The 10 Biggest Selling Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Games Of All Time - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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The 10 Biggest Selling Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Games Of All Time

How many of these did you play?

The original 8-bit console, almost singlehandedly responsible for saving the video games industry, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES for short) was a remodelled export version of the company's Family Computer platform in Japan, commonly known as the Famicom. Selling a staggering 61.91 million units worldwide, the NES is one of the best selling video game consoles of all time and had a library of over 700 official titles available. Over 10% of those games would sell more than a million copies. The top 10 reads like a history of classic video gaming, but how many of these titles did you own?...

1. Super Mario Bros.
Released in September 1985, and a US and UK launch title for the NES, Super Mario Bros. sold 40.24 million copies (although that does include the cartridges bundled with the US/European consoles) and, despite actually being a sequel, launched the long running Mario game franchise. Super Mario Bros. remained the biggest selling game of all time, regardless of platform, for over 20 years until another Nintendo title took its crown - Wii Sports (which at last count had shifted 41.65 million units).

2. Duck Hunt
Duck Hunt pre-dates the US and European releases of the NES, launching in Japan in April 1984. When it did make its way westward, Duck Hunt was also one of the titles that could be purchased as part of an in-pack title with the console. Selling 28.3 million copies, I can't help but wonder how many of those players actually shelled out for the light gun separately too? 

3. Super Mario Bros. 3
Widely considered as one of the greatest video games of all time, with one reviewer even calling it "the Mona Lisa of video gaming", Super Mario Bros 3. introduced many elements that became Mario series staples, such as Bowser's children (the Koopalings) and a world map to transition between levels. Originally released in October 1988, but not arriving in PAL format until later the next year, Super Mario Bros. 3 shifted 250,000 copies in its first two days of release and when it was later coupled with the NES in a package deal extended the console's shelf-life and gave it's successor, the SNES a run for its money. The final tally for Super Mario Bros. 3 saw the game sell 18 million copies.

4. Super Mario Bros. 2
The top three titles on this list where, at one time during their availability, coupled with the Nintendo Entertainment System as a pack-in game title. 1988s Super Mario Bros. 2 shifted 7.46 million copies all on its own merit. Gamers in Japan received an entirely different Super Mario Bros. 2, a notoriously difficult release later packaged as part of Super Mario All-Stars under the title The Lost Levels. For the International release of this sequel, Nintendo cosmetically modified an in development prototype game, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic, to include the Mario characters and, voila, Super Mario Bros. 2!

5. The Legend of Zelda
Although the US and European NES versions of The Legend Of Zelda arrived in 1987, the game was released a year early in Japan, where it was actually produced to be the big launch title for Nintendo's Famicon Disk System, a re-writable disc-drive add-on. The Legend Of Zelda was the first console game to include a battery in its cartridge, used for saving data. A massive success, like Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda launched the long running franchise and sold 6.51 million copies.

6. Tetris
Appearing on just about every platform that has ever existed, Nintendo's in-house release of Tetris became the subject of a legal battle with Atari after its release in 1989. By the time it was all settled, the NES version of Tetris was sat on the shelf of 5,58 million Nintendo Entertainment System owners.

7. Dr. Mario
You have to wonder just how many of the people who purchased Tetris also bought Dr. Mario. Essentially a clone of the earlier title, with Mario's likeness inserted, Dr. Mario was released in July 1990 and sold 4.85 million copies on the NES alone, plus a whole load more on the GameBoy.

8. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Released in Japan in January 1987, seven months before the original Zelda game debuted in North America, and so arriving almost two years later in PAL format, this direct sequel sold 4.38 million copies. The game's emphasis on side-scrolling and role-playing elements is a significant departure from its predecessor, but it was still both a critical and financial success, and introduced elements such as Link's "magic meter" and the Dark Link character that would become commonplace in future Zelda games.

9. Excitebike
Debuting for the Famicom in Japan in November 1984 and as a launch title for the NES in 1985, Excitebike was the first installment in the motocross racing video game franchise made by Nintendo. Selling 4,16 million copies, it was no doubt helped by the enhanced arcade version of the game Vs. Excitebike.

10. Golf
Released by Nintendo in May 1984 for the Famicom in Japan, in 1985 for the NES in North America, and again in Japan on the Family Computer Disk System in 1986, the box-art cover for Golf clearly hinted that Mario was involved. He wasn't, but that didn't stop NES Golf shifting 4.01 million copies.

Those are the top 10 biggest selling Nintendo Entertainment System games. You may have noticed that all 10 were developed in-house by Nintendo R&D. So, a special mention must go to the eleventh biggest selling NES game of all time, 1989's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Developed by Konami, the first video game to tie-in with the popular comic-book, animated and, eventual, film series, sold 4 million copies and, when coupled with the machine, helped to extend the life of the NES when its successor the Super Nintendo Entertainment System arrived in 1990. The top 10 games on that system are for another day.

Did you play any of these titles on your Nintendo Entertainment System? Let us know in the comments below.

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