I realized as gaming gets more evolved, individual sessions take a lot of time! My first instance of this was Final Fantasy 7, with the "just till I get to one more save point" routine, or Resident Evil, where save ribbons were a commodity, and you actually got rewarded for saving fewer times in the original ones. Nowadays, one game's cutscene can run an hour on their own! As a dad (or college student, or whatever now absorbs a gamer's time), these quick burst sessions really represent most of my available gaming time.
I was in my living room, with full run of the TV, so I wasn't keen on going for a handheld, but I wanted something that would give me a full gaming experience, not leave me wanting more, so I took to the Goozex forums and my personal Facebook friends. Here are the results to my question: What would you play to get a full console gaming experience if you had very little time to play?
Hop Online--A few recommendations leaned toward hopping on a FPS like Call of Duty or a sports game set to short quarters that allow you to get a full gaming experience. No story to worry about, and if you're a big online player, your options are already set up, basically allowing you to press start and go straight into a Halo deathmatch. My one negative of this is the temptation to continue. There's no real ending here, leaving you craving that one more time.
Old school and Puzzlers--Many gamers suggested classic or modern takes on famous games, usually found in the downloadable section of your gaming console. Pac-Man DX, Dr. Mario, or Tetris, or more action oriented titles like Double Dragon, Fat Princess, or Braid.
Hit the Arcade--Video games that were birthed in the arcade are made for quick bursts of gaming, and with today's market, most anything from the arcade can be played at home. Racers like the Cruisn' series or Crazy Taxi have a full start/end for a satisfying gaming experience. Arcade style fighting games like Tekken or the Marvel Vs. Capcom series can run a whole storyline in fifteen minutes. If you follow story, you'll want to avoid certain series, such as Dead or Alive 5 (which has a multi-tiered storyline to follow) or Soul Calibur (unless you avoid the story mode and go straight arcade). Zen Studios has also crafted an amazing digital representation of true arcade pinbll physics. The leaderboards alone on Zen Pinball or Pinball FX2 will give you bragging rights, or tempt you to lengthen your gaming session.
Change of Pace--This is the section I was looking for in my question: honestly, a good deal of the previous ones, while good ideas, are rather obvious. Below are a few games that you may not first think of when wanting a quick game session.
Twisted Metal 2: My personal suggestion. I have always loved the series. While very fun, the new game leans too much toward long sessions. The customization of weaponry, art, and general storyline lead to longer sessions. Meanwhile, Twisted Metal 2, the pinnacle of the series for me, is a quick loader with easy random-all buttons in challenge matches. With nowhere to hide, dropping nine enemies into Holland's "Field of Screams" is bound to end quickly, whether in your favor or against.
The Rock Band / Guitar Hero series was suggested as well. Music games allow you to play what you want as long as you want, and will also let you double your entertainment value: hearing good music while playing the game. The only down part to this is as the game gets older and less popular, those plastic instruments are sinking deeper and deeper into your closet, becoming more of a hassle to get out. If that issue plagues you, try Rock Band Blitz, allowing you to peruse your entire RB collection of songs by the comfort of your controller.
Katamari Damacy: I'm really suprised I didn't think of this one myself! With a strict time limit on every level, the plot being simply "Roll up a ball of stuff," and the whims of the King of All Cosmos amusing you before and after, this is one game that can be played in short bursts and completely enjoyed.
Three interesting suggestions were offered to me: one was Dead Space. I was told it lends itself well to short gaming sessions. Also suggested: the Sly Cooper or Ratchet and Clank games. Lastly, my wife suggested Arkham City. While that game would draw me in for hours, her different mindset sees an open-world sandbox with no requirement to follow the storyline. An hour of beating up thugs with no other reason than, "I'm Batman" is game enough for her.
If you have short gaming session time but can get them regularly, just about anything can serve a short gaming session purpose. While I do have my marathon nights, I would say I get one of these hour long sessions twice a week, and have been pounding through Final Fantasy 13 in bite-sized pieces for a couple years now. With no random battles, your last save point is always just ahead or back across the empty field you just cleared.
Lastly, it was suggested that if I truly want a short gaming session, I should pop in Perfect Dark Zero. "After all," I was told, "you won't want to play that game for more than an hour anyways."
What do you think of these suggestions? Sound off in the comments, and tell me if you agree or disagree. Hopefully this list will help you next time you want a true gaming experience when your time is fleeting.