12 of the Greatest Mini-Games We’ve Ever Played

Blade Runner is available at GOG (PC)

Project Gotham Racing 2 (2003)

Geometry Wars

A hugely popular racing game and Xbox exclusive, Project Gotham Racing 2 landed in 2003. I spent weeks playing this, partly because it featured a race in my hometown of Edinburgh. It wasn’t until a friend told me to go into the garage and try the arcade cabinet that I discovered Geometry Wars. It’s a delightfully intense and chaotic top-down multidirectional shooter that reminded me of Robotron. I was hooked. 

Geometry Wars was popular enough to spawn a series, including stand-alone sequel Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved on the Xbox 360 and Steam (PC). Later releases landed on Nintendo and PlayStation consoles too.

Final Fantasy X (2001) and Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

Blitzball and Triple Triad

final fantasy game still

Photograph: Square

Not many game series can match the epic scale of Final Fantasy, which is host to a multitude of mini-games. Two of the best are Blitzball and Triple Triad. Blitzball is a bizarre, complex, full-contact underwater sport that’s hugely popular in Final Fantasy X. Choose to play, and it’s easy to get obsessive about putting together the ultimate team to win tournaments. 

Triple Triad is a strategic card game that first appeared in Final Fantasy VIII. It’s easy to grasp, but it takes a while to build a good deck, and there’s enough strategic depth to hook you. One of the other nice things about Triple Triad is that you can challenge almost any NPC in the world to a game.

Driver (1999)

Survival Cops Chase

This action-packed driving game for the original PlayStation cast you as undercover cop John Tanner and tasked you with infiltrating a crime syndicate while posing as the ultimate getaway driver. If you managed to get past the insanely frustrating tutorial and out of the parking garage, it pushed boundaries with expansive maps covering Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. 

When you’re playing as Tanner, you have the option to select different driving modes that function as mini-games, like checkpoint races. But Survival was the pick of the bunch for me. The conceit is simple: It challenged you to stay alive as long as possible as an endless supply of cop cars try to ram you off the road.

Fallout 4 (2015)

Terminal Hacking Pip-Boy App

12 of the Best MiniGames of All Time Fishing in Zelda Gwent and More

Photograph: Bethesda

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