The original PlayStation marked somewhat of a turning point for the video game industry. The move to discs as the main format for the console meant that developers could make games that needed far more data, allowing for much bigger games than previous cartridge-based consoles had. Some development studios who had long been tied to one of the other console manufacturers, such as Squaresoft, even made a jump across to the PlayStation because of the change of format.
That, along with a more open development kit, meant that we got a huge mix of games, both good and bad. A while back, I listed out 7 of the worst PSX games ever released (here, if you’re interested), so now, I wanted to take a look at the most popular ones. Therefore, today, we are going to look at 7 of the best selling PSX games ever!
7. Final Fantasy VIII – 7 Million Copies Sold
Considering how Final Fantasy VIII is one of the most divisive games in the Final Fantasy series, I was surprised to find that it was the seventh highest selling game for the original PlayStation. Some Final Fantasy fans, myself included, hold it in very high regard. However, a much larger proportion of fans view it as one of the worst in the series due to the change in how magic works and the inclusion of the Junction system.
As Final Fantasy IX is generally more popular with fans of the series, I was fully expecting it to have sold more copies than Final Fantasy VIII, even though it was released very late into the PlayStation’s life cycle. Yet here we are, talking about my third favourite in the series when discussing the best selling games for the PSX! Maybe there is a lot of secret love for this game out there.
6. Tomb Raider – 7.1 Million Copies Sold
Whilst this next game being one of the best selling PS1 games isn’t a surprise to me, what is a surprise is the fact that it is so low on this list… Especially when you consider the game that beats it to the next spot. Tomb Raider, as a franchise, is huge! From a multitude of games to live-action movies with top class actors, it is a multimedia powerhouse. So, I expected the first game in the series to be very high up the list here.
Instead, Lara Croft’s first outing comes in at the number 6 position, which is still extremely high overall. The exploration of various locations, as well as the platforming and shooting elements of the game, pushed its popularity up a lot. And, let’s be honest, so did Lara herself.
5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 8 Million Copies Sold
As I mentioned in the last entry, the fact that this next game beat Tomb Raider was a huge surprise for me. I mean, I know Harry Potter is still an absolute phenomenon, but I really didn’t think that the first game, on the original PlayStation, would have sold around 8 million copies. That blows my mind. It might be because I got into Harry Potter quite late, but when you consider the fact that it came out in 2001, that was really late in the PlayStation’s life cycle. The PS2 was right on the horizon at the time, which means that people must have purchased the game at almost the same rate as the books themselves!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is actually a deceptively enjoyable game, with a few very challenging sections as well. I have a copy that I was very kindly given, and it is a lot of fun to go back and play every now and then.
4. Tekken 3 – 8.3 Million Copies Sold
Considering how big fighting games have always been, I expected at least one to be on this list. However, I didn’t expect it to be Tekken 3. I was ready for one of the Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter games, personally. Although I have to admit, Tekken 3 is an outstanding fighting game with a great roster. I spent hours playing it against my friends as a kid and would love to play it again. I didn’t like the later Tekken games as much, for some reason.
Personally, I would still choose Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter over Tekken as a whole, but Tekken 3 is a very fun game that is definitely worth a play!
3. Gran Turismo 2 – 9.3 Million Copies Sold
It’s funny to think that Gran Turismo 2, which is arguably the better Gran Turismo game on the original PlayStation, didn’t sell as well as the first one. However, I can understand why. We had only ever been exposed to Arcade racing games before since Gran Turismo pretty much invented the Racing Simulator genre. That meant that people who jumped on the first one probably realised that they didn’t enjoy the simulation aspect of it. Therefore, even though Gran Turismo 2 was an improvement, it didn’t sell as well.
I love GT2, personally. It’s still one of my favourite racing games ever released, partially due to nostalgia and partially due to it just being a great game. But if you prefer Arcade racers, then this might not be for you…
2. Final Fantasy VII – 9.8 Million Copies Sold
Well, this next one was obviously going to be on the list, wasn’t it? I mean, Final Fantasy VII is such a massively popular game across a number of systems, with the remake in development as well. So, we all should have known that it was going to be one of the best selling games on the PlayStation. Whilst it may not be my favourite in the Final Fantasy series, it is widely considered to be one of the best games ever made, and honestly, for good reason. It took the idea of a jack of all trades, with the story, graphics (for the time), gameplay and mini-games that were all very good.
Plus, the fact that it is still selling now, on other platforms, despite being over 20 years old, shows just how popular it really is. It’ll be interesting to see whether the remake breaks a tonne of sales records when it is finally released.
1. Gran Turismo – 10.8 Million Copies Sold
So here we are; the best selling original PlayStation game of all time – Gran Turismo. To be honest, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Gran Turismo was a revolutionary game for the racing genre, effectively giving birth to the Racing Sim type of games. It focused on realistic handling, the need to learn the correct lines around a track, and did it’s very best to be a simulation, rather than a typical Arcade Racer that we had all been used to before that. As I said earlier, this could have caused some people to realise that they prefer Arcade Racers, leading to its sequel not selling as well.
However, it is impossible to deny just how important Gran Turismo is as a game. Whilst the Forza series made have surpassed it now, they exist because Gran Turismo introduced us all to the idea of a racing simulator, paving the way for a brand new sub-genre to appear.
And That’s All Folks
Those were the 7 best selling PSX games of all time. There were some surprises in there, to say the least, but overall, they all made sense when I thought about them.
Were there any surprises for you? Let me know in the comments below!