Grand Theft Auto V has proven to be Rockstar’s most profitable endeavor, selling 20 million units in 2020 alone –– seven years after its initial release. There are ultimately many reasons for its popularity –– including that it builds on a rock-solid foundation of prior GTA installments –– but it’s the depth of the game that stands out to a lot of players. There are simply unlimited things to do in GTA V, and among the most consistently amusing are the mini-games. Simply put, few games of this nature boast so many side activities for players to enjoy.
In this piece, we want to look at some of the best of them.
Head to Michael’s house in the game and you’ll find a tennis court where you can play a match either for fun or for money. It might not be fair to compare this mini-game with standalone console tennis titles like Top Spin or First Person Tennis, but it does actually offer fairly complete mechanics; you can even try different types of shots, like lobs or ground strokes with heavy backspin. Plus, as an added perk, playing a bit of tennis increases your character’s strength.
One could argue that Rockstar more or less perfected in-game hunting in its other most prominent title, Red Dead Redemption 2. In that game, hunting is an intricate process wherein you track, study, and bait animals, all in the service of gathering resources. The GTA V experience isn’t quite as in-depth (nor as necessary to the game), but you do have the option of exploring the wilder areas around the town of Los Santos. You’ll monitor the wind direction, and use an elk call to attract and hunt animals. Just remember to stay alert for mountain lion attacks.
For a simpler mini-game experience, you can start up a round of darts at some of the local bars in Dukes and Algonquin. In order to aim, you’ll have to direct an oscillating crosshair that can be made steady once per round (not unlike how you can hold your breath to steady aim in some shooter games). There’s not a whole lot to it, but it’s a fun side activity and makes for a nice change of pace after a stretch of wreaking havoc.
There are actually several mini-games to enjoy within the game’s Diamond Casino, including roulette and blackjack. But poker stands out as the most engaging as the bunch –– with the somewhat unusual caveat that this is not (as one might assume it would be) Texas Hold’em. Rather, the Diamond Casino hosts 3-card poker, which is a style in which the player must place a bet and then receive three cards (face down). At this point, depending on the strength of those cards, the player can either fold or double the entry bet –– winning it if the three cards are stronger than those of the dealer. It’s a slightly different style than some are used to, but it makes it easy to play a lot of hands in succession, almost the way you might at the blackjack tables.
The Diamond Casino is also home to the Inside Track computerized betting system, which allows visitors to bet on horse racing. The graphics of the actual races leave something to be desired (they don’t appear to have been a top priority) –– though they are still an improvement on the visuals of the similar horse racing activity from GTA: San Andreas. Ultimately it’s another fun diversion from the main game, particularly when you’re betting against other players.
While we wouldn’t think of stock trading in the real world as a “game,” it functions essentially as a somewhat underrated mini-game (or at least side activity) in GTA V. Essentially, you can purchase stocks on the markets through your in-game phone’s browser. As is the case in real life, the goal is simply to buy assets at a low price and sell them when their value increases. To make this all more fun though, you can also manipulate the markets through a number of missions, such that your actions in the game alter the value of companies according to your plans.
These are not the only mini-games and side activities that are worth your time in GTA V. But they certainly speak to how much fun there is to be had on the fringes of this beloved game. Even if you’re among the fans who have been exploring the game for the better part of a decade, you might still find something new to enjoy if you haven’t spent much time with these activities yet.
Thanks for reading, and if you want to more news on this and other Rockstar releases, return soon to our gaming section for more articles like this.