The end of the spring semester is near and that means I’m swamped with schoolwork. I have around 30-35 pages worth of essays to write, three finals to study for, and one full-length fiction portfolio to edit and assemble, and my busy schedule and regularly lazy nature has inspired me to write this article: this list of five great games that require little to no time to start up, sink back into, or take loads of time to make notable progress. Just because you’re busy it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, there are plenty of games you can play during lunch, work breaks, or on the bus or train. Don’t let a busy schedule get you down. Instead, give one of these games a try.
Balloon Kid (Game Boy)
I started my gaming career off with a Game Gear and didn’t get my own Gameboy until the Gameboy Color came out. When I finally got one I had no idea where to start when looking at Gameboy games. A friend graciously gave me his copy of Balloon Kid and it quickly became one of my favorites. Balloon Kid is the platformer sequel to Balloon Fight on the NES. It’s simple to play, just maneuver through the hazardous levels without popping your balloons and avoid enemies, but tricky to master. The fun music and great level design will keep you interested and the challenge is strong but fair, bringing you back to try again and again.
Psychic World (Game Gear)
I just got this game fairly recently and haven’t beaten it yet, but it’s quickly growing on me and rising in the ranks of my favorite Game Gear games. Psychic World is an action platformer where you play as an assistant to a scientist studying ESP. There’s a problem at the lab and you must travel through various dangerous, monster filled environments to save the Scientist and your sister. The graphics are bright and colorful and the platforming, while nothing extraordinary is pretty solid. The big draw to this game are the numerous psychic power-ups you can collect. The fire power can melt icy obstacles, the sonic power breaks rocks, and The Wind power freezes air to make platforms, and so on and so on. This sort of gameplay isn’t anything new and the action can be unforgiving, but the game does what it does very well.
Lumines is one of the games I first bought with my PSP and it is the only game out of that batch that I still pop in to play every once in a while. There isn’t a whole lot to say about it really, It’s a falling block puzzler and is what you would expect from a falling block puzzle game. But again, what it does it does well. It’s fun to chase combos and the pulsing graphics and cool music move well with the beat of the game. Lumines doesn’t try to be anything too complex or too different, it just tries to be good. And it succeeds.
Elite Beat Agents (DS)
I’ve already mentioned my love for rhythm games a few times, so for those of you who read my column fairly regularly (all 3 of you) this one will probably come as no surprise. Elite Beat Agents has got to be one of my favorite Nintendo DS games ever. It’s perfect for a quick little distraction and has smooth gameplay with a wide selection of good music. It slowly eases you into the game so if you are new or haven’t played for a while it can still be perfectly fun on the earlier stages. To top it off the style and story of it are just so, so WEIRD! But that good kind of weird that makes you laugh. Perfect to put a song in your head and a smile on your face before you get back to work.
Game and Watch (any)
Really, do I have to say anything about the Game and Watch games? They’re the most basic of games and anyone can pick it up and pretty much instantly know all there is to it. There are a bunch of different units to try and collect so if you get bored with one you can try another. I don’t know if you really can get bored with one though. I’ve been playing Parachute for years and I’m just as addicted now as ever.
What are your favorite pick up and play handheld games? Let me know in the comments below.