The Most Popular Nintendo Franchise, Ranked

Choose the franchise you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 22, 2024 06:46
Understanding the favorite Nintendo franchises can greatly benefit gamers looking to invest in new titles or those seeking community preferences. A clear hierarchy of these game series helps clarify what might be worth diving into next, based on widespread appeal and proven engagement. This kind of organization assists both seasoned players and those new to gaming in making informed decisions. By contributing votes to rank these beloved franchises, users directly influence the guide that helps others navigate their choices. It creates a dynamic, user-influenced guide that constantly adapts to new trends and changing preferences within the gaming community. Each vote adds value, ensuring that the ranking reflects the current tastes and opinions of real players.

What Is the Most Popular Nintendo Franchise?

  1. 1
    Super Mario Bros.
    Umweltschützen · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Super Mario Bros.

    Shigeru Miyamoto
    This iconic franchise has been around since the 1980s and has remained popular due to its charming characters, catchy music, and addictive gameplay.
    Super Mario Bros. is a classic arcade platform game released in 1985. It features the iconic character Mario, a plumber, on a quest to rescue Princess Toadstool from the villain Bowser. The game is known for its challenging levels, vibrant graphics, and catchy music, which have made it a beloved and influential title in the history of video games.
    • Release Date: September 13, 1985
    • Genre: Platformer
    • Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
    • Number of Players: Single-player or 2-player co-op
    • Controller: NES gamepad
    Super Mario Bros. in other rankings
  2. 2
    Another classic franchise, this series features epic adventures, puzzles, and a rich mythology that has captivated gamers for decades.
    The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1986. The game takes place in the fantasy land of Hyrule and follows the main character, Link, on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda and defeat the antagonist, Ganon. Players traverse through dungeons, solve puzzles, acquire items, and battle enemies in an open-world, non-linear gameplay.
    • Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
    • Release Year: 1986
    • Genre: Action-Adventure
    • Mode: Single-player
    • Perspective: Top-down
    The Legend of Zelda in other rankings
  3. 3
    This franchise began as a simple RPG game in the 1990s, but has since expanded into a multi-billion dollar franchise with movies, trading cards, and various spin-offs.
    Pokémon is a popular anime series that follows the adventures of a young trainer named Ash Ketchum and his loyal Pokémon companion, Pikachu. The series is set in a world where humans catch and train creatures called Pokémon to battle each other. Ash aspires to become a Pokémon Master by capturing and training different Pokémon species, battling Gym Leaders, and competing in various Pokémon leagues and tournaments. The series is known for its captivating storylines, memorable characters, and the underlying theme of friendship and determination.
    • Genre: Adventure, fantasy, action
    • First aired: April 1, 1997
    • Original network: TV Tokyo
    • Number of seasons: 23
    • Number of episodes: 1,135 (as of September 2021)
  4. 4

    Mario Kart

    This racing game series has been a staple of Nintendo consoles since the Super Nintendo, featuring beloved characters and a mix of skill and chance.
    Mario Kart is a popular racing video game series developed and published by Nintendo. It features a mix of characters from the Mario franchise and combines racing with karting elements. Players compete in colorful and imaginative tracks with power-ups and items to gain an edge over opponents.
    • Genre: Racing
    • Platform: Nintendo consoles and handhelds
    • First Release: Super Mario Kart - 1992
    • Latest Release: Mario Kart Tour - 2019
    • Players: 1-4 players (local multiplayer) or up to 12 players (online multiplayer)
    Mario Kart in other rankings
  5. 5

    Super Smash Bros.

    Masahiro Sakurai
    This fighting game series brings together characters from various Nintendo franchises, creating a fun and chaotic multiplayer experience.
    Super Smash Bros. is a popular crossover fighting game series developed by Nintendo. The game features various Nintendo characters battling each other in intense multiplayer matches. It is known for its unique gameplay mechanics and fast-paced action.
    • Release year: 1999 (original game)
    • Platforms: Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch
    • Genre: Fighting, crossover
    • Number of playable characters: 80+ (varies between game versions)
    • Game modes: Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer
    Super Smash Bros. in other rankings
  6. 6
    This life simulation game has gained a huge following due to its relaxing and addictive gameplay, as players build and manage their own virtual towns.
    Animal Crossing is a popular life simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo. The game revolves around the player character, who becomes a resident in a village filled with anthropomorphic animals. The main objective is to live a peaceful virtual life, engaging in various activities such as fishing, bug catching, fossil hunting, gardening, and interacting with the villagers. The game has a real-time clock and calendar, with different events and activities occurring in sync with real-world time.
    • Platform: Nintendo Switch
    • Release Date: April 14, 2020
    • Genre: Life Simulation
    • Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
    • Art Style: Cute and vibrant
    Animal Crossing in other rankings
  7. 7
    This franchise is known for its exploration and sci-fi themes, featuring a badass female protagonist in the form of Samus Aran.
    Metroid is a popular Nintendo franchise that began with the release of the game 'Metroid' in 1986. It is a science fiction action-adventure game series set in a futuristic universe. The player takes on the role of Samus Aran, a bounty hunter equipped with a powerful suit of armor, as they explore hostile alien planets and battle against various extraterrestrial creatures and space pirates.
    • Genre: Action-adventure
    • First Release Date: August 6, 1986
    • Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
    • Main Protagonist: Samus Aran
    • Gameplay Perspective: Side-scrolling
  8. 8

    Fire Emblem

    Shouzou Kaga
    This strategy RPG series has gained a devoted following due to its complex characters, storyline, and tactical gameplay.
    Fire Emblem is a tactical role-playing game (RPG) series that originated in Japan. It focuses on strategic battles between turn-based units on a grid-based battlefield. Each game in the series features a unique story and characters, often set in a medieval fantasy world. Fire Emblem games are known for their challenging gameplay, deep character development, and permadeath feature, where fallen units are permanently lost. The series has gained a dedicated following and has become one of the most popular video game franchises in Japan and worldwide.
    • Genre: Tactical role-playing game
    • Platform: Nintendo consoles (primarily)
    • First Release: April 20, 1990
    • Total Games: Over 16 mainline titles (as of 2021)
    • Main series: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
    Fire Emblem in other rankings
  9. 9
    This adorable pink puffball has starred in a variety of platformers, known for their easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master gameplay.
    Kirby is a popular video game franchise developed by Nintendo. It features a lovable pink puffball named Kirby, who embarks on various adventures in Dream Land and beyond. The gameplay is typically centered around platforming, puzzle-solving, and Kirby's unique ability to inhale enemies and copy their powers.
    • Genre: Platformer
    • Platforms: Various Nintendo consoles
    • First Release: Kirby's Dream Land (1992)
    • Main Protagonist: Kirby
    • Unique Ability: Copy powers of enemies
  10. 10

    Donkey Kong

    Shigeru Miyamoto
    This classic franchise began as an arcade game in the 1980s, but has since evolved into a platformer series featuring various characters and gameplay styles.
    Donkey Kong is a classic arcade game released in 1981. It is a platform game where the players control a character named Jumpman (later renamed to Mario) who must rescue a damsel named Pauline from the giant ape Donkey Kong. The game features multiple levels of increasing difficulty, with Donkey Kong throwing barrels towards Jumpman, who must navigate platforms to reach Pauline.
    • Release Year: 1981
    • Genre: Platform
    • Platform: Arcade
    • Players: 1-2
    • Controls: Joystick + Jump Button
    Donkey Kong in other rankings

Missing your favorite franchise?


Ranking factors for popular franchise

  1. Sales figures
    Compare the total sales of each franchise's games, including both base games and spin-off titles. This gives you an overall idea of the financial success of a franchise.
  2. Longevity
    Analyze how long each franchise has been around and its relevance in the current gaming landscape. A franchise that has stood the test of time and maintained popularity likely has a dedicated fan base.
  3. Critical reception
    Examine the critical acclaim each franchise has received, including average review scores, awards, and comparisons to other games in its genre. High-quality games are more likely to attract and maintain a player base.
  4. Cultural impact
    Consider how each franchise has contributed to gaming culture, trends, and innovation through its gameplay mechanics, characters, and storylines. Franchises with a significant impact on gaming culture are typically more popular.
  5. Fan engagement
    Assess the level of fan involvement with each franchise, including participation in forums, social media platforms, fan art, fan fiction, and cosplay. Strong fan engagement often indicates that a franchise has a passionate and dedicated following.
  6. Spin-off and merchandise success
    Evaluate the success of spin-off games, movies, TV shows, toys, and other merchandise associated with each franchise. This can indicate the level of popularity and interest in the franchise outside of its core games.
  7. Esports presence
    Determine if any of the franchises have a successful presence in the competitive gaming scene. A thriving esports presence can be a significant gauge of a franchise's popularity, particularly among younger gamers.
  8. Accessibility and inclusivity
    Consider how accessible and inclusive each franchise is to a wide range of players, from casual to hardcore gamers and people of different ages, genders, and cultures. A franchise that appeals broadly may be more popular overall.
  9. Multi-platform availability
    Take into account whether the franchise is available on multiple platforms, including handheld devices, consoles, and PC. Wide availability can contribute to a franchise's popularity.
  10. Future potential
    Evaluate the potential for growth and expansion within each franchise, including new game releases, updates, and expansions. A franchise with a promising future is more likely to maintain or increase in popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Nintendo franchise. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Franchise is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 202 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Franchise once every 24 hours. The rank of each Franchise is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular nintendo franchise

Nintendo is a household name in the gaming industry, producing some of the most iconic and beloved video game franchises of all time. From the classic Mario games to the adventurous Legend of Zelda series, Nintendo has been captivating gamers for decades. Their games are known for their innovative gameplay, charming characters, and immersive worlds. As we delve into the world of Nintendo franchises, it's interesting to see which ones have captured the hearts of gamers the most. With so many options to choose from, it's no easy feat to determine the most popular Nintendo franchise. However, through extensive polling and analysis, we aim to showcase the top contenders and ultimately determine the ultimate fan-favorite. So, let's dive in and explore the world of Nintendo franchises!

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