The best (and worst) selling games from Nintendo’s biggest franchises

Have you ever wondered what the best selling Super Mario game is? How about the best selling Donkey Kong game? What do you estimate how many copies of a Fire Emblem game are typically sold? And is Animal Crossing more popular than Metroid?

All of these questions and more will be answered in a moment, as we have the definitive rundown of the best selling games of each of Nintendo’s mega franchises, as well as the worst selling games, just for comparison. And fun.

And that’s it! Enjoy the list and let us know if anything surprises you…

Best Donkey Kong - Land of Donkey KongBest Donkey Kong - Land of Donkey Kong

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rarely

Release date: November 21, 1994 (United States of America) / November 24, 1994 (UK/EU)

Incredibly, Donkey Kong’s best-selling game is one of its oldest – which (spoilers) is a bit of an anomaly in this list. The only Switch game, Donkey Kong, a port of Tropical Freeze for the Wii U, sold just 2.93 million copies, while the SNES DK Country sold a whopping 9.30. Perhaps DK’s arcade roots are responsible for its popularity peaking in 1994?

Worst Donkey Kong – DK: King of SwingWorst Donkey Kong – DK: King of Swing

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: paon

Release date: 09/19/2005 (United States of America) / February 4, 2005 (UK/EU)

DK: King of Swing is a relatively forgettable Game Boy Advance offering for fans of the great ape, though apparently it’s pretty good. In this GBA platformer that took on a more light-hearted cartoon style, you controlled DK’s mittens with the shoulder buttons, which allowed you to grab and release with your left or right hand, respectively. Obviously this break with the norm from DK wasn’t what people wanted as it only sold 0.28 million.

Best Fire Emblem - Fire Emblem: Three HousesBest Fire Emblem - Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: intelligent systems

Release date: July 26, 2019 (United States of America) / July 26, 2019 (UK/EU)

Three Houses came out in late 2019, and maybe it’s just us, but it felt like it anyone played it and chatted about which of the three protagonists they chose or which of the many dateable characters they were courting. Fire Emblem has always been a bit of a niche, so its best-selling game squeaked just over 3 million (3.02 million, to be precise), but its mobile version, Fire Emblem Heroes, has apparently made $656 million in sales It’s Nintendo’s most successful non-Pokémon mobile title. Wow!

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The worst Fire Emblem - Fire Emblem: Radiant DawnThe worst Fire Emblem - Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: intelligent systems

Release date: November 5, 2007 (United States of America) / March 14, 2008 (UK/EU)

Technically, the worst-selling Fire Emblems were the Japan-only ones, but since the FE series didn’t come to the west until 2003, we don’t count anything released before then. This makes Radiant Dawn the best-selling Fire Emblem game released for the Wii in 2007. It’s apparently very heavy, and maybe that’s why not many people bought it — or maybe it just came too soon after its western debut for it to really be a hype. Who knows!

Best Kirby - Kirby's DreamlandBest Kirby - Kirby's Dreamland

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL laboratory

Release date: August 1, 1992 (United States of America) / August 3, 1992 (UK/EU)

“Wait,” you say, “surely the best-selling Kirby game is the new one, Kirby and the Forgotten Land?” You’re probably right, mate – but we don’t have total sales for it yet. Right now, the king of the Kirbies is the 1992 Game Boy game, Kirby’s Dream Land – a popular debut for the pink puffball that spawned a candy-colored empire with 5.13 million copies sold.

Worst Kirby – Kirby Battle RoyaleWorst Kirby – Kirby Battle Royale

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL laboratory

Release date: January 19, 2018 (United States of America) / November 3, 2017 (UK/EU)

The 3DS Kirby games, like Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot, were some of Kirby’s bestsellers… but the multiplayer-focused battle royale showed that it’s not the platform that sells Kirby games, selling a pitiful 0.33 million copies. It didn’t help that the game was also pretty mediocre, repetitive, and perhaps worst of all, it came out in 2017 when people weren’t really playing 3DS much anymore.

Best Super Mario - Super Mario Bros.Best Super Mario - Super Mario Bros.

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release date: November 17, 1985 (United States of America) / May 15, 1987 (UK/EU)

Why mess with a classic? Especially when this classic has sold 40.24 million copies! Super Mario Bros. has enjoyed tremendous success over the past 35+ years course it has – it is almost entirely responsible for Nintendo’s existence as a global video game company and is helping the industry itself recover from the 1983 video game crash, and It’s a cultural icon in every way, from the soundtrack to the instantly recognizable World 1-1. It’s also the second best-selling game on this entire list!

Worst Super Mario - New Super Luigi UWorst Super Mario - New Super Luigi U

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release date: June 20, 2013 (United States of America) / June 20, 2013 (UK/EU)

It is somehow Funny how the worst selling Mario game is a Luigi game. It’s a little sad that the brother in a different color can’t take a break, but it’s a little strange. Released both as a standalone game and as DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Luigi U is harder, faster, and greener than the game it spawned from. As a result, it only sold 3.07 million copies – although that’s still more than Fire Emblem’s best-selling game! The best (and worst) selling games from Nintendo’s biggest franchises

Fry Electronics Team

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