Baseball is largely referred to as America’s pastime, but to be honest, that just isn’t the case anymore. Forget the fact that sports like basketball and football have overtaken baseball, because sports aren’t even America’s pastime anymore. The video game industry completely changed the world in the 1980’s, and it has continually grown over the decades. Now, there are eSports leagues all around the world, making up an industry that is projected to be worth over $1 billion in the near future. More people across the globe watch online streaming of video games via Twitch and other streaming services than the amount of people that watch all four major sports championships in the United States combined. Ultimately, it’s safe to say that video games are America’s pastime and could quickly become the world’s pastime as well. In honor of the constant advancement of the gaming industry, here are the best-selling video games of all-time as of January 2017.
No. 5: Super Mario Bros.
Units Sold: 40.24 million
Initially released in 1985, this is the first official Mario title in Nintendo history; however, it should not be mistaken for Mario’s first appearance, which came in Nintendo’s 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. Nevertheless, following this Nintendo Entertainment System launch game, Mario became the unofficial mascot for the Japanese gaming company. The 40+ million copies of Super Mario Bros. that were sold around the world were just the beginning of the success that would be generated from the Mario series.
No. 4: Grand Theft Auto V
Units Sold: 70 million
The controversial Grand Theft Auto series was created in 1997 for PC and the original PlayStation, or PS1. Since then, 13 new installments or sequels were released, and each has found success in one form or another. None more than the most recent title, Grand Theft Auto V. It is the only game on the list that is not family-friendly, which has sparked controversy but is also the main reason for its overwhelming success. Players loved this game so much, they bought it for multiple devices. Some people purchased the game for PS3, PS4, and even PC, which should tell you all you need to know about its quality. Over 70 million copies sold worldwide, and unlike most of the other games on this list, that number will continue to rise.
No. 3: Wii Sports
Units Sold: 82.78 million
The release of the Nintendo Wii created arguably the biggest video game craze in history. The unique motion controls were unlike anything the industry had ever seen. Of course, the number three game on this list was the primary beneficiary of the Wii’s immediate success; however, contrary to popular belief, Wii Sports may have contributed even more to the console’s success. At over 82 million units sold, Wii Sports sold almost as many times as the console itself, which sold 101 million units over its history. Many believe that its success can be directly contributed to its simplicity. Grandparents and children could easily adapt to its gameplay style, even if they had never played a video game before in their life.
No. 2: Minecraft
Units Sold: 107.86 million
It’s relatively easy to spot the trend among the top games on this list, but if you can’t, here it is. The simpler, the better. Minecraft was released on Windows in 2009. The building-block video game seemed to piggyback of the widespread success of LEGO, a toy company that’s been around since the mid-1900’s. Minecraft is easy enough for non-tech savvy adults to play but engaging enough for video game veterans as well. With nearly 108 million copies sold in less than a decade, this may be the most popular video game of all-time.
No. 1: Tetris
Units Sold: 495 million
I know what you’re thinking. Did he really call Minecraft the most popular video game ever when Tetris has sold almost 390 million more units? To that, I say it’s easy to rack up sales over three decades. If Minecraft was able to cover 20% of Tetris’ total sales in less than 10 years in today’s day-and-age, then imagine what the sales would look like if the game came out decades ago. Nevertheless, Tetris is by far the best-selling video game of all-time. It became so popular, that it is still being adapted for modern gaming consoles. At nearly 500 million units sold, Tetris will never be caught in this category. Today’s parents slaved away for hours playing Tetris on their computer or Game Boy, while today’s youth is playing it on their smartphones and calculators. While things like virtual reality and artificial intelligence continue to make headlines in the tech world, Tetris remains a staple in the everyday life of video game enthusiasts.