A "minigame" (sometimes mini-game) is a rather common term used in game design and the general game industry. Therefore it has a definable scope, that is not opinion based, but rather established and tangible. However, I'm at a loss to define its scope. The wikipedia page says:
"A minigame (also spelled mini-game or mini game and sometimes called a subgame) is a short video game often contained within another video game and sometimes in application software or on a display of any form of hardware. A minigame is always smaller or more simplistic than the game in which it is contained. Minigames are sometimes also offered separately for free to promote the main game. For instance, the Pokémon Stadium minigames involve merely pressing a few buttons at specific intervals, with little complexity."
When asked to define it, I guess loosely I'd consider a minigame any game that:
- could easily be a self-contained game within another one
- that usually shows all the information on the screen
- could have been produced in the "dawning of gaming" (At least its mechanics)
- that the average (perhaps even non-gamer) can sit down and instantly understand nearly all the game rules without having to "learn" them via play.
Some things to think about:
Game_Bthat has been included in another game,
Game_A, still a minigame if it is later played or released independently from
- What if
Game_Bwas originally independent, but
Game_B(or clones) are now almost exclusively found as minigames within other games? Will
Game_Balways be a minigame after that?
- Is pong a minigame - it most certainly has been a minigame?
- Likewise, is chess a minigame (it matches my personal definition despite being incredibly complex logically)?
(I don't know if I can link pictures here, otherwise I would add some examples.)
Answers should please be constructive and professional. Good answers should also give reasoning and cite sources when possible.