Basic examples of the types of mini-games the patent is referring to are limiting the number of lives or amount of health players have when fighting a boss.
Put as simply as possible, "The present disclosure is related to video game emulation. Among other things, this application describes a method and apparatus for emulating a video game that includes generating snapshots that can be used for incorporating new content into the emulated video games."
While it's unclear what Sony would do if granted the patent, it should be reiterated that this deals with cloud-based game streaming. The patent was originally filed on June 29, 2012, just prior to the company's announcement of its acquisition of cloud gaming service Gaikai. Sony has announced it will make use of Gaikai on PlayStation 4 -- including the ability to stream PS3 games to the system, a feature purportedly coming this year -- but it has never given any indication it planned to do more with it than stream games as they already exist.
It's already been suggested this patent could allow for Sony to release games in the style of NES Remix, which offers twists on levels from classic NES games like Donkey Kong, Excitebike, and Super Mario Bros. Do you have any theories or hopes for what we'll see from Sony involving this patent, if anything? Let us know in the comments below.