Pop quiz clock from thinkgeek.com

Is it possible to finish five high-quality games in only 24 hours?  Indeed it is!

A little over a month ago, Brittnie went to visit her Dad for a weekend.  We’re married gamers who spend a lot of time together, so on the rare occasion when we’re separated, there’s always a question of what to do with the time.  She had stated the goal of finishing off a couple of DS games while she was gone, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to challenge myself: five games in only 24 hours, leaving the following day for recovery before she returned.

The Rules

  • The games all had to be considered “high quality”, meaning they were critically, commercially, or culturally successful.
  • “Completion” meant playing through the main portion of the game, and excluded any extra levels, hidden challenges, or anything similar.
  • No speed runs; the games had to be played at the same ”standard” pace I play through titles.
  • I had to have already played through each title at least once.
  • Difficulty levels were kept at default.

The Games

I knew I had to choose the five games wisely…they had to have short playtimes, while still being highly entertaining.  After making my five choices, I had to figure out the order (which I wouldn’t allow myself to modify later.)  Once I had all that figured up, I got a real good night’s sleep on Friday, had a solidly healthy breakfast in the morning, then got started.

8:00 AM - Trine

I decided to start with Trine, as it offers up exciting action with some simple puzzles thrown in as a way to get my brain going.  I had played through Trine once before, but surprisingly my playthrough this time was about the same length: I polished off the game in just a few minutes over five hours, taking a break at 11:00 AM for lunch.  Factor in a couple of bathroom breaks, and it took me from 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM to finish the game.  We’re off to a great start!

After a 30 minute break of getting a brainpower boost by playing some Sudoku, I started up a real challenge.

2:00 PM – Misadventures of PB Winterbottom

I had played PB Winterbottom once before, and although I admittedly remembered the solution to a couple of the weirder puzzles, most of it was like going through the game for the first time all over again.  I beat this one a bit faster than I did in my first playthrough, but not by much!  Completing all the main doors/finishing the story took me just under two hours, with no food or bathroom breaks.  The time was now about 4:00 PM.

A bathroom break, snack, and a brisk walk later, I was on to the next title!

4:30 PM – Mirror’s Edge

Mirror’s Edge is a game that holds a special place in my gaming memories.  My first playthrough was done entirely in between turns (and while people napped) during an extended Civilization IV LAN party.  I have no idea how long it took me to get through it the first time, but I clocked in a little under six and a half hours on this playthrough (including a bathroom break and a real quick dinner break.)  It was every bit as awesome as it was the first time I played it :)

By the time the credits rolled on Mirror’s Edge, it was shortly before 11 PM.  I decided now would be a good time to re-energize myself for the home stretch, so I gulped down a 16 oz Red Bull while spending some time on our stationary recumbent bike.  After a real quick shower, I sat down to take on what I knew would be the easiest game in the whole challenge.

11:30 PM - Portal

Once you get used to the mind-bending way that Portal works, getting through the game is exceptionally easy.  I ran into a couple of snags early on before I had a chance to wipe away the cobwebs (this all happened prior to Portal 2 being released, mind you), but other than that I had no problem.  I pounded this one out in about an hour and thirty minutes, talking smack at GLaDOS the whole time.

It was now about 1 AM, and I only had one game remaining.  Honestly, I was a bit nervous…I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the deadline, but I pushed on.  I took a quick walk outside while gulping down a bottle of water, came back in, queued up some South Park DVDs, and prepared for the final game in the challenge.

1:30 AM – God Of War: Chains of Olympus

As soon as I started going through Chains of Olympus, I was glad I had saved such an intense game for last; I was already worn out and almost ready to give up, but as soon as the fighting started, I knew I could do it.  I battled through enemies, chained attacks, and faced the gods.  In the end, I managed to finish off the playthrough in five and a half hours, including a bathroom break.   My epic gaming session officially ended at 7 AM, a full 23 hours after it had begun.


I fell into bed, exhausted but triumphant.  I honestly can’t remember if I dreamed or not, but I DO know that I slept until about three in the afternoon the following day.  I knew this challenge would be tough, but I didn’t realize the physical effect it would have on me…had I done this a few years ago, I likely would have barely even been tired towards the end.  It’s amazing what a difference being in your early 20′s vs being in your late 20′s makes!  All in all, it was an awesome experiment, one that I hope to replicate again sometime in the future.

If you ever find yourself with an entirely open weekend, I recommend you take the five games in 24 hours challenge, whether it’s with the same games listed above or an entirely different set of games.  It’s a great experience!