The 10 oldest video game franchises in history


Video game franchises seem to come and go like clockwork, and many fail to make a lasting impression. However, some franchises are so iconic that they’ve stood the test of time, with decades of subsequent releases winning over whole new generations of fans. These are the gaming brands that bridge the gap between young and old.

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Some of these series started out as a basic premise that no one thought would succeed, but here they are, decades later. Others are rather obscure, but have managed to cobble together a die-hard fan base that keeps coming back for more. If only all video game concepts could achieve this level of success.

ten Microsoft Flight Simulator (37 years old)

A photo of an airplane from Microsoft Flight Simulator

It’s hard to believe that Microsoft Flight Simulator has been around for nearly 4 decades at this point, but it represents one of the most groundbreaking franchises in gaming history. In reality, MFS has done more for flight sim games than any other at this point, and it just keeps getting better.

The latest version of the popular series features realistic graphics and a breathtaking level of detail, allowing players to fly a plethora of aircraft around a virtual planet Earth and land at almost any known airport in the world. ‘man. Players can even fly to a ton of cool locations and landmarks so realistic it’s hard to remember it’s just a game.

9 Bomber (37 years old)

A shot of Bomberman for the SNES

bomber has always been known as a niche board game, but its formula is popular enough to have lasted a total of 37+ years. The idea is simple: trap enemies by strategically placing bombs, while unlocking bonuses to give the player an advantage.

Addictive gameplay and a cheeky, fun aesthetic were the driving forces behind bomber over the years. It continues to be one of the most enjoyable multiplayer party games and helped influence future icons like Mario Party.


8 Wolfenstein (37 years old)

A snapshot of Wolfenstein 3D

Most gamers don’t realize this Wolfenstein has been around much longer than 1992 Wolfenstein 3D, the game that helped launch the first-person shooter genre, leading to a plethora of underrated FPS titles from the 1990s. In fact, the franchise kicked off in 1981 with Castle Wolfenstein, a primitive version of the original concept, with a top-down interface.

It was a far cry even from the 3D shooter that followed 11 years later, but it got the brand off to a good start. Over the years, the stealth elements of the original have been replaced with a run-and-gun formula designed to create as much on-screen carnage and mayhem as possible.

seven Elevator Action (38 years old)

A photo of the original elevator action

For some strange reason, elevator action survived the turbulent growing pains of video gaming and managed to stick around for the long haul. Its last version was elevator action invasion, its debut in 2021. The series has been praised for its accessible and user-friendly gameplay, making it easy to pick up and play.

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Still, it’s quite a feat to see an arcade-style franchise born in the early 80s survive into the 2020s. The gameplay largely consists of using elevators to evade gunmen shooting at the player. Invasion took that premise and added a light gun-style formula reminiscent of games like virtual cop for a more modern version.

6 Frog (38 years old)

A shot of Frogger

Deceptively simple but ridiculously difficult, Frog continues to be one of the most beloved video games of all time. Whole new generations of gamers are still picking it up and trying to master their timing enough to keep the simple little frog from becoming red paste on the asphalt.

Many games would copy this formula, but Frog remains the de facto norm. It’s so iconic that one of the saddest and funniest episodes of Seinfeld was dedicated to it, just to pay homage to it. It’s been around in one form or another for 38 years, and its formula can still be found in titles like termination resistor, which uses the same principle for its hacking mini-game sequences.

5 Space Invaders (38 years old)

A photo of Space Invaders

Coin-operated space shooter games debuted in 1978 with space invaders, and it became one of the most recognizable video game franchises in history. There’s nothing particularly special about it by today’s standards, and that’s the point. The gameplay remains its main selling feature.

Players are always trying to see how far they can go before they’re shattered, and that coveted high score remains elusive for many. It’s simple to understand, but very difficult to master, requiring quick reflexes and better timing to excel.

4 Galaxian (39 years old)

A hit from Galaxian

Galaxian arguably achieved its iconic status due to a hardware limitation in the original arcade game, which prevented the player’s ship from firing more than one shot at a time. Therefore, careful planning, practice, and strategy were absolutely vital to advancing to the higher levels.

The original game was released in 1979 and saw its last release in 2019 as Galaga Revenge. based on an offshoot of the original. It is also one of the most difficult classic arcade games ever released, which has added to its notoriety.

3 Mario Bros (39 years old)

A picture of Super Mario 3

Nintendo’s ultra-popular mascot, Mario, made his debut in the original donkey kong arcade game, but it soon got a chance to stand on its own, eclipsing the Monkey in popularity. the original Mario Brothers. The arcade game was released in 1983 and looked more like a concept title than what it would later become.

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The launch of Nintendo’s NES console in the 1980s not only revitalized a dying video game market, but made Mario a household name and a pop culture icon. He sold countless consoles and helped rebrand Nintendo as the premier video game company for an entire generation. It is still going strong today, almost 40 years later.

2 Pac-Man (40 years old)

A shot of Pac-Man

There are probably only a handful of people in the world who have never heard of Pac man, and they probably live in remote jungles untouched by the modern world. The simple and iconic emoji-style character of Pac man created a frenzy of copycats while putting video games on the map as a mainstream entertainment option.

Pac man has seen a lot of evolution over the years, but the basic principle is still intact. Players must gobble up all the pills on screen while avoiding certain death at the hands of multiple ghosts who relentlessly pursue them down every hallway. Pac man became one of the best franchises on home consoles to date.

1 The Oregon Trail (51 years old)

A title screen for The Oregon Trail

Few gamers have probably even heard of The Oregon Trail, but it is undoubtedly the undisputed grandfather of video game franchises. The first installment in the series was released in 1971, and its last release was in April 2021, proving there’s plenty of life left in the franchise.

Originally designed to be an educational tool for children, The Oregon Trail soon proliferated into new editions, ports to mobile platforms, card/board games and a new chapter released by Apple. It’s quite an honor, and all gamers should check out what The Oregon Trail is all so they can learn a bit more about the game’s story, as well as the real-life story.

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