Long-Running Franchises in Gaming History

In the world of video games, there have been some long-running franchises that have stuck with us for decades. Some of us grew up playing classic games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, or Street Fighter. While we all keep our eyes open for the newest titles coming out, it’s nice to go back and revisit the classics. Here are some of the best video game franchises that have lasted in this industry through the generations.


Madden NFL


There are several sport franchises that are worthy of being included in this list, but the Madden NFL series is one that is cherished by fans and included at every home party. Madden has outlasted all of its competitors and been included on every major game system since it was first released in 1988 under the name John Madden Football. 


Over the years, the series has certainly seen its share of high and low points. While there are many ways that Madden has failed in recent installments, fans love the series for what it gets right. For instance, individual teams and players often get consistent ratings that reflect their real-world abilities. As Patrick Mahomes is a standout quarterback that consistently brings his team strong NFL betting odds, he deserves his 97 overall rating. As the years go by, we will continuously see improvements to the physics and mechanics of this classic sports franchise.


The Legend of Zelda


Few series can say that they have been as inspirational as The Legend of Zelda. It feels like every major console release in the history of this franchise was lauded as the greatest game ever made by fans. The first installment of the series was released in 1986 for the Super Nintendo and captured the attention of millions of gamers worldwide. All of the Zelda games have expanded on the foundations of platforming mechanics and explorable environments, all while keeping the player entertained with fun combat and a sense of wonder about the experience.


Final Fantasy 


In video games, role-playing games or RPGs is one of the biggest genres. It’s safe to say that without the Final Fantasy series, RPGs would be nothing like they are today. Every cliche and combat mechanic that is standard today has been borrowed from this legendary series and titles like Final Fantasy VII (1997) and Final Fantasy X (2001) are not only the golden standard for RPGs but truly some of the greatest gaming experiences ever. Final Fantasy games have always had a way of weaving together rich and captivating worlds that make the player want to experience everything they have to offer. Along the way, we are introduced to characters with deep backstories and become intertwined with their goals and missions.





It feels like everyone at some point has played a Mario title. When Super Mario Brothers for the Super Nintendo was released, we collectively realized that video games were here to stay and became obsessed with this quirky character and his Olympics-tier jumping abilities. Over the years, a new Mario game release has accompanied every major Nintendo console. While you would imagine that the jumping mechanics and platforming recipe would get old but it never does. We love the Mario series and could not imagine the gaming world without it.


Duke Nukem 


Of course, we couldn’t go without mentioning one of the best video game franchises ever, the Duke Nukem series. Originally released in 1991, the series has been a cult classic since and revolves around the headstrong, one-liner spewing, 1980s action hero throwback known as Duke Nukem. The character was so visually striking and memorable that they even discussed making a full film about him. This would work out well as the plots in these games are always reminiscent of B-movies anyway, normally involving shooting aliens and the CIA.

While the tongue-in-cheek humor and raunchy jokes give the series a lot of character, really what these games do well is the intense high-paced action. The original games are from the golden era of First Person Shooters (FPS) when other series like DOOM and Quake were all the rage. All gamers know about the development nightmare the series has become in recent years but rest assured, we haven’t seen the last of the Duke yet.