Remember the 1990s? The big three consisted of Nintendo, Sega and Sony back then. Bill Clinton was president. A lot was very different. Some things haven’t changed much though – an enormous amount of software was sold in the decade beginning January 1, 1990 and ending amidst Y2K fears on December 31, 1999. Software totals in some cases are similar to volumes seen in the current 2000s decade. Those of you who grew up in the 1990s have probably wondered what the best selling videogames of the decade were. After looking through the data for systems still selling huge quantities of software, Vgchartz has assembled a list of the top fifty selling video games of the 1990s. The list only includes video game software, which for this period is NES, SNES, N64, Game Boy, Genesis, and PS1 as no other systems had games sell well enough to chart amongst the biggest hits of the decade. All figures are in millions of units sold worldwide. Debut is when the game first launched somewhere, sometime. The squiggly line denotes sales figures between two points where an exact figure is not readily available. Figures are from the Vgchartz database – and may be missing a few hits.
|Games Sales 1990-1999 Worldwide||Publisher||Platform||Debut||Sales|
|3||Super Mario World||Nintendo||SNES||Nov-90||20.61m|
|4||Super Mario Brothers 3||Nintendo||NES||Oct-88||15.00m|
|5||Super Mario Land||Nintendo||GB||Apr-89||~14.00m|
|6||Super Mario Land 2||Nintendo||GB||Oct-92||11.18m|
|7||Super Mario 64||Nintendo||N64||Jun-96||10.70m|
|8||Super Mario All Stars||Nintendo||SNES||Jul-93||10.55m|
|9||Donkey Kong Country
|10||Final Fantasy VII||Square||PS1||Jan-97||9.25m|
|11||Super Mario Kart||Nintendo||SNES||Aug-92||8.76m|
|13||Mario Kart 64||Nintendo||N64||Dec-96||8.50m|
|14||The Legend of Zelda: OoT||Nintendo||N64||Nov-98||7.10m|
|15||Crash Bandicoot 2||Sony||PS1||Oct-97||7.00m|
|18||Street Fighter II||Capcom||SNES||Jun-92||6.30m|
|19||Sonic the Hedgehog 2||Sega||Gen||Nov-92||6.03m|
|20||Final Fantasy VIII||Square||PS1||Feb-99||6.00m|
|22||Crash Bandicoot 3||Sony||PS1||Oct-98||5.50m|
|25||Super Mario Land 3||Nintendo||GB||Jan-94||5.19m|
|26||Donkey Kong Country 2
|30||Metal Gear Solid||Konami||PS1||Sep-98||5.00m|
|32||Spyro the Dragon||Sony||PS1||Sep-98||4.65m|
|33||Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past||Nintendo||SNES||Nov-91||4.61m|
|34||Gran Turismo 2||Sony||PS1||Jan-99||4.50m|
|35||Diddy Kong Racing||Nintendo||N64||Nov-97||4.50m|
|37||Tomb Raider 2||Eidos||PS1||Oct-97||4.35m|
|38||Sonic the Hedgehog||Sega||Gen||Jun-91||4.34m|
|40||Resident Evil 2||Capcom||PS1||Jan-98||4.15m|
|41||Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island||Nintendo||SNES||Aug-95||4.12m|
|42||Street Fighter II Turbo||Capcom||SNES||Jul-93||4.10m|
|43||Donkey Kong Land||Nintendo||GB||Jan-95||3.91m|
|44||Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening||Nintendo||GB||Jan-93||3.83m|
|45||Star Fox 64||Nintendo||N64||Apr-97||3.65m|
|47||Donkey Kong Country 3||Nintendo||SNES||Nov-96||3.51m|
|49||Super Smash Brothers||Nintendo||N64||Jun-99||~3.30m|
The first point to address is of course which platform was most represented in the decade. With 17 of the top 50 titles, the PS1 is by far the most represented platform on the list. Game Boy software comes next, with 12 out of the top fifty. SNES released in 1990-1991, giving it the whole decade to shift software, but the system had only 10 top fifty hits. Nintendo 64 had seven games reach the top 50 – all published by Nintendo. The dying NES (launched in 1983-1987) and Sega Genesis had two titles in the top 50 each. All fifty titles sold over 3 million units, thirty of which topped 5 million the 1990s. Only eight titles sold over 10 million units for the entire decade, and Super Mario 64 was the only game from the PS1/Saturn/N64 generation to do it.
Roughly speaking, the totals make sense. NES, SNES, N64 and GB game shipments totaled about 1.05 billion in the 1990s, compared to production shipments of about 600m PS1 games over the same period, and an estimated 280m Genesis, Saturn and DC games. PS1 game shipments for the period were higher than both GB (~360m) and SNES (~375m) which were the next most represented platforms. Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis, and NES software shipments for the 1990s are estimated at a bit less than half of Game Boy software shipments.
The publisher breakdown is pretty interesting as well. Nintendo occupied 29 of the top 50 positions. Sony had six spots. Sega had two spots. The other 13 positions were split between third parties. Capcom had four top 50 hits on the PS1 and SNES. Square, Namco and Eidos each had two hits in the top fifty. Acclaim, Konami and Hudson each had one top fifty entrant a piece.
Look for the final version of the preliminary “top selling video games of the 2000s” in about seven months once the year and decade are over.
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