Historical game sales data can be hard to come by, so I was quite interested to see NPD analyst Mat Piscatella tweet a series of all-time best-seller lists for the Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1, Saturn, Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color over the weekend. Some of these might surprise you!
The game industry’s sales numbers have historically been much more closed-off than those of other industries. While it’s easy to find the box office numbers from films, for example, U.S. game sales data is locked up behind a very expensive subscription to the NPD Group’s reports.
The charts tweeted by Piscatella aren’t totally complete—they rank games by dollar sales instead of unit sales, and they don’t have the exact numbers, just a comparative ranking. But it’s still valuable information. Here’s the data:
Well, I guess Crash Bandicoot was really popular. Shame they couldn’t get one of them onto the PlayStation Classic. Also: Driver.
I knew Goldeneye was popular, but the second-best-selling game in the U.S.? Amazing. Also, look at Shadows of the Empire kicking ass there at #10.
Madden being the biggest Saturn game in the U.S. might strike you as strange, but remember that the Genesis was the premier system for the sports genre, and some percentage of those players were bound to move on to the next Sega system for their Madden fix.
Speaking of Sega and sports...
The final platform Piscatella ran the numbers on was Game Boy Color. No surprise that it’s shot through with every Pokemon game for the short-lived platform, plus Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. The dark horse here is clearly the Yu-Gi-Oh game. Also, a “better luck next time” to Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, which we must assume is a very close #11.