The 30 Best-Selling Video Games of All-Time

by: Esteban On  Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Tags:  E3   E3 2013   Gaming   Tech   Technology   Video Games  

best-selling video games all-time

Every year at the end of May or start of June, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, takes place in Los Angeles. It’s the biggest and most important gaming show on the planet, and even though I am definitely a casual video game enthusiast rather than a serious gamer, my ears always perk up a bit when this time of year rolls around. After all, you never know when some company is going to announce some new game that will take the world by storm.

Today, in celebration of E3 and all the anticipation it brings, let’s take a look back at the history of gaming and see which are the best-selling video games of all-time. Who knows? Maybe in the next three days we’ll be introduced to a title that will one day take over the top spot?

 

30. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Platform: Xbox 360
Released: 2010
Copies Sold: 12 million

You would think a franchise whose titles are as hotly anticipated as Call of Duty would have one ranked higher on the list than number 30, but no. The lesson: while gaming may be more for adults than ever, it’s still kids who earn developers the big bucks.

 

29. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire

Platform: Game Boy Advance
Released: 2002
Copies Sold: 13 million

Remember what I just said in the previous entry about kids still being the most lucrative segment of the gaming market? Well, if you didn’t believe me, this title is exhibit A. It’s just one of five entries from the Pokémon franchise to make this top 30.

 

28. Halo 3

Platform: Xbox 360
Released: 2007
Copies Sold: 14 million
The 2007 installment of the adventures of Master Chief was by far the most successful. Can Xbox keep the franchise going strong for years to come? Only time will tell.

27. Pokémon Black and White

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2011
Copies Sold: 14.71 million
Yep, kids sure do love their crazy Pokémon.

26. Brain Age 2

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2007
Copies Sold: 14.83 million
The Brain Age series was developed in house by Nintendo for the DS. With it, they managed to do the unthinkable: convince adults over 40 to purchase a portable video game system.

25. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Platform: PlayStation 2
Released: 2001
Copies Sold: 14.89 million
You knew the most popular racing sim of all-time would have at least one entry on this list, didn’t you?

24. Sonic the Hedgehog

Platform: Sega Genesis
Released: 1991
Copies Sold: 15 million
I debated whether or not to include games that were packaged with consoles on this list because, in a way, that seems like cheating. However, if I were to leave it off the list, I would have had to exclude some pretty major titles. Plus, in a few cases having a specific highly desirable game bundled with the console probably increased sales of the console.
Sonic? Yeah, that’s not one of the bundled games that drove sales. If anything, it was EA’s sports sims that made Genesis so popular in the early 90s. But Sonic was still pretty awesome.

23. The Sims

Platform: PC
Released: 2000
Copies Sold: 16 million
Did you watch all 18 minutes of that video? Was it as exciting as you’d hoped? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But 16 million people bought this thing, so…

22. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Platform: PlayStation 2
Released: 2004
Copies Sold: 17.33 million
Coming in at number 22 on the list is everyone’s favorite rape and murder sim.

21. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2007
Copies Sold: 17.57 million
That’s right: more Pokémon. And we’re not done yet!

20. Super Mario Brothers 3

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Released: 1988
Copies Sold: 18 million
Mario and Luigi make their first appearance on the list at number 20. Obviously, it won’t be the last for the most iconic video game franchise of all-time.

19. Super Mario Land

Platform: Game Boy
Released: 1989
Copies Sold: 18.06 million
I don’t know about you, but I probably spend about six weeks of my life playing this game. And I don’t mean I played it for six weeks and then got bored with it. I mean, if you add up all the hours I played it, the total would be well over one thousand.

And God knows how many batteries I sent to the landfill.

(Yes, kids, in the olden days, portable video games ran are regular double-A batteries.)

 

18. Brain Age

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2006
Copies Sold: 18.96 million
Brain Age 2 did pretty well, but not as well as the original.

17. The Sims 2

Platform: PC
Released: 2004
Copies Sold: 20 million
In an age when the world of gaming was dominated by consoles, the fact that a PC game sold 20,000,000 copies is astounding.

16. Wii Fit Plus

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2009
Copies Sold: 20.48 million
I honestly have no idea what the difference was between Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. But—SPOILER ALERT—they’re both on the list.

15. Super Mario World

Platform: Super Nintendo
Released: 1990
Copies Sold: 20.6 million
The first Mario title for the SNES surely had it’s sales boosted because it was bundled with the console. However, I think it probably would have sold just as many copies if it had been sold separately. Nintendo and Mario go together like spaghetti and meatballs.

14. Mario Kart DS

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2005
Copies Sold: 22.57 million
I’m not going to lie—I bought a DS just so I could play Mario Kart on the subway.

13. Wii Fit

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2008
Copies Sold: 22.67 million
Sure, you could just go for a run or ride your bike, but getting fit from a video game just sounds so much better.
It’s a shame nobody got fit from Wii Fit.

12. Pokémon Gold and Silver

Platform: Game Boy
Released: 2000
Copies Sold: 23 million
Yes, more Pokémon. I think they code subliminal messages into the games to get kids addicted.

11. Nintendogs

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2005
Copies Sold: 23.64 million
Speaking of nonsense that kids like…Nintendogs, everyone.

10. Pokémon Red and Blue

Platform: Game Boy
Released: 1998
Copies Sold: 23.64 million
This is the fifth and final entry from the Pokémon franchise. 

9. Kinect Adventures

Platform: Xbox 360
Released: 2010
Copies Sold: 24 million
Kinect Adventures was one of those titles that was included in a console bundle (or console ad-on bundle) that probably drove hardware sales. I mean, if Kinect didn’t have a really excellent software package right out of the box, people just wouldn’t have been so excited about motion detection.

8. New Super Mario Brothers Wii

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2009
Copies Sold: 27.61 million
Super Mario Galaxy was the first Mario offering for Wii and a critical favorite. However, casual gamers really went nuts for the more traditional New Super Marios Brothers Wii…hence the 27,610,000 copies sold.

7. Wii Play

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2006
Copies Sold: 28.02 million
The Wii was the ultimate party console, and Wii Play, with its multitude of small learning-curve minigames, was the ultimate party game.

6. New Super Mario Brothers

Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2006
Copies Sold: 28.02 million
New Super Mario Brothers for the DS was the second best-selling Mario title (excluding spinoffs) of all-time.

5. Wii Sports Resort

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2009

Copies Sold: 31.54 million
They called it Wii Sports Resort, but could just have easily called it Wii Sports II. 

4. Mario Kart Wii

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2008
Copies Sold: 34.01 million
Warning: this video has a LOT of very hilarious but very NSFW language. Don’t watch it if you’re a kid, or at work, or if your grandma is nearby, or whatever. However, if you’re in a bunker deep below the earth all by yourself, then watch it, because it’s a great review.

3. Tetris

Platform: Game Boy
Released: 1989
Copies Sold: 35 million
Tetris was released for NES and sold something like 8 million copies. However, by including it with the revolutionary Game Boy, Nintendo made Tetris one of the top three best-selling video games of all-time.

2. Super Mario Brothers

Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Released: 1985
Copies Sold: 40.24 million
Yes, Super Mario Brothers was bundled with the NES. But you know it would still have sold almost as well even if it wasn’t. It’s one of the best, most iconic videogames ever.

1. Wii Sports

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Released: 2006
Copies Sold: 81.64 million
Wii Sports is the real reason why I couldn’t possibly have excluded bundled games from this list. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Wii console wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was if it didn’t come with an extremely entertaining game that made maximum use of the system’s motion-detection capabilities.
Put simply, people bought the Wii just so they could bowl and play tennis in their living rooms. And that is impressive.




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