Top 23 Most Played And Popular Video Games Of All Time

Dive into a legendary list that brings together the games that have captivated millions of gamers of all time.

This definitive list of the 23 most played and famous video games of all time includes absolute hits such as Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, Call of Duty, FIFA, Grand Theft Auto, among others. What is the secret of the infinite appeal of these titles? Find out why these 23 games managed to conquer fans globally and drive the constant evolution of modern gaming.

Game title

Publisher

Release Date

1. Minecraft

Mojang Studios

November 18, 2011

2. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar North

September 17, 2013

3. Tetris

Alekséi Pázhitnov

June 6, 1984

4. Super Mario Bros

Nintendo

September 13, 1985

5. Pokémon GO

Niantic

July 6, 2016

6. Pac-Man

Namco

May 22, 1980

7. The Sims 2

Maxis

September 14, 2004

8. Tomb Raider

Core Design 

October 25, 1996

9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Infinity Ward

November 5, 2007

10. Call of Duty: Black Ops

Treyarch

November 9, 2010

11. World of Warcraft

Blizzard Entertainment

November 23, 2004

12. Fortnite

Epic Games

July 21, 2017

13. FIFA 20

EA Vancouver, EA Romania

September 27, 2019

14. The Legend of Zelda

Nintendo

February 21, 1986

15. Final Fantasy VII

Square Enix

January 31, 1997

16. Mario Kart 8

Nintendo

May 28, 2014

17. PUBG: Battlegrounds

PUBG Corporation

December 21, 2017

18. Candy Crush Saga

King

April 12, 2012

19. Street Fighter II

Capcom

February 6, 1991

20. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive


Valve Corporation

August 21, 2012

21. Wii Sports

Nintendo

November 19, 2006

22. Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nintendo

March 20, 2020

23. Mortal Kombat II

Midway Games

April 27, 1993

First-person shooter and action video games

First-person action games, known as shooters, place the player in the midst of adrenaline with weapons in hand to face enemies and epic missions. They offer amazing graphics and high skill requirements to aim and react against all kinds of threats.

1. Minecraft – The best-selling open world game

Minecraft is the best-selling first-person open-world video game in history with 238 million copies. Its system of building structures with pixelated blocks allowed players to unleash their creativity.

  • It has been used in Minecraft to recreate the Earth at 1:1 scale.
  • There is an educational version of Minecraft called Minecraft: Education Edition.
  • It has sold more than 238 million copies, making it the best-selling video game in history.
  • It is a popular educational tool for teaching math, science and history.
  • It has inspired a large community of creative gamers.

2. Grand Theft Auto V – The controversial masterpiece

With 140 million copies, GTA V became the second most successful installment of Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar Games perfected it with open-world missions that blend intense action and a controversial story that captivated critics.

  • The game cost $265 million to develop, making it one of the most expensive video games in history.
  • The game map is three times larger than that of GTA IV.
  • There are more than 1,000 different vehicles in the game.
  • It has been the subject of controversy for its violent content.
  • It has inspired a large community of players who create mods and custom content.

3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – The definitive shooter

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare revolutionized the first-person shooter genre in 2007 with intense gunfights, excellent use of sound, cutting-edge graphics and addictive multiplayer. It launched the Call of Duty franchise into the stratosphere.

  • Its online multiplayer set a milestone in competitiveness and gameplay features such as killstreaks and perks.
  • He has been praised for his realism and cinematic storytelling.
  • It popularized modern, realistic war shooters, with equipment and locations based on contemporary conflicts.
  • Modern Warfare was the first game in the Call of Duty series to have a modern story.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops – A multi-award-winning hit

Call of Duty: Black Ops broke sales records in 2010 with its Cold War setting, new weapon upgrade system and addictive co-op zombie mode. It was further expanded thanks to the popular Call of Duty eSports.

  • It introduced zombie mode, a cooperative mode that was an unexpected success and became a hallmark of the Call of Duty series.
  • Its single-player campaign had a more elaborate narrative than previous installments, exploring Cold War conspiracy themes.
  • It has been praised for its dark story and Zombies mode.

5. Tomb Raider – The reinvention of adventure games

Tomb Raider and its iconic protagonist, Lara Croft, redefined third-person action adventure in 1996. Its puzzles and stories in ancient ruins influenced a new style of treasure hunter games.

  • She was instrumental in establishing strong female protagonists in video games. Lara Croft became an icon.
  • Lara Croft is one of the most iconic female characters in the history of video games.
  • Her camera controls and 3D interaction in open environments were groundbreaking for the time.
  • It has been praised for its fast-paced action and exotic environments.
  • Its sequels and reboots have kept the series going for decades.

Cult fighting games

Fighting video games pit characters in one-on-one combat with spectacular special moves. Legendary franchises such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat have generated a huge gamer culture around these games.

6.Street Fighter II – The ultimate arcade tournament

Released in 1991, Street Fighter II catapulted 2D fighting games to mass popularity with its various playable characters, each with their own fighting style. It turned arcade machines into the ultimate gamer hangout.

  • With 6.3 million units sold, it was the most successful arcade game for years, second only to Space Invaders in the 1980s.
  • Its massive success brought a wave of competitive fighting games and imitators in the 1990s.
  • SFII defined the foundations of modern fighting games, with special combos, iconic moves and deep gameplay mechanics.

7. Mortal Kombat II – Iconic blood and fatalities

It is considered one of the best fighting titles in history and the pinnacle of the Mortal Kombat series during that golden age. It defined the fighting game for an entire generation of gamers.

  • The controversy for its extreme violence and gore forced the creation of the ESRB rating system for video games.
  • Dramatically improved graphics, gameplay and move variety over the first Mortal Kombat.
  • Introduced new iconic characters such as Kitana, Mileena and Shao Kahn that would become emblematic of the series.
  • Its popularity spread to media such as movies and television, consolidating Mortal Kombat as a franchise.

Unforgettable cult role-playing games

RPGs or role-playing games are characterized by their vast epic fantasy worlds, with character and equipment development systems that reward player dedication with hundreds of hours of content and compelling lore.

8. World of Warcraft – The flagship MMORPG of the genre

Launched in 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most successful MMO (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), with a worldwide gaming community of millions of players. It is acclaimed for its persistent online world and constant updates.

  • WoW pioneered the MMORPG genre, creating an immersive virtual world where millions of players can interact and live adventures together.
  • With a rich story and lore, WoW captivates players with epic quests, challenging raids and memorable characters.
  • More than just a game, WoW has become a cultural phenomenon with a passionate community that organizes events, creates content and forges lasting friendships.

9. Final Fantasy VII – The acclaimed Japanese jewel

Final Fantasy VII transcended the RPG genre in 1997 with its epic story, pioneering 3D worlds, stunning cinematics and turn-based battle system. With 10 million copies sold, it is considered an absolute masterpiece of Japanese role-playing.

  • FFVII revolutionized RPGs with a complex story and memorable characters, delving into themes such as identity, loss and the struggle against power.
  • Its epic soundtrack, 3D graphics and innovative combat system made it a benchmark for role-playing games.
  • The main villain Sephiroth is widely considered one of the most iconic characters in video games.
  • Its story, characters and visual impact make it one of the most influential and important games of the PlayStation era.
  • It had a long companion science fiction novel published only in Japan that expanded the game’s universe.

The most addictive social simulators

Social simulators make it possible to create and control the lives of individuals or communities within a virtual world. They generate emotional bonds with users, who enjoy influencing interactions and decisions in these worlds to shape their growth.

10. The Sims 2 – Live a virtual second life

It is considered by critics and fans alike as the definitive installment that perfected the franchise’s recipe. It marked the peak of The Sims’ popularity and its massive expansion as a true gamer cultural phenomenon.

  • The game was developed by Maxis, a video game studio that also created SimCity.
  • The Sims 2 fue el primer juego en permitir a los jugadores crear y personalizar sus propios personajes.
  • It is one of the most popular simulation video games in history.
  • It has been praised for its creative freedom and its ability to engage players.
  • It has inspired a large number of life simulation games.

11. Animal Crossing: New Horizons – The island that captivated millions

Animal Crossing: New Horizons became Nintendo Switch’s most successful title with its charming graphics and the freedom for each player to create their own virtual island paradise, populated with lovable characters to befriend.

  • It broke the record for the biggest digital release for the Nintendo Switch, with 13.41 million copies downloaded in its first 6 weeks.
  • The game is characterized by its positive atmosphere and a friendly and collaborative community, creating a virtual space where creativity and friendship flourish.
  • New Horizons became a haven during the pandemic, connecting people from around the world and providing them with a space of joy and disconnection.

Top sports video games

The most popular sports games are the simulations of franchises such as FIFA, NBA 2K and Madden NFL that recreate different disciplines in an ultra-realistic way. They allow you to experience the excitement of these sports by taking control of the favorite teams and stars of fans around the world.

12. FIFA 20 – World-class soccer

The annual FIFA series is synonymous with world-class soccer in video games thanks to its detailed game mechanics, official team licenses, tournaments and real players, as well as its addictive Ultimate Team mode for building your dream squad.

  • FIFA 20 takes soccer simulation to another level with stunning graphics, realistic physics and intelligent AI that mimics the behavior of real players.
  • Added Volta Football Mode inspired by street soccer. Rescued a category not explored since FIFI Street in 2008.
  • Integrated for the first time women’s soccer teams in kick off offline mode.
  • FIFA 20 has a global community of highly competitive players vying for supremacy in online tournaments and professional events.

Racing games at full speed

Racing games test the player’s reflexes and skills behind the wheel. From realistic driving simulators to frenetic arcade games, they compete to be the fastest in dodging opponents within the automotive genre.

13. Mario Kart 8 – Nintendero Vehicle Mayhem

Mario Kart 8 took Nintendo’s ultimate arcade racing franchise into new leagues in 2014 with its colorful Mario Bros universe-themed tracks, HD graphical enhancements, new flying vehicles and epic multiplayer battles with delirious power ups like the Super Mushroom.

  • The DLC of remastered tracks gave it a long shelf life. It is still being updated even 9 years after its initial release.
  • Its graphics and effects in 1080p were impressive for WiiU in 2014. They showed the technical potential of the, at the time, failing system.
  • It proved the viability of the ultimate port concept. It still sells very well even years later on Nintendo Switch.

Retro classics that made history

The classic video games of the 1980s and 1990s laid the foundations for modern gaming. With primitive graphics and sounds by today’s standards, these pioneering titles introduced innovations, characters and gameplay formulas that would forever influence the design of new generations.

14. Tetris – The ultimate jigsaw puzzle

The addictive geometric puzzle game Tetris captivated the world from computers to Game Boy when it came out in 1984. Its simple but infinitely complex rules and mechanics crowned it as the perfect video game, accumulating more than 500 million downloads in its almost 4 decades of reign.

  • It has been played on more than 65 different platforms.
  • It is the best-selling video game of all time in Russia.
  • It is one of the most popular and influential video games in history.
  • It has been praised for its simplicity and addictiveness.
  • It has inspired a large number of puzzle games.

15. Super Mario Bros – The most famous plumber

The industry’s most famous mustachioed plumber burst onto the scene in 1985 with Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Its colorful, epoch-making 2D platform levels and accessible yet challenging gameplay gave birth to the gamer world’s flagship character.

  • The game was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, one of the world’s most famous video game designers.
  • The plumber Mario was originally called “Jumpman”.
  • The fungus that makes Mario grow is called “1-Up Mushroom”.
  • It is one of the most iconic and recognized video games in history.
  • It has been praised for its simple but challenging gameplay.
  • It has inspired a large number of platform games.

16. Pac-Man – Icon of the arcades

Pac-Man starred in the golden fever of arcades in the 80’s thanks to its original design of mazes plagued by fun, colorful, chasing ghosts. With more than 40 years on the throne and close to 300 million dollars invoiced in slot machines, it is one of the most profitable and iconic video games.

  • The original name of the game was “Puck Man”, but it was changed to “Pac-Man” to avoid confusion with an English vulgarism.
  • The Pac-Man design is based on a pizza with a slice cut out of it.
  • The game has a ghost named “Clyde” who is known to be the most difficult to catch.
  • It is one of the most iconic and recognized video games in history.
  • It has been praised for its simplicity and addictiveness.
  • It has inspired a large number of maze games.

17. The Legend of Zelda – Roots of action-adventure

The memorable epic adventure of the hero Link rescuing Princess Zelda from the villain Ganon laid the foundations for modern RPGs and action-adventure games in 1986 with its huge open world, ingenious puzzles and sword fights. It sold over 90 million copies and remains one of the most influential sagas.

  • Zelda captivates players with epic adventures in a magical world full of mysteries, formidable enemies and endearing characters.
  • Koji Kondo’s iconic music is widely recognized and has appeared in orchestral concerts around the world.
  • With more than 35 years of history, Zelda is one of the most beloved and influential franchises in the industry, leaving an indelible mark on the video game world.
  • Each installment of the saga innovates in game mechanics, level design and narrative, while maintaining the freshness and excitement of the experience.

The battle royale genre has exploded in recent years in online shooters. It consists in confronting a large number of players simultaneously on a map, who must be the last one standing by using their arsenal of weapons and constructions to eliminate rivals.

18. Fortnite – The free-to-play mega hit

Fortnite reached dimensions rarely seen before, with more than 350 million registered users and millions of daily online players. Its free-to-play battle royale format with cover building and battle passes with rewards have kept it on everyone’s lips since 2017.

  • Fortnite stands out for its constant evolution, with new events, game modes and updates that keep the community hooked and hungry for more.
  • Pop Culture adopted many of the game’s iconic dances and celebrations.
  • Epic Games has earned more than $9 billion from Fortnite microtransactions alone.
  • Fortnite has crossed the boundaries of gaming, with viral dances, collaborations with famous artists and an indelible presence in popular culture.

19. PUBG – The creation of the father of the genre

PUBG: Battlegrounds was the 2017 pioneer of this battle royale mode that took off worldwide. It laid the groundwork for the last player standing with its huge maps riddled with weapons, vehicles and items to customize from scratch in each new adrenaline-pumping game for survival.

  • He led and made the Battle Royale genre popular on a massive scale, inspiring games like Fortnite and Apex Legends.
  • It managed to average close to 4 million concurrent players on Steam during its peak.
  • Its success proved that PC-based multiplayer games could succeed outside Asia.

Casual and viral phenomena

Some video games completely transcend the traditional gamer sphere to become true mass phenomena capable of reaching any type of audience. Thanks to their broad appeal, social networks and mobile devices, they have been downloaded or played by an incredible proportion of the world’s population.

20. Pokémon GO – Global Augmented Reality

Pokémon GO exemplifies the unprecedented viral fever since its launch in 2016, with hundreds of millions of downloads and users taking to the streets to capture Pokémon creatures via mobile augmented reality.

  • The game was developed by Niantic, a company founded by former Google employees.
  • It has generated more than $3 billion in revenues.
  • It has been a global phenomenon that has connected people of all ages.
  • It has been praised for its ability to get people moving and exploring their environment.
  • It has inspired a host of augmented reality games.

21. Candy Crush Saga – Addictive Match-3

With over 2.2 billion downloads, Candy Crush demonstrates how addictive the simple premise of matching candies of matching colors on a crossword puzzle board can be. Millions of daily games have made it an instant smartphone hit.

  • With $2.7 million generated daily, it is one of the most profitable mobile games in existence.
  • King, the developer, was acquired by Activision Blizzard in 2016 for $5.9 billion thanks to its success.
  • Its versions on Facebook and mobile devices greatly expanded its initial audience on PC browsers.

22. Wii Sports – Family fun from Nintendo

Wii Sports enticed players of all ages to move their bodies freely by playing virtual sports thanks to revolutionary motion controls. Pre-installed on Wii consoles, more than 80 million users tried such hilarious sports as boxing and bowling.

  • Demonstrated the commercial viability of motion controls and physical interaction in console video games.
  • Wii Sports allowed people of all ages and abilities to enjoy video games with intuitive controls.

23. Counter Strike: Global Offensive – The shooter par excellence

Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has dominated the tactical, competitive 5-on-5 shooter genre since 2012 thanks to its intense combat, loyal community of millions and culturally ingrained ecosystem of global rankings and eSports tournaments.

  • It remains among the top 5 most played games on Steam a decade after its release, thanks to its strong competitive scene.
  • CS:GO holds the Guinness World Record for the largest number of simultaneous spectators at an eSports event.
  • It was one of the first shooters to introduce loot boxes with weapon skins, starting a controversial but very lucrative trend.
Top 23 most played and popular video games of all time

The 23 video games we have presented in this post are just a small sample of the vast number of games that have marked generations of gamers and millions. From timeless classics to recent hits, these titles have left an indelible mark on video game history.

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