Weekly Video Games Thread Plays a Game Within a Game

Happy Monday, folks! Welcome to the Weekly Video Games Thread, Monday edition!

The day after our last Games Thread, I got to the Toy Story level of Kingdom Hearts III. It’s an exceptionally weird part of a game that’s pretty dang weird to start. There’s surprising celebrity guests and odd bits of level design, but the weirdest is the impromptu introduction of Verum Rex. It’s a fictional game set within the version of Toy Story that exists within Kingdom Hearts, a JRPG that’s thinly veiled version of the canceled Final Fantasy XIII Versus. The Toy Story characters think it’s the bee’s knees. You even get to warp into the game at one point as a genre-switching mini-game, and there’s some even wilder things that happen later in the story which I’ll leave to your imaginations.

You know what’s the craziest—okay, not the craziest, but still—thing about Verum Rex? It isn’t even Kingdom Hearts III‘s first game within a game! There’s also a playable series of Game & Watch-style LCD games that are pretty charming. And here’s my prompt: fictional video games that exist within the realm of our actual video games. I don’t necessarily mean that they have to be playable mini-games, though those are fun. They could just be a part of the broader story. And I think it’s fair to accept video game-esque devices, like the gachapon Trophy thing in Smash Bros. Melee. But I am thinking primarily of stuff like Pony Island or the “Gamer” mode of Game & Wario that use interactivity within interactivity.

While you’re thinking of any examples you’ve seen, how did your weekend go?