23 votes

What is the best ‘game within a game’ you have played?

I was playing Stardew Valley recently and ended up playing the mini arcade games in the tavern for a couple hours. I was suprised at the depth they put into a video game that is inside another video game. Truly great.

32 comments

  1. [6]
    mir Link
    Probably Gwent in the Witcher 3 - so much so, that when the standalone released, that was pretty much the only game I played for about a year.

    Probably Gwent in the Witcher 3 - so much so, that when the standalone released, that was pretty much the only game I played for about a year.

    14 votes
    1. [3]
      mat Link Parent
      Playing Gwent was the only reason I put as much time into Witcher 3 as I eventually did. The rest of the game didn't interest me, but I kept loading it up for just a few hands of Gwent. I didn't...

      Playing Gwent was the only reason I put as much time into Witcher 3 as I eventually did. The rest of the game didn't interest me, but I kept loading it up for just a few hands of Gwent. I didn't know there was a standalone and checking now, turns out it's free on the PS4 so I guess I know what I'll be doing for a while...

      2 votes
      1. Deimos Link Parent
        Beyond the standalone game, there's also Thronebreaker, which is an RPG that uses Gwent for its battles.

        Beyond the standalone game, there's also Thronebreaker, which is an RPG that uses Gwent for its battles.

        4 votes
      2. mir Link Parent
        Be aware that the standalone is very different from the original minigame at this point - it's a lot more complex and nuanced, so it might take some getting used to. Good luck, and have fun!

        Be aware that the standalone is very different from the original minigame at this point - it's a lot more complex and nuanced, so it might take some getting used to. Good luck, and have fun!

        3 votes
    2. balooga Link Parent
      Gwent is great! I was also a fan of the Caravan card game created for Fallout: New Vegas. Actually I just like card games inside larger games in general. I play a lot of blackjack in FNV, and...

      Gwent is great! I was also a fan of the Caravan card game created for Fallout: New Vegas. Actually I just like card games inside larger games in general. I play a lot of blackjack in FNV, and blackjack and poker in RDR2. I was disappointed when R* didn't include Liar's Dice in that, since the first one had it. The domino game they replaced it with isn't particularly interesting.

      1 vote
  2. [3]
    skullkid2424 Link
    Raising Chao in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was some of the fun and effort I've put into a mini-game. The good old gamecube days.

    Raising Chao in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was some of the fun and effort I've put into a mini-game. The good old gamecube days.

    14 votes
    1. Yugioh_Mishima Link Parent
      I would absolutely pay $60 for a full-fledged Chao raising game today. I loved those little guys.

      I would absolutely pay $60 for a full-fledged Chao raising game today. I loved those little guys.

      3 votes
    2. Wes Link Parent
      This was the answer I came to give. Half the reason I played the regular levels was just to get me some more animals for my chaos.

      This was the answer I came to give. Half the reason I played the regular levels was just to get me some more animals for my chaos.

      2 votes
  3. [3]
    ggfurasta Link
    I'm surprised no one's said Minecraft. The multiplayer servers are amazing for minigames. I played the games within the game more than the actual game and I think many other people do too. Hide...

    I'm surprised no one's said Minecraft. The multiplayer servers are amazing for minigames. I played the games within the game more than the actual game and I think many other people do too. Hide and seek, hunger games (og battle royale), capture the flag, and basically anything else.

    9 votes
    1. teaearlgraycold Link Parent
      IMO that is the game. It's like calling TTT a "game within a game" for G-Mod.

      IMO that is the game. It's like calling TTT a "game within a game" for G-Mod.

      7 votes
    2. jgb Link Parent
      I learnt programming by writing minigames for Bukkit. It was a really fun time and it's amazing to think how it was bored teenagers like me writing buggy, hacky PvP games that kickstarted the...

      I learnt programming by writing minigames for Bukkit. It was a really fun time and it's amazing to think how it was bored teenagers like me writing buggy, hacky PvP games that kickstarted the billion-dollar battle royale game industry.

  4. [4]
    maze Link
    It's a bit dated, but Chocobo breeding and racing in Final Fantasy 7 was the pinnacle of gaming-within-gaming when I was growing up.

    It's a bit dated, but Chocobo breeding and racing in Final Fantasy 7 was the pinnacle of gaming-within-gaming when I was growing up.

    5 votes
    1. rkcr Link Parent
      I liked the card game inside FF8 far more than the game itself.

      I liked the card game inside FF8 far more than the game itself.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      Jbassista Link Parent
      I go with blitzball on FFX.. spent double the amount of hours on that game because of how fun blitzball was

      I go with blitzball on FFX.. spent double the amount of hours on that game because of how fun blitzball was

      1 vote
      1. maze Link Parent
        Blitzball was the only real saving grace in that game for me.

        Blitzball was the only real saving grace in that game for me.

  5. asoftbird Link
    Not sure if it counts as "game", but l've always enjoyed the sub-games of Team Fortress 2. The main objective is capping points, but there's so much more going on as sub-games are like "spy vs. a...

    Not sure if it counts as "game", but l've always enjoyed the sub-games of Team Fortress 2. The main objective is capping points, but there's so much more going on as sub-games are like "spy vs. a specific engineer", dueling soldiers, sniper battles at 2fort(basicaly like whack-a-mole), melee heavy vs melee heavy. It's always fun to pick a class and spend a large part of the game battling one specific opponent.

    5 votes
  6. [3]
    3d12 Link
    Not technically "within" a game, but Sega included a mini-game called "Sega Swirl" on the disc with House of the Dead 2 for PC, and I swear between my siblings and me, we got probably 10x the...

    Not technically "within" a game, but Sega included a mini-game called "Sega Swirl" on the disc with House of the Dead 2 for PC, and I swear between my siblings and me, we got probably 10x the playtime out of Sega Swirl than HotD.

    More fitting to the topic, the Sigmar's Garden minigame inside of Opus Magnum actually kept me pretty entertained. Haven't gotten the achievement for 100 wins yet, but I can definitely see me getting that before finishing the story.

    5 votes
    1. Zargurkhan Link Parent
      For a bit of encouragement to proceed with the main story in Opus Magnum, completing it unlocks a slightly more complex version of Sigmar's Garden.

      For a bit of encouragement to proceed with the main story in Opus Magnum, completing it unlocks a slightly more complex version of Sigmar's Garden.

      2 votes
    2. balooga Link Parent
      Sega Swirl was also (first, I believe) released for the Dreamcast on the free GD-ROM bundled with the Official Dreamcast Magazine. Lots of good demos on those discs, but I sank a ton of time into...

      Sega Swirl was also (first, I believe) released for the Dreamcast on the free GD-ROM bundled with the Official Dreamcast Magazine. Lots of good demos on those discs, but I sank a ton of time into Swirl.

      2 votes
  7. [3]
    vili Link
    I'm not sure if this is really within the spirit of the question, but Day of the Tentacle included a fully playable copy of Maniac Mansion within the game, which you could access through one of...

    I'm not sure if this is really within the spirit of the question, but Day of the Tentacle included a fully playable copy of Maniac Mansion within the game, which you could access through one of the computers in the game. It blew my young mind back in the day and demonstrated how far computers had advanced in just six short years (well, technically the years were regular length and plenty had happened, including the fall of the iron curtain, but you get my drift).

    I don't know if you would really want to play through the entire MM that way, though.

    5 votes
    1. balooga Link Parent
      I love stuff like this. Shenmue, which takes place in 1986, famously includes an arcade you can visit with fully playable Hang-On and Space Harrier cabinets.

      I love stuff like this. Shenmue, which takes place in 1986, famously includes an arcade you can visit with fully playable Hang-On and Space Harrier cabinets.

      2 votes
    2. hook Link Parent
      The quality and complexity of the (mini?)game as well as its historic importance should make it the “‘best’ game within a game” hands down. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Tentacle

      The quality and complexity of the (mini?)game as well as its historic importance should make it the “‘best’ game within a game” hands down.

      The whole original Maniac Mansion game can be played on a computer resembling a Commodore 64 inside the Day of the Tentacle game; this practice has since been repeated by other game developers, but at the time of Day of the Tentacle's release, it was unprecedented.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Tentacle

  8. Sahasrahla Link
    Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII was pretty fun. It could be a little immersion breaking—planning a coup and then challenging the enemy general to a collectible card game to win a card with...

    Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII was pretty fun. It could be a little immersion breaking—planning a coup and then challenging the enemy general to a collectible card game to win a card with his daughter's face on it—but mostly it fit into the world. The only bad aspect of it was some of the terrible rules that could pop up and spread like the plague. (I always reset when that happened and avoided entire regions with rules I disliked.)

    4 votes
  9. spit-evil-olive-tips Link
    GTA San Andreas had many such mini-games, but the one that immediately jumped to mind was "the bee game" aka Let's Get Ready to Bumble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jzsBkYK5y4 To play it, you...

    GTA San Andreas had many such mini-games, but the one that immediately jumped to mind was "the bee game" aka Let's Get Ready to Bumble:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jzsBkYK5y4

    To play it, you had to go into one of the in-game bars and find the arcade cabinet for it. Easily could have been missed if you didn't take your time to explore during a playthrough. And I think it's an excellent homage to the "feel" of that sort of arcade game from the late 80s / early 90s (when San Andreas was set) of having simple, intuitive controls but a gradually increasing difficulty level that would keep you feeding in quarters, convinced you could beat it.

    I also like the juxtaposition of the GTA series being full of violence and carnage, but you can also play this cute little arcade game with happy music, bright colors, and collecting flowers as the primary objective.

    3 votes
  10. UniquelyGeneric Link
    I think the throwback dream sequence of the original Metal Gear Solid within MGS4 was well done. Updated graphics, it fit well within the storyline, and not so long that it became a chore and lost...

    I think the throwback dream sequence of the original Metal Gear Solid within MGS4 was well done. Updated graphics, it fit well within the storyline, and not so long that it became a chore and lost that magic nostalgia high.

    Honorable mention: Rampage missions in GTA. A brief bout of survival mode gameplay that cuts to the core of what made the series fun to begin with.

    2 votes
  11. dfed Link
    The card game inside Evoland 2. Love it.

    The card game inside Evoland 2. Love it.

    2 votes
  12. ruspaceni Link
    Me and my brother used to no-life Project Gotham Racing 2, and that had some arcade game things in it but I'm not sure it counts the same as other peoples answers. After all, it was just geometry...

    Me and my brother used to no-life Project Gotham Racing 2, and that had some arcade game things in it but I'm not sure it counts the same as other peoples answers. After all, it was just geometry wars and other real arcade games.

    It blew my mind that they had games inside games

    2 votes
  13. lepigpen Link
    Unfortunately it's sort of dead easy once you learn the best way to stack your deck but the "Caravan" card game in Fallout: New Vegas was very fun to me. I like that not only could you go to the...

    Unfortunately it's sort of dead easy once you learn the best way to stack your deck but the "Caravan" card game in Fallout: New Vegas was very fun to me. I like that not only could you go to the casinos and play Blackjack and such but they also added in their own little game that was played outside casinos with merchants. Nice touch.

    2 votes
  14. toly Link
    The original Ape Escape had three minigames that you could play that utilzed the dual shock Playstation controllers. It had a skiing game where the individual skis were controlled by each joy...

    The original Ape Escape had three minigames that you could play that utilzed the dual shock Playstation controllers. It had a skiing game where the individual skis were controlled by each joy stick independently, a boxing game where each arm was controlled independently, and a Galaga/Asteroid mashup game where one joystick was for movement direction and the other for firing.
    I enjoyed the game as a whole but those minigames that made it all that more enjoyable.

    1 vote
  15. liberty Link
    The Witness has a fantastic "game within the game" mechanic. You can argue it is the actual game, but as the player you are not told this and have to find it yourself. Since the game is all about...

    The Witness has a fantastic "game within the game" mechanic. You can argue it is the actual game, but as the player you are not told this and have to find it yourself. Since the game is all about exploration, i hesitate to just say what it is outright.

    1 vote
  16. salis Link
    The minigames Make Decent Bread and Find Close Parking Spot at 12am Without Getting Ticket within the game Life.

    The minigames Make Decent Bread and Find Close Parking Spot at 12am Without Getting Ticket within the game Life.

    1 vote