Weekend Hot Topic: Video game franchises you’ve played the most

Street Fighter IV – there’s been a lot of them (pic: Capcom)

Readers reveal the game series they’ve played the most entries in, from Super Mario to Resident Evil.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Tesla, who asked whether you’re a completionist and if you’ve purposely sought out all the games or came about them more by accident.

The question naturally favoured older franchises, so there was a lot of Mario and Zelda, but also newer series like Resident Evil and Batman: Arkham, that many people were keen to play all the mainline entries in.

The old challenger
There are two game franchises that spring to mind for this.

I’ve skipped a couple of Nintendo generations but I’ve played versions of Mario Kart on a friend’s SNES, my N64, GBA, DS, Wii, 3DS, Switch, and Classic Mini SNES (I’m counting it). It’s the epitome of comfort gaming to me, perfect for short, sharp blasts.

But it’s Street Fighter that seems to have grabbed my attention throughout my gaming life ever since seeing the Street Fighter 2 artwork in Mean Machines Sega.

Despite both simultaneously sucking and blowing at the series, I’ve played it on the aforementioned friend’s SNES, my Amiga, OG Xbox, GBA, Xbox 360, 3DS, Switch, Classic Mini SNES, and Mega Drive Mini.

And you’d better believe I’ll be getting the next instalments of both series!
FoximusPrime81 (gamertag/NN ID/Twitter)

Well, excussse me princess
The series I’ve played the most games in is also my favourite game series ever: The Legend of Zelda. I’ve played every main series game plus Four Swords on the GameCube, which by my reckoning comes to 17 (The Legend Of Zelda, Adventures of Link, A Link To The Past, Link’s Awakening, Ocarina Of Time, Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, The Minish Cap, The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds and Breath Of The Wild).

I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much having not played the CD-i nonsense like Wand Of Gamelon. I’ve seen gameplay videos and…yeah.

I’m not sure I can properly articulate what I love about the series so much. It feels like everything Nintendo is best at always comes together in a Zelda game, more so even than Mario as far as I’m concerned. I do enjoy the Mario games too, but Zelda has always felt deeper and more engaging for me.

I’m still trying to decide which is my favourite too. It oscillates between Ocarina, Link To The Past and Breath Of The Wild. I do have a real soft spot for Twilight Princess too though, more than most people seem to. I definitely recognise the criticism from the time of its release that it felt like a ‘greatest hits’ package rather than doing anything new, but it seems to me that if you make a greatest hits package of the best game series of all time, the result is going to be pretty good!

As I mentioned in the week, I am getting increasingly excited for Tears Of The Kingdom, which Nintendo kindly scheduled to release just a few days before my birthday. It really feels like a series that should be played at Christmas, but I’ll make an exception this once!
Sparky the Yak

Return to the world of survival horror
Hmm. Games I’ve played the most entries in… let’s see Resident Evil around 13 or 14, depending if you count remakes and spin-offs and shooters on the Wii.

Mostly all great games, a few meh entries and some I couldn’t get due to no lightgun.

I love the genre, still really hoping for a zombie apocalypse to see how it plays out but until such times, Resident Evil is my best option.

I’ve never bought any merch, but I was very tempted by an airsoft version of the STARS pistol but I couldn’t justify a £200 plastic replica, so I skipped it entirely. Until I sold my PS1 collection of games I was attempting to make a copy of the storage box from Resident Evil to keep all the games in, but my skills were sub-par and I quit the project entirely.

I think I’ve come to a natural end for Resi remakes though. I tried the Resident Evil 3 remake but hated it and the way the controls are for 4 has put me off. I will more than likely play 9 but any remakes will stay on the shelf.

Other notables are Assassin’s Creed, Dizzy, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (up to Project 8), Dead Rising, Batman: Arkham, Far Cry, and the Souls games. Mostly all great but they number way less up to now, so Resident Evil takes the most played crown.

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Fast favourite
It still has to be Sonic, by far and away. I own and have played the vast majority of his adventures. There are mostly Game Gear-shaped gaps in my portfolio. Thanks to Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube, I’ve got Sonic’s 16-bit career entirely covered. Sonic CD had a lot of good ideas and potential, but didn’t implement them very well, leaving most of its potential untapped.

I still have a very soft spot for Sonic Spinball, another game that was robbed of its full potential by a lack of time in the oven, I think – but still very good. Not excellent. 7 out of 10 stuff and very hard. I have only completed it about three times!

Of the 8-bit games, the ones I started with, the first two are the best. And they’re better on the Master System, Sega! I’m gonna have to use an emulator to play them again, aren’t I?

Going 3D, I preferred the level design of the original Sonic Adventure to the sequel – but the sequel had a fun, little multiplayer. The controls and camera left a lot to be desired in both, however. And ever since. You don’t notice it in the old games so much (though it is there) as the games didn’t demand much that was too taxing. Not even Sonic 3D Blast. Then Sonic Mania comes along and suddenly many of the bosses require precise manoeuvring to win – remember Heavy Ninja? Brrrr.

Whilst sadly I was in the minority and hate Sonic Frontiers, it did at least finally give our hero two gears. But neither of them were all that manageable. The Jet Set Radio games remain the best example of high speed platforming, for me. They also had tighter controls, which is really something Sonic should have solved by now.

Hey, don’t misunderstand me, it’s nowhere near the worst Sonic game ever made, it’s at least better than Sonic Forces. Slightly. But I actually preferred Sonic Heroes to Frontiers. Yes. Exactly.

GC: All the Game Gear games are going to be in Sonic Origins Plus.

Mega fan
I had thought that I’d be answering this with Mario since I’ve been playing those for well over 30 years now, but I did have a quick think about what other series I started playing back then, and then one suddenly sprang to mind that has had as many if not more entries than Mario, and far more that I have personally played: Mega Man.

Between the mainline series, X, Battle Network, Zero, Star Force and many other spinoffs, I estimate I’ve played around 48 games from the franchise. Looking on wikis, there seem to be roughly 66 Mega Man games, not including collections.

I’ve played a lot of them because I’m a big fan of the series, all the mainline games and X/Zero spin-offs are excellent platformers. X mixed things up with a bit more Metroid-like upgrading and exploration, Zero with its focus on grading (which adds a lot of replayability as you try to complete levels as perfectly as possible), and ZX which are basically completely Metroid-likes.

Then the Battle Network series and Star Force are mostly excellent Japanese role-players. Other spin-offs I’ve gotten or skipped based on reviews, for instance I skipped Mega Man Soccer back in the day as it reviewed very badly, and picked up Misadventures Of Tron Bonne as it reviewed better and looked fun.

I’m not a series completionist, if it’s bad I wouldn’t bother picking it up. But I tend never to sell any of my games (mostly due to general selling hassle) so I still have them all. For Mega Man I also have a couple of the Udon art books, but normally the only merchandise I’m interested in is soundtracks.

For instance, for Mega Man I’ve bought as many of the soundtracks as I can get, such as all of the Rockman Sound Boxes which cover all the mainline games and big spin-offs. Mega Man has almost always had excellent music, which has been a major draw of the franchise for me.
Lord Darkstorm

On and off
I had to think for half a moment… but the answer is clear. The mainline Mario series is the one I’ve played most. I was a completionist in my youth. 96 exits on Super Mario World, 100% on Yoshi’s Island (including that one elusive early stage, which took me ages to crack), 120 stars on Super Mario 64… Then I started going off the boil.

I played Super Mario Sunshine beyond the ending credits but never quite got 100%. I probably got 100% on Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 though, which were a joy to play, and seemed easier to complete. I didn’t even get close to 100% with Super Mario Odyssey. Not because it seemed especially difficult. I just ran out of steam.

I even made my own little Mario game once, with stolen assets and spot-on physics. Faithful question mark blocks, which did a little hop upon being hit, and well-behaved Koopa Troopas, mushrooms, and growing and shrinking. Just for fun, like. And I messed about extensively with the excellent Super Mario World modding tool, Lunar Magic. There are some cracking mods out there. (I wouldn’t even entertain Super Mario Maker after such unbridled creative freedom.)

I explored every nook and cranny of the handheld games too: Super Mario Land, Wario Land… and New Super Mario Bros. was disappointingly easy to 100%. But, again, I was going off the boil by the time I played Super Mario 3D Land. I beat the game, but never went for 100%.

I played all of the Mario Kart games extensively too, expect for the most recent, and, by all accounts, most popular and successful game in the series. (I never played that game with actual RC cars though. As a childless, middle-aged man, I have little excuse to own or play that one.)

I’m getting old and I just don’t have the passion any more. I’m not excited for the new Zelda game. I haven’t even finished Breath Of The Wild. I don’t much care about the next great Mario game.

The last game I really, truly loved was Disco Elysium. God Of War held my interest all the way through. I hardly even got started on Horizon Forbidden West. I doubt I’ll ever touch another Elder Scrolls game. I do hope I’ll feel inclined to give Elden Ring a go some time… but, as yet, I just haven’t been all that bothered. (Please forgive this terrible sacrilege.)

Almost half
The series I’ve played the most games from surely has to be the Mario series. Donkey Kong was the first game I ever played and I’ve always loved the series. I’ve played and completed all 18 of what I would consider the core games and at their best (Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3) they are some of the best games ever made, while even the low points are still pretty good. Super Mario Sunshine and New Super Mario Bros. 2 would both be 7/10 games for me, and Super Mario Land was really impressive at the time.

Then there’s the absolutely huge number of spin-offs over the years, which also contain some absolute classics like the Mario Kart series. Out of curiosity I read through Wikipedia’s page list of video games featuring Mario and I think I have played 120 out of 263 games listed. 45.6%, could do better.
TGN Professor

Batman vs. Lara Croft
Well, as someone who’s been gaming a long time I guess I have played a lot of series.

The one that came to mind first was Tomb Raider (partly because I’m playing Shadow Of The Tomb Raider at the moment). I remember playing the very first Tomb Raider and loving it, Tomb Raider 2 and 3 then followed. However, I then skipped the following few games, having seen how badly they reviewed. It’s a shame, because as an East Midlands resident I was so proud of Core Design. I used to drive on Lara Croft Way in Derby every day on my way to work in the 2000s.

Anyway, I picked it up again with Crystal Dynamics’ remake of 1, Anniversary, and I still think that is probably one of my favourite Tomb Raider games. It was more puzzle orientated, with combat usually against the supernatural. This is what I want from Tomb Raider.

I have then, over the last few years, played the latest trilogy (just finishing it off now). It’s good, but Lara is a bit too eager to kill for my liking. The tombs are fine, but nothing is that tricky. I want a St Francis Folly level of puzzling.

So that’s seven games. I’m not going to top that I thought. But wait, what about Batman? Is what I’m about to run through a franchise? Well, I will list them, and you can decide.

1) The 3D isometric Batman game on the Spectrum
2) Batman: The Movie on the Spectrum
3) Batman: The Movie on the Amiga (does this count? The driving and flying sequences were significantly different, and the game was a lot harder)
4) Batman: The Caped Crusader on the Amiga
5) Lego Batman on PC
6) Batman: Arkham Asylum on PC
7) Batman: Arkham City on PC
8) Batman: Arkham Knight on PC

I have, sitting on my PC, to play at some point two more Lego Batman games… but I haven’t played those yet.

I’m sure Mario fans will have a lot more to add to this… but that’s me done!

Enjoy your gaming everyone!
The Dude Abides

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