Nintendo publishes the popular series of video games. Pokemon games are at the top of the chart regarding the world's favorite video games. The first pokemon game, Pocket Monsters Red and Green, was released over two decades ago in 1996 on a black and white game boy. It enjoyed massive success, leading to the creation of follow-up games by what is now known as one of the best media franchises in the world. The latest Pokémon game, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, was published on Nintendo Switch in January 2022.
Pokemon is among the world’s biggest media franchises with numerous Pokemon-inspired movies, anime series, and merchandise like toys and card games. Its spin-off game, Pokemon Go, surpassed a billion downloads. Pokemon is the third-best video game in terms of sales after Nintendo’s Super Mario and Tetris. This year, the video game has sold over 400 million games worldwide on handheld and home consoles.
Its incredibly impressive sales figures prompt anyone who does not know of the game to research Pokemon games and maybe try a game or two, so they can understand what all the hype is about. Some Pokemon games have done better than others, and across 122 titles released by the franchise, here are ten of the best-selling games of all time.
10. Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition – 14.64 million units
Pokemon Yellow was released in 1998. It is part of the first generation of the game series and is a better version of Pokemon Red and Blue on game boy. The game coincided with the release of Pokemon: The First Movie. Volkswagen and Nintendo collaborated to create a yellow Volkswagen New beetle car and drew some inspiration from Pikachu. Pikachu is the only available Pokemon in the video game at the beginning of the game. Pikachu's voice and personality are not the same as other Pokemons. Pokemon: Yellow's graphics are slightly better than those of its predecessors, being the last release of the first generation game boy releases. Pokemon Yellow ranks at number 42 in IGNs Top 100 Video Games of all Time.
It was extremely successful after its release, selling more than a million copies in Japan the year it was released and over a million copies within the first ten days of its release in the US. Making it the fastest-selling handheld game in 1998. Pokemon sold 2 million units across Europe for its European launch in June 2000. Since its release, Pokemon: Yellow has sold over 14.6 million units.
9. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl – 14.79 million units
Pokemon Brilliant and Shining Pearl, released in 2021, are remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl from 2006. After the game's release, there were a lot of mixed reviews, with some people loving the game and others not so happy about certain changes made to the game and its visual design. Some critics thought the game's graphics were less than two previous Pokemon remakes. Despite the criticism, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl had a great start and are estimated to sell far more than anticipated. Soon the game will get to the top of the most sold Pokemon games.
It sold 6 million units worldwide within the first week and 14.79 million units in the first six months of its release. Surpassing the popular Pokemon: Yellow, which has been in the market for over 20 years. Fans of the game's graphics argued that its new look was great as it stayed faithful to the 2D design in the original games while still being modernized.
8. Pokemon Black and White – 15.64 million units
Pokemon Black and White were the first fifth-generation games in the Pokemon video game series. The games came with 156 new Pokemon and boasted new features like a seasonal cycle, triple battles, fully animated Pokemon sprites, and rotation battles. Unlike previous settings in Pokemon games, which are based on real places in Japan, the Unova region was based on New York City. Unova featured skyscrapers, big bridges, an airport, and even a harbor like a real-life city. Pokemon Black and White received many positive reviews, with many game critics praising it for its gameplay advancements.
Like its predecessors, the games follow a linear storyline. Before the game's release in Japan, 1.08 million pre orders had already been made. Pokemon Black and White sold more than 2.6 million units during a sale in Japan in the first two days and more than 1.8 million units in the US on the first day. Nine months later, they had sold 2.4 million units. By April 2011, Pokemon Black and White had sold more than 11.5 million units worldwide. Now, the games have sold more than 15.65 units worldwide.
7. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire – 16.22 million units
Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Sapphire were released in 2002 and ushered in the third installment of the video game series. The Pokemon Company and Nintendo published the games together. The first release was in Japan, and then the rest of the world got their hands on the game in 2003. The gameplay for Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire remained almost the same as its predecessors. The player's main objective is to catch all Pokemon and crash the elite four. The player must fight and defeat a criminal organization that attempts to rule the region. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire received many positive reviews, although some criticized the game’s graphics.
The Pokemon games' popularity had decreased, affecting sales, unlike the previous games, which did extremely well. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire sold 1.25 million copies in the first four days of their Japan release. The games sold 1.5 million units within the first eight weeks in the United States. Over 16.22 million units have sold worldwide, and the games sold the most copies for the Game Boy advance.
6. Pokemon Sun and Moon – 16.27 million copies
Pokemon sun and Moon were released in 2016. They were published by both Nintendo and the Pokemon Company for the Nintendo 3DS and ushered in the seventh generation era for the video game series. The game came with 81 new pokemon and features, including new moves, alien creatures, updated mechanics, and much-improved graphics. Pokemon Sun and Moon follow a Pokemon trainer around the Alola region. The game's objectives are to finish the island challenge and crush Team Skull and the Aether Foundation while also challenging other Pokemon trainers. The Sun and Moon reviews were generally great, except for a few critics who did not like the lack of content beyond the plot shared among previous Pokemon games.
So far, Pokemon Sun and Moon have sold 16.27 million units, slightly less than previous games published on the Nintendo 3DS. They came number three in sales behind Mario Kart 7 and Pokemon X and Y. The games won the handheld game of the year in the 2016 DICE Awards and again in the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards.
5. Pokemon X and Y – 16.62 Million units
Pokemon X and Y were released in 2013. They were the first of the sixth generation in the video game series and the first to be published on the Nintendo 3DS. They were released worldwide simultaneously, making them the first game by Nintendo to have a concurrent global release. The plot is the same as the previous Pokemon games released. Players follow the journey of a Pokemon trainer and his friends who train other Pokemon. The X and Y games are set in the Kalos regions, based in France. The goal is to defeat the criminal organization, Team Flare, while also trying to challenge the Kalos region Pokemon league champion, Diantha. The game generally received positive reviews, with many critics taking note of the gameplay advancements by the game developers.
Pokemon X and Y were very successful, considering they were published for the Nintendo 3DS. The games sold Over 4 million copies worldwide within the first weekend of its release. According to Bulbapedia, as of March 2022, the games had sold 11.6 million copies within the first three months, and they became the best-selling Pokemon titles for the Nintendo 3DS. Currently, over 16.58 million units of Pokemon X and Y have sold worldwide.
4. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl – 17.67 million units
Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl were released in 2006, and they are the first games in the fourth generation of the video game series. They were first released in Japan in 2006 and then to the rest of the world the next year. As is with all previous games, the plot of the game is mostly the same, with players following the life of a Pokemon trainer as they train and fight other Pokemon. The antagonist in this game is called Team Galactic, a criminal organization that the player has to defeat.
It was the first game that enabled internet play if players connected their Nintendo to WI-Fi. It also came with 107 new Pokemon and a few changes to its battle mechanics. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl also came with a multiplayer option for trainers to battle each other. The reviews for Diamond and Pearl were really good, with critics and game enthusiasts happy about the WI-FI-enabled games and better graphics.
According to Toms Guide, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl enjoyed more success than other games previously released for the Game Boy Advance. The games have sold more than 17.67 million units worldwide. They were more successful than their direct predecessor, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, selling 2 million copies more. The game won the best handheld game at the 2007 G-Phoria Awards. In 2008, the British Academy of Film nominated the games for the children’s kids vote Award.
3. Pokemon Gold and Silver – 23.73 million units
Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver were released in 1999. They were the first Pokemon games in the second generation of the video game series. They introduced 100 new Pokemon to the games universe, and even though they are both different games, they share the same plot, but players need to trade between the two games to finish the game's Pokedex. Like other Pokemon games, the plot of Pokemon Gold and Silver is largely the same, with players following a Pokemon trainer through the game, defeating the elite four, and completing the game by capturing other Pokemon.
The critically acclaimed games received overwhelmingly positive reviews and are one of the best games in the video game series. Their huge success attests to their popularity. Statista shows that more than 23 million copies of the games have been sold worldwide. In the United States, the games had over 1 million pre orders three weeks before they were released.
2. Pokemon Sword and Shield – 24.50 million units
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield were released in 2019. The newer games ushered in the eighth Pokemon games installments. They were also the second Pokemon game to be released on a home game console after Pokemon: Let’s go Pikachu! And Let’s go, Eevee! The game follows the Pokemon trainer in his battle to become the Pokemon champion. Pokemon Sword and Shield are set in the Galar region, depicting the United Kingdom.
The player’s goal is to dethrone the league champion, Leon, in this case, and defeat the criminal organization called Team Yell in the game. At first, Pokemon Sword and Shield faced considerable backlash when the company decided not to include all pre-existing Pokemon in the game, but it also received many positive reviews. Fans especially loved the new features added to the game, with new and improved graphics and its simple interface.
It is widely popular because of its enormous success and huge sales. In the United States, Pokemon Sword and Shield sold more than two million units in the first weekend. Within the first week, the games had sold over six million units worldwide. Now, more than 24.50 million units have been sold worldwide.
1. Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue – 31.05 million units sold
This is where all the Pokemon hype started. Pokemon Red and Blue were released in 1996 and are the first games in the Pokemon video game series. First released in Japan in 1996, they were dabbed as Pocket Monsters: Red, Pocket Monsters: Green, and Pocket Monsters: Blue. The games were later released to the rest of the world as Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, which combined the Red, Green, and Blue games. Like all other Pokemon games, the plot is the same: the player follows the Pokemon trainer in their quest to become the Indigo league champion by defeating the elite four and other Pokemon.
Pokemon Red, Green, and Blue have always been ranked among the best video games ever made by critics. They have ranked among the top games in IGNs game rankings. It also marked the beginning of the multi-billion dollar Pokemon franchise. By 1999, it had become the bestselling video game in the US, with over 6 million units sold that year. In 2022, the games have sold more than 31 million units worldwide, becoming the best-selling games in the Pokemon video games series.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson