A list of video games Inside Other video games

A list of video games Inside Other video games

Points Highlighted:

  • In an age where companies have wised up and realised gamers will actually pay separately for these old games in non-physical form, it’s far less common these days — you’re more likely to find 2D classics bundled into a collection or as part of a value-add ‘service’ such as Nintendo Switch Online — but in the past we’ve seen some rather generous examples of games within games, and we’ve rounded up some of the best examples of unlockable original games ‘hidden’ in other titles on Nintendo systems.

  • Not long after the arrival of polygons on the video gaming scene, many developers began placing ‘Easter Eggs’ in their big 3D games that contained references to their older 2D work and even included entire games on occasion.

Obviously, we’ll be sticking to Nintendo games below, and we’ve omitted any compilations so you won’t find the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection (which included the Streets of Rage trilogy), for example. We’ve taken a couple of liberties in the name of fun, too — it’s all detailed in each entry. Complaints to the usual address.

MegaMan52
Found in: Animal Crossing (N64 / GameCube)

So, let’s take a look at some of the best ‘games within games’ you can find on Nintendo platforms, in no particular order…

Let’s start with the bleedin’ obvious one. Or ‘ones’. In the various versions of Animal Crossing (Forest in Japan) across N64 and GameCube, a whole bunch of Famicom/NES games were available to find and play, including Balloon Fight, Clu Clu Land, a host of Donkey Kongs, Excitebike, Golf, Tennis and Punch Out!!. Some were gifted by your animal pals, others were only obtainable via giveaway codes from Nintendo or through the use of the e-Reader GBA accessory. Yet others (such as Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda) aren’t accessible without using an Action Replay.

It’s not a huge collection, but in the days before Nintendo monetised its back catalogue via the Virtual Console, this was a treasure trove of retro goodness thrown in for ‘free’.

Donkey Kong (Arcade)
Donkey Kong (Arcade)Donkey Kong (Arcade)
PROFILE
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 31st Jul 1981 (USA)
Found in: Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64)

Located in Frantic Factory, Donkey Kong 64 was the only official way to play the original arcade version of Donkey Kong for many years until the Arcade Archives version appeared on Switch. DK64 also featured a double dose of retro goodness in the form of the Rareware classic Jetpac in Cranky’s Lab. Three games in one, then. Even with the expense of Nintendo’s cartridges versus Sony’s CDs, you can’t argue with value like that. Bananas!

Original arcade Star Wars games
Original arcade Star Wars games
Found in: Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (GameCube) Say what you like about the main game, but the included bonus games found on this second Rogue Squadron sequel from Factor 5 made it a must-own for any discerning Star Wars fan.

Accessed via unlocks or password, Rebel Strike includes the original Atari arcade coin-ops of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi to play on your GameCube. Throw in the included multiplayer version of Rogue Squadron II, too, and you’ve got an essential purchase, even if the game on the box is a bit rubbish. Star Wars Games – Every Star Wars Game On Nintendo Systems Ranked
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Found in: Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Wii)

The Staff of Kings released at the height of the ‘Wii waggle’ era and is hardly a classic, but it delivered a relatively satisfying one-two punch of globe-trotting cinematic action and derring-do that hit us squarely in the nostalgia chops. Perhaps the biggest nostalgia hit, though, came from the inclusion of point-and-click PC classic Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, complete with Wii pointer functionality. Accessible once you’d completed the first level having shot down four planes (or you can enter a cheat code if you’re one of those Cheater S. Cheatsons), it’s a fantastic bonus which more than makes us for any disappointment you might feel from the headline game.

Arcade Archives Gradius (Switch eShop)
Arcade Archives Gradius (Switch eShop)Arcade Archives Gradius (Switch eShop)
PROFILE
Publisher: HAMSTER / Developer: Konami
Release Date: 9th Jul 2020 (USA) / 9th Jul 2020 (UK/EU)
Found in: The Legend of the Mystical Ninja (SNES) We’re stretching the definition of ‘full game’ well past breaking point here, as the Gradius mini-game in The Legend of Mystical Ninja on SNES is only the first level of the arcade classic. Still, playing that level on a huge Konami-branded monitor in the game’s Game Center is too fun for us not to include, so here it is!

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