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5 Japanese, Immortal Franchises
There are a number of video game series that have been favorites for consumers for many years. But in my opinion these five offer a level of longevity that gives each of them the accolade I myself have christened: An Immortal Franchise.
Immortal Franchise #5: Street Fighter
This is a title that has stood the test of time.
I may not have had the benefit of, well… being alive upon the release of Capcom’s arcade fighter back in 1987 but I have been able to enjoy hours of game play on Sony’s Playstation 2 and Nintendo ‘s Wii Virtual Console. This franchise has served as a go-to source of entertainment for hardcore fighting game fans for 25 years! It’s still going strong with a crossover title in the works by the name of ‘Tekken X Street Fighter’. Releases such as Super Street Fighter HD Turbo Remix (arguably the longest game title in the world – or at least it feels like it) and recently released Super Street Fighter X Tekken have already got fans pumped up for another swing with their favorite characters. Many more to come, and it is not going anywhere.
Immortal Franchise #4: The Legend of Zelda
Next up on the list is a title that is a warm part of every video-game toting adult’s childhood.
This game, released initially on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1986, has been a testament to Nintendo’s ability to serve fans what they want, consistently for a long period of time. For as long as I can remember Link has been trying to save Princess Zelda from a myriad of foes ranging from an angry-looking warlord by the name of Ganondorf to hideous creatures common to every fictional environment Shigeru Miyamoto and his crew have been able to cook up. All in all, fans know what to expect whenever Nintendo decides to release a new console or whenever the next round of first party titles are announced for their latest console. It seems impossible to imagine a future without a silent protaganist (minus a few “chyaas!”) and an eternally distressed damsel.
Immortal Franchise #3: Pokemon
Regardless of what anyone thinks, Game Freak has made a perennial gem in the hearts of millions of fans.
This series’ traditional handheld releases have stood as a consistent source of popularity and revenue for Nintendo’s consoles. The most recent releases, Pokemon Black and White 2, have sold a collective 1.6 million units in their first two days in Japan alone! I can personally attest to my younger brother reaching from his own pocket to purchase a Nintendo DS Lite upon the release of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl and trust me… he wasn’t the only one.
Pokemon may not be as long-standing a franchise as some of the other names on this list, but its influence has developed into a billion dollar brand. Much like Link and a number of other Nintendo properties on this list, Pokemon is a brand that has been cultivated into a recognizable, reliable, and resilient force in the entertainment business as a whole.
Immortal Franchise #2: Final Fantasy
It must be duly noted that this article contains a visible trend: All of the games listed so far have had more than 10 titles to their name. Final Fantasy, however, has numbers 1 through 14 in chronological order – and that’s minus spin-offs.
This series that has sucked up a substantial part of my childhood.
It has made my grades suffer at points, my parents yell at me with rage, my teachers question my integrity as a student and a slew of other events that would fail to fit within the context of this article. Even with the understanding that my future was becoming increasingly influenced by a video game, I played on!
Final Fantasy is a series that, like many RPG’s, has become an industry icon. Even in light of Square-Enix’s recent denial to finish work on a Final Fantasy 7 remake, fans still yearn for their new projects with a burning, fiery passion. I must admit, I came into gaming late, beginning my Final Fantasy journey on the original Playstation with their seventh proper installment. I fell in love with the characters, music, and environments that Yoshinori Kitase and Hironobu Sakaguchi (to name a few) helped create. I went on to play their tenth proper installment and a large number of the original re-releases to only fall deeper in love with series as a whole. Many gamers can attest to Sephiroth killing Aeris as one of the most pivotal scenes in gaming history. This is only one of a large number of elements that make Final Fantasy fans continue to purchase these titles.
Immortal Franchise #1: Super Mario
This should come as no surprise.
Mario has been kickin’ it for what seems like an eternity. You though Link had it bad? Mario has been through so many nooks and crannies that Miyamoto himself can’t help but credit a substantial part of his fame in the industry to the ‘overall-ed’ Italian. Speaking of which, his reliable companion Luigi has had it pretty rough too!
With an insane amount of exposure to the general public, Mario has become one of the planet’s most recognizable videogame characters according to the Guinness Book of World Records. From the first moment I could see, Mario existed. And that is a reality for billions of people.
Overall, Japan’s developers have pumped out some key titles over the years as the ones highlighted above are only a few of the country’s developers’ long-standing vow to continue to create great games. Whether its Mario, Cloud, Pikachu, Link or Ryu himself, their legacies will live on.