What Is The Most Popular Video Game Franchise Of All Time?
While there’s no shortage of popular video game franchises–The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy have been going strong for over twenty years–no one can hold a candle to the wide spread popularity and appeal of Nintendo’s Mario.
Mario first appeared in the Donkey Kong arcade games in the summer of 1981. In the original Donkey Kong series he is never identified by name and known informally as “jump man”. With the release of Mario Bros. “jump man” became Mario and his brother Luigi was introduced. Several years later when the Nintendo Entertainment System took the console gaming market by storm, Super Mario Bros. swept into tens of millions of households around the globe and brought the tireless brothers along with it.
From that humble start in the early 1980s, Mario went on to become the face of Nintendo. Since his first appearance in 1981, Mario has appeared in over 200 video games, the core Mario series has sold over 220 million video games, and he has starred in cartoons and movies. As a result, Mario is widely considered to be the single most recognizable video game character in the world.