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I’m sure many of you have sat down with a couple of fellow gamers and argued over the epic questions. One of those might have been regarding what the most successful console has been when it comes to game sales. So what I did was pour over a ridiculous amount of sales and console data to provide you with the answers, and the outcome I eventually developed is one that might surprise a few people. Not only that, but the list that follows behind it is equally as intriguing and controversial.

Technically speaking the highest selling game of all time was, for many years; Super Mario Brothers. This however is due to it being packaged with the Nintendo Entertainment System “selling” around 40 million copies worldwide. In a similar way including console packages, Super Mario World (released with the SNES) has “sold” 20 million copies, Super Mario 64 (N64) 11 million, Tetris (Gameboy) 33 million, Super Mario Land (Gameboy) 14 million and Sonic The Hedgehog (Mega-drive/Genesis) 4 million.

But this has recently been usurped by another console package, Wii Sports (packaged with the Nintendo Wii) has “sold” around 41 million copies. With it’s innovative physically interactive gameplay Wii Play has “sold” around 21 million copies, however many believe this to be an untrue sales figure due to mainly being bundled with a peripheral.

Wii Fit on the same system has sold over 14 million copies and is sold with a peripheral which is specific to the game, therefore many might argue that this should be a stand alone sales figure as the peripheral does not have any other uses aside from the game. The Wii continues its phenomenal sales record with Mario Kart Wii selling around 14 million copies.

Additionally, and equally as controversially, excluding Wii Play from the list the second spot goes to Pokemon Red, Blue and Green, if you include them as pieces of one game, which technically they are; as you cannot complete the total game (by collecting ALL of the Pokemon) without both releases.

All of this begs the question, If Wii Play isn’t considered the number one selling game of all time, and Pokemon is a rather hotly disputed second, what comes in at number one?

Maintaining the controversy Nintendogs is the best selling game of all time with over 22 million sales on the Nintendo DS, however disputes surround it also. Technically 5 different games; Dachshund and Friends, Lab and Friends, Chihuahua and Friends, Dalmatian and Friends and Nintendogs Best Friends it is plausible that the games should be considered individually. Additionally the Nintendogs Best Friends release was actually a bundle package with a special addition DS, adding further fuel to the fire of controversy.

So this all begs the question, based on individual sales of a game, packaged on its own, what (finally) claims the crown of BEST SELLING CONSOLE GAME EVER? This award not surprisingly goes to Nintendo and to a certain mustache wearing plumber whom you might have heard of. Super Mario Brothers 3 released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1988 (or 1990 or 1991 depending on where in the world you lived) has amassed sales of over 18 million and built on the success of Super Mario Brothers 2′s sales of 10 million. Interestingly the Nintendo DS version, New Super Mario Brothers has achieved 18 millions sales making it a surprising yet unsurprising success story.

The list that follows in the wake of the mighty Super Mario has some surprising twists of its own. For instance, did you know that Grand Theft Auto San Andreas outsold Grand Theft Auto IV 3-1? Halo 3 only just outsold Halo 2 (by around 100,000 units)? How about Goldeneye on the N64 selling more than Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty World at War (so far)combined? Space invaders on the Atari only sold around 1million units, and was outsold 7-1 by PacMan? Gears of War 2 has so far sold only as many copies are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the NES (4 million)?

Taking a broader view, when expansion packs and sales of the original and it’s sequel are taken into account the best selling PC game The Sims has sold over 100 million copies. A mere footnote however when compared with the mighty Super Mario empire with over 200 million combined sales, standing head and shoulders over the now dormant Pokemon franchise with 186 million sales.

But what about the future? Many believe that Call of Duty 4 will become the new title holder, but only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, as gaming becomes more diverse and sophisticated and gamers tastes diverge it will take a truly phenomenal game to knock the crown off the head of Super Mario Brothers 3.

Listed below are some notable games and their approximate sales figures (taken from Gallup, The Guinness Book of World Records and a few other sources) for you to mull over. Obviously the list below is not exhaustive and misses many titles out but should provide answers to anyone who challenges you with a “what about …..” question.

  • Nintendogs – 22 million
  • Super Mario Brothers 3 – 18 million (Super Mario Brothers 2 – 10 million
  • New Super Mario Brothers (DS) – 18 million
  • Gran Turismo 3 A Spec – 15 million (Gran Turismo 11 million)
  • Grand Theft Auto San Andreas – 12 million (Grand Theft Auto IV – 4.1 million)
  • Halo 3 – 8.1 million
  • Halo 2 – 8 million (Halo Combat Evolved – 5 million)
  • Goldeneye – 8 million
  • Street Fighter II – 8m million
  • Mario Kart 64 - 8.5 million (Super Mario Kart – 8 million)
  • Super Smash Brothers Melee – 7.1 million
  • Pac-Man – 7 million
  • The Legend of Zelda (NES) – 6.5million
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 6 million
  • Gears of War - 5 million (Gears of War 2 – 4 million)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) – 4 million
  • Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare – 3.7 million
  • Space Invaders – 1 million


Please note that all figures are approximations and some figures my now be out of date due to some games still selling at this moment in time.

And to follow up your conversation down the pub, you might want to mention that The House of The Dead: Overkill has recently become a new Guinness World Record holder for Most swearing in a video game with 189 uses of the f-word. Stunning work there Sega.

  1. Wow some really interesting stats here. The Goldeneye Vs Call Of Duty in particular

  2. avatar Xd

    MGS 4 = 5.6mill

  3. avatar Guy

    COD4 has long surpassed the 10 million mark (PS3+x360+PC combined). San Andreas topped 18 million.

    This list seems completely out of date. Where did you take it from?

    • avatar Laura

      I have 3 photos taken from the same angle 1966 1987 and 2010The first was taken on a flaimy holiday with my parents 1966The Second was taken by my parents on a revisit 1987The third was taken as a request by me of a friend who was there 2010It is amazing to see how photography has develop in the last 46 years

  4. avatar HrMagni

    Why does this list differ so much from the wikipedia’s list of best selling video games?

    i.e you are missing
    Super Smash Bros. Brawl (8.1 million)[Wii]
    Super Mario Galaxy (7.66 million)[Wii]
    Final Fantasy VII (9.8 million, includes Final Fantasy VII International)[PS]
    Tomb Raider II (8 million)[PS]
    Metal Gear Solid (7 million)[PS]

    to name a few

  5. avatar alex c

    thts wiked about EA’S call of duts not selling as much as half of goldeneye on n64,
    and theve now brought the bond licence, never managed to repeat the sucsess of that tho..

    i boycotted ea, and ubisoft after years of shite. go sega, so sony 1st party.

    funny how nintndogs is one of the biggest selling games, japanese have a facination with the digital/robots and animals, and mixing the 2.

    and gears of war 2, would ahve sold a lot more, if it was called halo 4, and had some brighter colours in there..lol!

  6. avatar anonymous

    ermmmmmmmmm…..
    what about the ps3 games like motorstorm, resistance and mgs4!?

  7. avatar boring

    this is a lame, biased article…..way out of date, and seems to be pulling numbers from their arse….someone please tell this person that vgchartz.com exists for a reason. and will someone please slap the world in the face for buying so much crap from nintendo this generation

  8. So you people are saying Wikipedia is more relevant than what the author got his numbers from? (Gallup, The Guinness Book of World Records). The numbers may be a tad out of date due to the fact that the author is getting his quotes from legitimately confirmed sources, and not assumptions that have yet to be confirmed.

    COD4 isn’t as high because we’re not including the PC sales as well; this is a console study.

  9. avatar Diddy

    Its a fact that Gran Turismo 3 is the 2nd best selling game on the PS2….. just behind GTA S.A…. so either one or the other has wrong data here. And by the way….. the x-box 360 version of CoD Modern Wafare (6 Million copies)….. is today….. the 2nd most sold game on the 360 (after Halo 3….. and ahead of Gears of War)….. so your data is not vary accurate on this one either…..It’s obvious that some games here (20 years old) have had more than enough time to sell by millions of copies….. but the innteresting question here is: What games made more profits??? I’m sure that a 60$ copie of Halo 3 (+ live fee)….. will end up making a bigger profit for MicroSoft…. than a 40$ copie of Nintendogs does for Nintendo….

  10. avatar Lanf

    Call of duty 4s figures are really a lot lower than they should be, VGchartz says it has sold 7.31m on the 360, and 4.25m on the PS3, compared to the 4.7m stated here… If you use out of date figures as an excuse, why is the far more recent gears of war 2′s figures got a much smaller difference (VGchartz says it has sold 4.84m, compared to 4m on this list). My point being here, the comparisons are rather untrue for some, COD4 has almost matched the sales of goldeneye on 360 alone, let alone when you include the other 2 platforms AND COD:WAW which was also on the Wii.

    • avatar Doniyor

      But it’s so easy to get lives you never run out and if you die a certain aomnut of times you can become? invincible (unless you fall). Back when games were harder it was a pretty good system but now it’s completely pointless.

  11. avatar Poe

    Untrue may not be the correct term.

    Think of the article as a snapshot, it’s using confirmed data to make a point. Even if it had the latest data, it’d be out of date in a week. Appreciate that there are some surprising facts here.

  12. @Diddy
    Interesting point bringing up profit! I’m sure all of the DS games took considerably less effort to research and develop compared to the Halo series. It would be an interesting experiment that would take a ton of interviews…

  13. avatar Holden

    Call of Duty 4 has sold 7 million copies moron

  14. avatar HrMagni

    @Chris Carter

    Regarding the wikipedia list. All the numbers in the wikipedia list has reference to the source material. In some instances the sources are the same, but in the wikipedia list you can at least track each number to the source material.

    One thing that is not looked at here is the price difference for the games now and then, i would image that to reach the same amount in $, in the old days would take more games sold than today.

  15. avatar Rebel

    Another “teenage” journalist trying to be an adult. Those figures are so out-of-date, it isn’t even funny. As someone has already mentioned, COD4 sold that many copies on the PS3 alone!

    Try getting your facts straight next time.

  16. avatar part time

    @gavin warhurst……thats hilarious…..if a part time game store employee says its true it must be. He probably told u he got laid once too….

  17. avatar nitro

    lol, “my brother’s friend’s cousin”

    • avatar Kate

      My 5-year-old son is a huge Mario Brothers fan so this poster semeed like a great addition to his bedroom. We gave it to him for Christmas (with a nice poster frame bought elsewhere.) He LOVES it! He points to the characters telling me little facts or stories about them. He looks at it often to help him as he draws Mario pictures. Other than not having the Baby Mario characters (which he likes a lot), it has all of the main Mario friends. He thinks it’s really cool.It came packaged nicely in a heavy-duty cylinder poster carton and arrived quickly. No creases or bends or tears. Beautiful, vibrant colors.

  18. You guys realize he was joking right?…Right?

    Like Chris and a few others have said, you can only be so up to date. Most recent sales figures are projections, or take into account SHIPPED, not SOLD units. Gavin took hard sales figures from reliable sources and created an article from those.

    I guess you can never please everybody.

    • avatar Kallu

      Die Grafik:Die PSP macht einfach spac3Ÿ. Wer gerne in Spiele grfaisch eintauchen mc3b6chte wird c3bcberwc3a4ltigt sein. Die Bildqualitc3a4t an sich kommt natc3bcrlich nicht an den OLED des Sony-Walkmans heran. Dafc3bcr c3bcberzeugt das relativ groc3Ÿe Display im Kinoformat. Sobald Sony einer neuen PSP das gleiche OLED Display verschaffen sollte wie beim Walkman-Flagschiff wc3a4re die Brillanz in meinen Augen nicht mehr zu toppen.

  19. some pretty interesting things there, sweet article

    • avatar Emilda

      I couldn’t agree more about giicatrres. I miss sitting with some of the elderly individuals I used to help and they would tell me stories for hours about the things that they witness when they were younger, and the lives that they lived up to the point that they needed care. I have always felt that the elderly know how to live their lives better than anyone, and they for sure never take it for granted! Sometimes the people taking care of them are not good people though, and it always breaks my heart to see someone talking badly to an elderly man or woman.I like how you made a switch from little tiny babies that have no real experience with life, to elderly men and women who have lived life to its fullest and still have more life to share with others. Such opposites!

  20. avatar DiffusionE

    Call of Duty: Modern Combat 2……..lol

    • avatar Mohammad

      It seems that todays retipseneatrves in the House, Congress, White House, and in Judiciary seem to feel it is their responsibility to be charitable with the taxpayers monies and benevolent to the criminals and non-law abiding citizens and illegal aliens who they think are so deserving of a handout. Anything given is not to long appreciated and soon it becomes expected. Charity should be from individuals who can more afford it, ie. Bill Gates, and ways and means should be established for those in hardship situations to work for their own relief if they are able. If you live in a disaster zone, earthquake, tornado, flood, hurricane, high crime enviornment expect and prepare for the worst and be able to repair the damages from your savings or insurance that you have paid for yourself. Be responsible for your actions and no-one else will have to be resonsible for you stupidity!

  21. avatar Sanzee

    I find it highly entertaining that people are actually mentioning games like “metal gear solid 4″, “motorstorm”, or “resistance”.

    vhchartz.com will help you understand math.

  22. avatar zag

    The best selling console game will be Space invaders.

    It has 1 millions sales on here, which is clearly wrong as Space Invaders is on everything that can play a game, arcades, consoles, mobilesm, handhelds there’s even pinball games based on Space Invaders.

    You can even goto into toy shops/supermarkets and still buy kid hand held games with only space invaders on it.

    Space Invaders has been around since the early 1970′s it’s would have sold in the Billions of games forget about millions.

  23. avatar UGamer

    How many of those games were bundled as to sold seperately?

  24. “… Pokemon Red, Blue and Green, if you include them as pieces of one game, which technically they are; as you cannot complete the total game (by collecting ALL of the Pokemon) without both releases.”

    Disagree the idea was that you had to trade. You certainly didn’t need to BUY both copies.

    • avatar Damaris

      Wow yet another game of dumb fucinkg plumbers bouncing on mushrooms if you play this game your fucinkg retarded so try not to fucinkg scream when a giant retarded fish turtle thing kills you. YOU JUST GOT TROLLED BITCH!

  25. avatar XX

    zelda ocarina of time: 8 millions too.

  26. avatar gege

    this guy doesnt make any sense if the super mario bros sold 40 mill and wii sports 41 mill how could he say that nintendogs with 22 mill is the winner wtf…… how could he is saying wii sports and super mario doesnt count they still sold the most so technically by speaking wii sports is the best selling game of allll time 2009 it has twice the amount of nintendogs now if ur going to argue i dont give crap so shut up nintendo is the best hahahahahhahahahhahaha

  27. avatar zxc12vb3

    yeah…cool…keep it up…

    • avatar Briket

      For me this is a relatively easy qisteuon, but has a pretty complex answer. The specialty I have actually looked forward to working with is OB/GYN. I find that the ability of a woman’s body to produce a child, endure the amount of abuse it takes during a pregnancy, and the amount of pain endured during delivery is amazing. The joy of being able to be present as life enters the world is truly one of the greatest moments in life. To me that would be the best possible option. I also would love working in the operating room with a surgeon. I have experienced the OR quite a few times, and have been on both sides of the table. I have to say I would love to work with any surgeon in the OR except for Orthopedics. The reason behind that is the surgery’s are pretty brutal when it comes to the skeletal system. Having been in the OR with an Orthopedic surgeon and seeing the use of the saws, hammers and other heavy equipment in order to perform the surgery just sends chills up my spine. I know that type of surgery is not for me. I think my favorite surgeries have to be that of the abdominal cavity. The specialties that I would least like to work for are few, and for simple reasons. Pediatrics is not a specialty for me since I have four children of my own. My Aunt is a neonatal nurse practitioner and I followed her in high school and saw the good, the bad, and the ugly so I can honestly say I could not emotionally handle that type of position. Podiatry is also an area I could not see myself working. The reason behind this is pretty silly, but here goes, I very much dislike other peoples feet especially if they are not well kept. I know in the medical field you will encounter feet on a daily basis, but I could not mainly work with feet on an everyday basis. My last specialty is Orthopedics for the reasons I noted above about the barbaric nature of the surgeries and treatments for the musculoskeletal system. Its just not for me.

  28. avatar spankem

    Megaman is the number one game sold…23.2m google it

  29. avatar Anonymous

    MEN U GUYS SHOULD GROW UP! damn!

  30. avatar dannyb

    gta san andreas has sold 24 million + copies

  31. avatar Mr.Ching

    God of war3 is the best game ever sold and made!!! Love it, can’t wait for the next god of war!!!!!!

  32. avatar Mr.Ching

    god of war is gonna sell more thenany other game,i promise u that

    • avatar Sonim

      This is great program for gitetng yourself back to productivity and self worth. In the seculair world is almost nonexistant for most people to be given a 2nd chance because the thought process is that there are more people more deserving. All of you ladies have much to be proud of and I encourage you to continue to move even further in your new journey of life. Many will and can benefit for your current accomplishments. Show your appreciation by helping some else in their struggle. My hats off to ya. God Bless!

  33. avatar Unknown guy

    I bet gears of war 3 will sell more than hears of war 1 and 2

  34. avatar Mohammad

    Another fantastic show. Bionicleman’s ltitle touches that he adds in post-recording crack me up, and he does an awesome job. And SPIRIT brought a lot to this episode I enjoyed the whole thing. =)

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