Games in games

Suikoden 2 has a great iron chef-esque cooking mini game / side quest chain, the mechanics of which which have no commonalities with the main RPG gameplay. The quest line ends with its own credits. This separates it in my mind from a normal “minigame” which to me does not necessarily have its own “arc.”

What are other “games in games” that have a start middle and end and are mechanically separate from the main game?

(Hopefully it’s clear that arcades/ports in games are the cheater’s answer)

Retro Game Challenge/GameCenter CX technically counts, since the framing narrative of some kids playing, reading magazines about, and nerding out over these fictional games is the true “game.” In that sense, I think these might be, pound for pound, the best games in games I’ve ever played!

Gwent in tw3 is the most elaborate I can think of. You can build your deck throughout the game by buying cards in shops, winning them in matches, earning them in quests. You can eventually participate in a high stakes tournament embedded in the game's normal quest structure. Also was spun off into a separate game with its own narrative

@yeso#27036 This reminds me of the FF8/9 card games, and then Blitzball in FF10. I’m curious if anyone here ever made full sense of blitzball, it seemed like there were tons of mechanics but I always glanced off of it not really understanding controls/interface or something. No idea if there was some side arc to engage in.

When I read the title, I thought you were referring to games including earlier commercial releases in them as secrets or unlockables, E.G. Prince of Persia in The Sands of Time or the NES games in Animal Crossing.

All mini-games in Mario Party are in service to the real board game of Mario Party.


@MDS-02#27014 (Hopefully it’s clear that arcades/ports in games are the cheater’s answer)

Cheating by saying _Geometry Wars_ was in the garage in _Project Gotham Racing_.
Follow-up cheat post by citing PICO-8 _Celeste Classic_ in _Celeste_.

the solitaire game in Eliza was neat, and while it was more on the minigame side of this conversation, it‘s diegetic presentation as an app on the protagonist’s phone, and how it‘s always available to pull out and jump into a game, I think fit in well with the game’s consideration of phones/tech as distraction/mood/mental health regulation

This is somewhat predictable from me but I feel that the cabaret management games in yakuza 0 etc are a good example. It‘s a total diner dash-style plate spinning thing with its own arc and which happens pretty much adjacent to the story - you can do it all in one go and wind up with riches far beyond what the game’s main narrative considers “high.” The fact you can also go around and create alliances with businesses in the “main” game helps to tie it together but it still feels like a separate thing.

But a lot of minigames in Yakuza are like that - dragon cart, the investment thing, pocket circuit, etc. I like stuff like that but making them has got to be a huge risk. You know most players just won't engage with it, so you're creating this for a very specific type of person, and it has to be easy enough to make that it's worth the investment of time and funds.

Like... I never engage with the baseball, golf, or casino games in these. that's like a dozen entire games within games that I will just never touch. But I like that they're there for somebody!

Legend of the Mystical Ninja on SNES has mini games that are basically bite sized versions of other Konami games like Gradius. I can't remember what the other ones are. I always thought that was neat when I rented it back in the dayssssss.

I feel like “The fishing minigame” is the juggernaut of this kind of thing. FFXV (among many, many, many other games) has a whole bunch of fishing you can do that, as far as I know, absolutely does not matter. Some games even have a whole series of upgradable rods, multiple tiers of fish, a nuanced bait system that may or may not tie into a crafting system etc. Heck, fishing minigames could easily be their own thread with how many of them there are and how deep some of them go. Even Sonic Adventure has an entire fishing game in it that barely ties in to the main plot!


@tomjonjon#27086 Konami games like Gradius

You play _Gradius_ on the Jumbotron between 2nd and 3rd periods in _Blades of Steel_. That rules so hard.

@antillese#27090 I forgot about that! Vintage Konami sure is swell.

Do the NAMCO PSX loading screen games count? I still have vivid memories of that Galaga jingle playing every time I booted up Tekken.

@TheFragranceOfDarkCoffee#27089 One of my favorite features of the cooking game in suikoden 2 is that you can unlock ingredients to use in your iron-cheffing by doing the fishing minigame. The fishing game has quite a catchy tune.

I don't have anything topical to contribute but I just want to brag about my friend Ross who is one of the best Gwent players in the world. I think they showed me once that they were in the Top 100 players globally. Shouts out to Ross


The cabaret stuff in Yakuza is way more fun than it has any right to be. I've never really been into sim/management stuff but that sucked me right in. And I go back to 0 again and again mainly for the pocket circuit and the selection of arcade titles particular to that entry.

And I'm gonna submit the pinball games from Sonic Adventure. Yes they're not exactly completely separate because they are required play to beat that level (pretty sure you can't get enough rings from wacking stuff around the casino, but I might be wrong), but you _can_ go back after the level's done to play pinball as much as you want, which I did. I played tons of pinball in Sonic Adventure. Mostly the NiGHTS board because I never had a Sega Saturn until well into adulthood and I just really wanted to play NiGHTS so playing NiGHTS pinball was the closest I could get to it.

Half of Dillons Dead Heat Breakers for 3DS consists of minigame jobs you play in town such as

Time Trials Racing
Top Down Score attack game
Trash/Recycle sorting
A shop management game
A Pachinko-like

It's a little overwhelming, and some are more fleshed out than others. The shop management game has you manually arranging merch on shelves and manually inputting prices into a numberpad on the touchscreen and could almost be it's own game. The Pachinko game has very satisfying marbles-hitting-things noises.

I've been re-reminded of the surprisingly fleshed out kart racer tucked away in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

That's a whole game within a game if ever I saw one

In No More Heroes, there‘s a made-up magical girl anime that Travis Touchdown is really into called Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly, & in No More Heroes 2 you can just play a whole-assed shmup based on that on Travis’ TV


ganbare goemon 2 has a Xexex stage