After Hours

The top 25 best-selling video games...EVER!

Some folks are hyping <em>Halo 3</em> as potentially the most successful video game ever, but a quick look at sales figures past shows that to be extremely unlikely--especially considering how low <em>Halo 2</em> ranks on the all-time best-seller list.

Whilst everyone is going nuts over today's release of Halo 3, how about we reign in the "most successful video game ever" hyperbole and take a walk down sales-figure lane to recall the 25 best-selling video games of all time. And before you predict H:3's eventual place on a revised version of this list, take note of where Halo 2 already falls in sales history.

1. Pokémon Red, Blue and Green (Gameboy) - 20.08 Million Copies Sold

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) - 18 Million Copies Sold

3. The Sims (PC) - 16 Million Copies Sold

4. Nintendogs (Nintendo DS) - 14.75 Million Copies Sold

5. Pokémon Gold and Silver (Gameboy) - 14.1 Million Copies Sold

6. Super Mario Land (Gameboy) - 14 Million Copies Sold

7-tie. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Playstation 2) - 13 Million Copies Sold

7-tie. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire (Game Boy Advance) - 13 Million Copies Sold

7-tie. The Sims2 (PC) - 13 Million Copies Sold

10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Playstation 2) - 12 Million Copies Sold

11-tie. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) - 11 Million Copies Sold

11-tie. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (Playstation 2) - 11 Million Copies Sold

11-tie. Grand Theft Auto III (Playstation 2) - 11 Million Copies Sold

14. Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (Game Boy Advance) - 10.66 Million Copies Sold

15. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS) - 10.52 Million Copies Sold

16. Gran Turismo (Playstation 1) - 10.5 Million Copies Sold

17. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (Nintendo DS) - 10 Million Copies Sold

18. Super Mario Bros. 2 (Nintendo) - 10 Million Copies Sold

19. Final Fantasy VII (Playstation 1) - 9.8 Million Copies Sold

20. StarCraft (PC) - 9.5 Million Copies Sold

21. World of Warcraft (PC) - 9 Million Copies Sold

22. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! (Nintendo DS) - 8.61 Million Copies Sold

23. Gran Turismo 2 (Playstation 1) - 8.5 Million Copies Sold

24. Mario Kart 64 (Nintendo 64) - 8.47 Million Copies Sold

25-tie. Halo 2 (XBox) - 8 Million Copies Sold

25-tie. Donkey Kong Country (Super Nintendo) - 8 Million Copies Sold

25-tie. Super Mario Kart (Super Nintendo) - 8 Million Copies Sold

25-tie. GoldenEye 007 (Nintendo 64) - 8 Million Copies Sold

25-tie. Pokémon Yellow (Game Boy) - 8 Million Copies Sold

Just like PG-13 movies inherently make more money than R-rated movies--because they are accessible to a much wider audience--games that appeal to a wide age range always outsell even the most successful mature titles. Thus, until Master Chief starts tangling with Pikachu, Halo 3 will carry much more marketing heft than it does sales clout.

List found via Forever Geek.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

11 comments
yuri
yuri

I noticed that each of the games listed includes the platform for which it (I'm assuming) was most popular. But do those sales figures include sales of the game on other platforms? GTA3, for example, was also sold for the PC. And many of the old Nintendo games are still being sold (re-sold?) for the Wii.

MetalFR0
MetalFR0

Actually, Super Mario Bros *COULD* be considered as the best selling game of all time, though it was a pack-in. More households had SMB than ANY other video game ever.

ksuplee
ksuplee

What? No Redneck Rampage? j/k

fjp
fjp

Six of the first eight to Nintendo is pretty impressive! Of course, the revenue might read a bit differently, but your point is still well made. BTW, "reign in" should be rein as in horse, not reign as in King..

Inkling
Inkling

in gaming circles and by gaming mags, they sure seem to have done very well in sales! I see their brand on this list 17 times.

dbl_dee
dbl_dee

From what I can see, out of all of these games, only a few games that made the list also comes with a monthly price! Doesn't matter how many copies of WoW you sell, it's all about revenues generated monthly! Which one has generated the most revenue?

cartunes
cartunes

Half-Life placed? I would have thought it made the top 25 of all time. Still having fun playing Counter-Strike online!

RocknRollFun
RocknRollFun

nintendo's awesome! ok, ok, i was a nintendo kid [had an atari 2600 first, though]... and i'll say it: i do love the xbox/360 but you have to admit, nintendo's had their thinking cap on. the DS is so much fun and the Wii is innovative!

Paul.Witting
Paul.Witting

Revenues generated monthy? Since this is a sales summary, I wonder if they are including all the monthly revenue already. But I think this metric skews things. Halo3 isn't expected to be the top selling game ever so much as the "fastest selling game ever" with record first week sales. Which game had the most copies sold? Biggest platform penetration (ie 80% of Nintendo systems had a copy of SMB) Longest sales (people are still buying replica Atari games)

svpaladin
svpaladin

For the record, only one game I recognize (WoW) on the list comes with a monthly fee... What's more telling is that 6 games (5 Pokemon series & Nintendogs) come in multiple flavors (Red/blue, diamond/pearl, gold/silver etc), and that the only pokemon game classified by itself (poke-yellow) only sold enough to tie for 25th...

Hacksaw
Hacksaw

If you average the pokemon games out between the 2 or 3 flavors each of them have, none of them even break the tie for 25th place. So with that logic wouldn't the list look more like this? 1. Pokemon all previously listed 75.84 million 2. Mario: 2, 3, Land, 64, The New 63.52 Million 3. GTA: Vice city, San Andreas, III 36 Million 4. Gran Turismo 1, 2, 3, 30 Million 5. The Sims 1 and 2 29 Million 6. Mario Kart super, 64 16.47 Million 7. Final Fantasy VII 9.8 Million (who knows where this would be with ALL the FF numbers)