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I'm trying to curate a list of 'short session games' to bring back that 'fun factor' to gaming - while I somewhat enjoy the latest and greatest the majority are far too long and complex. If I dip into a game once every few months, quite often I've forgotten the commands for the various moves / actions or some required game mechanic which makes me feel I have to start over. 

 

These are the memorable games I've played, either in the arcades or on older consoles - but what other similar games have I missed? Something with simple mechanics that provide fun in a 10-15 minute gaming session, ideally there will be some element of challenge that'll require repeated playthroughs to 'get good'. 

 

Crazy Taxi (DC/Arcade)

Virtua Tennis (DC/Arcade)

Ridge Racer (PSP)

Geometry Wars (360) - although sessions can end up rather long!

Bomberman Live (360) - I played this online a lot when it was released, but last time I checked it was essentially 'dead'. 

Mario Strikers (GC/Wii) - it's pretty easy, but I find it great fun. 

Sega Rally (DC/PSP/Arcade)

Power Stone (DC/PSP)

SoulCalibur (DC)

Tetris (Gameboy) - another one with potentially very long sessions!

 

Forum recommendations: 

1080 Snowboarding (N64)

Excite Bike/Truck (N64/Wii)

Wave Race (N64)

F-Zero? (N64 - I played the SNES version a lot, but none since).

Hydro Thunder (N64/DC?)

Outrun 2006 (PS2/PSP/PC)

CvS2 (GC/DC)

Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)

Fantasy Zone (?)

Destruction Derby (PS1)

SSX Tricky (PS2)

Sin & Punishment (N64)

Blazing Chrome (?)

Puzzle Bobble - Caravan Mode (Switch)

Kung Fu Master (?)

Virtua Racer (Switch)

Parappa the Rapper (PS1)

Tekken 2 (PS1)

Emerald Mine (PC/Mac/Amiga)

Royal Envoy (iOS)

Bill and Ted's Excellent Gameboy Advanture (Gameboy)

Pop Up / Cool ball (Gameboy)

Downhill Domination (PS2)

Megumi Recue (Master System)

Ghost House (Master System)

Comical Machine Gun Joe (Master System)

Ghostbusters (Master System)

Outrun (Mega Drive)

Gain Ground (Mega Drive)

Gauntlet IV (Mega Drive)

Micro Machines (Mega Drive)

NBA Jam: TE (Mega Drive)

Sid Meier's Pirates! (Mega Drive)

Mario's Picross (Super Nintendo)

Pushover (Super Nintendo)

Ninja Warriors (Super Nintendo)

Space Harrier (?)

Cosmic Smash (DC)

Phantasy Star Online (?)

Pac-Man

Galaga

Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1)

Ghost in the Shell (PS1)

Earth Defence Force 2017 (360)

Earth Defence Force 4.1 (PS4)

Die Hard Arcade (?)

Dynamite Cop (?)

House of the Dead 2&3 (Wii)

Gunblade NY/LA Machineguns (Wii)

Ghost Squad (Wii)

Enduro Racer (Master System)

1942 (?)

R-Type (?)

Guitaroo Man (?)

House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii)

Daytona (DC)

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Lately I've been alternating between Outrun 2006 (PS2/PSP/PC) and CvS2 (GC/DC) for my short sessions - with Outrun you can complete an arcade mode session in a few minutes, but there are lots of things to unlock over time. Meanwhile, CvS2 lets you jump into some quick arcade mode fun, but you can get a lot of variety out of the roster and the grooves and the ratios. :) 

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Anything with a "Caravan Mode." I picked up Puzzle Bobble on the Switch last week and was thrilled to find it had a "Caravan Mode." Basically it's a five minute run where the game ends in strictly five minutes. The score you get is the high score. Perfect for really short runs.

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Two I've been playing recently:

 

Parappa the Rapper - can be completed in about half an hour and is great fun to dip back into to hear the songs again.

 

Tekken 2 - arcade mode is great for a quick 15 min blast. I'm trying to clear it on Normal with each character. I bail out after a few continues to avoid just brute forcing my way through it without learning the moves properly. Survival mode is even better - it's hard to last longer than a few minutes unless you're legit great at the game.

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Pretty much anything can be quick session with save states of course.

 

I'd nominate 2 game boy games where you can make progress in very little time.

 

Bill and Ted's Excellent Gameboy Adventure

A single screen level puzzle platformer.  Collect all the lost objects, avoid the enemies, get to the exit in time.  No more than 100 seconds a level, because if it is more than 100 seconds a level you've lost anyway.

image.png.9bb2250241314296105d4d036c615c2d.png

 

 

Pop Up (aka Cool ball)

Similar concept, a single screen level puzzle game where you direct a bouncing ball around to do exactly the same kind of thing, some of the items give you powers you need such as breaking through walls.

image.png.212c682fae4d8c143e7912ce9d945cd5.png

 

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I enjoyed Downhill Domination when I was testing out a couple of PS2s the other day. Very 90's tone but it's a nice arcadey racer, there's little bits of environmental drama and they're single top to bottom routes rather than looping circuts so tiny (I do mean tiny) feeling of narrative there.  Also, it's fun.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dudley said:

Pop Up (aka Cool ball)

Similar concept, a single screen level puzzle game where you direct a bouncing ball around to do exactly the same kind of thing, some of the items give you powers you need such as breaking through walls.

 

image.png.212c682fae4d8c143e7912ce9d945cd5.png

 

 

I used to play Bumpy’s Arcade Fantasy on Atari ST. Loved it and it still looks good now. Only just learned it was based off another older title called Bumpy (1989) and that the gameboy one (Pop Up) was given to infogrames by Loriciels (who made Bumpy) to make. 

 

 

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A few I turn to...

 

Master System

  • Megumi Rescue - a sort of breakout inspired game where you bounce off a trampoline to rescue people from a burning building. Very dark sense of humour. Designed for the Mark III paddle (a dial controller - I have one), but I believe there are conventional controller patches out there.
  • Ghost House - lovely little toybox of an action platformer with a 4 level loop. Lots of hidden play mechanics to discover, and an aesthetic that encapsulates the SMS for me.
  • Comical Machine Gun Joe - simple little Cabal style shooter with a cartoon gangster thing going on. The only Mark III Sega Card game that didn't get a release in the west, which is a shame, as it's a bit of a gem.
  • Ghostbusters - the David Crane one, and probably the best version on any platform. One playthrough is 10-15 minutes.

Mega Drive

  • Outrun - not a bad port at all (certainly the best of the Mega Drive Super Scaler ports), and much better looking with Pyron's Pallette Improvement patch.
  • Gain Ground - absolutely worth tinkering with. I'm not good enough to know how long it takes it from end to end, but this is a really great game once you get past its superficial ugliness, and it works well as a sort of sandbox.
  • Gauntlet IV (or just Gauntlet in Japan) - the first thing M2 ever did! It's an incredible port and has probably the best music on the Mega Drive, once you get past the clunky tunes ported from the arcade version. Not sure long the game is, but Gauntlet was never about winning.
  • Micro Machines series - great pick-up-and-play fun, particularly multiplayer.
  • NBA Jam: TE - he's on fire!
  • Sid Meier's Pirates! Gold - probably the best version of this on any platform. There's no real plot except what you make, and you can either be career driven or just float around having fun. Works really well for short bursts of buccaneering, although it can be hard to stop...

SNES

  • Mario's Picross - bitsize puzzle goodness with two thoroughly different sets of puzzles for Mario and Wario.
  • Pushover - yes, the Quavers one. Barebones port, but the puzzling is good, and you get a new password after each level.
  • Ninja Warriors (AKA Ninja Warriors Again) - pushing your time limit, but well worth repeatedly dabbling with as it has an absurdly rich moveset for a brawler. Sadly 1P only.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Soulstar said:

 

I used to play Bumpy’s Arcade Fantasy on Atari ST. Loved it and it still looks good now. Only just learned it was based off another older title called Bumpy (1989) and that the gameboy one (Pop Up) was given to infogrames by Loriciels (who made Bumpy) to make. 

 

 

 

Oh wow, I never knew that existed!

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An excellent and varied selection to try out - thank you! Quite a few of these titles I have never heard of before. 

 

I setup ReDream on my Switch yesterday and had a 10 minute session on SoulCalibur, I have no idea what the combo's are but still had a great time - it's just as slick as I remember.

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Outrun or Outrun 2 are the first games I thought of when I read the topic title. 

 

Space Harrier is another Sega arcade classic that’s great fun in short bursts.

Cosmic Smash on the Dreamcast. 

 

Phantasy Star Online is something you can play in short or long sessions. Forest can be done in about 10-15 minutes. There are some short or timed quests available too. 

Moving away from Sega, how about some Namco arcade classics like Pac-Man or Galaga.
 

Or Ridge Racer Type 4!

 

 

 

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I recently played through Ghost in the Shell on the PS1. 

It's a fairly short mission based tank game and the missions take about 10-15 minutes to complete. 

Well worth a look - it has beautiful presentation, a bit of variety in mission types and simple, tight controls. 

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Earth Defence Force 2017 on 360, or 4.1 on PS4.  Amazing games. EDF5 has some very long missions but never played it so not sure if that fits your criteria. 4.1 online is awesome.

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Some of the Wii lightgun games like House Of The Dead 2&3, Gunblade NY/LA Machineguns, Ghost Squad. All very arcadey, pick-up-and-play games that can be completed with continues in under half an hour.

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1942 (better if you have an arcade stick)

R-type

Outrun 2

Ridge Racer

1080

Wave race 

Sega rally (PS2 port is amazing)

Daytona (360 version is great an can be emulated through Xenia)

 

By the way, is Tekken 2 better than 3? Only played a bit of both.

 

 

This is a good thread. I wanna try down hill domination now!

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On 08/03/2021 at 15:32, Marlowe said:

Two I've been playing recently:

 

Parappa the Rapper - can be completed in about half an hour and is great fun to dip back into to hear the songs again.

 

Tekken 2 - arcade mode is great for a quick 15 min blast. I'm trying to clear it on Normal with each character. I bail out after a few continues to avoid just brute forcing my way through it without learning the moves properly. Survival mode is even better - it's hard to last longer than a few minutes unless you're legit great at the game.

I'll see your Parappa the Rapper and raise you a Guitaroo Man....

 

 

On 10/03/2021 at 17:47, Vimster said:

Some of the Wii lightgun games like House Of The Dead 2&3, Gunblade NY/LA Machineguns, Ghost Squad. All very arcadey, pick-up-and-play games that can be completed with continues in under half an hour.

 

House of the Dead : Overkill is not one to overlook either, although, it is definitely NOT one to play around young ones, there is foul language from the off, but it's my favourite light gun ( sort of ) game in years for the humour :)

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I've collated the list in the first post, I didn't appreciate quite how many games had been recommended! Apologies if I missed any. 

 

I'm currently enjoying Dreamcast games on the Switch (ReDream - Android 10), Virtua Tennis, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, and Punch-Out & Geometry Wars on the Wii. 

 

Racing games aside, the fun seems to be on the older consoles! 

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