Boring cutscenes, endless repetition, too much dialogue, long travel sequences; let’s be honest, sometimes games drag on too long. But not these! We’ve put together some super excellent, super-short games for your enjoyment.
8. ‘Dear Esther’ (~1.5 hrs.)
This unique first-person gameplay experience unravels as if you were in a focused-perspective film. Gliding through its delicate and consuming narrative is both effortless and rewarding.
7. ‘Slender: The Eight Pages’ (~30 min.)
No doubt you’ve heard of Slenderman by now. It all originated here, as a succinct and terrifying experience. No weapons, no superhuman endurance; you can’t hide, you can’t keep him at bay. All you can do is collect his eight pages and hope to God he can’t catch you.
6. ‘Gone Home’ (~2.5 hrs.)
You’ve just come home to see your family, and they’re all gone. What do you do? In this first-person game, you explore your sprawling, empty(ish) mini-mansion in search for clues, and learn about your family members and their whereabouts. Great dialogue, satisfying exploration and a stifling sense of foreboding make this a must-play with a huge payoff at its conclusion.
5. ‘Flower’ (~ 2.5 hrs.)
In this game, you play as the wind, carrying flower petals (this is how you can see where you’re going) and activating various checkpoints as you navigate through beautiful, soulful landscapes from prairie to freeway. A perfect existential gaming experience that requires deft steering and an appreciation for the way sight intermingles with sound.
4. ‘Journey’ (~3.5 hrs.)
From the makers of Flower is Journey, a masterpiece of an adventure. There’s no heads-up display, and no dialogue. There’s no direction or hints. Journey only tasks you with making it to a very tall mountain a very far distance away. To get there you’ll traverse a variety of landscapes and activate ancient ruins and the power within.
3. ‘Among the Sleep’ (~2.5 hrs.)
Among the Sleep is a particularly imaginative game wherein you play as a two-year-old stuck in a nightmare world. You have an inventory, can manipulate your environment in minor ways and are capable of some baby-appropriate platforming. But the real charm is in the colorful and creepy sights and sounds that always keep you looking over your shoulder.
2. ‘The Stanley Parable’ (~1.5 hrs.)
For anyone who ever felt as if they were being led through a game one event at a time and desired more freedom, The Stanley Parable understands you. Maybe a little too well. This highly cerebral, 4th wall-breaking first-person descent into madness will stick with you for a long time to come.
1. ‘Portal’ (~4 hrs.)
In the realm of quick, incredible games that leave a lasting impression, Portal set the bar very high and it is rarely if ever met. It takes the idea of what a gun can do and blasts a hole right through the matter of it. You are a test subject, tasked with making your way through a facility of dangerous, physics and platform-based puzzles with nothing but a portal gun and an unhinged artificial intelligence to keep you company. You’ll never be happier than when you solve a particularly tough Portal puzzle.