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|
|105||The Lion King||0:19:47|
|103||Rise of the Robots||0:19:35|
|102||Shadow of the Beast II||0:19:29|
|100||New York Warriors||0:19:06|
|97||Street Fighter II||0:18:59|
|95||Snoopy In ‘The Case of the Missing Blanket’||0:18:46|
|91||Master Axe – The Genesis of MysterX||0:18:18|
|87||Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure||0:17:59|
|86||Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins||0:17:52|
|84||Budokan – The Martial Spirit||0:17:38|
|83||The Child Murderer||0:17:26|
|78||Chambers of Shaolin||0:16:47|
|70||Tom & Jerry||0:15:27|
|67||Sly Spy – Secret Agent||0:15:22|
|66||Rise of the Robots||0:15:18|
|62||CJ’s Elephant Antics||0:15:15|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|37||Turbo Racer 3D||0:11:52|
|34||Popeye 3 – WrestleCrazy||0:10:47|
|32||Back To The Future III||0:10:27|
|26||Ski or Die||0:08:33|
|25||Live and Let Die||0:08:27|
|24||The Karate Kid Part II||0:08:26|
|22||American Tag Team Wrestling||0:08:22|
|21||Oliver & Company||0:08:19|
|19||Ninja Mission (Arcadia coin-op)||0:07:44|
|14||The Sword And The Rose||0:05:47|
|12||Sooty & Sweep||0:05:09|
|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|
|3||Mafdet and the Book of the Dead||0:02:23|
|2||Over the Net||0:02:05|
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.