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5 Greatest Video Game Franchises of All Time

Updated on August 20, 2020

Regardless of whether you like video games or not, there's no denying they have become a huge part of millions of peoples lives and the attachment many people have to their favourite video game franchises can be as powerful as the attachment many people have to their favourite song from that perfect summer vacation or to that movie that they watched for the first time with their first love. Video games often stir up huge feelings of nostalgia for people—including me! I get that warm fuzzy nostalgic feeling whenever I think about the cut scene right at the end of Final Fantasy 7 where Aries is killed by Sephiroth or the Legend of Zelda theme tune and sound effects that were as familiar to me when I was a teenager as the Match of the day theme or the Eastenders soundtrack.

I've compiled my 5 greatest video game franchises of all time, taking into account total sales, longevity, and those that stir those feelings of nostalgia. Enjoy!

5. Grand Theft Auto

Number 5 on my list is the Grand theft auto franchise. First released in October 1997 on PlayStation 1 and Windows the grand theft auto franchise has amassed a huge 235 million sales worldwide spanning 16 years, 6 full main series games as well as 4 additional games and 2 expansion packs. The only game on this list to be created and developed in the UK by Scottish developers David Jones and Mike Dailly and developed by Rockstar games. Every game in the Grand theft auto franchise received worldwide critical and financial success but it was Grand theft auto 3 that was the franchises most successful title, it's release was dubbed as a major event in the history of video games with the producer of the Streetfighter series Yoshinori Ono quoted as saying "It would be no exaggeration to say that Grand Theft Auto III changed the industry, and we can basically separate the time before and after its emergence as distinct eras."

So, we can come to the conclusion that the Grand theft Auto franchise sincerely deserves it's place in my list of the 5 greatest video game franchises of all time and we can all look forward to further titles in the franchise in the future.

Best selling game - Grand theft Auto 5 (75million units)

4. Sonic the Hedghog

And at number 4 on the list we have Sega's speedy speedster Sonic the hedgehog. First released in 1991 on the Sega Mega Drive, the Sonic franchise has notched an impressive 350 million sales worldwide from over 20 titles spanning 17 years across multiple platforms including Sega, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo. The popularity of the main character Sonic the hedgehog has resulted in many media spin offs including cartoons, anime and comic books.

This much loved video game franchise sparks warm nostalgia into millions of video game fans worldwide, for this reason Sonic makes it onto my list of 5 greatest Video game franchises of all time.

Best selling game - Sonic the Hedgehog 1991 (15 million units)

3. Final Fantasy

Number 3 is the epic RPG (Role play game) classic Final Fantasy. First released in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment system by Japanese game developers Square the franchise has sold over 130 million units spanning almost 3 decades and 15 different titles. The Final Fantasy franchise has been credited with revolutionising the RPG genre within the industry and their Final Fantasy 7 title has been named by several well known Video Game magazines as the best RPG of all time. Such was the success of Final Fantasy 7 that Square Enix announced way back in 2015 that there would be a remake of the classic title. Fans had to wait five long years, but the remake was released in April 2020 and sold 3.5 million copies in the first three days of release.

The Final Fantasy franchise has also branched into other media outlets including the 2001 animated movie The Spirits Within among others.

Due to the success of the franchise and the revolutionary gameplay and cut scene sequences that made the franchise famous the Final Fantasy franchise makes it to number 3 on my list of the greatest video games of all time.

Best selling video game - Final fantasy 7 (11 million units)

2. The Legend of Zelda

Just missing out on top spot is The Legend Of Zelda franchise. First released in 1986 the baby faced hero Link has graced our screens on 25 different titles (including remakes) spanning 3 decades and selling over 78 million units worldwide. Several Legend Of Zelda titles have received outstanding levels of acclaim from critics however it was the franchises title The Ocarina Of Time that made the biggest splash making it into the Guinness book of records as the highest rated video game of all time.

The Legend Of Zelda franchise has influenced many members of the gaming community. The founder of Grand theft auto Dan Houser is quoted as saying "Anyone who makes 3-D games who says they've not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying." and many other video games creators and developers have said the Zelda franchise has influenced their games in some way.

The excellent gameplay, catchy soundtracks and huge worlds to explore makes The Legend of Zelda a truly epic franchise that just keeps on giving.

Best selling game - Breath of the Wild (18.9 million units sold)

1. Mario

The king of video game franchises and everyone's favourite plumber Mario, created by Japanese game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, made his video game debut in 1981 on the original Donkey Kong. Mario was then given his own series called Mario Bros followed by the Super Mario series. Since Mario Bros was released in 1983 the franchise has amassed an amazing 528 million sales worldwide across over 200 games from various genres of gaming including racing (Super Mario Kart), puzzle (Dr Mario) and Sports (Mario Striker), as well as the familiar Mario bros and Super Mario platform genres.

Without doubt the lovable plumber from Brooklyn has become the number 1 video game franchise in video gaming history and I'm sure will continue to dominate with future titles Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch.

Best selling game - Super Mario Bros. 1985 (40.2 million units)

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