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Gamings Longest Running Series

Despite gamers constantly demanding new IPs and bemoaning publishers’ conservative sequel-laden schedules, it’s actually usually existing franchises that consistently top the sales charts.

With the recent announcement of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and the upcoming release of Mario Kart 8, we decided to take a look at the longest running videogame series that have had consistent entries.

Space Invaders

Space Invaders

First released in arcades back in 1978, the classic Space Invaders has largely remained identical throughout it’s numerous iterations throughout the years. Although the majority of the game’s re-releases has been as part of retro compilations, 2008 WiiWare title ‘Space Invaders Get Even’ switched up the gameplay entirely and allowed you to play as the Invaders themselves. The series’ most recent release was the 2009 iOS version – a full 31 years after its debut.

Length of series: 31 years
Number of games: 20+

Flight Simulator

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A bit of a surprise entry, but Microsoft Flight Simulator has been around in various forms since 1980. The well known PC series was discontinued in 2009 when Microsoft closed down the studio responsible for making it. However, just a few short years later in 2012, it was relaunched as Microsoft Flight; a full 32 years from first release to last.

Length of series: 32 years
Number of games: 13

Ultima

Britain

Richard Garriot’s iconic RPG series is still considered by many as one of the very best RPGs ever made and is without doubt the granddaddy of open world fantasy titles such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout 3. So far, there have been nine instalments of the main Ultima series as well as dozens of spin offs, including a hugely successful MMO (Ultima Online) which launched in 1997. The latest release in the series was 2013′s Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar, a free to play online RPG.

Length of series: 27 years
Number of games: 25 +

Final Fantasy

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Squaresoft, poised on the precipice of bankruptcy, originally chose their game name to represent the studio’s dying swansong. However, Final Fantasy was a breakout success and 27 years from its first release in 1987, the series is still going strong. Although FF has somewhat changed over the multiple console generations, its core ideas have largely remained. As well as fourteen main instalments, the series has also spawned multiple direct sequels and spin-offs including the popular Kingdom Hearts collaboration with Disney.

Length of series: 27 years
Number of games: 45+

Castlevania

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Castlevania made its debut way back in 1986 and is still going strong today. The series even holds Guinness World records for ‘Most games in an action series’ with 40 titles (including Japanese only spin offs) and ‘Largest number of platforms for one series’. Again, it’s a series that has adapted throughout the generations with its most recent releases breaking from the series’ side scrolling roots, now morphing into an action RPG.

Length of series: 28 years
Number of titles: 30+

Super Mario Bros

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Good old Mario has appeared in over 200 different titles since he first appeared as Jumpman in Donkey Kong back in 1981. Nowadays, the portly plumber is now adept at everything from kart racing to golf, but it all spawned from the iconic platformer ‘Super Mario Bros’ for the NES in 1983.

Length of series: 31 years
Number of titles: 200+

Pac-Man

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Pac-Man is one of the true iconic classics in gaming. The instantly recognisable pill muncher has been synonymous with videogames since he first appeared in arcades back in 1980. Barely a year goes by without some form of Pac-Man release and despite multiple forays into other genres, it’s still the classic top down gameplay that remains the most popular.

Length of series: 34 years
Number of Titles: 20+

Civilisation

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Sid Meier’s empire building series may only be on its fifth full release, but it’s been around since the days of DOS. The turn based strategy series has been consistently popular with fans for over 20 years now, since its first release in 1991.

Length of series: 23 years
Number of titles: 5 (+ numerous expansions & spin offs)

Metal Gear

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While most fans of the Metal Gear series will have joined the party in 1998 with the release of the brilliant PS1 title Metal Gear Solid, the series has actually been around since 1987. Originally appearing on the MSX in Japan as a top down stealth action title, it was also reworked and released on the NES. Interestingly the original game actually got two separate sequels. First up was unofficial sequel ‘Snake’s Revenge’, which came out on the NES; original creator Hideo Kojima then released Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake on the MSX2. Since then the series has gone from strength to strength with a number of spin offs and overly long cut scenes.

Length of series: 27 years
Number of games: 20

Sonic The Hedgehog

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Like his one time rival Mario, Sonic has appeared in dozens of games since his debut. He’s featured in everything from 2D & 3D platformers to racing and educational games. Not to mention that the original Sonic game has been re-released on pretty much every platform known to man (even Nintendo hardware)

Length of series: 23 years
Number of games: 70+


What long running series is your favourite? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below

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