Can you guess which are the most popular video games ever? Playing video games is an extremely popular pass time all over the world. In the U.S. alone, 65% of households have a device for playing video games. Moreover, U.S. consumers spent $23.5 billion on the gaming industry in 2015 with $16.5 billion of that spent on gaming content alone. There’s no doubt about it. We love playing video games, but which video games do we like playing the most? On today’s list, we are going to look at the 25 most popular video games ever.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Considered one of the best Zelda games ever, it was released by Nintendo in 1998 and players were blown away by the graphics and gameplay of the game compared with the other Zelda games. It was the first Zelda game to have 3D graphics. Originally designed for the Nintendo 64DD, it was released instead on a 256-megabit cartridge, the largest-capacity cartridge Nintendo ever produced.
Pokemon Red, Blue, and Green
Over 20 million copies of these role-playing games were sold by Nintendo for “Gameboy.” Developed by Game Freak, the first installments were Red and Green released in Japan in 1996.
Blue later released in the the same year year as a special edition, with “Pokemon Yellow” subsequently released three years later. Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green were remade afterward for the “Game Boy Advance” in 2004 where upwards of 10 million copies were sold.
Super Mario 64
Published by Nintendo for its “Nintendo 64” and released on June 23, 1996, “Super Mario 64” sold over 11 million copies worldwide. The third-person, free roaming, 3D platform was the brainchild of Shigeru Miyamoto, who had spent years trying to build a fully-3D platform for the SNES before he quit the idea altogether.
However, when the company shifted to the development of N64, he played a big role in helping the company veer away from same thumb-destroying crossroads the company had been employing for over a decade.
Often considered the most successful video game series of all time, “The Sims” has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. A strategic life simulation video game, it is also hailed as the best-selling PC franchise in history.
The sandbox game was developed by Maxis, and was later turned over to The Sims Studio published by Electronic Arts. The gameplay involves creating virtual characters called “Sims” who are placed in homes where players can direct their actions and satisfy their desires.
Released in June 6, 1984, this tile-matching puzzle video game was created by Alexey Pajitnov, a young researcher at Moscow’s Academy of Science. The inspiration for this game came from a board game called “Pentomino” where 12 different shapes made out of five squares are twisted and turned until they all fit together in a box.
Today, an estimated billion people have played “Tetris,” the first entertainment software from the USSR that was exported to the US. This game is available on nearly all platforms helping it earn the topmost ranking on the “100 Greatest Games of All Time” list from the Electronic Gaming Monthly’s 100th issue.
A real-time pet simulation video game developed for the “Nintendo DS,” “Nintendogs” sold 23.64 million copies worldwide as of March 2011 since it was first released in Japan in 2005.
The game uses the DS’s touchscreen and built-in microphone to pet a dog and to use various items. It also allows players to interact with others through the console’s wireless linkup. Nintendogs has received positive critical reception and has many awards including the 2006 Innovation Award from “PC World.”
Final Fantasy VII
One of the best titles in the series, “Final Fantasy VII” became an immediate critical and commercial success when it was first released in 1997 for the “Sony PlayStation.” A version was also released in 1998 for “Microsoft Windows PC” and for the PlayStation Network in 2009.
It sold 10 million copies by May 2010. Clearly popular, it was the first game in the series to be released using 3D computer graphics with fully-rendered characters on pre-rendered backgrounds.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Considered to be the most visually stunning video game of the Grand Theft Auto Series, “Vice City” is the second 3D action-adventure video game that was developed by Rockstar North (DMA Design) in the UK in 2002. The same year, it became the best-selling video game of 2002 and the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time as well.
“Half-Life 2” is a first-person shooting game, like its predecessor, and was originally released on November 16, 2004. It took five years of development, as the game leaked on the internet, to complete the game.
It was praised for its gameplay, soundtracks, animation, storyline, and graphics when it was finally made public. It was also awarded “Game of the Decade” at the 2012 Video Game Awards. As of February of 2012, it already sold over 12 million copies, making it one of the best-selling PC games of all time.
“Starcraft” is a real-time strategy based game first released in 1998 by Blizzard. Even though it was released 14 years ago, the game continues to leave a mark on the gaming world and is often considered to have raised the bar for strategy-based games. As of 2009, the game sold over 9 million copies across the world.
Resident Evil IV
Initially created for GameCube, a PS2 version was announced before it was released. Various versions were also available for Microsoft Windows, Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox. The game pioneered the over-the-shoulder third person point of view and was a top contender for the “2005 Game of the Year” award.
Developed by Bungie Studios and released on November 9, 2004 for Xbox, a Microsoft version was also released on May 31, 2007. The game uses a new physics engine called “Havok” and they added weapons, vehicles, and new multiplayer maps. With 6.3 million copies sold in U.S. alone, it is the best selling first generation Xbox game.
Released in 1995 and published by Square (known now as Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Square also released a version for PlayStation in 1999. It was a huge success even upon release because of its character development, side quests, multiple endings, and its meticulous graphics, making it one of the greatest video games ever created.
A video game released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997, “GoldenEye 007” became the party game of late ’90s. It certainly has the propensity to end up on the best video games of all-time list due to its death-match mode, paving the way for other multiplayer shooters.
World of Warcraft
“World of Warcraft” is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released by Blizzard in 1994 as the 4th installment game set in the fantasy Warcraft universe. It is hugely popular with over 12 million players worldwide and is currently the world’s most subscribed MMORPG.
“Doom” was not the first first-person shooter video game, but it was highly influential and significant in its genre. Without this seminal game, which was released by id software in 1993, that genre would not look like it does today. It was solely responsible for the word “death-match,” which is now a popular part of gaming lexicon. It showed the full potential of the first-person shooter genre. Doom was leaps and bounds ahead of its time, and its legacy has persisted with a motion picture and a book chronicling the game’s development tailored for die hard fans yearning for the behind-the-scenes scoop.
Also known as “Metroid 3,” this is an action-adventure game published for the SNES in 1994. It was also released for several other subsequent consoles. The game’s plot revolved around Samus Aran and her quests to retrieve a stolen Metroid from the Space Pirates. The game was universally acclaimed with an aggregated score of 96% from Game Rankings, named Game of the Month in 1994, received an Editor’s Choice Award as the Best Action Game of 1994, and ranked as one of the Best Games of All Time in 2003.
Metal Gear Solid
“Metal Gear Solid,” a stealth-action video game, was intiially developed by Konami Computer Entertainment in 1988, but made many sequels.
Its later versions feature impressive cinematic cutscenes and voice acting, but the depth put it over the top. The bosses were well-crafted characters with their own personality, ideology, and will to fight. This is one of the greatest gaming franchises ever.
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
A competitive fighting game originally released for the arcades in 1991, “Street Fighter II” was an improvement over the first, including the use of command-based special moves, a six-button configuration, and a selection of multiple playable characters with their own unique fighting styles.
The success of Street Fighter II came at the right time, the game boom of the ’90s. It exceeded $1.5 billion in gross revenue in 1993, had 25 million American playing the game in homes and arcades in 1994, and sold more than 14 million copies through its Super NES and Mega Drive console ports, making it Capcom’s best-selling game of all time.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
This game was hugely popular to gamers due to its cinematics, interactive gameplay, and highly polished mechanics, which made it one of the best competitive multiplayer games available out there.
Published in 2007 by Activision, this first-person shooter video game uses a propriety game engine and was available in several platforms. It was the most highly acclaimed in the Call of Duty series and earned numerous awards including IGN’s Best Xbox 360 Game and the top-selling game worldwide in 2007 with 13 million copies sold as of May 2009.
Sid Meier’s Civilization
This is a turn-based strategy video game that is the front-runner for all the 4X genre: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. Created for MicroProse in 1991, the game’s objective is ‘to build an empire that will stand the test of time. It requires the micromanagement skills and strategy to survive and though not as popular as “Sims City” at the time, the game’s franchise has sold millions of copies and has become possibly more beloved over time.
Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!
Not all video games are created for fun and recreation as shown by “Brain Age,” an entertainment video game that uses puzzles such as stroop tests, mathematical questions, and Sudoku puzzles. It is an entertainment product that was based on the work of its creator, Dr. Kawashima, in neurosciences. It has received both commercial and critical success with 18.96 million copies sold as of March 2011 and even received multiple awards for its quality and innovation.
Need for Speed
“Need for Speed” is the most successful racing video game ever with over 100 million copies sold as of October 2009. Considered one of the most successful video game franchises, it was first released in 1994 exclusively for 5th generation video game consoles, though it was eventually featured in all 7th generation consoles by 2008.
A series of racing video games published by Electronics Arts, NFS was well-liked by racing maniacs not only for its speed, but also for the advanced graphics, car selection and modification, sound effects, and real-time car racing experience.
Donkey Kong Country
This game not only brings back the Donkey Kong character, which was often viewed as a cult classic but also started a new franchise entry based on its new characters and gameplay.
Developed by Rare in 1994, it sold over 9 million copies worldwide, making it the 2nd best-selling SNES game ever. “Donkey Kong Country” was the first game to use pre-rendered sprites, which create a 3D effect throughout the game. Its graphics were made from Silicon 3D graphic models compressed for 2D SNES that give its animations large amounts of detail for a 16-bit console, which was revolutionary at that time.
This classic game needs no introduction. The name itself is nearly synonymous with video games. Developed in 1980, it became a staple of pop culture in that period and led to sales of countless merchandise, an animated TV series, and a top-ten hit single. “Pac-Man” is considered a landmark in video game history, the most famous arcade game of all time, and the highest-grossing video game ever with a generated income of $2.5 billion all before 1990.
Clearly, you’re a video game scholar, but do you know about the 25 Creepiest Video Game Easter Eggs? No? Time to study up!