The Top 5 Greatest Gaming Dynasties Of All Time
Undoubtedly, video and console gaming is such an enormous industry. Still, the success and innovation of game designers have helped to buoy up the initial promise of the sector, which has been apparent since the 1970s.
Console gaming has risen to command dominance in the industry and as the potential of the market and the overall size mushroomed into a global success story, the emergence of timeless, enormous genre-crossover success stories that have generated billions of dollars.
#1 - Super Mario
With over 20 games in the franchise, Super Mario stretches beyond the success of a gaming franchise and is arguably just as big as the console company behind it - Nintendo. Combining the total sales of the games holds a candle to any of the most prominent titles in video gaming history. Figures compiled a couple of years ago put the number at nearly 400 million units.
Such was the success of the game that it spawned a whole host of accessories and other successful media. Most recently, the 2022 Super Mario Bros. film grossed over $1.3 billion at the box office, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2023 thus far other than Barbie. Many fans are already anticipating the next Super Mario Bros movie, and the immense success of the franchise in cinema and video gaming shows that it is one of the greatest dynasties ever created.
#2 - Grand Theft Auto
Ever since Grand Theft Auto 3 opened the door to the possibilities of this franchise, Rockstar continued to explore unknown terrain and find diamonds that have cemented Grand Theft Auto as one of the most well-known video gaming franchises in the history of console gaming. For many gamers, Grand Theft Auto, the radio, and the gameplay evoke immense nostalgia. From the unbelievable innovations that followed GTA 3 to Vice City and San Andreas, many believe the latter to be the series' magnum opus.
San Andreas was a triumph in design, receiving universal acclaim, with three distinct island locations, including Los Santos, based in Los Angeles; San Fierro, based in San Francisco; and Las Venturas, based in Las Vegas. Critics commented on how vast and varied this world was compared to the other franchises. San Fierro reflected the steep hills of San Francisco and Las Venturas mirroring the sprawling casinos of the world-famous Nevada gambling mecca.
Part of what made San Andreas so special was this balance and selection and the option to play extensively and expertly crafted casino games within the game itself. This ingenuity and design was carried seamlessly into the latest installments of GTA, with GTA 6, one of the most highly anticipated games of all time, currently in development.
#3 - The Legend Of Zelda
As another definitive name in Nintendo's unbelievably successful history, The Legend Of Zelda is one of the most consistently highly-rated gaming dynasties ever. Although it doesn't quite measure up to Super Mario Bros, the universal acclaim and nearly 150 million units sold highlight how phenomenally successful the franchise has been since its original release almost 40 years ago. While plenty of popular games have faded during this time, Breath Of Wild in 2017 sold over 32 million units, spawning a wide range of underlying markets, ranging from accessories to clothing.
#4 - Pokémon
Japan is a hotbed of gaming excellence, with many games we have discussed today stemming from the country. Pokémon is no different. With over 120 games and nearly half a billion sales, it is a game that surpassed sensational gaming popularity and broke into popular culture, with Western culture, particularly in the early 2000s, becoming engrossed with the cards. However, the resurgence, which has seen some of the retro cards sell for over $100,000, shows that the dynasty continues to transcend generations and capture the imagination of people hailing from various cultures.
#5 - Call Of Duty
In the early 2010s, Call Of Duty dominated video gaming. Not only was it the most played game online, but new versions of the game smashed through multiple sales records. Although first-person shooter games like Counter-Strike have managed to close the gap considerably, becoming the most prominent professional video gaming tournament, Call Of Duty completely eclipses it in sales, with over 400 million copies sold as of 2021, with this figure likely growing by a few million since it was last measured.
We've tried to include as many genres as possible, and some huge names haven't made our list today. This speaks to the quality, consistency, and variety available in video gaming. Many of the games we have featured today currently have fresh installments lined up, whether they're new console games or movies.
While games like Fortnite have captured the imagination of gamers over the last decade, until it has multiple chapters that sell as well as some of the games featured today and maintains popularity throughout new generations, we'd say this list will likely stay the same for the next few years, barring the emergence of a video game that becomes a pop culture phenomenon.