Not only does Microsoft have a list of the best selling XBLA games of all time on Xbox.com, but they also keep it updated daily. We doubt it changes dramatically on a day to day basis, but it’s a touch that we didn’t expect to see.
Speaking of unexpected things, the official top 50 best sellers list does contain more than a couple of surprises.
UPDATE: It so transpires that Microsoft takes DLC into account, hence why Rock Band Blitz is so high on the list. It’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft has different best sellers lists for every region. This is the UK list.
50. Monkey Island: SE (2009)
Considering that are currently 532 XBLA games listed on Xbox.com, Lucasarts should feel no shame about this classic point and clicker clocking in at #50.
49. Super Street Fighter 2 HD (2008)
Although a decent version of the classic globe-trotting brawler, it would appear fans prefer the original which can be found at #22. At 1,200 MSP this HD revamp is a little pricey also.
48. From Dust (2011)
You may not think #48 is very high, but this lovely-to-look-at God-sim has in fact managed to outsell many other Ubisoft games including I Am Alive, which received a significant amount of press coverage.
47. Pac-Man (2006)
We would have rather seen Pac-Man CE or Pac-Man Championship Edition DX on the list – both of which are sorely missing – but at least one game starring the likeable yellow fellow is present.
46. Shadow Complex (2010)
If we were gambling men, we would have put money on this side-scrolling adventure game performing a little better, especially seeing as it’s one of the highest-rated XBLA games.
45. Monday Night Combat (2010)
So, yeah, Monday Night Combat managed to outsell Shadow Complex. Never underestimate gamers’ desire to simply run around blowing stuff up.
44. Dash of Destruction (2008)
The first of a few free games on the list, which in our opinion shouldn’t be present. On a ‘most downloaded’ list perhaps, but not top-selling. The only reason to play this glorified advert was for the easy achievements. Thankfully for gamers’ sanity, the later Doritos games fared better.
43. Alien Hominid HD (2007)
Bearing in mind that Castle Crashers appears much higher up the list, we did expect Alien Hominid HD to have done a little better. That said, it was available on other consoles beforehand, not to mention free to play on PC.
42. Peggle (2009)
Our love for Peggle has been shown before – it’s one of our favourite PopCap efforts. We’re also going to use this opportunity to give the DS version a shout out – it’s just as addictive and worth seeking out.
41. Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode 1 (2011)
The oft-delayed Episode 2 hasn’t sold anywhere near as well as the first instalment – out of all the XBLA games available, it’s currently at #253. Even Sonic & Knuckles has been downloaded more times. Look out for the blue blur elsewhere in this list. Another other two times, in fact.
40. Fruit Ninja Kinect (2011)
This is the only Kinect game in the top 50, which is a bit of a surprise seeing as Wreckateer was free for a week or so to mark the ten year anniversary of Xbox Live.
39. Deadliest Warrior (2010)
Proving that licenses still sell in this day and age, this Spike TV tie-in has managed to outsell all of the above games despite being a gaming travesty. When we played it all we could think of was War Gods on N64.
38. Splosion Man (2009)
The hyperactive ball of flames has done well for himself here. Unless we’re mistaken, this was also the first XBLA game to feature avatar rewards.
37. Real Steel (2011)
As Deadliest Warrior showed us, licensed games do indeed sell well on XBLA even if they’re dire. This robot-starring boxing sim currently has a Metacritic of just 40% but makes #37.
36. Blacklight Tango Down (2011)
We remember when this FPS was announced. The developer was very keen to proclaim that it was going to be a retail-quality shooter at just 1,200 MSP. It ended up getting a steady string of 6/10s. The price has dropped to 400 MSP now, so it might be worth a look for cash-strapped shoot ’em up fans.
35. N+ (2008)
Atari has released dozens of arcade revamps on XBLA over the years, but none of them have made the top 50. With this 2D physics-based platformer at #35 there’s perhaps a lesson to learn there.
34. Call of Duty Classic (2009)
Are we surprised this hasn’t sold better? Absolutely. That said, the CoD series didn’t really start turning heads until Call of Duty 2 arrived on Xbox 360 and PC.
33. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2007)
See, we said that Sonic showed up elsewhere. You can probably guess which Sonic game has done better.
32. 3D Ultra Mini-Golf (2007)
A surprisingly high entry for this pitch and putter. Reviews were mixed on release, hence not expecting it to have done so well.
31. South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! (2010)
Microsoft bagged the South Park license long before this game was released. It was almost as if they didn’t really know what to do with it. As you can see, it sold well when they finally did figure out a use.
30. Texas Hold’em (2007)
The first of three card games to make the top 30 is this effort from 2007. It’s a game so old that it offered Xbox Vision support.
29. Zombie Apocalypse (2010)
Finley crafted top down shooters are exactly what XBLA is for. Combine that with the popularity of zombie games, and we can see why plenty of gamers have downloaded this.
28. Full House Poker (2011)
Given how many banners we see for free poker sites during an average net surfing session, we aren’t startled at all to see Full House Poker breach the top 30.
27. Sonic the Hedgehog (2007)
The original and the best? That’s open for debate, but seeing that it’s the best selling Sonic game on XBLA – and there are many Sonic games available – it would suggest so.
26. Bankshot Billilards 2 (2005)
2005? It’s hard to think that the Xbox 360 has been around for that long. We wonder how many early adopters made this their first XBLA download.
25. DOOM (2012)
Xbox.com has 2012 as the release date for id’s classic, but it was in fact first released in 2006. After Bethesda purchased id it vanished for a while, only to re-appear last year. Looks like Microsoft didn’t reset the tally on copies sold. We would have imaged DOOM II to have made the chart instead, seeing as it’s the superior sequel.
24. Portal: Still Alive (2008)
Valve rarely put a foot wrong and this semi-sequel managed to make the wait for Portal 2 slightly more bearable.
23. A Kingdom for Keflings (2008)
The recent sequel – World of Keflings – currently sits at #93 in the best sellers list. We’re surprised at how well both have done. Although we’re well aware of their existence, they aren’t games you see frequently talked about in forums and the like.
22. Street Fighter II’ HF (2006)
Another oldie, but even now Street Fighter II is hard to beat for competitive fighting frolics. It’s no wonder that Capcom are keen to re-release it every couple of years.
21. LIMBO (2010)
It’s great to see LIMBO so high on the list – it really is a game full of unforgettable moments. The brilliant ending in particular had gamers rushing to forums to try and decipher exactly what it was all about.
20. Gotham City Imposters (2012)
We’re onto the top 20. Even without the word ‘Batman’ in the title, Gotham City Imposters has done rather well. So well, in fact, that a sequel announcement can’t be far off now.
19. Harms Way (2010)
This free to download racer was released on the same day as Doritos Crash Course, which charts later down the list. It was the poorer of the two despite having an original feature – in multi-player there was the chance to use gun turrets on the side of the track to try and hamper other racers’ progress.
18. Plants vs Zombies (2010)
When researching this feature we discovered something rather neat – PopCap’s garden gang RTS can be played for free on Xbox.com. Bejewelled 3 and others can also be played for precisely nadda.
17. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (2010)
Case Zero is a prologue of sorts to Dead Rising 2, explaining the characters’ backstory and such. Those who played it also got a few extra weapons and a headstart on XP in the main game.
16. Worms 2: Armageddon (2009)
Not one but two Worms games have made the top twenty list. They’re Team 17’s bread and butter, so it can only be good news for them that the series continues to sell just as well now as it did when it first appeared on Amiga.
15. Toy Soldiers (2010)
“Real combat, plastic men” says the tagline. Or was that for 3DO’s Army Men? We forget. The sequel hasn’t sold anywhere near as well, which could be down to the terrible unfitting GI Joe-style box-art.
14. Bomberman Live (2007)
Just two games in the top 20 originate from Japan. This retro revamp and…
13. Happy Wars (2012)
…Microsoft’s first free to play Xbox game. The beauty of Happy Wars is that although it supports micro-transactions, it can be enjoyed to its fullest without ever having to spend a penny.
12. UNO (2006)
We recall playing this soon after it launched and having no end of problems trying to get into games. We assume that was soon sorted out, as otherwise it wouldn’t have done quite so well.
11. Trials Evolution (2012)
Narrowly missing out on the top 10 is this sequel to Red Lynx’s addictive physics-based… erm, well, it’s not a racing game and it’s not really a platformer either. Try it for yourself if you haven’t yet.
10. The Walking Dead (2012)
Earlier this month Telltale announced that The Walking Dead’s sales are currently totalling more than 8.5 million. If they’d given a breakdown for downloads per format we would have been able to speculate how well the rest of the top ten has sold. A good two or three million each, we’d wager.
9. Castle Crashers (2010)
Now we know why The Behemoth are taking so long getting Battleblock Theatre ready. Castle Crashers has sold phenomenally well, so they clearly have a lot of fans out there who’d they’d rather not disappoint.
8. Battlefield 1943 (2010)
War, what is it good for? Making EA lots of money, clearly.
7. Pinball FX 2 (2010)
Occasionally we see people excitedly post on forums and such that Pinball FX 2 is free to download, little knowing that it has always been free. What you get though is simply the hub, in which you can download trails of tables and unlock full ones at an additional cost. Most tables are brilliantly designed, warranting its high placing.
6. Doritos Crash Course (2010)
Happy Wars aside, this madcap and colourful test of reactions is easily the best freebie to arrive on XBLA. Bearing in mind that it’s two years old, we were confused when the developer announced that new DLC is coming this year. Having seen how many times it has been downloaded, now we understand why.
5. Family Game Night (2009)
Just like Pinball FX 2, Family Game Night is free to download but all you get is the hub and some trial games. Seeing that it has proven popular, we’re surprised EA didn’t take the same approach for the following Family Game Night compilations.
4. Worms (2007)
Team 17’s classic wiggles into the top 5. No wonder they were able splash out on some renowned vocal talent for the latest iteration. If there was one thing Worms needed, it was The IT Crowd’s Douglas Reynholm.
3. Trials HD (2010)
As we said earlier, Trials HD is a hard one to describe. Even the official description is simply “biking game”. If you haven’t tried either yet, then go for the sequel. Red Lynx have packed a hell of a lot into it, including a game creator tool. If you still have cold feet, then you may be interested to know that it’s available at retail in a triple pack along with the similarly brilliant LIMBO and Splosion Man. It shouldn’t set you back much more than £10.
2. Rock Band Blitz (2012)
We really didn’t expect to see Rock Band Blitz enter the top 50 so highly. It’s a very good game, don’t get us wrong, but EA had pretty much written off the franchise shortly after Activision pulled the plug on Guitar Hero. The beauty of Rock Band Blitz, in our eyes at least, is that you don’t have to have a plastic guitar to play it – a joypad will suffice. This makes the game feel rather like Harmonix’s oft-forgotten previous efforts Frequency and Amplitude.
1. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (2012)
And here it is – the best selling XBLA game of all time. Over five million copies have been sold so far, with 100,416 of those on Christmas Day alone. Minecraft represents the epitome of decent game design, letting you do and construct what you please with very few boundaries. The day Microsoft announces a price drop for this one will be the day we fall back off our chair, because it sells so well that it doesn’t need one. No doubt Microsoft is very keen to sign up Mojang’s next game – sci-fi sandbox space sim 0x10c – as an Xbox exclusive, either for the current Xbox or next. Or both, we suppose.
Now you’ve had a chance to read though the 50 best sellers list, let’s look spare a moment for some rather glaring omissions. Braid is nowhere to be seen, despite getting a steady string of 10/10 review scores, and neither is Fez which won Game of the Year awards. Geometry Wars and its sequel are two other no shows, although – just like Braid and Fez – they aren’t far outside of the top 50.
Also of note is how badly Fable Heroes has performed, appearing very low down on the best sellers list between Konami’s arcade conversion Time Pilot and something called Things on Wheels. Lordy!