1. The Oregon Trail
Most of us – of a certain age that is – will remember The Oregon Trail being loaded onto most school PCs as an educational take on the pioneer lifestyle in early American life in video game format. The series is still running to this day with a number of remakes and reissues, most recently The Oregon Trail: American Settler for iOS in 2011. The series is by far the longest running at close to 40 years.
2. Space Invaders
Another classic game. Nothing quite beats shooting those fast moving alien blobs. Space Invaders was first released way back in 1978. With a 39 year history, an arcade version was released last year as Space Invaders Frenzy, and a mobile game titled Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders.
For most people, Pac-Man is firmly rooted in the early days of video games, but in reality the series is still going strong with its latest release, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2, going on sale in 2016 for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. 36 years is no laughing matter.
If any character personifies video games, it is without a doubt Mario. Our favorite Italian plumber has been around since his first appearance as the nemesis in 1981’s Donkey Kong. With no sign of his appeal waning, yearly releases are now expected and even featured at this year’s E3. Super Mario Odyssey came out last year, racking up a crazy 36 years for the series.
The world’s favourite puzzle game was launched in 1984 and retains the spot as the best selling game of all time. With last week’s announcement for Tetris Effect, set for release this year, the series has existed for a remarkable 34 years.
The impressive Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was released late last year to wide critical praise. The first Wolfenstein, however, was made back in 1981 as Castle Wolfenstein, a simple FPS that set the stage for the next four decades of shooter games. With its counter running at 36 years, the series is sure to live on for some time yet.
The original explosive puzzler Bomberman saw the light of day in 1983, followed by successive releases culminating in 2017’s Super Bomberman R, bestowing the series with a healthy 33 year lifespan.
8. Donkey Kong
The original Donkey Kong arcade game, of The King of Kong fame, first set arcade rooms alight in 1981. With sequels, mashups, and cameos in various games, the iconic gorilla returned most recently with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars in 2015. That’s 33 years!
9. King’s Quest
Another series hitting 33 years is King’s Quest, a historic point and click adventure game that released in 1984. The first chapter in a five part reimagining launched in 2015, with the final episode, King’s Quest: Epilogue, launching late 2016.
33 years seems to be a rather popular age for many franchises and RPG Wizardry follows suit with an initial release in 1981 as Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, a seminal entry in the pantheon of video game and a huge influence in the development of RPG games. The latest offering is the android version of the Japan-only spin-off Wizrogue: Labyrinth of Wizardry in 2014.
11. Dragon Quest
With eleven main sequels since the original Dragon Quest (stylized as Dragon Warrior in the US until 2002 for copyright reasons) released in 1986, the series is a well-established stalwart of console RPG gaming. Dragon Quest XI is set for release internationally this year. Happy 32nd birthday Dragon Quest!
Platforming-adventure-narrative mashup Metroid is one of Nintendo’s longest serving IP’s, with the first game released in 1986. With a cult following, successive releases have seen widespread critical and commercial success, the latest being Metroid: Samus Returns in 2017. Nintendo have also announced Metroid Prime 4 is in development, giving the series an open 31 years of age.
13. The Legend of Zelda
Miyamoto’s original masterpiece, The Legend of Zelda, hit stores in 1986 for the Japanese Famicom Disk System. Last year’s phenomenal The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild for the Nintendo Switch caps the series at 31 years of age with surely more to come.
14. Metal Gear
Now an icon of gaming history, Solid Snake appeared rather late in 1987, but went from stride to stride, culminating in this spring’s Metal Gear Survive, though sadly Hideo Kojima was not involved. Regardless, the series has run for an impressive 30 years.
15. Final Fantasy
Crowning Final Fantasy as the longest running series seems like a natural act of logic recognizing the impact and legacy it holds in video game history. In reality, the first game only dates back to 1987. 29 years to Final Fantasy XV, which launched in 2016.