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VG247's The Best Games Ever Podcast – Ep.3: Best game with a mini-game better than the main game

This one is going to cause some arguments. What defines a mini-game?

Hello, readers. The VG247 The Best Games Ever Podcast returns once more, with episode 3. This week we’re arguing (quite a lot, actually) over the best game with a mini-game better than the main game. This brought up some good choices, but also posed the eternal question: what defines a mini-game? Have a listen to see if you agree.

“What is VG247’s Best Games Ever Podcast?” you ask, with the child-like glee usually reserved for when you find some money down the back of the sofa or see that someone at work has brought doughnuts into the office. Here's the lowdown: Each week three of us must present our choice for the best game ever that fits the title of the show (this week it must be a game that we reckon is actually very good, but isn’t as good as a mini-game you can play in it). Then our host/judge, Jim Trinca, will use his limited wisdom to declare a winner and leave two of us with the hump.

Each episode of the Best Games Ever Podcast will be about 30 minutes long. Enough that you can zone out while also browsing Twitter on your phone for 5 minutes and not miss the whole thing, but not so long that you a week’s worth of commutes to get through it. Hopefully you can find room in your podcast-listening schedule for 30 minutes. If not, just cut Eurogamer’s - we won’t tell them. If you’ve cut Eurogamer’s already, I’m sure one of the identikit US shows can be disposed of.

That is it. Check out VG247's The Best Games Ever Podcast on Apple Podcasts and subscribe. Or listen on Spotify. It's even on YouTube if that's your thing. Please do let us know what you think of the show – and if this is your first time listening, do go back to listen to the previous episodes. They’re not topical in the least, so go wild.

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We’ve got some details on the show’s content below (if you want to get a refresher being heading to the comments to make a wonderful, considered post), so if you want to avoid spoilers, don’t scroll past this posing man (Support friends of VG247, People Make Games, on Patreon).

Chris Bratt giving a grave warning about spoilers.
Image credit: People Make Games

Best game with a mini-game better than the main game

This is the topic of Episode three of VG247’s Best Games Ever Podcast. Here’s a rundown of who picked what.

Tom – Burnout 2: Point of Impact

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This brilliant arcade racing game from 2002 set up Criterion as a true racing studio powerhouse. Not only is the core racing a big step up from the original, but it also has Crash mode. Tom (that’s me) insists this is a mini-game as it’s not the core part of the experience. Crash mode became a real fan favourite, and ended up being radically built upon in the third game, and even got its own full standalone game. It’s definitely a mini-game. No one can say otherwise.

Alex – Shenmue

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In many ways, Shenmue is Mini Game: The Game, where its slew of mini games and side activities are the glue that sticks the world together. Some might argue that makes it a bit of a cheap pick here, but I disagree, especially since there's one stand-out: Ryo's iconic stint as a forklift driver. The forklift driving mini game inexplicably features races around the boxy tracks formed by the Yokosuka docks, and is explained in-universe as a way of letting drivers blow off some steam between shifts. But, honestly, who expected a racing experience from some of the minds behind Daytona USA and Sega Rally to be buried in the middle of an adventure RPG? Perhaps that's why it's so memorable...

Kelsey – New Super Mario Bros.

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Renowned for being some fresh Mario fun, while remaining faithful to the franchise, New Super Mario Bros. boasts 26 mini games that offer a dozen more hours of fun than the base game does. Platforming between worlds was entertaining, but these mini-games appear to be the true host of fond memories for so many; 6-year-old Kelsey spent years comparing high scores with friends and still tries to beat them on her DS now. Most importantly, long after you tire of the base game, Luigi is always up for some poker, even 16 years on.

Let us know what game you’d pick and if you agree with Tom that Crash mode is a mini-game. If you like the podcast, please subscribe and leave a review saying how wonderful it is, and tell all your friends. Do a tweet about it if you fancy.

Come back in a week for another Best Game Ever. Next up we fight over the best game with a pub.

If you want more podcasts, you could do worse than checking out our friends at Rock Paper Shotgun who have the Electronic Wireless Show. Eurogamer has two shows (greedy!), Digital Foundry has DF Direct, Dicebreaker covers the world of tabletop gaming, and the Outside Xbox lot has Oxventure - A Dungeons & Dragons Podcast.

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