Keith - and other gamers. I’m playing an ejoying the short logic-based game Portal, from Orange Box set. Sometimes a short game is just the ticket. In spite of what fans say, I don’t think that longevity necessarily makes for a good game.

For example: I’ve only completed the first level of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Haven’t touched it for months, since it took long enough to complete even that, and that’s ignoring the side quests. Game looks great, but not sure I’m up for another 40 plus hours of it.

What are your recommendations for really short games for short attention span gamers? Conversely, which long games hold the attention best?

As a non-cpu based gamer can I recommend gin? Or even a game of 5 card draw?

With a wife and 2 kids these 2 games provide enough fist fights to rival any video game. Not to mention that a pack of Bee’s or Bicycles are less that $US2.

What is the draw to video games? We own a PS2, but it is only used for driving simulations. No one really looks to do more.

While I was with my boys at Christmas, they showed me an Arcade title called Puzzle Quest. On returning home I immediately bought it. It’s an “RPG” but can be played in chunks of five minutes or five hours.


I think there are several draws. One of which is as simple as filling time. Things become more complex when you start thinking about ties to fiction where you can lose yourself in a world, become a new person. live life vicariously as a super-hero (Marvel Ultimate Alliance), a young man saving the world from Sin (Final Fantasy X) or an evil, amoral criminal (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas).

Just as in books, some games are complete trash, some are brilliant. Some night you should put the children and wife to bed, rent yourself a copy of GTA: San Andreas, and see what happens. It’s full of people behaving badly–very badly. It’s also pretty darn well written, witty, funny, gritty, and gives you amazing ability to live out your inner bad-guy.

If you have more time, and by that I mean LOTS more time, check out Final Fantasy X. One of the most amazing RPGs I’ve ever played, and one even the young ones can watch (though there are a few frightening parts).

Don’t ever play World of Warcraft.

If you do it will become all that you do. :slight_smile:

It is addictive and time consuming yet has plenty of fun and action.

I had to ween myself off entirely because I was not getting any writing done.

5 Card draw is fun. I like it with wild though. (Suicide King and one Eyed Jacks).

Uno is al entertaining as well as Chess and Billards.

But one that needs to be mentioned is the table game that is available at any Cracker Barrel Restaurant which is a triangle piece of wood with gold tees. You jump the tees and try to leave only one.

Now admit it. If you have ever eaten at a Cracker Barrel you know you have played this simple puzzle game. And you know if you did at least once you left 4 or more and were titled Ig-no-ray-moose


Lots of Wii games fall into the short/casual game category. The pundits say that’s part of why the Wii has been so successful.


I agree that short games are sometimes the best. (Have you finished Portal yet? The end song is so brilliant - make sure you save somewhere right near the end - the final confrontation - so that you can go back to it and play it again.)

I’m trying to think, now, of short games that I’ve loved. I like the Tomb Raider games (not all of them) - and Legend was brilliant. Anniversary was good, too, but it was too long for my liking, and it didn’t have the variety of scenery of Legend (I loved the Japanese setting in Legend). I know it was based on the original Tomb Raider, but the original TR most likely stuck to samey locations because of technical limitations at the time. I’d love a modern TR game that has LC navigating sky scrapers and an urban environment properly (but don’t mention Angel of Darkness… brr).

I also have problems with long games. I only play very infrequently so I like stuff that I can get through. always complains about games that are only 8 or 10 hours long, but these are the ones I like best! For instance, Mass Effect is great, but just knowing that it is going to take between 20 to 40 hours of gameplay to get through it all (which is months’ worth for me!) - more considering that I’m getting killed a lot (probably because I can’t be bothered to go through all those upgrade systems properly) - is keeping me from playing as much as I otherwise would. There are loads of games I haven’t finished for just that reason - I like them well enough, but not so much that I want to spend forever in them. Unless a game has gameplay that changes a lot, they all get samey after a while…

Prey was excellent and fairly short. Actually, that was a brilliant game, come to think of it. You start off in some hicksville bar, and then the whole bar gets sucked up by an alien spacecraft and you find yourself on a spaceship where there are portals between rooms (Portal-style) and where gravity works in different ways in different places. You can change the gravity in some rooms. In one bit, you go see a ball-shaped trophy in a cabinet, walk through a nearby portal and suddenly find that you have been shrunk down and are now walking over the ball-shaped trophy inside the cabinet. Fun. Diverse in parts, too (you keep travelling in your mind to an ancient native-american burial ground where you learn new powers) and short enough that it left me wanting more.

Hitman: Blood Money was pretty good, too - better than the last Hitman game. Violent and nasty, sure, but I like the way you have to think about the best way of doing things.

And now I realise that, other than Tomb Raider, they are the only games I’ve actually finished on my Xbox 360! The other games I like - The Darkness, Gears of War, Bioshock, Mass Effect and so on - I just haven’t got around to completing yet. So I guess I could do with some recommendations, too!


P.S. Jaysen - I’ve been playing computer games since I was about 10, when the first home consoles (comprising tennis made up of a few pixels forming a bat and ball, and not much else) game out, followed by Astrowars and then the ZX Spectrum when I was about 12 etc. So I don’t really think about why I play games. They’ve just always been there (though not quite so much as they have been for the generation just beneath me, those now in their twenties). So I play them for the same reason I watch certain TV programs. I say “certain” TV programs, because I mean the ones that you just watch when you want some simple entertainment. I’m still hoping that games will evolve to the point that they can offer the same as a thoughtful film (my favourite game of all time, Deus Ex, came close-ish). A game like Portal is as challenging as Sudoku, for instance…

I don’t have any console game stations, so I’m not sure what’s out there on those, but I know some pretty good Mac games.

Penguins Arena ( is a really fun FPS (first-penguin-shooter). The game can actually go as long as you want to just keep playing, but the individual arenas usually only last a few minutes, so the game can go as long or short as you want.

Zuma (For iPod)

Both puzzle games.

I wouldn’t call Forza Motorsport 2 for the Xbox 360 a short game, but it’s entirely possible to fire it up, play a race or three, and then put it aside. Or, you could try some of the games available on the Xbox Live Arcade, like Geometry Wars. Actually, if you don’t mind old-school twitch games, then Geometry Wars might be just what you need: you get three attempts and it’s “game over”. You’ll be lucky to make a game last five minutes at first.

As for “long games”, I’d have to say that right now, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion is the reigning champ. I’ve had the game for almost a month, and I haven’t even started the “main quest”. Instead, I made my character into a champion gladiator, had her work her way to the top of the Mages’ Guild, and have her taking on assorted odd jobs while training her to see just how powerful she can get.

Before that, there was Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, which kept my wife and I occupied for a couple of months. You can read about it here.

Owning an XBox 360 can be a “short game” due to their poor manufacturing and reliability concerns. Microsoft felt it was more important to beat the PS3 in release instead of engineering their console correctly. Good news is they now had to issue a 3 year warranty due to the high volume of RROD errors (Red Ring Of Death).

Funny thing is the “newer” titles (ie. Halo 3) are causing RROD errors faster due to their high demand on the GPU causing overheating problems. … l_problems

and a real nice article to read … ilures.php


Myself I am looking at a PS3. Blue Ray out of the box and better technology. Just needs more games to be developed.

I’ll buy mine when Final Fantasy XIII hits the fan, unless Square-Enix decides to go multiplatform.