Casino Room (Mario 64)
Italian plumbing siblings and all-round Nintendo super heroes Mario & Luigi return in 1996’s classic adventure Super Mario 64. Like other Mario titles, the game features a mini games section where you don’t win real money, but can instead gain coins to help you on your mission to defeat monstrous bad guy Bowser.
Having played the game extensively, we think the best minigame is the collection on offer in Luigi’s casino where you can choose between slots, roulette, Black Jack, and others all themed on the Mushroom kingdom, making it both a fun and helpful way to collect those all-important coins.
Added as bonus content for a DS re-release of an older title, it works as a distraction and fans will love the nice and fun and typically Nintendo take on real life casino games in these mini game adventures. Instead, use your fastest finger to win at Super Mario Slots, Memory Master, Pair-a-gone and on, Lucky Stars, Mushroom Roulette and Picture Poker and you won’t regret it.
Interested in playing for real? Many casino sites offer roulette for real money – you can try your hand at this after comparing the best options. Play sensibly and have fun!
Fishing (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
The hugely popular fantasy series, in which you play as Hylian hero Link on another royal rescue quest in the world of Hyrule, returned in 1998’s fifth Zelda title to massive acclaim. While other Zelda titles have fishing minigames also, the best will always be the version in Ocarina of Time.
While the game play is indeed good and the story great, one of its strongest attributes is the fishing pond side activity. Here you can while away the hours – and you will spend hours – catching fish which you can later trade in-game rubies.
It’s a blissful replication of what makes fishing appealing in real life – escapism. Down by the pond there are no sorcerers, dragons or other nasties, it’s just you and the still, calm waters filled with tempting, if sneaky, Hylian Loach, rewards for your much needed patience.
Nine Men’s Morris (Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag)
Playing as Welsh privateer Edward Kenway as he rides the rough and ready waters of an 18th Century Caribbean Sea in Ubisoft’s pirate epic Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, can be a tiring affair. Having spent the day avoiding the colonial boats of Britain and Spain in between smuggling, hunting or plundering, one of the a pirate’s favourite way to unwind is find a tavern, get drunk and lay some bets.
Depending on location, Fanorona, Checkers and, our favourite, Nine Men’s Morris are on offer with varying skill levels ranging from beginner, intermediate and advanced. Money in the game is an important factor so be careful with when placing your stake in whatever game you choose.
The best mini-game though is a form of “cowboy checkers” which dates back to Roman times and is played here under the name Nine Men’s Morris. A kind of Caribbean Connect Three if you will. Play is based on your ability to skilfully line up three stones and when you succeeded in this you can remove one stone from your opponent until he – hopefully – has less than three remaining and you win in-game money, or gold doubloons or something else pirates like before the bury it somewhere.
Golf (Grand Theft Auto V)
There is so much going on throughout Los Santos in Rockstar’s 2013 Grand Theft Auto Five that this epic, and I do mean epic, consistently feels fresh and interesting. Distraction is inevitable as every corner offers a time consuming activity to help you forget about being naughty for a minute or ten.
In fact, it’s just like the previous instalment, four I think it was called, in which players can go bowling among other things, only much, much bigger this time around. Like the gaming titan they are, Rockstar value attention to detail – this is no rushed, ill-conceived and sardine packed filler content, these are genuinely fun games that deserve repeated playing.
While Sky Diving, Tennis and Triathlon are all very, very good, the game looks particularly suited to Golf. Whether you purchase to own the Country Clubs with your ill-gotten gains or simply drop in as a guest and play a round or two.
Escape the game’s main narrative and hop in a Golf Cart at The Los Santos Golf Club to shoot nine glorious holes with swing and shot mechanics worthy of a dedicated golf simulation title.
Poker (Red Dead Redemption)
Staying with Rockstar games, their 2010 offering Red Dead Redemption was another title jam-packed with mini games. From Five Fingered Fillet to Liar’s Dice to Horseshoes, there was a seemingly never ending line of attention diverting content the best of which was Poker.
Like a kind of Grand Theft Horsie, Red Dead Redemption is another open world free-roamer where the classic American west replaces 1980’s Miami (Vice City) or mid-nineties New York (Liberty City).
Once again the attention to detail spared by Rockstar pays off. Play is, fittingly, Texas Hold’ em and players can watch the others at the table for “tells” or access a helpful tutorial for novice poker players – a necessity as at one point the game’s main story depends on a winning hand.
For those that require it, an “elegant suit” can be unlocked by defeating all their poker opponents or by initiating a game of poker, allowing players to cheat while wearing it.