DAR Games: 10 Of The Greatest Video Game Franchises

(Compiled By @Peagle05, @IOnlySayFacts, @DFkinLopes_ @Phranchize19, @TrueBlueLowry21, and @TrueGodImmortal)

For most of us, the video gaming experience has been a vital part of our lives for over the better part of the last 30 plus years. From Atari to Nintendo to Playstation to Xbox, we've loved every system and loved many games. One thing that we know in any form of entertainment is that franchises rule the market. Every year, every two years, or however so often, we see a franchise release a new game usually to a lot of fanfare. There have been MANY franchises over the years to permeate video game culture from Pokemon to Megaman to Call Of Duty to God of War to Sonic the Hedgehog and many, many more. Today, we wanted to comply our list of the 10 best video game franchises. Keep in mind, our choices revolve around consistency, frequency of games released, quality, popularity, genre (we wanted to have sports games included here as well as fighting games), and sales. With everything taken into consideration, the votes from our panels, and all those factors, you'll find a few franchises that you expected missing from this list. Halo, just missed the cut due to lack of votes, while Call of Duty misses the list due to the lack of quality and fun in their last 3 or 4 games despite huge sales (and despite receiving one vote). You might be surprised to see a few of the choices on the list, as we attempted to cover all bases, but it is clear which were the top choices all around the board by votes. Still, this list is not in order, and honestly, if you disagree, that's fine. All of our video game choices, opinions, and rankings are all our own anyways. With that being said, let's get into this list of the 10 best video game franchises.

*Street Fighter 
(Chosen By @IOnlySayFacts and @TrueGodImmortal)

-Starting off with one of the most infamous franchises in the realm of fighting games (it is better than Tekken), Street Fighter is quite possible the greatest fighting franchise in video game history. While one could argue for Mortal Kombat, Tekken, or even Soul Calibur, there is something to be said about the longevity and quality of Street Fighter. From classic characters like Ken, Ryu, E. Honda, M. Bison, Zangief to many others, to the constant references in music and battle rap (there's too many Street Fighter references in battle rap for damn sure), there aren't too many games with the legacy of quite like Street Fighter.

(Chosen By @Peagle05)

-The most recent of the franchises on my personal list, the Uncharted series started on Sony's Playstation 3 console and immediately changed the way we looked at single-player, story-driven adventure games. Naughty Dog's first big franchise after giving us the Crash Bandicoot and the excellent, yet underrated Jak and Daxter series', Uncharted was what we would get if Indiana Jones met video games (No I'm not counting “The Infernal Machine” because Indiana Jones games, no matter how good, should not be Zelda clones). The quality of the story Naughty Dog crafted with Nathan Drake and his friends became the trademark of the company. Through 4 mainline console games, we were treated to amazing setpieces involving trains and chase sequences that left gamers sweating, swearing and begging for more. Naughty Dog showed that there was a place for a cinematic action focused experience in gaming and if 4 is truly the last of Nathan Drake (as it should be), then it was one hell of a ride.

*NBA 2K 
(Chosen By @Phranchize19, @TrueBlueLowry21, & @TrueGodImmortal)

-I get it. This probably shouldn't be here on the list because it's a sports franchise. You could substitute this for Pokemon, Call of Duty, or even Halo, but NBA 2K is able to do what they aren't year in and year out: provide an experience for the game like no other. While many could complain that the game hasn't made tremendous strides since NBA 2K11 created what I think is the best basketball game ever, there's something to be said about their sales, consistency, quality, and fun. At their core, video games are essentially an escape and a break from life, and what NBA 2K provides is that experience to the fullest. Whether it's one of my favorites in NBA 2K9, the GOAT in NBA 2K11, the solid NBA 2K15, or even the most recent NBA 2K17,  what makes this one of the best franchises is simply what it provides for the gamer. Granted, 2K is also stressful (you know exactly what I'm talking about), but it's become one of the most infamous franchises and easily recognizable by people of all ages, as well as people who aren't even gamers or well aware of video games, something you likely couldn't say for some of those that didn't make the list in place of it. Whether your favorite player is Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, or whoever, 2K takes you back to whatever era of basketball you wish, and that's also one of the bigger selling points for me with this game. It may not be the most creative (most sports franchises aren't), but 2K is without a doubt one of the more general iconic franchises in video games for the 21st century.

*Final Fantasy
(Chosen By @Phranchize19, @Peagle05 & @IOnlySayFacts)

-There's something to be said about this franchise that can't be said about the others. For one, the graphics on this franchise are unlike any other I've ever seen. Am I personally a big FF fan? Not exactly, but I've seen enough and played the game enough times to know that it's without a doubt worthwhile (I just don't have the time to play it). The series over the years has managed to stay fresh and fun, and have rare missteps. When we talk about great gaming franchises, there is no way you exclude Final Fantasy from the list.

Peagle- The iconic JRPG series has spanned decades and consoles but one thing has remained constant: Quality. While the storylines aren't necessarily connected, they share certain things that remain consistent throughout the series (Airships, Chocobos, Cid). With Final Fantasy 7, Square brought their full firepower to the original PlayStation system for what some consider to be the best in the series (Though you'll get some argument on that, as fans of FF9 WILL fight you). What makes this franchise great is its attention to detail in not only its story but in the overall world. Couple that with a great battle system and amazing animations for both attacks and summons, and it's easy to see why this franchise continues to endure.

*Metal Gear Solid
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal)

-You might be confused. How is Metal Gear Solid higher than Halo or Call of Duty on a list like this? It's simple. Quality and consistency. While many praise Halo and Call of Duty, I think this is one of the greatest series ever in gaming. The stealth centered action game follows the lead character Snake, and through the editions and various games, we walk into newly minted missions, landscapes, and all around fun gameplay. Since debuting in 1987, the series has released a number of games, and with their 30th anniversary of the franchise already here, it's only right that we pay homage.

*WWE Smackdown Series
(Chosen By @Phranchize19 & @TrueBlueLowry21)

-Well, are you shocked? I asked a number of wrestling fans and sports fans what their favorite franchises are, and this is what we came up with. Granted, the WWE Smackdown series is the greatest in wrestling gaming history, and it came at the biggest period of wrestling during the Attitude Era. The first Smackdown game arrived in 1999 and changed the way we consumed WWE gaming. It was a departure from the corny  gameplay of WWF War Zone, Attitude, and other games that came from Acclaim under the WWF/WWE license. With Smackdown stepping up by using the former WCW licensed THQ, the graphics improved and the gameplay improved. Then, once it hit PS2, the game hit the apex. While Just Bring It was middle of the road, Shut Your Mouth and Here Comes The Pain are two of the greatest wrestling games ever, and the top two editions of the Smackdown series. There were also more quality games like the original Smackdown vs RAW, Smackdown vs RAW 2006, the 2008 and 2010 editions, and if you're big on tag team wrestling, the 2009 edition was one of the more fun editions of the game. Sure, creatively, the game isn't going to be on a Halo level or anything of that nature, but in terms of anticipation, fun, and consistency, the WWE Smackdown gaming series has been one of the best and more iconic.

*The Legend of Zelda
(Chosen By @Peagle05)

-Nintendo's second most iconic franchise...modern day open world games (see?) owe a debt of gratitude to the OG NES adventure as you could go anywhere on the map and play dungeons out in any order on your quest as Link. One of the first console games to encourage mapping out your progress on paper, it introduced us to the world of Hyrule. Nintendo double down on the greatness of the original with the classic SNES follow up A Link To The Past. With updated graphics and a more focused story line, this was the game that truly launched the popularity of the Zelda franchise. However with the advent of the Nintendo 64, The Big N went all out and gave us Ocarina of Time. Widely considered THE greatest game of all time, it ushered the Zelda franchise into the 3D world with sweeping landscapes, engrossing story and a memorable soundtrack. Introducing Z-Targeting and changing the way third person console games are played, Ocarina of Time in my opinion remains the greatest game ever. Over the years, Nintendo has continued the release Zelda games as one of the flagship games for every new console including the recently released Switch, which saw the release of Breath of the Wild, an ambitious Zelda adventure that saw Nintendo return to its original game and give us the 3D, open-world Zelda we knew they had in them. For its innovation and longevity, The Legend of Zelda series is on my list.

*Madden NFL Football
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal, @TrueBlueLowry21, and @DFkinLopes_)

-I know what you're thinking as a hardcore gamer. How? I get it. Madden doesn't hold the weight of some other franchises in a way creatively, much like the other choices, BUT to be very honest, there isn't a franchise more iconic than Madden in sports. It's become a staple in most casual gaming households, and while the hardcore gamer isn't usually TOO fond of Madden, there are many who tune in every year to see what the game has in store. For me, Madden has become a regular gaming experience, and for those of us who have a lot of friends, Madden tournaments were a normal occurrence through the years. There's never been a game (besides NFL 2K5) that really can drive home the experience in football quite like this one. While Madden might not be everyone's favorite, it has enough sales, quality, and consistency to earn a spot here.

DFkinLopes- I would have to pick Madden. I grew up on that series since Madden was on the Nintendo 64. The evolution of how much that game changed to the graphics and their improvement has been amazing to watch. It's one of my all time favorites.

*Grand Theft Auto
(Chosen By @Peagle05, @TrueBlueLowry, & @TrueGodImmortal)

-While GTA is much more infrequent than some of the other games on this list, it's easily one of the best franchises. It's the most powerful franchise in the video gaming world. When the world hears of a new GTA game, it stops. It waits. Then it purchases and enjoys. That is what makes GTA so amazing. Whether it was Vice City, San Andreas (the GOAT), GTA IV, or the last installment, the game breaks sales records, gains high ratings, introduces characters into the video game world that stick with us, and remains one of the only franchises that could go away for years and years, but come back and have the world begging for more. Bo matter what, Grand Theft Auto will always be viable and a legendary franchise, whether then, now, or in 2025.

Peagle- This franchise didn't necessarily hit until the third one (those first two? Well....). But when it hit? My GAWD did it hit. GTA started as a top down, 2D, action adventure game, but it was when Rockstar moved into the 3D space of the PS2 that we saw this franchise in its true light. This was a game where you could do seemingly anything; derided as the new generation of “murder simulators” by people with sticks up their asses and nothing better to do. Want a car? Steal it. That random pedestrian in your way? Shoot him. Cops on your ass? Do what you got to so you can lose them...unless you got 5 stars, then your joystick game better be TIGHT if you don't want to see the iconic “WASTED” screen and start over at the nearest hospital. Cheat Codes that would give you any particular weapon set in the game to just let you go wreak havoc and give you any vehicle in the game would open up different possiblites for sandbox gameplay. Personally? These games were perfect to let off some aggression. I keep GTA5 for this reason, the shit is just fun. Notice I haven't even spoken about the story and writing of the series..THAT'S how good these games were, just on the basic tenets of gameplay. But Rockstar's stories were on another level, from writing to voice-acting, getting some of the top names in Hollywood to voice their characters. And personally, for a black kid, GTA San Andreas was BEYOND iconic, a game centered around black characters and wasn't written in a contrived, condescending way that didn't hold back on the GTA formula. There's a reason it remains one of the best and most popular of the entire series, and it was because it was given the same attention, care and respect the other games in the series received. No matter what you're doing, when you hear rumors or actual news about a new GTA, you stop and pay attention.

*Super Mario
(Chosen By @Peagle05, @TrueGodImmortal, @DFkinLopes_ & @IOnlySayFacts)

-To me, this is the greatest franchise of them all. There's nothing quite like this one. From its inception in the 80's, to the most recent games, the Super Mario franchise has been one of the most consistent in video gaming and they've managed to be creative in their reinvention throughout the years. Mario, a simple plumber, has gone through the galaxy, played golf, tennis, raced, and has done so much more than you'd expect him to. It is this franchise that honestly got me into gaming, and I've never wavered away from Super Mario. Out of all the games, I can't lie, my favorites are Mario Kart, Super Mario Galaxy, and the OG Super Mario Bros 3. Regardless of my favorites, what we all mostly agree on within the panel is that Super Mario is not only one of the greatest... it's THE GREATEST.

Peagle- There is nothing else that can take this spot on the list. I'm not trying to hear anything else. This is the Granddaddy of them all..pay homage. The franchise that kicked off console gaming as we know it with Super Mario Bros., Nintendo's platforming plumber ushered in a new era of interactive entertainment. What makes this the greatest franchise of them all? Not just longevity, but versatility. Puzzle games like “Dr. Mario”, RPGs like “Super Mario RPG” and “Paper Mario”, Racing games in the “Mario Kart” series and on to the sports genre with the great “Mario Tennis” and “Mario Golf” games...and the kicker? These were ALL quality games. The same attention to detail and polish put into the mainline series was found in these spinoff games. The Mario games are system sellers. Point blank. The modern day platformer, though not as prevalent as it once was, owes EVERYTHING to Super Mario 64, the series' first foray into the 3D space and one of the games launched with the Nintendo 64 and most responsible for the success of that console. From then, we got the underrated and under appreciated Super Mario Sunshine for the Gamecube, and for the Wii, Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel. Nintendo often uses its Mario games to show off the true capabilities of whatever sytem they happen to have out at the moment and Nintendo looks to continue that tradition this winter with the open-world (!!!) Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch and I, for one, can't wait to see what they do with it. Simply because if there's one thing you can bank on with Nintendo, it's a top-tier single-player Mario experience. They've been doing it for 30+ years and don't seem to be slowing down.



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