Image by Flickr user The Master Shake Signal

#Listmas2014: It’s not the (game) size that counts…

Image by Flickr user The Master Shake Signal
Image by Flickr user The Master Shake Signal (CC)

Somehow, some way, we made it to another Christmas! Hard to believe just how fast the year has gone. In fact, it feels like we just completed last Listmas. :)  But this Listmas is going really well, and it’s been great seeing all the #Listmas2014 posts out there in the blogosphere. Outside of that, hopefully you are having a great holiday and have found more than a little bit of time to sink your teeth into some of this year’s best games.

With a little time off myself, I’ve been lucky enough to spend some of it with Dragon Age: Inquisition. While I’m only about a dozen hours in, I’m truly impressed with the game’s scale. The lands of Ferelden and Orlais are H-U-G-E. I think I’ve spent most of my game time just exploring and doing side quests, which are very plentiful, to say the least.

On UWG, we’ve had folks (joshorne, Sam Leung) contribute lots of great and solid ideas concerning the perils of open world gaming — time, boredom, lots of effort with little in return are all issues concerning sandbox games. No doubt, these notions come to the forefront of my mind as I’m getting lost in the environs of Dragon Age: Inquisition. But then I remember that not all games are extra-large and immersive. For every Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and Grand Theft Auto V, there are tons of games that can be completed in close to or less than a long day. With that in mind, here are my favorite short games that I played in 2014. (Completed times count main stories only.)


Gone Home (completed in 2 hours)

Though one of the shortest games, er…interactive stories I’ve ever completed, the couple hours I spent with Gone Home were well worth it. Okay, so it wasn’t a life-altering activity, but playing Gone Home made me reconsider the meaning of the phrase “video game.” With it I achieved that same feeling of finishing a good book, for it’s really the story that makes the “game.”


The Stanley Parable (completed[?] in 3 hours)

I still don’t know if I’ve actually completed The Stanley Parable, a game about, frankly, futility in gaming. This game is an odd one that’s fun at first, then gets a little old, but then veers back to being oddly fun upon finding some place new to explore. For that reason I can’t really call the game “finished,” but my three hours with it gave me enough of a sense of “complete” satisfaction.


Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers (completed in 5 hours)

Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers is an amazingly fun 3D platformer (and the one game that began my descent into Steam). While it’s main story is somewhat short, there’s plenty else to explore, which I may get around to someday. More than anything, though, it was Tiny & Big‘s art style that really drew me in. Such fun and creative environments to play in!


LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes (completed in 10 hours)

We got LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes as a Christmas gift last year, and it was the first game of 2014 that we (yes, my husband and I, together) completed. I L-O-V-E LEGO games, like, lots, and LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes was not a disappointment. It was as hectic, funny, and adventure-driven as a game should be, and we flew through the main story in a mere weekend. (At some point however, I have to crawl back through the game for it’s many, many secrets!)


Bayonetta (completed in 12 hours)

I recently wrote up a full apology to Bayonetta on my blog, and also highlighted it here, and I don’t have much more to add. Bayonetta was an incredible and compact game, and I’m looking forward to completed Bayonetta 2 next year…probably…hopefully!

Got any favorite short games of your own? Any that you’re proud to say you completed quicker than anyone else? Let us know in the comments!





16 thoughts on “#Listmas2014: It’s not the (game) size that counts…”

    1. Oh, jealous! I started Xenoblade, but had to call it quits after I found out it was easily a 60+ hour game (if that!). But I logged a good couple dozen hours before that. I know you’re going to have a blast — it’s an amazing experience!

      1. Wow, 60+ hours… it’s an intimidating number, I think what will clinch it (or not) is how gripping the game is. Persona 4 took me 50 hours and it really FELT like 50 hours, whereas despite 80 hours with Dragon Quest VIII it felt like a much shorter game than Persona. But I can’t play long games like that back-to-back, it’s just too big an investment (mental as well as time-wise). Sometimes I need those lighter experiences that, in my case, are what got me into gaming in the first place.

      2. Oh absolutely. If the first game I ever played was a massive, open-world game, I might have just called it quits. Spur-of-the-moment games like Super Mario Bros. and Pac-Man were easily accessible and didn’t require much effort to play. And it was only natural to eventually graduate from them. There was once a time when I had time to invest in large games in succession, but those days are long over.

        The initial time I put into Xenoblade went by really fast. Its story really is quite something, very intense with plenty of action. I would love to sink my teeth back into it someday, and I’m sure you will enjoy it!

  1. Open world games are fun and have their place to be sure, but it’s hard to beat a short focused experience. I haven’t played any of the games on your list yet, but I have been having a wonderful time with Transistor. Short game, but there’s just so much to it!

    (The Stanley Parable…that it’s able to keep it’s players guessing sounds interesting. Will need to get on Steam some day and check it out!)

    1. I heartily concur! While I’m loving DA: Inquisition, boy oh boy is it easy to get lost in its myriad of sidequests. Not that they aren’t fun, but it’s all I can do to stay on track with the main story.

      1. I think it begins to feel inorganic too. Not talking DA specifically, but when sidequests literally feel like sidequests, I start to lose track of my character’s mission and the game becomes more like a game than a self-driven narrative about saving the world.

        Very tough balance to strike!

  2. My favorite short game is Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. I once got in a major mood to play it again and managed to finish it over the course of a single morning, and while I like my games at least 20 hours, it’s kind of nice being able to play a game I really love without having to make a big commitment. The game is short, but every bit of it is spent having fun. There’s no wasted time, which can happen in longer games. This was a good idea for a list.

    And I keep hearing about Bayonetta lately, and now I’m wondering if I should check it out.

    1. What’s really great about Bayonetta is that you can make it a long or short game. If you try to go after all the medals (i.e. achievements) in every level, it’ll only add to the story, but the game will be longer. If you just speed through the main activities, the story is just as rich and layered in a shorter period. As long as you can deal with or overlook some of the game’s ridiculousness (bordering on embarrassing at a few points), it’s just a plain ol’ fun time!

      Thanks for the nice comments about the list itself. As much fun as it is to really get immersed in a long game, when time’s short, there are lots of short games out there than can just as easily pass the time. Good to know that about J&D: The Precursor Legacy. I’m in the process of rebuilding our PS2 library, and Jax and Daxter is high on the list.

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