Best "Channel Surfing" games

Recently I got a Super Everdrive and I was excited to play all the SNES games that I never owned. Yep… just me, me, my SNES, a nice CRT, and a great game… but wait, which game? And I actually don't want to commit to playing a game right now. I just want to pick up a game and have a good time for a few hours, or maybe a few minutes.

It got me thinking. This type of game has basically died out. I'd play videogames in a different way when I was a kid. It'd be like "let's play a few videogames today". You play one for a bit, get bored, and play a different one. It'd be like watching TV and just flipping through channels. We've all done it, and we've all especially done it with emulation. Frank brings it up on the pod pretty often.

So what do you guys think of that? Do you think there's a place in the world for these hour-two hour games that you replay from time to time? Did these games die out? Did the modern ADD open world design evolve out of this philosophy? Also most importantly: What're your favourite games to just pick up and play? (especially if they're on SNES so I can get some good ideas)

Yeah!! This is still my favourite way to play video games, and it’s how I play my Switch and (3)DS libraries all the time.

Some of my go-to games lately are Spelunky 2, Little Noah, Mario Wonder, Dave the Diver, and Sea of Stars. I’ll play any combination of those for maybe half an hour apiece, for an hour or two.

No specific SNES games to recommend off the top of my head, but just having a fat stack of roms to flip through is the ultimate channel surfing experience, isn’t it? Just pick stuff that sounds weird or intriguing, and see how long it holds your attention. That’s always what I like to do when cracking open a new file full of roms.

Thanks to the original Animal Crossing’s NES consoles - every once in awhile I still enjoy jumping into the original Balloon Fight (mostly for the song that plays in Balloon Trip). Then I’ll jump into Soccer, quitting about halfway through a match after remembering Ice Hockey exists and then playing a few games in that.

Not from AC, but maybe some River City Ransom in there too.

Side note: In the early 2000’s, my first experience with RCR was from a pack of roms I downloaded. It was modded to have dildo’s as weapons and the dialogue/barks were changed along similar lines, iirc. I didn’t know this wasn’t the original for a long time. Did anyone else run into this?

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@“safety_lite”#p155910 Did anyone else run into this?

My first experience with the game was on a rom set somebody had downloaded to a school computer and it was a hack called ( potentially offensive) >!Pussy City Pimps!<. I don't remember if it had the dildos you're describing (mostly tried to wipe that one from my mind), but it had a bunch of juvenile pervy junk going on, so I'd bet it was the same mod you played.

@Connor. Channel surfing games for SNES. There are lots of great ones you could go with, but here are a few I've enjoyed via the play style you're describing.

Shiren the Wanderer
Final Fight 3
FireStriker
Holy Umbrella
Kendo Rage
Majuu Ou
Plok
Psycho Dream
Run Saber
Gundam Endless Waltz
Super Fire Pro Wrestling
Syvalion
Taekwon-Do

right now balatro is kinda my game to do this. I play a round before I start playing anything else.

Xbox quick resume also helps with this. Sometimes y jump into Cyberpunk (which is already open, loaded and driving) just to drive around for a bit, maybe a 3rd rate encounter and then jump to something else.

Some SNES games to surf on


  • - Uniracers
  • - Aerobiz
  • - Aim for the Ace!
  • - Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon
  • - Vegas Stakes
  • - Magical Drop
  • - Yoshi's Cookie
  • - King of Monsters
  • - Cool Spot
  • @“rearnakedwindow”#p155969 yes! That was it - thanks for affirming I didn’t dream that up.

    @“Connor”#p155904 They seem to be less prevalent, but games suitable for playing in shorter bursts are definitely around. Although, a lot of the ones that come to mind don‘t quite fit the same profile as game experiences from back when. Like @whatsarobot Spelunky 2 (and 1) has been a go to game for me in the past handful of years to just pick up for a short session and then move onto something else. Especially when I’m waiting for another game to download or install i find myself turning on Spelunky 2 for a short bit. I also like Slay the Spire for this, a lot of games with Rogue elements definitely seem to scratch this itch.

    Two games that I seem to come back to a decent amount for good, dumb fun in short bursts on the SNES are Top Gear 2 and Kirby's Dream Course. They definitely fit the bill for being fun in 15-30 minute spurts or crammable in two or three hours if that's what you're feeling.

    Funny enough, with OP talking about using an Everdrive and surfing thru roms, I think subscription services like the Switch Online or Gamepass or the Sony one probably allow for a lot of “channel surfing”. Generally, I like playing the usual platformer, specifically castlevanias or the likes, or puzzle platformers. I got into Rygar and Solomon's Key when they dropped on the NES Switch collection and ended up finishing both.

    I love to surf a digital wave. It's a great time for be-bopping around. Flash carts, subscriptions, FPGA/emulation and original carts/discs are all easy to access. Arcade games are a go-to for me. STGs, fighters, puzzlers. Too many games to snack on.

    SNES RECS:
    **NBA Give 'n Go** - A Konami arcade-style basketball game. When set to 2min quarters this game is a fantastic hit of dunks, alley-oops and rad music.
    **Contra III: The Alien Wars** - Until you get used to the difficulty, game sessions will probably only last you a few minutes. The best Contra game?
    **Super Pang / Super Buster Bros.** - Single screen action puzzle shooter? It's classic and great.
    **Super Smash TV** - works well with the SNES controller. Unfortunately some of the goofy gore is not present.
    **Libble Rabble** - comes after Pac-Man.
    **Super Off-Road** - little truck dirt racing. Based on the arcade hit!

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    @“tomjonjon”#p156003 Super Smash TV

    Awh yeahhh, excellent choice

    @“Herb”#p155997 That‘s a good point, roguelikes, lites ect, are majorly popular right now. Maybe it’s like, “I want to play in short bursts but I want to feel like I'm making permanent progress?”

    Also yeah shout out to kirby's dream course. Incredible that they did the concept so well on attempt 1 and then never tried it again.

    @"tomjonjon"#p156003
    Ah yeah that's true, I did a lot of this when switch online was introduced! Glad that the younger kids are going to get the same experience we had when emulation was in its heyday

    For some reason kirby games end up being a go-to for me, even though i dont think of them as my favorites. Kirby super star on snes is pretty interesting if you haven’t played!

    @“Updog”#p156118 Luckly I still have kirby super star from when I was a kid. Tragically, Kirby‘s Dream Land 3 (which is one of the reasons I bought the flashcart) doesn’t work on it!

    Did some PSX surfing last night. Started of with a couple rounds of Arkanoid Returns (a joy to play with the Namco Volume controller), then I tried Hard Rock Cab, Deadheat Road and finally Panzer Bandit.

    I don't think there is much to say about **Arkanoid**. Its great if you like brick-breakers. **Hard Rock Cab** has a ridiculous FMV intro and the game is a bit like a post-apocalyptic-first-person **Crazy Taxi** but it didn't hold my interest. **Deadheat Road** was cool looking but a bit awkward to control, and the sense of speed was non-existent. I only played one race though, so I assume that picks up as one progresses. **Panzer Bandit** was great! A juggle-combo heavy beat em up with different planes like **Guardian Heroes**. I will definitely play more of this one.