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Top 10 Most Popular Games of All Time

Updated on May 20, 2020
Rui Carreira profile image

Rui Carreira is a pop-culture–oriented individual and he loves all things cinema, anime, gaming, and entertainment.

Best-Selling Games
Best-Selling Games

Top Selling Videogames: Top Paid Games of All Time

To write this short article, I researched a lot - but my research was done around selling numbers and charts, therefore this list doesn't include any free-to-play games.

Regardless, this article is pretty good for those hoping to know what the most popular games in the world are - and it includes every title from the 1st game ever to the latest one.

One of the trends I've been seeing is that many people who get on this Top Selling Videogame list were looking for the highest-rated games of all time instead.

This game is all about the games who sold the most copies throughout the years, so it's not about ratings, but sales.

On the other hand, know that some older games do have an advantage as they were in the market for more time, but there are some relatively new games included in this best-selling games of all-time list.

Read below and Enjoy!

Question:

Were you looking for the best selling games or the best rated games when you found this hub?

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Top Selling Games Vs. Top Rated Games:

I found that a lot of those who are searching for the top selling games of all time are very surprised by the fact that there are so many games in this list that are apparently short on content or didn't get the best reviews.

That is because the sales are influenced by a lot of things, and there are epic games not even close to getting on this list because there aren't enough platforms to make it so widespread popular.

On the other hand, look at Tetris.

Tetris is a game that became so popular because there was a title of it released for a lot of different platforms, and even platforms created only to play it - remember those days with that small Tetris game on the beach?

Having this in mind, remember we're talking about the Top 10 Games that sold the most copies, not the ones that we consider to be the best or those who had the best reviews.

If this is really what you're looking for, then we got it all right below this paragraph - including the number of copies each game sold up until the year of 2015.

The Original Best-Seller
The Original Best-Seller

1 - Tetris: 135 Million Copies

I bet that reading this title is in number one with about one hundred and thirty-five million copies makes you shiver. If you were born in the 80s, and even in the 90s, you know how great of a game Tetris was.

If you spent the same time I did playing this game, then I bet you already have the music playing on your head and you're down memory lane, remembering those good times at the beach or trying to get those lines cleared.


Recently, Tetris has been having an increase in search again, and there are even new projects out there that resurrect this legend into mainstream gaming.

Tetris VR is a best selling game in its own right, and the old school Tetris tournament champions have been having a blast with it.

Streamers from Twitch have also started to pick up on Tetris VR, which is raising the awareness of new generations to the legendary brick game we have awesome memories of.

I remember enjoying a good game of Tetris on those widely popular handheld brick game machines while on the beach eating a snack and waiting to go to sea.

An amazingly nostalgic title.

Wii-Sports Caption
Wii-Sports Caption

2 - Wii Sports: 82.54 Million Copies

With close to 82.540.000 copies sold, the Wii Sports game has certainly made people move. Its popularity was increased due to the research done around it, proving that the game is ideal for people recovering from injuries or trauma.

The research also concluded seniors benefit from moving around with this game - and so, with the "regular market", the fitness enthusiasts, senior homes, and clinics worldwide getting it... the game kept selling and selling.

Wii Sports was one of the first games to push people to move while gaming, and it opened a precedent for many games and even entire gaming platforms built around the idea that fitness can be worked upon while having fun gaming.

Of course, Wii Sports didn't substitute proper exercise, but it increased the kcal spent by otherwise sedentary people, enabling them to have a bigger calory deficit and promoting weight loss.

Wii Sports was a success that is still played worldwide today, in senior homes and at the home of millions of people.

Nintendo really hit it out of the park with this one, and it certainly has paid off for them.

This game sold so well Nintendo went on to create other versions of Wii Sports and standalone experiences based on it.

MineCraft Art
MineCraft Art

3 - Minecraft: 54 Million Copies

Mojang just made it big by creating a game that is simple but amazing in its simplicity. Suddenly people were starting to have their powerful computers play a pixelated game - but for good reason.

Minecraft grabbed a great concept and welcomes people that are hardcore gamers or just like to keep it casual.

Its market is large, even more so when the game is so suitable for mobile platforms.

This is the first item on the list not owned by Nintendo.

On the other hand, it also had a development level not accompanied by any of the previous titles as it has been in constant development for years now, and it is also seeing new content done for it.

People have also used Minecraft to mod in mini-games and do authentic digital artwork out of it, with those epic replicas of Minas Tirith, Elm's Deep, and the likes.

Expansion packs, spin-off games, skins, mod packs, patches and more are always coming out, so the Minecraft player and lover always have something new to do, and new gamers have a reason to keep on purchasing the title as it stays relevant throughout the years.


Super Mario Bros
Super Mario Bros

4 - Super Mario Bros: 40.24 Million Copies

Super Mario Bros. is a classic - and I'm sure you already played it if you're a real gamer. If you haven't played it I can't tell you whether you'll like it or not because my analysis is skewed, as I'm wearing some massive nostalgia glasses that make the game seem awesome no matter how I look at it.

Mario, the plumber, has got it in his list to save the princess from Bowser, who happens to have some massive castles in order to confuse the little hero. Will he find her?

We have started to associate Super Mario Bros with retro gaming, and even modern hits like the YouTube Channel Game Theory use its sprites with no explanation given - simply because EVERYONE knows the game.

What you should also consider is that although Super Mario Bros was the fourth most sold game of all time, it was also among the most pirated games of all time, and back in the day, you could find counterfeit gaming platforms with this game as part of its selling point.

In fact, I think most of us have unknowingly or knowingly played a pirated copy of Super Mario Bros already, which is something sad that downranks this number.

Regardless, Super Mario Bros deserves its place in the best selling games hall of fame.

Mario Kart - The Friendship Destroyer
Mario Kart - The Friendship Destroyer

5 - Mario Kart: 35.53 Million Copies

Heeeere we goooo! It's Mario Kart, the huge hit people won't stop talking about throughout popular internet boards and gaming websites.

Mario Kart is the "go-to" game if you're having a party and want to make your friends gather round to have a good time!

It's a lot of fun to play alone, but this game was made to play with friends or lovers.

Mario Kart has a special place in most of our childhoods as it was that go-to game for birthday parties and we often made everyone rage against each other when those blue shell spiked turtles were sent down the lane.

Super Mario Kart is one of the best selling games out there, selling over 35 million copies and showing everyone out there you don't need overpowering graphics or a great story to be one of the most successful gaming titles of all time.

Honestly, I knew it was a best-seller, but I didn't think it would manage to snag the 5th place of this list, I'll be honest.

It surprised me, especially considering that it was ahead of the next title, which we all knew was coming.


GTA V Cover Art
GTA V Cover Art

6 - Grand Theft Auto V: 34 Million Copies

If you want to play the bad guy or someone who has a lot of drug-related problems, then Grand Theft Auto is the game for you. The saga has everyone running around, doing quests, and growing their businesses - proceeding throughout the character's history.

However, sometimes you just want to grab a gun and start shooting, or get a car and drive aimlessly like a reckless criminal.

This game has it all.

In fact, GTA V even manage to sell copies that didn't do a thing. You see, when the GTA V Casino expansion came out, there were a lot of countries where gambling was illegal and nobody could use the machines of the casino, yet Rockstar allowed purchases anyway.

This allowed them to sell the expansion AND the mansions etc for millions of dollars only for players to get in the game and see it NOTHING worked.

A real bad move by Rockstar, but the game is one of the best selling video games of all time anyway, so I guess they always have what they're after - that fresh cold hard cash.

Wii Resort for Those Active Gamers
Wii Resort for Those Active Gamers

7 - Wii Sports Resort: 32.58 Million Copies

Remember when I wrote earlier that Wii Sports was a homerun for Nintendo?

The Wii Sports Resort could be faced as a sequel to the popular Wii Sports, since the game is pretty much the same, only with new mini-games and some new functionalities.

I loved the little fruit cutting game and the archery game as well, and it definitely brought a lot of value to the original title.

Nevertheless, it is pretty similar, and similarly successful as well.

With time, Nintendo had to continue to other ideas, but while they could milk their popular "sports" title they did so, even driving this title, seemingly just an offshoot of the first game, to levels they never thought possible.

It's only ironic that Nintendo manages to get most of the best selling game spots with titles that are similar between themselves, with the Mario platformers and the sports franchise.

I guess if you're team is winning you shouldn't replace the players.

Nintendo is certainly a legendary gaming brand with a perpetuated name thanks to these best sellers.


Super Mario Strikes Again
Super Mario Strikes Again

8 - New Super Mario Bros.: 30.75 Million Copies

This game picked everything the original Mario Bros. had and mixed it up with modern graphics and motion detection - stuff that the Nintendo Wii could add to the mix.

The game is a platformer and Super Mario fans will know how to play it from level one. It is fun, colorful, and makes the delight of both kids and grown-ups - and that's the magic of the title.

Did you try it yet?

There was an added gameplay mechanic thanks to the gyroscopes inside the Wii remotes, which enabled you to turn in-game platforms with the remote and experience the game in a kind of "extra-dimensional" way.

However, nowadays there is more competition in the gaming industry, so it's really hard for even the most successful videogames to reach the numbers of the games in the 80s which were often the only game of their type or franchise available.

This is a handicap modern games face... that and video game piracy.

People Like Wii Mini-Games
People Like Wii Mini-Games

9 - Wii Play: 28.02 Million Copies

Finally, Wii Play ends the "Nintendo Spree" on this list, which means this is the last game here... but wait, there's only one more?

Yes, that's right, Nintendo sure knows how to make them - and this game just shows you what the Wii console is capable of.

When Wii Play came out, the game had a lot of novelty, and people weren't used to playing using their movement, and this is what made the title so successful.

The Wii gaming console had a lot of hate from "hardcore" gamers who told people everywhere they were filthy casuals for playing in such a simplified console with kid titles.

Well, Nintendo sure showed them the world saw value in this new way to play, and the novelty was enough for the Wii console system to have several entries in this best-seller videogames list.


San Andreas - The Best GTA Ever?
San Andreas - The Best GTA Ever?

10 - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: 27.5 Million Copies

Another GTA title in the list shows us that people like to be gangsters, or that all of the advertisement of how GTA makes kids violent backfired in order to give the saga an "image" of something forbidden and badass.

Of course, it can also be due to the open-world and all the freedom you face, or the novelty of building your own empire while still being able to walk around like a bottom-feeder.

It is ironic that GTA San Andreas is the last game on our best selling list.

Why?

Because I can see another game in the near future stealing this game's place and Big Smoke telling CJ the only thing he had to do was follow that train.

GTA San Andreas changed a lot of the rules of the GTA franchise and included dynamic body shapes, hairstyles, and the ability to swim which is nice and allows you to do some crazy things like spotting Megalodon sharks and so on.

Definitely a game worthy of closing this list, and I've played it as much as Tetris.

Voice your oppinion:

Do you think Nintendo deserves to overwhelmingly crush all others?

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Greedy Wario
Greedy Wario

Nintendo Knows How to Do it!

Apparently, Nintendo holds the keys to producing a lot of popular games. I could easily understand if the list was crowded of old titles, but the Wii titles show us Nintendo still has it.

So, Nintendo knows how to produce profitable and popular games like no other - and no, Mario isn't the key, since the Wii Sports titles don't even feature the Italian plumber.

It's intriguing, and something that amazed me.


An interesting discussion about Video Games and Video Game Design:

Thank you for Reading: Leave me your opinion!

What do you think about most of the games being made by Nintendo or a company associated with it?

I was pretty amazed when I found out, and doing the research to write this article made me see just how much of a huge company Nintendo is - I knew it was a gaming dinosaur and a powerful one at it, but I didn't know about it being so dominant.

What's your opinion on this one? What do you know Nintendo has that makes it overcome competition from a lot of other gaming dinosaurs?

Leave me your comment in the comment section below.

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