We know what the rankings for the best selling games ever looks like. The numbers are set in stone. However, what happens when you stack the 15 best selling games ever next to each other and ask “Which of these is best?” That’s the question we’re going to try to answer.
So, on the basis of quality, here’s how we rank the 15 best-selling video games ever (and where they stand on the all-time sales rankings).
15. Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus (8th Best Selling Game Ever)
We’ve got fond memories of Wii Fit and the Wii, but this far removed from the glory days of motion controls, it’s easy to look at this glorified exercise app as the weakest “game” on this list and a product of its time.
14. PlayerUnkown’s Battleground (5th Best Selling Game Ever)
PUBG helped kickstart an era of battle royale dominance, but the game’s technical problems and an influx of superior experiences into the genre make it difficult to defend what PUBG became.
13. Wii Sports Resort (10th Best Selling Game Ever)
We’re more than willing to give Wii Sports its due, but Resort was essentially just more of the same minus the thrill and memories of playing Wii Sports for the first time. It’s a solid experience but belongs somewhere around this spot.
12. Diablo III and Reaper of Souls (14th Best Selling Game Ever)
Tough call here. Diablo III eventually got better (largely thanks to the Reaper of Souls expansion), but it was a frustrating mess when it launched. Even today, some argue that Blizzard phoned this sequel in and failed to capitalize on the best aspects of the franchise.
11. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (12th Best Selling Game Ever)
Here’s another tough game to rank. There’s really nothing wrong with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but this is where the list starts to split off into some truly notable experiences. New Super Mario Bros. Wii was just a very good Mario game for Wii owners.
10. New Super Mario Bros. (11th Best Selling Game Ever)
The DS title that inspired its also incredibly successful Wii counterpart just edges out its console brother on this list. That’s mostly due to the fact it came first, but New Super Mario Bros. also just felt great on the DS.
19. Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal (15th Best Selling Game Ever)
As the GameBoy Advance follow-ups to the classic original Pokemon games, these games were almost destined for success. Yet, you have to believe their continued success can be traced back to some smart innovations introduced in these games that would shape the future of the franchise.
8. Wii Sports (4th Best Selling Game Ever)
If you owned a Wii (which many, many people did), you practically had to own Wii Sports. This was the game that sold millions on the idea of motion controls and created timeless memories even among many who didn’t consider themselves gamers.
7. Mario Kart Wii (9th Best Selling Game Ever)
While Mario Kart Wii certainly had its problems, it also benefited greatly from the Wii’s motion controls, online play functionality, and technological advances that led to some more creative track design. This is the game that helped many people fall in love with Mario Kart (or fall in love again).
6. Grand Theft Auto V (3rd Best Selling Game Ever)
The list gets tough at this point. GTA V was (and remains) a stellar open-world experience worthy of the franchise name. It may just be the best GTA ever. If one thing holds this game back, it’s the way that aggressive microtransactions and a lack of single-player DLC may have bolstered its long-term success.
5. Tetris (2nd Best Seling Game Ever)
The longevity of Tetris is nothing short of astonishing. Time has done little to diminish the simple thrill of a game of Tetris no matter what form that game may take. Just about anyone can find themselves hopelessly addicted to this experience to this day.
4. Minecraft (Best Selling Game Ever)
Minecraft changed the way video games are shared, played, distributed, and talked about. Put aside those historical accolades, though, and you’re left with an experience that would have been a hit in any generation of gaming and will likely remain relevant for years (maybe decades) to come.
3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (13th Best Selling Game Ever)
Skryim‘s increased production values and tweaks to the Elder Scrolls formula helped it steal hours from people who never ever considered themselves to be fans of the genre. Even without an army of mods that have kept Skyrim alive, the Elder Scrolls V would remain a timeless classic.
2. Pokémon Red/Green/Blue/Yellow (7th Best Selling Game Ever)
Pokemon actually became successful around the same time as the rise of the Harry Potter series. The two are also forever linked by the fact they became phenomenons largely due to the sheer quality of the experiences they offered. The first Pokemon games nearly perfected a formula that is still going strong today.
1. Super Mario Bros. (6th Best Selling Game Ever)
In terms of fun, impact, relevance, and success, this really does have to be the number one game. So many people wouldn’t be gamers today if it weren’t for Super Mario Bros. What’s amazing is that it remains a great game despite years of imitators, innovators, and incredible sequels.