From their arcade game origins to their current Switch console, Nintendo has always been known for enjoyable, family-friendly games. Often this means software that is not only relatively simple to conquer, but also fast. For younger audiences, whose focused attention can be difficult to maintain, a gaming experience that can be eliminated in one or two short sessions can be crucial.
These types of miniature games were especially abundant in the 80s and 90s, when hardware was more primitive and limited in space. You’ve also had games that emphasized difficulty rather than content – relying on the player dying over and over to provide much of the length. It’s a trait that’s much less common now, although there are are still plenty of games on Nintendo consoles that can be burned quite quickly.
With this list, we’ll be looking at 10 of the shortest Nintendo gaming experiences. We will primarily focus on games that have single-player content that can be completed quickly. howlongtobeat help contributed the information in this article.
ten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)
One of the best games for the SNES also happens to be one of the fastest, assuming you’re a moderately skilled ninja turtle. Fundamentally, turtles in time is meant to be that kind of “go-to” game to throw it around with a friend, and you’re looking for a fast and fun game diversion. In all honesty, the game Is making you think it’s over much sooner than it is, which makes it feel like it’s been longer.
But even when you’re sent back in time to complete the remaining stages, your jaunt through time will only take you around 40 minutes. And unlike some turtles games, it’s not particularly tricky either.
9 The Karate Kid (NES)
Like many titles from the NES era, The Karate Kid relies on its grueling brawler gameplay for its longevity. Some flimsy mechanics and aggressive enemies that push you back in annoying ways ensure that you’ll likely start over frequently. Still, even if you manage to use your fists and legs well during this short romp, this game can be knocked out in just over half an hour.
You’re only launched through a handful of side-scrolling levels plus some pretty bizarre bonus stages, all of which can be tackled fairly quickly if your button-bashing skills are on point with Karate Kid Daniel LaRusso.
8 My mom hid my game (Switch)
Ironically, the trend of smaller, more humble games has somewhat come full circle with the rise of the indie scene, which tends to consist of smaller studios with limited time and resources. So you tend to get slim and quirky software such as My mother hid my gamea weird and cheeky puzzler on the Switch eShop.
Basically, the premise of this one is in the title – video games are seemingly bad, and bad enough that your mother feels the need to cruelly hide them from you. Your mission ? Fight your way through a number of minimally designed rooms featuring puzzles and obstacles by interacting with the random household objects displayed. If you’re good at solving puzzles, you could work your way through your 30-day stay in about 30 minutes.
7 WarioWare: Broken! (DS)
The madman, the rapid fire WarioWare has always been known for its tiny microgames, which can go by so quickly you don’t even know what’s hitting you half the time. Still, this little camera-based project for DSiWare is pretty slim, even by the standards of this board game franchise.
Instead of throwing dozens mini-games and various game modes to you, Broken! contains only 20 microgames hosted in four different stages. These can all be run through in minutes – around 23 of them to be exact (depending on how long to beat). It’s no wonder this title was never released as a full-fledged title!
6 Destroy Derby 64 (N64)
This chaotic vehicular destruction driver was somewhat ahead of its time, as franchises like Burnout would take this unique formula and ride it full throttle in the future. While this underrated N64 racer is still fun, it’s a bit dated now; not just because of its blocky graphics, but because of its lack of content.
Excluding unlockables like the 12 extra cars you can earn, the bulk of the gameplay – namely the game’s career mode – can be completed in just over 20 minutes in novice and amateur mode. derby of destruction is definitely a fast experience, in more ways than one!
5 Donkey Kong Jr. (NES)
Nintendo’s feverishly addictive platformer from 1982, donkey kong, was so fun and well-designed that it single-handedly helped revolutionize an industry. To prove they still had a few tricks up their sleeve, they managed to create a sequel that was both familiar and fresh. Turning things on their head, Mario was now the villain, while the captured monkey’s son was our new protagonist.
Much like the main game of the original, however, the handful of stages that make up Donkey Kong Jr. can be walked in just a few minutes; specifically around 15 depending on how long to beat. Yet, given its addictive nature, repetitive stages, challenging gameplay, and focus on high scores, you’ll probably spend a lot more time than that.
4 Erase 64 (N64)
Just like the previous runner on our list, Erase 64 is more about playing multiple times and in different ways, especially with friends. However, this third part of the futuristic race Annihilate the series is quite short on content.
It’s a shame that the game’s main single-player component (challenge mode) can be played through in about 15 minutes total, given how good it is, and that’s, in fact, the only Annihilate ever created for a Nintendo platform. It probably doesn’t help that this runner only comes with 7 total tracks. You would think that if the developer Psygnosis was going to create a semi-port of Delete 2097they could have added more additional content.
3 Penguin Wars (UK)
This original game started out as an arcade title in ’85, and was turned into an even rougher Game Boy port five years later. That certainly goes a long way to explaining this game’s wafer-thin runtime of under 15 minutes.
penguin wars kick things off by having you choose from a number of random animals – each with different strengths – that range from a bat to a rabbit. You then participate in the simple but enjoyable act of throwing as many balls as possible at your opponent’s side of the table. You’ll play through 8 games, plus even shorter bonus rounds, all of which can take around 15 minutes combined, assuming you’re sufficiently dominant.
If you’re interested in this fast-paced but entertaining competition, there’s East a recently released remake for Switch.
2 Games and Watches Gallery 2 (GBC)
This wacky Game Boy Color game is both a celebration and a compilation of a handful of classics game and watch Software. These include a “Classic Mode” as well as a “Modern Mode”, the latter being touched up and redone with Mario characters and slicked up visuals.
A big part of the charm of this one is trying to unlock Gallery Corner unlockables, in addition to earning high scores and possibly a hard mode. However, games that to have an ending – in both modes – can be cleared in just 15 minutes. Yes, gaming tended to be a much more humble enterprise in the early 80s.
1 Deal or No Deal (Wii)
As you might imagine from a game whose entire premise revolves around picking various numbered cases, this title is as basic as it is brief – and no, it wasn’t meant to be some horrible pun referencing “briefcases”.
That’s not to say this game show doesn’t require any skill – or isn’t entertaining in its own goofy way. After all, you’ll want to think about your choices, and it helps to have a good understanding of probabilities when deciding whether or not to step aside or resume case picking. Still, the actual gameplay of this streamlined version of an already simple game show is about as fast-paced and minimalistic as it gets. Basically a series of Agree or disagree can take you as little to 5 minutes to complete, and there really isn’t a ton of content anywhere else.
NEXT: The 10 Shortest Open World Video Games
An animation shows different types of NPCs that can be found in Elden Ring, diving into the wacky activities available to players in the game.
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