The top 106 shortest/worst value Amiga games ever

It’s only when you start watching longplay game videos regularly that you realise just how short some of them truly are. It doesn’t necessarily mean the games are easy to complete, or everyone would plough through them at the same breakneck pace, only that the player behind the joystick really knows what they’re doing. Not that this qualifier should stop us compiling a ridiculously long-winded list of the worst offenders and gasping in astonishment – it’s practically our civic duty.

So without further ado, I hereby present to you the top 106 countdown of the shortest Amiga games in the history of ever, as captured for posterity by three of the most venerable YouTube longplay channels; World of Longplays, hipoonios, and I am Ironclaw!

Rank Game Time to complete
106 Dragon Breed 0:19:58
105 The Lion King 0:19:47
104 Alien Syndrome 0:19:36
103 Rise of the Robots 0:19:35
102 Shadow of the Beast II 0:19:29
101 The Plague 0:19:06
100 New York Warriors 0:19:06
99 Altered Beast 0:19:02
98 Ali Baba 0:19:02
97 Street Fighter II 0:18:59
96 Shadow Dancer 0:18:47
95 Snoopy In ‘The Case of the Missing Blanket’ 0:18:46
94 Neighbours 0:18:46
93 Beast Busters 0:18:39
92 RoboCop 0:18:26
91 Master Axe – The Genesis of MysterX 0:18:18
90 Vigilante 0:18:10
89 Test Drive 0:18:03
88 Badlands 0:18:02
87 Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure 0:17:59
86 Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins 0:17:52
85 Golden Axe 0:17:39
84 Budokan – The Martial Spirit 0:17:38
83 The Child Murderer 0:17:26
82 Barbarian II 0:17:25
81 Alcatraz 0:17:17
80 Lorna 0:17:05
79 Viz 0:16:52
78 Chambers of Shaolin 0:16:47
77 Capital Punishment 0:16:43
76 Cardiaxx 0:16:43
75 Space Harrier 0:16:37
74 Eliminator 0:16:29
73 Weird Dreams 0:16:09
72 Ikari Warriors 0:15:44
71 Psycho Santa 0:15:31
70 Tom & Jerry 0:15:27
69 Gem’X 0:15:24
68 Moonstone 0:15:23
67 Sly Spy – Secret Agent 0:15:22
66 Rise of the Robots 0:15:18
65 Demon Blue 0:15:16
64 Body Blows 0:15:15
63 Continental Circus 0:15:15
62 CJ’s Elephant Antics 0:15:15
61 Army Moves 0:15:10
60 Postman Pat 0:15:07
59 Castle Warrior 0:14:57
58 Ghostbusters II 0:14:53
57 Roger Rabbit in Hare Raising Havoc 0:14:45
56 Clever & Smart 0:14:44
55 Garfield – Big, Fat, Hairy Deal 0:14:41
54 Thomas The Tank Engine 2 0:14:34
53 Paperboy 0:14:31
52 Viz – The Soft Floppy One 0:14:30
51 Goofy’s Railway Express 0:14:12
50 Persian Gulf Inferno 0:14:06
49 Tin Toy Adventure 0:13:55
48 Home Alone 0:13:50
47 Out Run 0:13:40
46 Total Eclipse 0:13:34
45 NuclearWar 0:13:01
44 Powerstyx 0:12:58
43 Hunt For Red October 0:12:53
42 Thomas the Tank Engine 0:12:43
41 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show 0:12:39
40 Licence To Kill 0:12:34
39 Terminator 2: Judgment Day 0:12:28
38 Terramex 0:12:01
37 Turbo Racer 3D 0:11:52
36 Strider 0:11:20
35 Hugo 0:10:59
34 Popeye 3 – WrestleCrazy 0:10:47
33 Zany Golf 0:10:29
32 Back To The Future III 0:10:27
31 ATAX 0:10:22
30 BoBo 0:10:06
29 Bomb Jack 0:09:46
28 American Gladiators 0:09:36
27 Star Wars 0:08:37
26 Ski or Die 0:08:33
25 Live and Let Die 0:08:27
24 The Karate Kid Part II 0:08:26
23 Barbarian 0:08:22
22 American Tag Team Wrestling 0:08:22
21 Oliver & Company 0:08:19
20 Manhattan Dealers 0:08:14
19 Ninja Mission (Arcadia coin-op) 0:07:44
18 Hostages 0:06:52
17 Corx 0:06:45
16 Marble Madness 0:06:04
15 BMX Simulator 0:05:56
14 The Sword And The Rose 0:05:47
13 Silverblade 0:05:43
12 Sooty & Sweep 0:05:09
11 Mean Machine 0:03:57
10 Belial 0:03:50
9 Dragon’s Lair 0:03:46
8 Space Ace 0:03:39
7 Dragon’s Lair III – The Curse of Mordread 0:03:34
6 Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp 0:03:34
5 Space Ace II: Borf’s Revenge 0:02:44
4 Galaxy Fight 0:02:44
3 Mafdet and the Book of the Dead 0:02:23
2 Over the Net 0:02:05
1 Protector 0:01:30

Clocking in at a single measly minute and a half of play time, Protector from Virgin Mastertronic is therefore the runaway ‘winner’ of my hunt for the shortest commercial game released for the Amiga platform. Released in 1989, it’s a two player, arcade action, helicopter shooter in the mould of Choplifter, only using a split screen perspective.

Playing as a rookie pilot in the US Army Helicopter Training School stationed at Fort Rucker you duke it out against the computer or a human chum. Your core objective is to collect the components of a bomb dotted around the desert landscape and deposit them in your base, simultaneously employed to refuel and restock your weaponry. Once assembled, the finished article can be dropped on your opponent’s base to decimate it. You win, game over, congratulations etc.

Not so fast Hawke; while you misappropriate bomb-making paraphernalia from the enemy base, your nemesis does likewise, whilst attempting to blast you out of the sky with a 30mm gatling cannon. It’s a wonder every aerial skirmish doesn’t descend into a never-ending stalemate of tit for tat pilfering.

Amiga Format awarded it a final score of 72%, Amiga Computing 34%, C&VG 23% and CU Amiga 72%. It’s unclear who actually cobbled together Protector for Mastertronic because the commissioned PAL Development staff were apparently too embarrassed to associate their real names with the el cheapo offering. Interestingly, a different set of anonymous developers worked on the Atari ST version, albeit for Paul Bellamy, who confessed to creating the graphics. Even so, I happen to know the coder was Gary Antcliffe so there’s that short-lived mystery solved.

 

Falling into the budget title bracket – priced at £4.99 – it’s nonetheless not the worst value Amiga game of all time, despite costing a relatively exorbitant five pence per second of game-play. That dubious honour instead goes to ReadySoft’s Space Ace II released in 1991, which – while taking a leisurely two minutes and forty four seconds to complete – sold for an inflated retail price of £34.99 (or even £44.95 if you believe CU Amiga). Doing the maths that equates to an extortionate twenty one pence per second of game-play!

You know the score, these interactive, animated laser-disc conversion adventures are hardly obscure. It’s Dragon’s Lair in space from the same developer; five floppies worth of pretty visuals with non-existent game-play. You watch a pre-rendered sequence, push the joystick to one side or the other and that triggers another cartoon. Drifting off you miss your cue to prod the joystick at the appropriate moment, and Dexter bites the dust as you’re treated to one of a handful of half-baked death scenes. You’d be better off turning the Infanto-Ray on yourself, spending your £35 on whiskey and watching Fox Kids or CBeebies in a drunken stupor. Actually that sounds like fun, protest or not.

CU Amiga deemed it worthy of a somewhat less than out of this world 58%, Amiga Power awarded Space Ace II a wouldn’t-spit-on-it-if-it-were-on-fire 17%, while Amiga Action – who weren’t quite so insulted – dealt it a generous 63%.

To fathom out what all this boils down to I caught up with Captain Obvious in the midst of wrapping up a recreational narcotics awareness lecture entitled ‘Drugs Are Bad, Kids’. Divulging a profoundly exhaustive analysis he informed me that really short games can be completed much, much faster than longer ones. This leaves you feeling ripped off, a bit miffed, and wondering why more developers didn’t employ a designated quality control nerd.

Ah ha! I knew there would be a point to all this if I only dug deep enough, tapping the wisdom of industry expert insiders for clandestine clues.

A novel approach I’ve diligently nurtured over the years to skirt around this vexing dilemma is to become a totally inept gamer. As such I never come close to finishing 99% of the games I play and therefore am none the wiser. And then YouTube swaggered into my life shattering the illusion forever. From that moment on the phrase, “Oh, is that it?” would pass into my phone’s word substitution lexicon to be grasped like the speed-dial number for The Samaritans.

6 thoughts on “The top 106 shortest/worst value Amiga games ever

    • July 28, 2017 at 11:33 am
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      You’d have to check out the video description in each case to know for sure, but the general rule of thumb is to explicitly state in the title if you’ve used cheats, and it tends to be frowned upon.

      That said, lots of longplays are ‘tool assisted’, which means they employ emulator slow motion ‘frame advancing’ techniques, or save states in order to replay game segments an infinite number of times until a tricky moment is passed. All the failed attempts would then be cut out to make it look like a single successful attempt to complete the game. There’s great debate in the community as to whether or not this constitutes cheating. Personally I don’t care, I just want to see the entirety of what the game has to offer, including the critical finale that in most cases would be totally out of my reach otherwise.

      Does it bother you?

  • July 30, 2017 at 9:51 am
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    Nah, it doesn’t bother me but it could do some of the games here a disservice to say they can be completed so quickly. I think I’d rather see know or see any restarts etc in the video.

    • July 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm
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      Hmm, true. This post does come with a few caveats to keep in mind. What longplays do skip is some interesting death and game over sequences which is a shame. Some longplayers include the outtakes at the end to address that issue.

  • August 2, 2017 at 9:40 am
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    I think that there needs to be some distinction between how fast its strictly possible to complete a game, vs. how the game is normally played by someone casually. I spent hours and hours enjoying Super Mario Bros when I first got it, although the game can be beaten by a master in under five minutes.

  • August 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm
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    That would definitely be an interesting follow-up article for comparison, though I don’t know where accurate stats would come from. It would be a case of “how long’s a piece of string?”, and unless you’re recording a speed run, I doubt anyone would monitor the time it takes them to complete a game. All this certainly needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

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