As summer has its end, and as school begins for some, time to play video games will also seem to fade away. For some of you, myself included, summer is a time to go back and play games in your backlog or just finish games just to say you did. In these final weeks before school begins, you'll want something to power through to clear that backlog or just play for the heck of it. As so, I've compiled a list of games that could easily be beaten in a window of a weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon

Games can be stressful sometimes. Emotional attachments to characters that just got axed, having to grind for hours on end to level up, accidentally using you're only TM of Psychic on a Pokemon that doesn't even have it as a STAB, etc. Wouldn't it be great to turn your brain off for a few days to cool down without having to resort to going outside or reading books? These are fine alternatives, but who is going to save the Earth from giant insects if you're too busy reading Dune under a tree? No one. That's why I want YOU (and possibly some buddies), to join the Earth Defense Force. Insect Armageddon is one of those games where it's "shoot and don't ask questions", and despite all the explosions and insect guts, it's actually very relaxing to play. The campaign itself is about eight or so hours long if you play by yourself, and I absolutely recommended playing with friends so you all can enjoy this short but highly entertaining experience.

Portal (1 or 2)

Some kids don't exercise their brains over summer break. In fact, some teachers will outright say your brains mushed up over vacation . Why not be the exception to the rule? This world famous puzzle/platformer/FPS series is a brilliant brain stretcher and requires a lot of thinking. In turn, you're rewarded with some of the funniest writing in video games to date as well as immersive yet sterile environments. The second Portal is a bit lengthy as far as story mode, but co-op mode can be a breeze if you and a buddy got the coordination skills. Speaking of co-op...

Castle Crashers

Take everything you know about medieval fantasy games, smash that into a cartoony brawler chock filled with visual gags and charming pop culture references and you have some kind of idea of what Castle Crashers is. Castle Crashers was a shining example for all other XBLA games back in the day, and it's no surprise that after 5 years it still remains one of the best games on the market. This behemoth (no pun intended) is very reminiscent of old school arcade beat 'em ups like The Simpsons Arcade Game and Double Dragon, but is filled to the brim with creative twists and a groovy leveling system. Definitely worth the ten-ish bucks and definitely worth a weekend of play.

Super Mario 3D Land

Nintendo has hit a certain groove with the Super Mario franchise. Some might wonder if time has run out for the mustachioed plumber. For those dramatic shmucks, Mario 3D Land proves that the old sport has some more time and Nintendo has more than a few tricks up their sleeve. Putting the 3DS to the test, Super Mario 3D shows the true potential of the 3D technology without making it look like a conjurer of cheap tricks. It may not be the most challenging game of all time, but some of those levels are the most creative I've ever seen in a Mario game. It's a groovy experience, and if you're looking for a real challenge, go for the extra set of worlds you unlock for beating the main seven worlds.

Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion is one of those games. It's one of those games where if you make an argument questioning the quality of portable games, I'll use Metroid Fusion as a contradiction. The pacing, the atmosphere, the music, all of it is superbly done, making Metroid Fusion a must-have if you own a Game Boy Advance. If you're off-put by the idea of Metroid having an emphasis on narrative (see Other M), the story in Metroid Fusion is immersive and interesting. You really start to fear what stalks Samus in the Biological Space Laboratory, and dialogue between Samus and her ship's computer is great. It's short enough for you to beat it in about a day or two, or one if you're continuously playing, but it will take much longer to find all the hidden secrets and upgrades. 


So, what are some of your ideas for games you can sit down and power through in a weekend? Post em in the comments below.