MVG asked five veteran gamers what game they would choose as being the most addictive of all time. Check out the eclectic results, then cast your own vote by emailing us at submissions@myvideogames.com

A little while ago, MyVideoGames.com ran a feature on The Worst Videogames of All- Time. We had a lot fun roasting our favorite chestnuts (and, based on the feedback we got, so did our fans). But what about the games that were so good we could barely tear ourselves away — even when our better half’s told us to come to bed? MVG asked five veteran gamers what they thought was the most addictive videogame of all time — and why.

expert: KYLE ORLAND, WEBMASTER OF SUPER MARIO BROS. HQ
his pick: SUPER MARIO 64 (1996)

When I was asked to write this piece on the most addictive game I’d ever played, it got me thinking. I thought of "Adventure Island 2", and how its simple gameplay kept me busy for hours on end when I was eight. I thought of "Tetris", and how its falling blocks would leave impressions on my mind for hours after I’d stopped playing. I thought of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and the countless hours I spent with it trying to beat my high score. My thoughts kept returning to one game though — a game I had spent more time with than those three combined: "Super Mario 64".

For those of you who’ve been asleep for the past five years, "Super Mario 64" is the 3D continuation of the classic "Mario Bros." series of games. You have complete control of Mario as he runs, jumps, flies, and butt-stomps around the princess’ castle in a quest for 120 power stars. Mario has to complete a wide variety of tasks to get these stars, from collecting coins to rescuing a baby penguin to racing a giant turtle.

I first played "Super Mario 64" at a display in Toys R Us about a month before the Nintendo 64 was released. I wasted my allotted five minutes of play just running around the castle courtyard — swimming in the moat, climbing trees, running around with the butterflies, and not accomplishing anything in particular. I pre-ordered my Nintendo 64 on the spot … I knew I was hooked. The day I finally got my own copy of the game, I played for six hours straight, amassing 10 stars by the time I stopped at three in the morning. Every day after that, for about two months, I played for at least a couple hours after school (it would have been more if not for my homework) until I had collected all 120 stars.

For me, "Super Mario 64" captures all the qualities that define a truly addictive game. Like "Adventure Island 2", the simple, nostalgic gameplay is relaxing. I’d often pop in "Super Mario 64" after a hard day of classes just to give my mind a break. Like "Tetris", Mario’s animations would be lodged in the back of my mind for days to come. I can remember many particularly boring biology lectures when I would just stare at the teacher and nod, secretly playing "Super Mario 64" in my head. Like "Tony Hawk", I keep coming back to "Super Mario 64" to improve upon my previous performance.

Despite having collected 120 stars many times over, there are still plenty of fun things to do in "Mario"’s world (see Walter Dell’s Beyond 120 Stars). My personal favorite is trying to collect the 70 stars needed to beat the game in one sitting and in the fastest time possible (My current best: 2 hours 45 minutes).

I recently introduced my girlfriend to the wonders of gaming through "Super Mario 64". Despite having played every level in the game to the point of memorization, watching her play brought about the same feelings of excitement and wonder that I experienced in that Toys R Us store five years ago.

It’s those feelings that make a game truly addictive, and those feelings will always keep me coming back to "Super Mario 64".