Look, there are several ways to objectively measure the quantities of games sold. Are most sales definitely the most popular? We don’t think so. When it comes to what makes a game popular, there are a few things to look for:
1. Name recognition.
When you talk to someone who doesn’t play video games and ask them to name three video games, what do they say? That’s popularity.
2. Good memories.
When you ask your friends who play video game games what their favorite gaming moments are, what are they sharing? That’s popularity.
List of the Top Video Games of All Time
We interviewed a number of real humans, we went online and looked at the millions of copies sold, and we found that this would be the definitive list of popular games or the most subjective assemblage of garbage bias.
Regardless of what the yes and no sayers say, let’s look at this list!
Pacman gets the 20 spot because it’s an old arcade game that everyone played at least once at the local rink before it closed down for good 15 years ago.
When it comes to games, it always seemed to be frustrating and simplistic. Yes, it’s “a classic” but, like in old movies, a classic doesn’t mean it’s good! Still, the popularity is undeniable.
I bet you didn’t see it coming! I’m kidding, it probably occurred to you when you read the title of the article. But listen, when it comes to old heads who don’t play video games, you ask them for three game titles, at least 50% of them will say Tetris.
18. Wii Sports
Wii sports are undeniably a great time. If Pacman could look more like Wii sports, maybe the rink wouldn’t have closed, and maybe Pacman would have a better place on the list. But no, only Wii sports can be like Wii sports.
This game is definitely popular, fun for all ages, and has sold a ton of copies. The only problem is that it came with all Wii sales, except maybe in Japan. So maybe Wii sports are only popular because they are friends The Wii is popular. We’ll never know.
17. Sonic the HedgeHog
Some of the entries in this list make more sense than the entire franchise rather than an individual game. Sonic, for example, probably gained popularity on the Sega Genesis and Game Gear. Not so much on the Dreamcast (Sega RIP systems). People recognize it, however. Maybe he has just one of those faces.
16. The Sims
Lol. This is the only game that, no matter how many times you get it into the pool and carry the ladder, will not die. We won’t lie, we spent many hours building our own houses, putting dirty dishes on the floor, rosebuds and setting the kitchen on fire.
It can be a fun game. And it has serious appeal outside your typical player base.
15. Diablo III
This game sold a surprising amount of copies. We didn’t know it was as popular as it was. Impressive characters, soft loot, Blizzard … It’s easy to see why this one was a success.
14. Super Mario Bros.
You think Diablo III has moved a few copies, it has nothing on Super Mario Bros! Now, one could argue that people only know about Mario Bros. because of that live action movie that came out in 1993. If someone makes that argument, they are totally wrong. Horrible movie, watch it some day!
13. Super Smash Brothers
When it’s “Wah” it’s “Wah-HOooooo”. Super Mario 64, anyone? No? Okay, that’s it. Here we go again with a franchise. A lot of people like the original on the N64. Others like them the newer they are. Anyway, people know about this franchise, people ask for it when you release a Nintendo system. SSB is populaaaaaaar.
There is no party like a Nintendo party, as Japan opts for the hat trick. Yes, Pokémon! What a honesty! If we had to choose the generation, we would say red and blue (and yellow if you want to be all-inclusive). The new games are great, but you can’t beat the fever behind the release of the first generation.
11. The Legend of Zelda
Oooooooooooh !!!! No, we didn’t !!!! Four in a row! Four in a row! The Legend of Zelda. It’s our humble opinion that there was no better game to play on a snowy day. Ocarina of Time is just… so good. So many feelings. Anyway, if you ask around, Zelda always shows up in the answers. Popular.
10. Metal Gear Solid
It is a franchise that doesn’t need to be on that list, but it is. It filled the gap in the console for a long time. Even if you’ve never played it, you’ve heard about it. Plus, Snake is SSB.
What a ruckus this big franchise has caused! It’s an empty MJOLNIR suit of his old self, but when it first came out on the original Xbox, the boy came out swinging! It’s a huge franchise, it has live fallout (a little better than the Super Mario Bros movie), and it was a big problem for the shooters when it came out. Popular.
8. Final Fantasy
Another of those franchises where many more people recognize the name than they actually play it. You could go and ask five people at random these two questions “have you heard of Final Fantasy? Have you ever played it? and I bet 3 out of 5 will have heard of it and 2 or less will have played it.
Sometimes life is weird like that. But still: popular.
7. Call of Duty
It is our duty to mention this one. You don’t launch games on a release schedule like CoD, always getting those big sales numbers, with this giant online community unless you are # popular. The Call of Duty franchise is a great addition to the FPS collection.
6. Angry Birds
Will you forgive us if we don’t say anything about this game that somehow slipped into sixth place? You will be?! Oh great, thanks.
What a match. A game and a half, really. The Elder Scrolls franchise was great even when Morrowind came out, and it just keeps getting cooler and cooler. We need more loot, though. Since Morrowind, there just aren’t enough armor and weapons… You know what we’re saying?
If you ask people about RPGs or dragons, chances are they’ll know you’re talking about Skyrim. This kind of execution of a game that defines the genre makes you very popular.
4. Grand Theft Auto
A resounding success! GTA V sold huge quantities of copies and made huge amounts of money. GTA is the infamous franchise. Everywhere, parents and advocates of violence against video games tremble in fear or rage on behalf of GTA. The campaign stories are interesting, the driving is fun, and all the after-school programs are fun too.
We used to play water rescue in GTA 4. One person takes a boat in the water and jumps out, the other person has to fly a helicopter and get close enough to the water so that the guy in the water can hang on and get into the helicopter. Most importantly, the helicopter got too close and sank. But what an explosion!
Wow, who would have thought World of Warcraft would make the list? This is another genre-defining game. When you have 22 minutes of cable TV time dedicated to you via South Park, you know you’ve made it. Unfathomable amounts of total hours in the game, millions of subscribers and never enough loot.
Counter-terrorists win… .the 2nd place prize in the popularity contest! We had to put a real old fashioned original gangster game near the top of video game popularity.
In its time and its continued popularity, it won this place more than games like DotA or LoL. We heard that the Xbox version was being remastered for Xbox One (I’m kidding, don’t believe us, we’re not telling the truth).
Companies are building office buildings inside Minecraft on private servers! And they use the building to meet customers and discuss business! This does not happen to you if you are an unpopular game. Minecraft exploded on the scene and has continued to snowball ever since.
They are everywhere. Adults play it, tiny babies play it, and we’ll go in and dig the occasional secret hobbit hole. It’s so lovely and fun, and it’s cozy in any social setting or social circle. Yeah, Minecraft is king of the school this time.
Games, Games, Games… and More Games
If you are a gamer, then you will have no doubt loved our list. If you want more content like what you just went through above, be sure to check out our lists on the most popular Funko Pop figures and all of those cute girls from the 90s that you know you had a crush on!