Special Report

Best-Selling Nintendo Games of All Time

Video games have been around since the 1970s but their growth was turbo-charged during the pandemic, as millions of people had to huddle in place at home and find things to do.

More than 2.5 billion people play video games across the globe, according to Enterprise Apps Today. In the U.S., nearly 64% of adults are gamers, with 38% of them between the ages of 18 and 34.

Enterprise Apps Today predicts that the video game industry will be worth almost $300 billion globally by the end of 2025, with the largest share of that coming from the rise of mobile video games. And the biggest gaming company is Nintendo, with a net worth of more than $85 billion.

Nintendo was founded as a company making playing cards in Kyoto, Japan, in 1889. It evolved into various other businesses in the ensuing years, and launched its first gaming console, the Color TV-Game, in 1977. Nintendo of America was established in Redmond, Wash., in 1980, and the following year the company had its first hit with the release of Donkey Kong. (For those with more old-fashioned tastes, here are the 19 best board games to play online.)

To identify the most popular Nintendo games of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the total units sold of more than 20,000 video game titles since their respective releases as provided by VGChartz. In cases where sales data was not available, units shipped were used as a proxy. Data on primary Nintendo consoles and release dates also came from VGChartz. In some cases, games published by Nintendo have been released for non-Nintendo consoles; those sales figures are not included here.

Click here to see the best-selling Nintendo games of all time

The dominant Nintendo games on our list are those with the Mario and Wii themes. Mario was first introduced to the public in 1985 when Super Mario Bros. debuted. Duck Hunt also debuted that year. (Super Mario features in our list of 45 movies based on video games, ranked from worst to best.)

The Wii system, a wireless game-playing system that involves players in simulated dance and sports action, was introduced in 2006. According to Nintendo, more that 100 million Wii systems have been sold since then.

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