Video games have been a part of our culture for several decades. It can be argued that the amount of interest, analysis, commentary, and economic impact that has resulted from such as seemingly trivial entertainment activity is far greater than any other entertainment activity.
Most video game historians credit Pong for starting the video game revolution. This simple table tennis simulation gave rise to the dedicated video game consoles. Computer software and hardware designers also made significant contributions to the development of video games. Early mainframe computers were frequently used for simulations and also used games such as a platform for early artificial intelligence experiments. Once the PC became widely available on a consumer level the modern video game movement was truly launched.
While dedicated gaming consoles and PCs gave video games a decided jump start, it was the introduction of smartphones that truly started the video game revolution. Studies show that most smartphone users download a game within five days of getting a phone. A look at analytical sites such as AppAnnie shows that game downloads dominate the free, paid, and top grossing charts.
The most popular genres
Selecting the most popular games of all time is best approached by looking at the genres of games along with the amount of time players spend playing them. Here’s a look at some of the top video games by category.
Simulation/strategy – Minecraft is the undisputed leader in the simulation/strategy genre. With over 100 million users the game is a true testament to the potential for independent game developers. Minecraft made its founder Markus “Notch” Persson a billionaire just from the PC version. Minecraft is now available on every possible gaming platform and is a top ranking mobile app.
Casual games – The term casual games is somewhat of a catchall genre which is used by game analysts. Casino games rank near the top in this genre, with video slots machines being most popular games. Casino Cruise offers video games as do scores of others apps and sites. Not only are these games in the top 15 in terms of popularity, they are in the top 10 of all genres of video games in terms of the amount of time users spend per day playing the games.
Puzzles – Puzzle games make up a huge percentage of the total gaming genre. The puzzle category is another interesting example of the longevity of video games. Tetris one of the earliest puzzle games is not only the top ranking puzzle game it is the top ranking video game of all time with over 500 million players.
Arcade games – Arcade games also reflect the long term power of video games. In this category Super Mario Brothers is the top ranking game. Mario Brothers is one of the rare games that have entered the cultural mainstream. The characters and sounds from the game are recognizable by a significant portion of the population, including those who have never played a video game.
Shooters – This category is not only popular but is also controversial. Shooters have been used in arguments which proposed that video games foster a culture of violence, abuse, and sexism. While the shooter category is perhaps the most fragmented of all the Grand Theft Auto series is the top ranking. The fifth version of the game has more than 65 million players.