Five Fine NES Games Finished in Fifteen Minutes

by on February 3rd, 2011
Share Button’s Five Fine NES Series Reminder: The following choices are in no particular order, and do not reflect a “best of” list, but merely a summarized list of examples per category on the Nintendo Entertainment System. In this case, Five Fine NES Games Finished In Fifteen Minutes.

Video games have managed to carve out quite a significant mark on the landscape of industry and culture. Whether through the glorious cabinets of the arcades, the early home consoles that paved the way to later networked gaming, or even the portable models that allowed for gaming on the go, these forms of digital entertainment have provided recreational release for millions upon millions of players.

Even the early, 8-bit cartridges on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console were able to provide deep, rich experiences, wrought with intense plot, nuanced characterization, and hours upon hours of replay value. But for those gamers not looking for a meaty RPG, or simply just not in the mood to enter the password for the point they left on a fast-paced platformer, sometimes the solution is a quick fling on a short game, one that can satisfy a fix and even be completed in less than fifteen minutes. Here are five examples of NES games that can be thoroughly enjoyed in such a short timeframe.

Rescue: The Embassy Mission

This is a unique video game, with its replay value more dependent on the mastery of its myriad of difficulty levels than the actual gameplay, which is quite short. In fact, on latter settings, there is a time limit of ten minutes. On easy levels, the mission can be completed in just a few minutes, especially if the player does not care about losing any agents; or hostages, for that matter. In any case, it is somewhat of an impressive feat for the toaster machine to stuff stealth emphasis, sniper shooting, rappelling, and even first-person shooting action all in one 8-bit cartridge game. It just so happens to be short-lived, too.


Developer LJN has gained some notoriety over the years, much of which is due to their being a popular target in the past for the Angry Video Game Nerd and his very popular videos, for creating some less-than-perfect NES video games. One of their arguably more decent titles was Jaws, featuring the titular shark from the film series, and hosting a high-seas adventure in which the player must travel the ocean and perform a series of dives to gain enough attack power to eventually confront and kill the monster shark in the finale. While beginning players may take more time to get a knack for completing the cart, it can certainly be done in fifteen minutes, and the world record is a completion in just over four.

Marble Madness

This enjoyable port of the arcade classic is a fun little jaunt through imaginative isometric landscapes set to some groovy techno-synth tunes. Boasting its distinctive gameplay mechanic in which the player literally only controls a marble rolling through the field of play, each of the handful of levels has a time limit; and although bonus seconds can be gained to theoretically allow a longer experience, that point is moot since such bonuses are rewarded for fast level completions. In the end, the entirety of Marble Madness, win or lose, takes a little over five minutes at most.


Based on an old 7-Up mascot, Spot The Video Game is a video board game, which in itself is quite a unique utilization of a licensed property, unlike the usual platformer fare. This board-based challenge for up to four players, human or computer each, is based on the idea of taking over spots on a grid by moving a piece onto them or adjacent to a previously occupied spot to take it over. Theoretically, a very competitive human match-up could display some lengthy pauses as players consider their tactical moves, much like a tournament round of chess; but, much more likely, the matches are breezy and quick, especially if utilizing a custom board set-up.

Super Mario Bros.

The undeniable classic still sees a fan following today, thanks in part to its role in almost single-handedly resurrecting the home video game industry, but already for the competitive nature of speed-running its course. Using the warp zone pipes and possibly other tricks, such as some seconds-saving glitches, it is not only possible to beat Bowser in under fifteen minutes but true masters such as Andrew Gardikis can do so in under five.

There you have it: Whether for a quick retro-gaming fix or as the subject of some fast-paced speed-running competition, five fine NES games finished in under fifteen minutes.

Honorable Mentions: Harlem Globetrotters, Fantasy Zone, Taboo: The Sixth Sense, Bean Ball mode of Super Dodge Ball, Ice Hockey, Tetris.

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