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The 5 Best-Selling Nintendo Games of All-Time

Nintendo is known for having fantastic franchises. These include Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, and Donkey Kong, just to name a few! Over the years, almost every Nintendo franchise has received new installments and ports to new consoles. This brings up the question: out of every single Nintendo game, which ones have sold the best?

Before I begin, there were a few rules and restrictions I followed in order to make this list as accurate as possible. They were:

  • When a game is released with multiple versions, every version of the game is counted separately. This, unfortunately, excludes games like Pokemon and Fire Emblem Fates from being on the list. I chose to follow this rule because the goal of this list is to find the 5 single best-selling games, and allowing titles like these would be counting multiple games and seemed unfair. For example, the first release of Pokemon would have Pokemon Red, Blue, Green, AND Yellow all counting towards it!
  • Games that were given away as a bundle with consoles or primary controllers don’t count. This includes games like Wii Sports and even Super Mario Bros for the NES. This rule may seem strict and unnecessary, but I followed it for one reason: the game didn’t entice people to buy it by itself. For example, it sounds silly to say that you bought your Wii to have Wii Sports, right? You bought it for the console! The same goes for Wii Play. Let’s be honest, we all bought that for the Wii remote and never played Wii Play more than once.
  • Re-releases or ports don’t count. For example, Wind Waker for the Gamecube and Wind Waker HD for the Wii U don’t combine their sales numbers but instead count as two separate games.

With these rules in mind, let’s see the 5 best-selling Nintendo games of all-time!

5. Super Smash Brothers Brawl- Wii

Super Smash Brothers Brawl Characters

Super Smash Brothers Brawl Characters

If you talk to any Super Smash Bros. player they will tell you that Brawl is the worst installment of the series. It makes you wonder, how could this entry have gotten more sales than Melee or Smash 4? It’s confusing until you factor in console sales. The Wii is Nintendo’s second best-selling system, selling over 101 million units, while the GameCube only sold 21 million units. Since so many people had a Wii, there was a larger audience that had the ability to purchase and play Brawl. Brawl lovers out there (if that’s a thing?), next time somebody makes fun of Brawl just throw the sales numbers at them!

DISCLAIMER: I don’t hate Brawl…. Except for the tripping. Ok, maybe I do hate it.

4. Super Mario Land- Gameboy

Super Mario Land Box Art

Super Mario Land Box Art

Released in 1989, Super Mario Land came out as a launch title for the original Nintendo Gameboy. Its gameplay was similar to the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES but featured shorter levels and slightly varied mechanics. Super Mario Land also ditched the Mushroom Kingdom for a new world named Sarasaland, and introduced Princess Daisy to the series. Super Mario Land was originally expected to be bundled with the launch of the GameBoy, but Tetris was chosen to be bundled instead… which is why it didn’t make the list.

Overall, Super Mario Land was a successful title that spawned several sequels including Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. It allowed players to take the platforming Mario gameplay they loved on the go and became one of the best-selling games that Nintendo has developed.

3. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!- DS

Brain Age Box Art

Brain Age Box Art

Based on the work of famous Japanese neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, Brain Age is a puzzle-based DS title that was released in 2006. Dr. Kawashima is known for his studies on the development and retention and learning skills, and he is actually the host of the game!

Side by side picture of Dr. Kawashima IRL and in Brain Age

Side-by-side picture of Dr. Kawashima IRL with his Brain Age persona

The puzzles in Brain Age range from mathematical questions to Sudoku puzzles, all of which are designed to keep the brain active every day. The effectiveness of the game on brain activity has sparked some scientific controversy over the years, with some studies showing that playing Brain Age has no effects on brain development. Nintendo has officially remained neutral on the game’s impact on the brain, instead emphasizing the fact that they’re a video game company that focused on the entertainment aspect of Brain Age. Despite the controversy, Brain Age remains the 3rd best-selling Nintendo game of all-time.

2. New Super Mario Bros.- DS

New Super Mario Bros. Box Art

New Super Mario Bros. Box Art

After the release of Super Mario Sunshine in 2002, the Super Mario series went quiet for four years. It wasn’t until the 2006 release of New Super Mario Bros. that the series got a new installment. New Super Mario Bros. served as a reboot of the franchise by implementing the classic side-scrolling/platforming gameplay of the original Super Mario Bros. while adding new updated graphics and abilities, including the Mega Mushroom that makes Mario grow over 10x his normal size. With over 30 million copies sold worldwide, New Super Mario Bros. is the best-selling DS game, and the 2nd best-selling Nintendo game of all-time.

1. Wii Fit- Wii

Wii Fit Box Art

Wii Fit Box Art

You’re probably thinking, “Whoa, Blake, didn’t Wii Fit come with a controller? How does that count?” Yes, Wii Fit did come with a controller, but it was an extra controller that almost no Wii games needed in order to be played. For those of you who bought the balance board, did you buy it to play Wii Fit or to play a different game? That’s what I thought. It still meets the requirements!

Anyway, with the justification of its inclusion out of the way, Wii Fit is the best-selling Nintendo game of all time. Wii Fit is a fitness game (surprising, huh?) that includes activities such as yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance games. With a whopping 43 million units sold, very few games have done as well on any platform.

The success of Wii Fit can be measured by how many of those balance boards you see cluttering up GameStops and thrift stores around the country. Just think, somebody bought all of those balance boards at some point! Seriously though, I can’t seem to walk into a thrift store nowadays without running into a couple of these things.

R.I.P. Balance Boards

R.I.P. Balance Boards. You will never be forgotten.

Nintendo’s best-selling games really surprised me. I was blown away by the fact that there wasn’t a single Zelda game on the list! What do you guys think? Have you purchased any of these games? Were my rules stupid? Comment below!



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