Great Games to Play in Short Bursts

Finding Five Minutes of Peace in Gaming

When it comes to video games, not everybody can spare the time it takes to save the galaxy from an evil alien threat, or explore a massive dungeon packed with hundreds of rooms and mind-bending puzzles. Sometimes, you’ve only got a few minutes to spare, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get in some quality gaming while waiting for the bus or when the kids finally get out of your hair for five minutes. Head on past the break for a few good examples of how you can get your game on in those brief moments!

In this modern age of short attention spans and busier-than-ever schedules, more and more games are hitting the market that are absolutely perfect for shorter play sessions. Whether gaming on a mobile, portable or home console, there are plenty of options for pick-up-and-play gaming that don’t require a lot of time, yet still leave you feeling like you’ve accomplished something.

Here’s a rundown of three of the best games that don’t demand a lot of your time to be enjoyed, but could also be just as easily played for hours-long marathons.


Available on the PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, mobile, and the Xbox 360, “Spelunky” is easy to learn, yet tough as nails to master. The premise of the game is simple: You are an adventurer who has discovered a dungeon of “ever-shifting” rooms that must be explored. The game is built around trial and error, meaning you can expect to get sent back to the beginning time and time again. That’s all part of the fun, though, as the rooms constantly change their layout, so you’ll never dive into the same cave twice. Levels can take as little as a minute to clear, but if you have the time to sit and play a bit longer, you’ll be rewarded with more levels, more helpful items and the joy of knowing you made it just a little bit further than ever before.

Jewel Quest

Playable through an Internet browser or on your mobile phone, “Jewel Quest” is one of the latest in the long line of match-three games that’s taken the world by storm. It just so happens to be free, too, making a trip into this gem-busting adventure all the more appealing.

Again, the object of the game here is simple. Your job is to match three or more like-colored gems in order to clear them from the board, earning points and special abilities along the way that should make clearing even more gems a snap. Puzzles are designed to last just a few minutes each, meaning you can get in a round of “Jewel Quest” while waiting in line to buy groceries, or you could just spend an entire evening busily swiping away. It’s your call.

Angry Birds Star Wars

Similar to “Spelunky,” this latest iteration on the uber-popular “Angry Birds” series can be played on just about every device on the planet, from iOS to Android, mobile to home console, and PC. If you’ve ever played one of the other “Angry Birds” games, you already know what to expect out of the “Star Wars” version of the game: more classic fowl-flinging fare, topped off with a heaping helping of Jedi and piggy Storm Troopers. Your job is to load a massive slingshot with your various birds, and launch them at questionably stable structures built by the evil pig Empire.

Different birds have different abilities, and some of the levels set in space even boast different gravity effects. A single level can be played in a matter of seconds, though this is another game that can easily hold your attention for hours on end.

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