Wii Sports remains Nintendo's best selling game of all time

Despite the global popularity of that feisty little plumber Mario, Nintendo's best selling game of all time is, strictly speaking, the Wii Sports game that turned millions of the world's living-rooms into hazardous sports arenas. Its appeal lies in being the video game for people who don't play video games.

The game-changer

Wii Sports enjoys its status as Nintendo's best selling game of all time due to the company's astute commercial decision to bundle it as part of the package when customers bought a Wii console, in every territory except, intriguingly, Japan.

When it launched in 2006, the Wii was credited with taking video-gaming to a new audience who had been resistant to the joypads and platform games of previous consoles but could relate to the simple experience of swinging a controller like a tennis racquet or golf club, or steering round a race track.

The figures tell the story. Wii Sports has sold around 83 million copies, the bulk of them in bundled versions with a console.

Mario and Luigi will be crying "Mamma Mia" in protest at the suggestion that they are not Nintendo's most popular creations. They have a case, although their sales have been split across different consoles and different versions of the game. The plumbers' most successful incarnation was the original Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo NES, with 40 million sales, again helped by being bundled with the console.

The Mario Kart racing game for the Wii has sold a respectable 35 million copies and now comes as part of the bundle with new Wii sales.

The also-rans

There are some familiar titles chasing the leaders for the honour of being Nintendo's best selling game of all time. Tetris is in fourth place with sales of 33 million. The addictive Russian game was key to the broad popularity of Nintendo's handheld Gameboy consoles. Similarly Nintendogs (24 million sales) helped establish the Gameboy's successor, the DS.

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