they’ve spun off into standalone entries. So, let’s dive into the minigame hype.

The Reasons Behind the Minigame Craze

Minigames may seem like this hot new thing, but they’ve always been part of the gaming landscape. In the 1980s, the sports game Olympic Decathlon was made of separate track and field events with no overarching narrative. The Super Mario Party games went further by creating minigames designed for multiplayer fun. A decade earlier, retrogamers may remember fondly their first try at catching fish in the early Legend of Zelda installments, which popularized the now-obligatory fishing minigame found in so many life sims and RPGs, from Disney Dreamlight Valley to Shenmue III.  

The democratization of open-world titles reinforced the popularity of in-game minigames. Serving as immersion tools in expansive games, many minigames are either optional side quests or hidden Easter eggs contributing to world-building – or acting as nostalgia bait in vintage minigames evoking the golden days of the PlayStation 1 or the Super NES. Other minigames simply provide a refreshing break in gameplay to keep players engaged, so much so that some have become top-selling entries in their own right, such as the digital collectible card game inspired by The Witcher series, playable on

Where to Start Digging to Find the Most Fun Minigames?

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

Released to critical acclaim early this year, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth has set a new benchmark for a franchise already renowned for its minigame galore. From over-the-top card battlers to creative twists on arcade classics, there is much to discover alongside Ichiban Kasuga and his gang in Hawaii and Yokohama. Fan-favorite activities like batting cages and karaoke are making a triumphant comeback.

Some new additions are so complete they like their own games. On Dondoko Island, you can sink dozens of hours into the game’s version of an Animal Crossing-style resort – only much wackier. In a game so replete with content, you can find every single minigame to play listed on sites like and IGN.

Red Dead Redemption II

As you navigate the Old West, taking risks can reap substantial rewards. In the world of Red Dead Redemption II, high-stakes activities like Five Finger Fillet aren’t exactly for the faint-hearted. This minigame has you rapidly stab the spaces between your character’s fingers. The higher the wager, the more challenging this test of nerve gets, and you can amass a fortune by mastering this tricky skill, joining shooting contests, or gambling at most saloons.

While machine slots wouldn’t have been period-accurate, they would have made a fine addition to the game’s roster. For lack of an in-game equivalent, gamers can discover heaps of free slots on websites like Many software providers have developed titles inspired by the frontier myth, like Lucky Western or Cowboy Coins. Players can enjoy such options on mobile without any download required. Plus, users can claim unbeatable casino deals with just a click.

Stardew Valley

There is a copious amount of minigames in Stardew Valley, whether introduced as seasonal events or permanent inclusions. Some are integral to your new country life, such as the fishing minigame, which can be a lucrative activity early on. Others are more covert, like the slot machines hidden in the backroom of the Oasis store in the desert or the darts minigame found in the Pirate Cove in Ginger Island.

Additionally, you can visit the local Stardrop Saloon to beat the Junimo Kart Arcade System or play the top-down shooter Journey of the Prairie King. If you’d like to woo Abigail, one of Pelican Town’s bachelorettes, improving your skills at the latter can leave quite the impression during her 2-heart event.


Minigames are equally fun as a pacing tool, a world-building device, and a means to generate resources. When done right, minigames shake up gameplay, enrich a fictional universe, and add replay value. From Assassin’s Creed to Kingdom Hearts, we could have mentioned many more franchises that do a great job of inserting compelling minigames that feel organic to the story. So, which minigame are you playing next?

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