Games That Make You Say, “Oh Hell It’s 5 AM?!?!?”

Please don’t tell your parents that we are encouraging you to stay up late playing Mario Kart.

2008, Sony Computer
PlayStation 3

This game has kept me up many, many times. A lot of people say that the best thing about LittleBigPlanet is the opportunity to build and play infinite levels because of the user-created worlds that you can connect to on the PlayStation Network. I disagree. The actual most wonderful part of this game is taking pictures of yourself pulling terrible faces with the camera built into the PS3, then making “stickers” of them in the game and putting them all over everything. Truly, though, the game play itself is also really fun, with a platformer-style layout that’s laden with all kinds of cool-looking things to swing from, jump on, and generally mess around with. LBP is just frustrating enough to keep you glued to your controller, but not so frustrating that you want to slam it against the wall after falling into yet another pit. Plus, the sock-puppet avatars are really cute and you can make them wear dumb little costumes. My favorites are the Elizabethan gear (yes, this is really a thing) and the zebra head, preferably at the same time. —Amy Rose

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
2011, Bethesda Softworks
Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Skyrim is the most current reigning king of your insomnia. It’s a gorgeous immersive sandbox game, which means that you can spend your time completing big important quests, working on random side quests, or just walking around fighting bears. Even a simple task like delivering a book can take hours, as you are sidetracked, attacked, and given more quests, but you’re having so much fun you don’t even care. —Emily G.

Joe Danger
2010, Hello Games
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

In this game, you’re Joe Danger, a stunt biker with a taste for…you guessed it, danger. The object of the game is to get through each course as flawlessly as possible, and then to add some flair to it, doing handlebar stunts and flipping off of your seat. The brevity of each track, combined with the importance of timing, make it incredibly easy to say “I’m just going to try this one more time” until 4 AM or so. —Emily G.

Mario Kart
1992, Nintendo
Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Reasons why you should play Mario Kart:
1. It’s one of the most competitive games I know that is actually not ridiculously hard, so there is always a chance you can beat your big brother, muahaha!
2. You can play it with numerous other people or practice on your own to make sure you rule over all your friends.
3. You can throw bananas at people.
4. You can be a girl character!!! (I prefer Daisy over Peach.)
5. It is terribly, terribly addictive. This game should come with a warning: “Whole afternoons/evenings/nights can disappear before your eyes losing valuable studying/sleeping/living time.” —Naomi

Dr. Mario
1990-2011, Nintendo
Nintendo 64, NES, Nintendo Vs. System, Nintendo Power, PlayChoice-10, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, 3DS Virtual Console

Some people who go away to college develop drug habits that detract from their studies, and in a way you could say that I am one of those people. I’m a pill fanatic. I’m addicted to Dr. Mario, a game that involves stacking dual-toned “pills” in color-coordinated groups in order to kill “viruses.” I swear I get a physical rush just from playing the game. It’s that good. And OMG the soundtrack. At first, the music feels like a dentist drilling into your eardrum, but by your third or fourth game you’ll start associating the sound with the rush of clearing viruses, and next thing you know you’ll be whistling “boop bee boop beep boo beep bo bee beep beep” down the hallway and everyone will be staring at you. Once you play, you’ll know what I mean. Most addicting thing ever. I play on N64, but you can check it out online if you want to use it as a break from Tumbling and checking Facebook, I mean doing homework. —Jamie

Ace Attorney
2001-2011, CapCom
GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, Windows, WiiWare, iOS, Nintendo 3DS

Ace Attorney is my most favorite video game series of all time, and that’s saying a lot, given my serious romantic involvement with Super Mario. Ace Attorney is the perfect mix of adventure and role-playing, with a lot of yelling spread liberally throughout—I wouldn’t recommend getting too into this game in public, which is why it’s a better accompaniment to staying up all night in the privacy of your own bedroom. In most of the releases, you play a hotheaded novice attorney, Phoenix Wright, who must collect evidence for a slew of really steamy cases. When you hit the courtroom, you have the choice to yell, “OBJECTION!” into the system mic if things aren’t adding up right. The best way to do it is with A LOT of gusto. The first game and the ones after the fourth are especially good. This is because the series was adapted from the Japanese versions for Game Boy Advance, and the updates on the first and then later games reflect new game-play developments for the DS releases. Even without the updates, the snappy dialogue, pointy-haired protagonist, and utterly addictive nature of these games make them essential. —Amy Rose

The Sims
2000-2003, Electronic Arts
Windows, Mac OS, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube

Whatever edition of this game you play, or whether it’s on PC or console, nothing is more of a timesuck than being in charge of a household full of human beings. You keep them fed, well rested, entertained, and successful at work, and unlike in life, you get to see the immediate results of your hard work. It’s incredibly easy to get wrapped up in a weird romance or new baby and lose all track of time. —Emily G.

Gears of War 3, Horde mode
2011, Microsoft Studios
Xbox 360

I have friends all over the country, and we rarely call to check in with one another. Instead, we hop online and slaughter hundreds of attacking Locusts while catching up. The idea behind Horde mode is that you have to fend off waves of bad guys that get increasingly difficult to fight. You strategize with friends, you find out whom they’re dating, you trade weapons, and you do your best to beat all 50 levels. —Emily G.

Super Smash Bros.
1999-2009, Nintendo
Nintendo 64, iQue Player, Virtual Console

On a certain level, I feel that you can get to know people based on which characters they choose for Super Smash Bros. Is your opponent going to go for the comedy factor of the weak-but-kitschy Jigglypuff, or keep it super-serious and competitive with Captain Falcon (easily the best character in the game)? Accommodating up to four players at a time, this game, or its equally good incarnations for the GameCube and Wii, is great for sleepovers. You can pick from a ton of familiar favorite characters, then make your (in my opinion, deeply revealing) selection go to town on your friends’ picks. It’s also fun to play this game solo in order to bear witness to one of the most ridiculous final bosses ever—a gloved white Mickey Mouse-esque hand named, appropriately, Master Hand. It takes a little while to reach him, but the barrage of quirky little items and power-ups that rain down from the sky in each level keep this game surprising enough to maintain your interest until the two of you finally face off. Wait, how do you “face off” with a hand? —Amy Rose

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
2010, Blizzard Entertainment
Windows, Mac OS X

I’m a relative newbie to StarCraft, but I can feel its intense magnet-like qualities beckoning me to sleepless nights already. In this PC strategy game, you build up a society from scratch for the sole purpose of destroying your enemies. Building a military force from resources you find in the ground takes time, so matches are automatically pretty long, and even though you have the ability to save and come back later, why on earth would you want to put off the sweet taste of victory? —Emily G.

2007, PopCap Games
Windows, Mac OS X, iPod, iPhone, Java ME, BREW, Nintendo DS…[deep breath]…Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Zeebo, Android

Peggle is a relatively simple puzzle game, available on every robot you own (see exhaustive list above), which means that I can play it pretty much all the time. In it, you fire one ball at a bunch of other balls in order to eliminate them. That’s it. The levels go from easy to mind-bendingly hard, but once you’re on a roll, you simply cannot stop. It feels too good to win. —Emily G.


  • Limey January 5th, 2012 7:42 PM

    I have definitely spent 6 hours straight on the sims.
    There have beens times where I don’t go to the bathroom the entire time.

  • Juniper January 5th, 2012 7:47 PM

    GEARS OF WAR 3!! i’m a fanatic… I think my friends and I should have a GW3 themed party!

  • MissKnowItAll January 5th, 2012 7:51 PM

    How about games like modern warfare and Asassin’s creed. They’re main stream games but they’re so damn good. If you play modern warfare, team death match is so addictive.

  • MissKnowItAll January 5th, 2012 7:52 PM

    Skyrim FTW

  • Toria Crux January 5th, 2012 7:53 PM

    I <3 videogames. ^-^

  • Celiabow January 5th, 2012 7:56 PM

    Somehow I always mange to play sims for at least 3 hours at a time and even though it ruins my social life at least I happen to have a very busy social life in sims

    • ruby January 6th, 2012 2:42 PM

      haha me too, i remember being 12 and literally spending the whole afternoon playing (:

  • erin January 5th, 2012 7:56 PM

    My little sister is really into video games, and I play with her sometimes. She’s got a lot of Mario games, and I sometimes play Mario Kart or Mario Galaxy with her (on Mario Galaxy one player can be Mario’s little helper star who collects things for him and kills annoying monsters) It’s great.

  • Naomi Morris January 5th, 2012 7:57 PM

    i love phoenix wright: ace attorney!!! oh my gosh i wish i still had it :’(

  • cherrycola27 January 5th, 2012 8:01 PM

    Dr. Mario is the best! I haven’t played it in so long, but when I saw the link to it I seriously gasped.
    Gotta go play it now!

  • Zara January 5th, 2012 8:22 PM

    That is so weird I was just reliving my childhood a minute ago with my cousin; by playing Spyro The Dragon. You guys seem to be syncronized with all that happens in my life, because this wasn’t the 1st (or 5th) time it’s happened.

  • Mollie January 5th, 2012 8:24 PM

    Sometimes I see people talking but can’t hear them, and in my head I hear Sims’ gibberish.

  • Gabrielle January 5th, 2012 8:29 PM

    OMG! I play Peggle, Sims, and recently, Skyrim all the time! I would playMario Kart… but that’s a looong story.
    PS- I told my teacher about the guide to last minute studying (she has a great sense of humor, and wouldn’t mind me mentioning finding that the day before a test) and asked for some of the pointers from it!!! I just about doubled over!

    • Anaheed January 6th, 2012 1:24 AM

      That is SO AWESOME. I love your teacher!

  • fizzingwhizbees January 5th, 2012 8:30 PM

    Mario Kart is the absolute greatest. I’m glad someone else shares my love for Princess Daisy.

  • youngfridays January 5th, 2012 8:37 PM

    All these games are so good!

  • brynntheredonethat January 5th, 2012 8:37 PM

    Don’t forget Portal 1 and 2!!! I could play that all night. In fact, I did, over the summer.

  • Maddy January 5th, 2012 8:56 PM

    huh guess there was a switcheroo. that’s ok, I wanted to read this one!
    BP demo was great. I made my little guy this cute outfit and changed it every level. Best. Part. Might have to buy the full version. I think Sims would be cool, but I’ve never tried it.

  • Pollyana January 5th, 2012 9:15 PM

    I COMPLETELY agree with The Sims sucking you in, its like a vortex of awesomeness, and I have dragged down friends and neighbors down with me. I have the newest version The Sims 3, with all the add-ons and its blowing my mismatched socks off.

    >:D Ooooooh yeah….

    • Marguerite January 6th, 2012 5:52 AM

      Doesn’t the fact that the Sims are so picky bother you, like they ignore what you tell them to do!

  • Carneece January 5th, 2012 9:37 PM

    Lord, Dr. Mario. That and Tetris tag-team for my attention at. All. Times. Spot-on about the music, too – I actually downloaded it and made a Dr. Mario/Tetris soundtrack for my car, and then I pretend like fellow drivers are the falling pieces/pills and I try to wedge between people to “win”.
    …I may have just admitted too many things about myself.

  • Narnie January 5th, 2012 9:52 PM

    Peggle is the god of all games. Along with Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies.

  • puffytoad January 5th, 2012 9:54 PM

    Amy Rose! My brother says it’s “Master Hand,” not “Mr. Hand,” and that the picture of NES Smash Bros is fake! Why are you trying to deceive me???

    • Amy Rose January 5th, 2012 11:10 PM

      blast. your smart sister is totally right! i’m just responsible for the words *AHEM* but that guy IS actually called master hand, my mistake. can we just pretend that i’m being Cool And Subordinate, like when i used to pointedly call the principal “mr.” instead of “dr.?”

      • Anaheed January 5th, 2012 11:42 PM

        I fixed it! Thanks, puffytoad’s brother.

      • Amy Rose January 6th, 2012 12:03 AM

        hah, OOPS! brother!

  • Adrienne January 5th, 2012 9:56 PM

    Yess! Thanks for the recommendations.
    I still have my purple GameCube which I love. Some of my favorite games are Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing (best game ever! get to do stuff with your cute animal neighbors.)

    Sims is also highly addictive. :)

    • Amy Rose January 5th, 2012 11:13 PM

      i almost wrote up harvest moon! such a winner in my book.

      • Adrienne January 6th, 2012 7:54 PM

        Yes! I love riding my horse around town like a boss, haha. Unfortunately, I stopped playing because my cow couldn’t make milk …Never found out why.

    • Torrie January 6th, 2012 2:01 PM

      Aw, yeah Animal Crossing was my favorite for a long time and Harvest Moon too. They just drag you into their worlds and I can never stop pulling weeds or watering plants! I wish I had that motivation to garden in real life.

      • Gabrielle January 6th, 2012 8:44 PM

        Haha, I still play Animal Crossing through the night… and morning :)

  • sweeteelou January 5th, 2012 10:07 PM

    i’m happy to announce that i’ve played most of these video games(:

  • Cerise January 5th, 2012 10:55 PM

    Skyrim! I want to play that game… I used to play Morrowind, and it was *so* addicting, but really, really fun. It was easy to lose track of time that way.

    And Dr. Mario? I played that once on an actual arcade machine–I was really bad at it :P –I had no idea you could buy it. But then again, I didn’t get a game console until the mid 2000s. Alas.

  • Fiona January 5th, 2012 11:25 PM

    Currently addicted to Skyward Sword, no regrets.

    The Kingdom Hearts games have also sucked me in as well. <3

    • Naomi Morris January 6th, 2012 7:42 AM

      yes to zelda, always!!

  • Franny Glass January 6th, 2012 1:01 AM

    Please let me add the game Portal and Portal 2 (and the co op!!) keep me up waay too late.

  • Afiqa January 6th, 2012 1:24 AM

    Dr Mario is the best. Every time I get the flu or fever it always reminds me the music in Dr Mario.

  • Tourdivoire January 6th, 2012 4:24 AM


    I kept beating my big brother during the Christmas holidays and he was SO FRUSTRATED. I think he had never lost a video game before. But hey, I was the one who spent the summer posted on a ship in Libya and who had to play Mario Kart for about two hours every day against other officers not to get bored, so I got the best possible training.

    And of course, Daisy is my favourite character. Although Bowser makes some amazing noises when he wins.

  • Susann January 6th, 2012 4:38 AM

    I used to be obsessed with The Sims! Actually, I should play it again!

  • Marguerite January 6th, 2012 5:48 AM

    SIMS ORIGINAL CANNOT BE BEAT!!!! – i haven’t played in ages cuz last time i played it my computer freaked out and died, so im scared to try it on this one…

    HAHA- i just got super smash brothers brawl on wii for christmas! its so fun!!!!!!!!!

    MARIO KART IS AWESOME- i prefer peach, daisy has an annoying voice… oh but i like baby peach evenbetter!


  • Miarele January 6th, 2012 7:39 AM

    OOH I LOVE ACE ATTORNEY! I’m so sad that the 2nd Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth game won’t be released in English DDD:

  • stylefairy January 6th, 2012 9:03 AM

    Omg I loves sims it’s too adictive!

  • Larboz January 6th, 2012 10:49 AM

    Love the Skyrim, and Mario Kart was a real killer back in the day. I think you should have included both Diablo 2 and WoW. I know that each of thsoe have that 1 more level mentality that keeps you going all night.

  • Sphinx January 6th, 2012 11:19 AM

    The World Ends With You for DS is the best game ever.

  • Torrie January 6th, 2012 1:59 PM

    This is the most true list to ever, ever exist. On this list I have been addicted to Little Big Planet, the Elder Scrolls, Mario Cart, Ace Attorney (!!!!), the Sims (obviously), and Super Smash Bros… wow, that makes me really rethink my priorities. But my brother kind of got me into loving video games anyway, so I’m not entirely to blame… I hope.

    If anyone is looking for another amazing DS games, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is without a doubt one of the best that I have ever played.

    • Amy Rose January 6th, 2012 3:43 PM

      that game IS really rad…and scary! i’m such a wimp.

  • KataCala January 6th, 2012 3:40 PM

    I recommend Radiant Historia for the DS. It’s a non-linear roleplaying game about parallel universes and time travel. The graphics are really lovely, too. Definitely be prepared to sink some time into this one!

    I’d also recommend Ōkamiden for the DS, which is an action-adventure indirect sequel to the (similarly excellent) PS2/Wii game Ōkami. You play as Chibiterasu, a tiny adorable magical wolf who makes friends with lots of partners, including a mermaid and a spunky child theater star/priestess. This one features a lot of stylus use, because you use it as a “celestial brush” and draw different symbols to solve puzzles and fight demons. The gameplay reminds me a lot of the Zelda series. Super fun.

  • Eleanor January 7th, 2012 7:41 AM

    mariokart and peggle are taking over my brain/life…

  • Arabelle January 7th, 2012 12:51 PM


  • ninamau5 January 7th, 2012 11:31 PM

    i love skyrim, but if i hear ONE MORE arrow to the knee joke . . .

    and mario kart = legit. also, assassin’s creed. i once played assassin’s creed for like, 9 hours straight.

  • Bean January 9th, 2012 8:12 AM

    Mario is the greatest game ever. All mario, all the time. Although, I also love the sims. Oh, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day because who wouldn’t want to defeat the great mighty poo?!

  • roxy189 January 14th, 2012 12:37 PM

    Super Paper Mario :)

  • lootapotta May 23rd, 2013 1:32 PM

    I’m so happy to see Ace Attorney on this list! Pokemon, Bioshock Infinite and Professor Layton definitely deserve a place, too!

    (who else is super pumped for AA5?)