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Game Within a Game

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Like a Show Within a Show, this is a videogame machine or console that exists (in-universe) inside a Video Game and which the player may play to start a Mini-Game, therefore it's a Sub-Trope of the latter.

The distinction between this and minigaming in general is that most minigames depict otherwise "real world" tasks (like chopping wood, fishing, or racing giant birds) tailored to the particular setting. Here, the minigame is an actual game that exists within the character's world, usually with no relevance to the surrounding plot (though this is not a requirement).

Sometimes the game is an Embedded Precursor (see that page for such examples), an older unrelated game, or a poorly disguised copy of a well-known existing game.

May overlap with Unexpected Gameplay Change and Bonus Stage. Compare Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer, depending on which one the player finds more engrossing. Or Betting Minigame where the game in question is used to farm in-game money. Or Embedded Precursor, when the game within the game is an earlier game in the series. See also Fictional Video Game and Backwards Compatibility (AKA Console Within a Console).


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  • The gameplay and goal of Billy la Banlieue consists in the player character going around the city of Paris looking for arcade machines to play, including Space Invaders and Arkanoid.
  • In ANNO: Mutationem, Ann can play an arcade version of Pong in some areas. Getting a high score will earn an achievement.
  • An Untitled Story has a computer and several arcade cabinets with mini-games that you can access by buying them for your house from the store in Sky Town.
  • Eastward: There's a playable Dragon Quest I-esque game titled EarthBorn, which gives the player seven in-game days to gain enough levels before having to fight the Demon King. The second run requires having to gain enough experience and defeat the king's four generals before time is up.
  • In La-Mulana (original version), by equipping certain ROM combinations with the MSX2, you can play PR3 and Mukimuki SD: Memorial. The former is a parody of Parodius for the MSX, and getting a certain score in it is required to progress at a certain point of Hell Temple. The other begins sort of like Tokimeki Memorial, but then drops its Dating Sim mask and turns into a variation of the "Snatcher Headhunter" game mentioned below.
  • The Nintendo Wii version of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings has the LucasArts adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis as an (easy) unlockable. Staff of Kings was apparently bad enough and Fate of Atlantis (before it was put on Steam a month or so latter) rare/good enough for someone to make a replacement cover for Staff of Kings that makes the box look like a Wii version of Fate of Atlantis see here.
  • The 'Raising Hell' expansion pack of Overlord has a section where you have to play miniature golf, and then Break-Out, with a fat halfling as the ball in both cases. The first is annoying, but the second is hilarious.
  • Pac-Man World 2 features an arcade with unlockable classic pac man games in it.
  • The Warriors had a Final Fight or Double Dragon like Beat 'em Up called Armies of the Night.

    Adventure Game 
  • Most Humongous Entertainment games would have at least one. Occasionally they would even factor into the plot.
  • In the Point-and-Click room-escape Lights, you have to complete a handheld LCD game about chicks crossing bridges to get a code.
  • Otaku's Adventure, a wacky comical adventure game, has two:
    • One is a simple horizontal shmup featuring a flying cat as an app on the player character's phone. Completing it nets an achievement.
    • The other is plot-relevant. To get the girl in the arcade to notice you, you have to beat her at a game of Pong, however she's pretty much unbeatable unless you buy the game's strategy guide at the convenience store. Having an entire strategy guide dedicated to Pong sounds absurd, but the whole game is just silly like that.
  • The Adventures of Willy Beamish has Willy training for the Nintari championships using a game called Monster Squad. In the PC version, it's a cutscene of a platformer, but in the Sega CD version, it's a playable Space Invaders clone (and the Nintari looks like a Game Gear).
  • Day of the Tentacle: Weird Ed has a computer in his room. Bernard can play the original Maniac Mansion on it.
  • The player character in The Dig had a PDA that functioned mainly as a way to communicate with other characters, but also had Lunar Lander installed on there. He'd even grumble about not beating another character's high score.
  • In LEGO Dimensions, objects called Arcade Docks can be found in various levels. If the Gamer Kid's arcade machine gadget is used on one, it'll grant you access to one of 23 different Midway Arcade gamesSpecifically... .
    • The former's even aware that he's in a video game and acknowledges that the Midway Arcade World is essentially a world based on and comprised of several video games is inside a video game.
  • In a couple of the Nancy Drew games, Nancy has to access a suspect's computer by solving or scoring points in their laptop's casual games. The Game Within a Game boasts a lower resolution than the rest of the ND game, presumably so it's obvious that this trope is in effect.
  • Night in the Woods has Demontower, an isometric dungeon crawler featuring "The Palecat" on a quest to scale the aforementioned Demontower as her health drops from level to level.
  • Obsidian has three:
    • The "Play a Game" category on the computer terminals in the Bureau Realm, which includes a 20Q-style minigame, and a plot-relevant anagram game.
    • The "Productivity" vidbot, also from the Bureau Realm, containing a sideways, double-breakdown game.
    • The Piazza sequence from the Bismuth Realm, complete with a board-sized version for tutorial. You have to replay this game elsewhere to access the final dream world.
  • Police Quest IV: Open Season has "Stroids", an Asteroids clone, as an arcade machine at the Short Stop Bar.
  • Astro Chicken and Ms. Astro Chicken in the Space Quest series.
    • In Space Quest III, the Astro Chicken game actually serves a plot point. In Space Quest IV, the Ms Astro Chicken game is just there for fun.
    • Space Quest V includes a space-based Battleships variant. You get to play it about halfway through the game at the Spacebar when Captain Quirk challenges Roger to a game of Battle Cruiser. You can win or lose, it doesn't affect the plot, it's just one of the game's many last lousy points.
    • In Space Quest VI winning a game of Stooge Fighter is required to progress. Most of the game up to that point is spent acquiring enough resources so you can successfully cheat your way to victory; your opponent is unbeatable without doing so.
    • The Fan Remake of Space Quest II has an enhanced remake of Troll's Tale, one of Al Lowe's earliest games, on Vohaul's ship that Roger can play as an irrelevant side quest.
  • The Funmachine in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People plays a different game in every episode. It occasionally even factors into the plot.
    • "Homestar Ruiner" has Snake Boxer 5, a parody of Atari Boxing where you fight a procession of increasingly aggressive snakes.
    • "Strong Badia the Free" has Math Kickers featuring the Algebros, a parody of edutainment games where you fight ninjas by making both sides equal.
    • "Baddest of the Bands" has Limozeen's Hot Babelien Odyssey, a game based on Defender where you pilot the flying space-bus from Limozeen: But They're In Space! to rescue "babe-liens" from the clutches of Nebulon and Mitch Overlord. Strong Bad tries playing the game at the start of the episode when his Funmachine breaks down.
    • "Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective" has Space Circus Catastrophe, a game reminiscent of the Space Mountain minigame in Adventures In The Magic Kingdom where you shoot clowns, dodge giant circus food, and rescue the other performers. Strong Bad uses it to simulate a space mission to the Sun.
    • "8-Bit is Enough" has Gel-Arsie's Pro Fruit Boarder, a skateboarding game starring the gelatin version of Marshie the Marshmallow ("Say it with me, the Cheat: Licensed games are never good!"), and part of the episode involves activating the game's "kill screen" so you can recruit Gel-Arshie. Completing the episode unlocks Trogdor's 3D-Ungeon, where you play as Ultimate Trogdor and try to burninate as many peasants as you can while avoiding getting "sworded" by Strong Bad.
  • In An Aspie Life, Shoot Man is found at the arcade, and an SNES style console plays games like CR Drive.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Dear My Friends had three unlockable minigames.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • The entirety of 198X, in general. You're a lonely teen in the 1980s, and wanders into an arcade where you get to experience a bunch of games within the game, from a Final Fight-inspired smackdown to a Horizontal Scrolling Shooter where you pilot a spaceship and a text-based RPG.
  • Bayonetta has "Angel Attack!", a shooting gallery game that Bayonetta can play between chapters, aiming at targets to earn points to get things like Lollipops and other Power Ups. By collecting Arcade Bullets during the actual chapter, you earn more shots in the game.
  • Dynamite Deka included the old Sega Arcade Game Deep Scan, points from which could win more credits to play the main game. Dynamite Deka 2 did the same thing with Tranquilizer Gun, another old Sega arcade game. The PlayStation 2 remake of the original game substituted a simulation of the electromechanical game Periscope, the first coin-operated game Sega ever made.

  • Brain Age 2 contained Virus/Germ Buster, a touch-based remake of Dr. Mario. Brain Age: Concentration Training added Blob Blast, a touch-based remake of Wario's Woods (NES).


    First Person Shooter 
  • An interesting case, which may also be an example of Mythology Gag: Black Mesa ran a contest in 2006 to let the community design the monitors scattered around the facility. One of the winners is the title screen of the original Half-Life. (Another one is Counter-Strike.)
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops you can play a very old text-only adventure game Zork I on a terminal on the main menu screen as an Easter Egg.
    • In Call of Duty: Black Ops II, if you shoot off all the mannequin heads in Nuketown 2025, you can play old Activision games like Pitfall 2 or Kaboom!
  • The mid-90s Amiga FPS Gloom had an arcade machine on which a Defender clone could be played for one extra life.
  • The Deus Ex mod The Nameless Mod included several minigames, like Tetris and Breakout, that you could play on in-game computers.
  • DOOM (2016) has two instances of this, with Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3 making a return and a Bejeweled clone using sprites from the original game.
  • Doom³:
    • The original game includes an arcade game title Super Turbo Turkey Puncher 3 where you punch lots of turkeys. Getting a high score earns you an achievement.
    • One enterprising modder took it a bit further with Terminal DOOM, which ports the original game's engine to the Doom 3 terminals.
  • Subverted in Duke Nukem 3D: Upon confronting a Duke Nukem II arcade machine, Duke simply says, "Hmmm, don't have time to play with myself." This joke is referenced in DUSK, which features several computers displaying the player's first person perspective. Interacting with these computers causes the player to make a similar remark to Duke.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, one of the computers has a text adventure game called "Reign of Grelok" on it that you can play.
    • Fallout 4 has several holotape games that you can play on most hacked computer terminals as well as your Pip-Boy and your real-world smartphone with the Pip-Boy app. Included are Space Invaders, Missile Command, Donkey Kong, and Pitfall! expies, and a Grognak the Barbarian text-based RPG. The Automatron DLC adds a Robotron: 2084 clone.
  • Homefront: The Revolution has a hidden arcade cabinet in one of the levels, which when activated will launch a fully functional port of TimeSplitters 2. Only the first two levels are playable by default, but a Cheat Code to unlock the complete game was eventually discovered.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 has the sideshows in Dark Carnival. The Peanut Gallery, which is a shooting gallery (and unlocks the box with Gnome Chompski for an Achievement). There's Stache Whacker (a Whack-A-Mole game which, when beaten, would break the machine, spew winner tickets, and alert the horde as it dings happily). And there's the Strength Test which, when hit correctly, would knock the bell clean out and alert the horde. This one is also achievement-worthy.
  • In Prey (2006), the bar where the game starts features a playable video poker machine and an arcade game loosely based on Pac-Man. Later on the player can stumble across the video poker machine on the alien space ship with the minor change that you can win every single round because the game will always deal the best possible hand based on whatever cards you've held.
  • Serious Sam 4 includes a side mission where the player sits at a computer and plays through a fantasy themed text based adventure.
  • In System Shock, the PC finds data cubes in Cyberspace containing useful programs and games, which you can play in your interface, including Ping, Eel Zapper, Wing 0, 15 and BotBounce. In System Shock 2, the GamePig Entertainment Device is an MFD Game Player that can run games from memory sticks found around the Von Braun, or you can hack it to access all the games at once: Corporate Swine, Golf, OverWorld Zero, Swine Hunter, Swinekeeper, Street Hog, and Tic-Tac-Triop.
  • TimeSplitters 2 had three games that could be found (via cartridges hidden in levels in story mode) that could be accessed by pressing the reload button with the Temporal Uplink out.
  • A Mythology Gag version shows up in TRON 2.0. In the opening scene, the protagonist is shown playing the TRON arcade game. Explained in-universe as Flynn making a game based on his adventures down the digital rabbit hole (like much of the game,the same explanation got recycled into TRON: Legacy).
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has Wolfstone 3D, a Perspective Flipped version of the original Wolfenstein 3-D: instead of playing as William Blazkowicz fighting his way through Nazis to kill Hitler, players take on the role of a Nazi soldier fighting past rebels to kill "Terror Billy".

    Hack and Slash 
  • Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox has an arcade machine that can play the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy, if you can find the cartridges, that is. The Updated Re-release also includes the original arcade game.

    Idle Game 
  • The Communitree: Giftcode Hunter is a text adventure purchasable for 1e188 gift points, where you have to type in commands suggested by the game to progress the story about finding more giftcodes and ultimately finishing the section.

  • EverQuest had "Gems" — a Bejeweled knockoff to pass the time while meditating/healing/looking for group.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has, among the myriad attractions at the Manderville Gold Saucer, Lord of Verminion, a Real-Time Strategy minigame loosely based on Lord of Vermilion where players use their collected minions as game pieces as they attempt to take their opponent's base.
  • Guild Wars 2 has the limited-time event "Super Adventure Box", a homage to both Nintendo's golden days and their modern descendants.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 is a game that can say that it features itself as a Game Within a Game. What sets this apart from other, similar examples is that the game co-exists with the universe that the real game is set in. The in-story version is almost identical to the real thing, but the in-story version is developed by the Nebulous Evil Organization Mother Cluster to spy on the Parallel Universe that the Player Character and ARKS resides in. The avatars that players make in the game manifest as Ether constructs in the ARKS dimension, and depending on the Ether potential of the user, it's possible for Earthlings to "dive" into their avatar and experience the game through them, or outright use Phantasy Star Online 2 as an interdimensional portal to send themselves to the other dimension.
  • A large chunk of RuneScape's content consists of minigames, of which here are over 60.
  • World of Warcraft has the various games of the Darkmoon Faire, with such classics as Whack-a-Gnoll, Tonk Commander, race courses with four different vehicles, and a shooting gallery. Playing the games awards no gold or XP, but instead a selection of single-use toys and tickets for prizes. Given the selection of mounts, cosmetic armor, and toys available players may spend a lot of time at the Faire when it's open.
    • Cataclysm introduced the Peacebloom Vs Ghouls quest chain. Once completed it unlocks a daily quest to play the game again for gold.
    • Legion introduced two toys which allow the player to play a mini-game. Jewelcraft is, unsurprisingly, a Bejeweled clone whose only reward is an achievement for getting enough points. The Blingtron Circuit Tutorial is an alleged Hacking Minigame where you have to uncross all the lines connecting a series of fixed points; it also awards only an achievement.

    Platform Game 
  • In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, you can go to Klungo's Arcade and play his masterpiece, "Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh World", an eight-bit Self Insert platformer where the entire control system is a single button. And it regularly crashes, prompting Klungo to appear and reboot it for you. A later DLC pack unlocked the sequel: "Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh Universsse", which added a gun to Klungo's arsenal.
  • In several of the Commander Keen games, the player can play "Paddle War", a Pong clone, on the player's ComputerWrist.
  • Donkey Kong 64 has two minigames to obtain the Rareware and the Nintendo Coins. Cranky offers you Jetpac as a example of the good past times in videogames. The other game is the original Donkey Kong game, in a Arcade placed in one of the levels. These are not optional, however; you have to play through both of these Nintendo Hard games to get into the room that unlocks the final boss fight.
  • In Duck Dodgers Starring Daffy Duck, A Pong-like game can be played against an AI opponent in the arcade in Downtown Landing.
  • In Ganbare Goemon: Legend of the Mystical Ninja, the Konami theme park level has an attraction that lets you play the first level of Gradius.
  • Hero 3D in Iji is accessed from an in-game computer terminal.
  • The Mega Man (Classic)-esque free platformer Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls features "Cakeboy", a simple platformer with NES-inspired graphics that can be played on the console at the protagonist's home. It actually gives you a Steam achievement and an item that is needed for 100% Completion if you beat enough levels.
  • In Mega Man ZX, there's an arcade in the city where Vent/Aile can play some minigames.
  • In the Hub Level of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, there are several arcade machines that can only be played with a sufficient amount of the corresponding fruit. There's a bit of Fridge Logic when you see that said hub is Pac's high school — wouldn't the staff worry about students getting distracted in the halls?
  • Pitfall: The Lost Expedition had both the original Pitfall! (also included in Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle) and Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns as bonuses.
  • Ratchet & Clank:
  • Sonic Generations has a Sega Genesis in the hub for Green Hill Zone that lets you play the original Sonic the Hedgehog, but you'll need to buy the controller for the Genesis from the Skill Shop first. You can also buy unlimited continues for it.
  • Zool had an arcade machine on one level that allowed the player to play a simplified version of Zool itself. The twist was that the machine was gigantic, requiring Zool to jump about on the huge buttons in order to control his own avatar.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Catherine has Rapunzel, an arcade game in the Stray Sheep with eerily similar mechanics to the nightmares but the time limit replaced with a movement limit. In fact, its similarity to the nightmares is why it was put there.
  • EXAPUNKS builds on the developer's experience with the aforementioned Shenzhen I/O and letting you make your own games and puts in an entire fictional game console to program, and unlike the former game, it is far more generous with the programming limitations. There are also a couple of in-universe games to play on other systems as well: a Russian solitaire game for your desktop and a Japanese arcade/puzzle game called Hack*match for another fictional console. The former is downloaded in one of the missions, while the latter is a gift from your neighbour, which she couldn't get to work due to the region locking on the console. You get it working anyway by bypassing the region locking in one of the game's puzzles. Custom games can be shared with other players by exporting them as an image of a cartridge.
  • Opus Magnum continues Shenzhen I/O's tradition of including a game and includes one called Sigmar's Garden, which in-universe is loosely based on the game's alchemy, with the goal of clearing the board of coloured balls. Your character isn't too keen on the liberties taken with the game's depiction of alchemy, given he does the real thing in the actual levels.
  • Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures features an arcade in both the countryside and the city. The arcade contains both the original Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The Sega Genesis version of the game replaces Ms. Pac-Man with a new game called Pac-Jr. (not to be confused with the Bally-Midway produced Jr. Pac-Man), since Ms. Pac-Man had already been released on the Genesis as a standalone game. Both Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Jr. require three cartridge pieces in order to play.
  • Safe Cracker has Minesweeper on an in-game computer.
  • SHENZHEN I/O gives you the tools to make one. Your colleagues encourage you to try your hand at it in prototyping mode (basically the equivalent of Sandbox Mode in other games). Given the limitations of the hardware you have to work with, it's easier said than done, though the game does provide a feature for making your own custom LCD for it. It also includes an in-universe solitaire game written by one of your colleagues' kids to play when you need a break from programming.
  • Try summoning an "ARCADE MACHINE" in Super Scribblenauts.

    Racing Game 
  • Project Gotham Racing 2 had Geometry Wars in it. Later PGR games have their own editions/sequels of Geometry Wars

    Real Time Strategy 
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty's Campaign Mode features an arcade machine with The Lost Vikings on it. Not that Lost Vikings though, it is a Space Shooter entirely made within the capabilities of the map editor.

    Role Playing Game 
  • NOYO-!, a JRPG heavily inspired by EarthBound, has a Famicom-esque console in the main character's room that lets you play a Space Invaders clone.
  • Anachronox has this in the form of game cartridges that can be played on a machine back in Boots' office.
  • Bug Fables: In Chapter 6, after the Ant and Termite Kingdoms reestablish relationships, a Termacade is opened in the Ant Kingdom, allowing Team Snakemouth to play two arcade games: "Flower Journey" (a clone of Flappy Bird) and "Mite Knight" (a 2.5D Maze Game). The player can earn tokens from the Termacade games that can be redeemed for prizes.
  • Club Penguin spy missions are all minigames anyway, but in one mission, an arcade game was yet another minigame, making it a game within a game within a game.
  • The .hack series revolves around The World, a fictional MMORPG that serves as the series's main setting.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII has the arcade games found in the Gold Saucer, some of which curiously parallel events that actually happen to your team. For example, there's a motorbike racing game, which uses the exact same graphics as an actual motorbike chase that your team goes through earlier in the game.
    • Final Fantasy XV has Justice Monsters Five and King's Knight: Wrath of the Dark Dragon, which turned into this trope when Square Enix released the game for iOS and Android devices in several regions.
  • Genshin Impact version 3.3 introduces Genius Invokation TCG, an in-universe Card Battle Game which can be played against either in-game characters or other real-life players.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails has "Pom-Pom Party" which is a mostly similar to Puyo Puyo. Though, finding and beating each opponent grants special items.
  • "Captain Square" in Live A Live is an interesting twist - it's ostensibly an arcade game, but it plays exactly the same as normal battles do. There are, however, no normal battles in the same chapter that take place outside it. The Odio counterpart for that chapter is even fought using the game as a medium, since destroying its physical form would doom the entire ship.
  • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance, you get trapped in Murderworld for one level. During said level you get to play games like Pitfall and Breakout.
  • Mass Effect 3 features an arcade in the "Citadel" DLC with a slew of playable games, including a crane game, "Shattered Eezo" (a rudimentary fighting game), and "Relay Defense" (a mix of Whack-a-Mole and tower defense games). There is also a virtual reality Monster Arena where you can fight enemies you've encountered in the game (or even yourself) with any of your squadmates, including a few who aren't even selectable teammates in normal gameplay in 3.
  • Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is a 1997 game about a boy who plays a new RPG called Moon and gets dragged into its virtual world. This also makes it an early example of an Isekai.
  • SD Snatcher features "Snatcher Headhunter", a Whack-A-Mole arcade game, which needs to be played for Plot Coupons.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the arcade in Asakusa has a Manikin kid who dares you to complete all twenty levels of Puzzle Boy (a Game Boy version of which was the first game ever published by Atlus).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Tales of...
    • Tales of the Abyss had the classic first generation side-scroller Dragon Buster as an unlockable bonus.
    • In Tales of Vesperia, the player can engage in an arcade game on Nam Cobanda Isle called "Tales of Draspi."
  • Tokyo Xanadu contains several playable side-games at the arcade, featuring characters from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.
  • Ultima references the game Ultima V as a poster in Ultima VI, and posters in Ultima Underworld II reference previous Ultima games. Ultima VII's intro shows The Avatar playing a "normal" Ultima VII game that becomes possessed by The Guardian. In Ultima VII, Ultima VIII appears as a pirated game on an anachronistic computer. In Ultima IX, a preview of Ultima Online 2 is found on The Avatar's home PC.
  • Tin Pin Slammer in The World Ends with You. Another Day is all about that.
    • NEO: The World Ends with You has Tin Pin Slammer go out of style, but gets replacements in mobile games Elegant Strategy and FantasyGO. The former is played by Nagi to an almost unhealthy degree, while the latter is played extensively by Rindo and Shoka.
  • Tora in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 developed an 8-bit game in his house called 'Tiger! Tiger!', which you'll need to play a lot of if you want to finetune Poppi's capabilities. In it, you play as a Nopon salvager, evading or subduing obstacles to gather treasure chests and ether crystals before returning to the surface (and everything you gather in a winning run, you get to keep for use with the Poppiswap system). Apparently, some other people in Gormott (and even on other Titans!) have also played it themselves, and will tell you what their own high score is if you talk to them.
  • Xenosaga Episode III had HAKOX, an arcade game. The player is required to play it for a while at one point of the game for the main story to progress.
  • NASU (the most depressing game in the universe) for the NES in Yume Nikki.
    • The spin-off game -DREAM DIARY- introduces three more, Super NASU, Witch Adventure, and Ao Oni.

    Simulation Game 
  • Animal Crossing:
    • Animal Crossing (2001) on the GameCube contains an astonishing 19 fully-playable NES games. Each ROM is represented in game by dedicated NES consoles, and they are acquired through various methods:
      • Balloon Fight, Clu Clue Land, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Excitebike, Golf, Pinball, and Tennis can be obtained via Nook's Lottery, Redd, or buried by the town's denizens.
      • Wario's Woods and Baseball may be obtained as items on the island, accessed by linking with a Game Boy Advance.
      • Soccer, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3, Clu Clu Land D, and Punch-Out!! were only officially obtainable via promotional Nintendo giveaways, but may be acquired through their access codes or cheat devices.
      • Mario Bros. and Ice Climber are officially obtainable via e-Reader cards, but may also be acquired through cheating devices.
      • Super Mario Bros. was only unlockable in the Japanese version through a Famitsu giveaway. The Legend of Zelda is in the game's code, but was never officially released; both of these titles can be obtained through cheating devices.
    • An update to Animal Crossing: New Leaf added two minigames: Puzzle League, an Animal Crossing-themed version of Panel de Pon, and Desert Island Escape, a direct port of one of the minigames from amiibo Festival. Completing certain objectives in these minigames will net you some exclusive furniture, and you can even get a Lip costume from the former, wand included.
  • My Summer Car has games that can be played via a Mikropekka computer. For a full list of games see here.
    • The games cannot be played if the game is downloaded as a pirate version rather than downloading from the official Steam page.
    • The joke game Conan McGuinness Global Rally Grand Prix 95 released in April Fools 2021 cannot be played at all due to insufficient memory in the said computer. The menus are the only working part of the game. Attempting to play the game it crashes or freezes depending the graphics with the latter awards you with an mockery achievement.
  • Stardew Valley has two arcade games at the Stardrop Saloon. Journey of the Prairie King is a shoot-'em-up where you play a cowboy fighting off hordes of monsters (it also has a home version that you play with Abigail during one of her friendship events), and Junimo Kart is an Endless Running Game unlocked with the Skull Key found at the lowest level of the caves.
  • The Tokimeki Memorial series loves this trope:
    • The first game has a Twinbee Time Attack minigame.
    • The second game has Circus de Aimashou, a remake of Konami's old game Circus Charlie.
    • Tokimeki Memorial Pocket has a beatmania minigame.
    • Dancing Summer Vacation is built around the DanceDanceRevolution Tokimeki Mix minigame.
    • Several games of the series have original Shoot 'Em Up minigames such as Force Gear, Stardust Symphony EX and Psyth (in 1), Star Crusher (in Tabidachi no Uta), Space Ring Fighter and Melting Point (in 2), and Go-Driller (in Leaping School Festival).

    Sports Game 
  • If you work your number of strokes up past 100 in Arnold Palmer's Tournament Golf on Genesis, you unlock a short playable segment of Fantasy Zone.
  • Golf Story has Galf (no, that's not a typo), which is designed to replicate the look and feel of NES golf games. You have to find the game cartridge, and then show it to a particular NPC, who will then let you play it on his console. Like the main game itself, it's a golf game, but as an NES-like game it comes with many of the restrictions of NES-era games, such as only being allowed to shoot in 16 directions and the camera being stuck in an overhead view of the entire course until you get to the green. Fulfilling further sidequests will earn you Galf Seasons and Galf Nights, which are the same game but with different courses.
  • From Live Powerful Pro Baseball 3 on, Konami began inserting robust Visual Novel scenarios in their Baseball simulators. The Pocket spinoffs for Nintendo's portables then went further than that, as in many of them you could unlock a whole new story that had nothing to do with the main one and was either a Minesweeper game for Power Pro-kun Pocket 2 and Power Pro-kun Pocket 3, a JRPG, a roguelike or even a trading card game.

    Survival Horror 
  • The Evil Within 2 has a shooting gallery with two modes: A standard police shooting range and a Candy Crush variant.
  • Penumbra: Black Plague includes a shooter minigame in one of the PC's.
  • In Siren 2, there is Kunitoris (Country Tetris), a Famicom-style puzzle strategy game for the SN-AG1999 AGE MANIAC game system. In Siren: Blood Curse, there are the Game & Watch-style games Jackalopeman, Skyfish, and Tsuchinoko on the JOYLiNK Ultra Network King portable LCD game system.
  • In Ultimate Custom Night, Toy Freddy doesn't go after you, preferring to play Five Nights at Mr. Hugs. There are three possible doors that Mr. Hugs might be at, and only one can be closed at a time. This is important, because Toy Freddy is an absolutely terrible gamer, so you have to watch out for Mr. Hugs for him. If he gets jumpscared, he'll leave to jumpscare you, and there's nothing you can do to stop him.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Jet Force Gemini has at least one instance of this in one of the later levels, involving an arcade machine where you play a top-down racer against the AI. Tokens are even necessary to play it.
  • Second Sight had two games (which could be played on the PDA/Pause Menu), one found as a cartridge and another by playing on an arcade machine.
  • Splatoon:
    • Splatoon features an 8-bit minigame called "Squid Jump" (wherein you make a squid... jump) that you can play while waiting between matches or on an arcade machine in the Hub World. Completing amiibo challenges unlocks three additional minigames: "Squid Racer", a top-down racing game; "Squid Beatz", a simple rhythm game; and "Squid Ball", a bizarre mix of volleyball and bowling.
    • Splatoon 2 only features one minigame in the form of "Squid Beatz 2", a Taiko no Tatsujin-style rhythm game that doubles as a sound test. Songs from the first game can also be unlocked via amiibo.
    • Splatoon 3 has Table Turf Battle, a competitive Card Battle Game where each player uses decks of cards to emulate Turf War battles.
  • In Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Nathan attempts to beat Elena's high score on Crash Bandicoot, specifically, the Boulders level. You later replay the game during the epilogue as Nate and Elena's teenage daughter.
  • The Xbox 360 version of Ghostbusters: The Video Game allows the player to play Q*bert. It's one of the arcade machines at the firehouse.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Bully had several with names like "Nut Shots", "Monkey Fling", "Consumo" and "Future Street Race". The last one also has a more modern 3D version available to play in-game.
  • In Goat Simulator, there is Flappy Goat, Drug Wars, Box Pusher, and Snake, playable on a flat screen TV.
  • Grand Theft Auto Online has arcades which the player can buy playable arcade games for. They can range from a Blaster Master clone game like Invade and Persuade II to a Castlevania clone game like Wizard's Ruin to even the trilogy of ''Race'N'Chase'' racing series based in Hang On and OutRun.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas had clones of Tempest, Asteroids and Defender (Go Go Space Monkey, Let's Get Ready to Bumble, Duality, and They Crawled from Uranus). You could also play billiards at one of the local bars.
  • No More Heroes:
    • In the first game; whilst travelling via train during one of his missions, Travis pulls out a hand-held console and starts playing Pure White Tiny Giant Glastonbury (which itself is a spin-off of a fictional anime Travis is obsessed with). Once the game is complete, the mission continues and the game is unlocked at his home for future playing.
    • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle has "Bizzare Jelly 5", a spin-off of the anime, that you can play from the start of the game.
    • No More Heroes III features Deathman, a faux-8-bit beat-em-up. Two segments of the game are played through in the main story, once in the prologue and again after the #2 rank battle. The full game itself can be unlocked.
  • You can go into the main character's crib in Saints Row 2 and play a console video game called Zombie Invasion.
  • Shenmue had Space Harrier and Hang-On in it. Shenmue II had those two with After Burner II and OutRun.
  • The Yakuza series being a Spiritual Successor of sorts to Shenmue, this trope had to kick in eventually. Aside from fully playable games of shogi, mahjong and assorted Japanese games of chance, there's:

  • The Israeli video game Tchachei Harating has a couple of arcade consoles in the lower floor of the hotel, where you can play, for instance, a karate fighting game.
  • In Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events for the Game Boy Advance, an arcade machine is located in the town of Lake Lachrymose. Playing it gives you the 'Handsome Man' video game, where you turn sad faces into happy faces. A rain cloud always comes along and changes them back though; you cannot win the game and all the happy faces will eventually be sad again.
  • Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time contains a maze game hidden in an activity center filled with references to Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  • Presentable Liberty features the "Doctor Money Portable Entertainment Product" that can run up to five different minigames. Most of them are intentionally bad, but they help pass the time between story segments. Finishing them nets you medals to hang on your cell wall.
  • Activision's Battle Zone 1998 1998 and Space Invaders 1999 both imply the original games serve as interfaces within the more modern looking vehicles/space craft.
  • WarioWare is a game series about a game company making large quantities of "microgames" (Shovelware). There are some original games, and many ports, knockoffs and sub-par clones of other games by Nintendo during the NES era, especially Super Mario Bros.. The "Fly Swatter" game from the SNES Mario Paint is also included, and, in Mega Microgame$!, there's even a bootleg-themed Dr. Mario clone labelled Dr. Wario. In WarioWare Twisted, the last minigame you can unlock is WarioWare Twisted itself... which just resets the game with a Wario-themed variation on the GBA startup screen. Meanwhile, in WarioWare Gold, you can unlock viewable models of various 3DS systems, and even turn them on and play a selection of microgames by tapping the on-screen A button.
  • SeGaGaGa (SGGG) is a Sega Dreamcast RPG about running a game development studio. The game development and publishing simulation aspects feature Sega games being sold to the public to gain greater market share. The RPG portions appear to be game aspects coming to life within the office environment.
  • Final Deployment 4: Queen Battle Walkthrough features multiple games within games, as each character makes their own video game walkthrough.
  • The Interactive Fiction series of Unnkulian Unventures games went meta in its final installment, The Legend Lives! The original games which focused on a medieval world were revealed to be an in-universe game series which, much like the actual series, never had a full third installment. A major plot point is that the player character has obtained the only copy of an incomplete build of the third game which must eventually be played in-game.
  • 198X can be described as an interactive movie, that is half voiced cutscenes and half minigames that represent the arcade games the protagonist is playing and which are somewhat related to what he is facing in his life at that moment. These minigames are inspired by popular genres and titles from the 80s, in order of appearance: Beating Heart (a beat-'em-up a la Streets of Rage), Out of the Void (a horizontal shoot-'em-up), The Runaway (racing game a la OutRun), Shadowplay (a platformer) and Kill Screen (a first-person dungeon crawler).
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: Monokuma's second motive is a game called Twilight Syndrome Murder Mystery (apparently based on a popular in-universe game series). The game is a short one where several girls discuss two murders that happened in school. Hajime is unsure how it counts as a motive. He only played one part of the game. The full game is a motive directly targeting Fuyuhiko, and recounts an incident that occurred at Hope's Peak; Fuyuhiko's little sister Natsumi bullied Mahiru. One of Mahiru's friends killed Natsumi for it. Fuyuhiko killed the actual culprit, but the game reveals that Mahiru had taken pictures of the culprit but refused to turn her in, which turns Fuyuhiko against her.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gameception


Splatoon - Squid Jump

Interacting with this arcade machine in Inkopolis Plaza allows you to play a retro-styled minigame called Squid Jump.

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Main / GameWithinAGame

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