1.) “Mario” (1981)
One of gaming’s most recognizable icons, Mario first appeared in 1981’s “Donkey Kong” before starring in his own game in 1983. Titled “Mario Bros.,” the game spawned over 200 sequels, cementing its spot at the top of the video game world. Most of the games are associated with the “Super Mario Bros.” franchise, which has raked in over $446.53 million. Despite his diminuative stature, Mario still reigns king.
2.) “Grand Theft Auto” (1997)
Created in 1997 by David Jones and re-created in 2001 by Dan and Sam Houser, “Grand Theft Auto” is a series of open-world action games. They have been met with scrutiny by parents and government figures for use of violence, language, drug and alcohol use and sexual content. The series has inspired many more open-world games. It consists of fourteen games and has made over $125 million worldwide.
3.) “Call of Duty” (2003)
Created by Ben Chichoski in 2003, “Call of Duty” is a first-person shooter game series. The franchise is split into three arcs, one set in World War II (original trilogy), one set in contemporary times (Modern Warfare trilogy) and one set in multiple time frames (World at War/Black Ops trilogy.) The series consists of 16 games and has one of the best musical scores of any game franchise. The series has made over $100 million worldwide.
4.) “Final Fantasy” (1987)
Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi in 1987, Final Fantasy is a role-playing game franchise that has expanded more than any other franchise of its type. The first game in the series was created by Sakaguchi as a last-ditch effort to make it in the video game industry. The game was a success and spawned 13 sequels in its main series and a host of companion games for various consoles. The series has made over $102 million.
5.) “Need for Speed” (1994)
The most successful racing game, “Need for Speed” was created in 1994 by Electronic Arts. It was one of the first video games designed to mimic car handling and steering without any arcade elements (joysticks, steering wheels, foot pedals, etc.) The game was successful and franchise has produced 20 sequels (split into four generations) since. The franchise has also made over $100 million worldwide.