Don't hate the miniplayer....
December 27, 2008 7:58 PM   Subscribe

What was the first video game to include minigames?

Inspired by this post I found an old favorite game, Alley Cat. It's a simple, old game based on a series of minigames. Is it, I wonder, the first instance of minigames in a video game? The Wikipedia article is not overly helpful, as the earliest instance it notes is Defender of the Crown (1986), whereas Alley Cat is dated 1983. Can you help me with this pressing issue?
posted by HeroZero to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not sure if they qualify as containing minigames the way you mean, but the first to come to my mind are Tron and Gorf.
posted by rhizome at 8:28 PM on December 27, 2008

Hm. I remember playing a text adventure game in the 80s that had another text adventure game inside of it. I think.
posted by bingo at 8:30 PM on December 27, 2008

The first one that came to my attention was Archon - 1983.

It was chess... with minigames...
posted by jkaczor at 9:30 PM on December 27, 2008

The first video game I personally saw that had minigames was probably Gorf from 1981. "Gameplay is broken up into five distinct "missions", each one essentially a minigame in its own right."
posted by NortonDC at 9:34 PM on December 27, 2008

The first "true" minigame I can think of is the teeny version of breakout that you could play during one (loading?) sequence of Major Havoc from 1983. see here
posted by dylanjames at 10:42 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beach-head, also 83, was esentially a series of mini-games.
posted by Artw at 11:53 PM on December 27, 2008

I was just going to mention Major Havoc.
posted by johngoren at 12:09 AM on December 28, 2008

Lazy Jones (1984, C64) was constructed almost entirely from minigames and is playable online. As you mention, most Cinemaware games were effectively minigames.
posted by davemee at 3:08 AM on December 28, 2008

My supervisor and his twin brother programmed Questron and Legend of Blacksilver back in the day. I remember having several discussions with him that Questron (1984) was the first RGP game to have mini-games included in the quest.
posted by bleucube at 6:13 AM on December 28, 2008

Combat for the Atari 2600 came out in 1977, although from memory it was more a collection of small games with a common military theme than a series of minigames linked together by a single main game, like Alley Cat. Air-Sea Battle was similar.

ET (1982) was sort of a collection of minigames, like levitating out of the many pits in the forest and collecting chocolates and getting ET's neck to extend at appropriate times. Man, I still have trouble believing how sucky that game was.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:26 AM on December 28, 2008

Response by poster: Gosh, many interesting answers. Ultimately, I guess it comes down to a semantic argument: is there a line between "a collection of minigames" and "a game that involves several different tasks?" Thanks, all!

(Lazy Jones is super silly. Love it!)
posted by HeroZero at 8:56 AM on December 28, 2008

The earliest that I can think of is commander keen 4 had pong built into keen's computer/watch.
posted by valadil at 9:09 AM on December 28, 2008

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