The Top 100 Games of the 21st Century

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Electronic Arts / Eurocom
Platform: PS2
Released: November ’02
Estimated Sales: 700,000
Revenues:  $28 million
Franchise Sales: 3 million
Game ranking: 70.4%
OFH: Goblet of Fire; Prisoner of Azkaban; Sorcerer’s Stone

Okay, Harry Potter is the kind of phenomenal license most publishers can only dream about getting – it did after all make author JK Rowling richer than the Queen. This specific Harry Potter game wasn’t that bad, either, and it was released alongside the blockbuster film of the same name. Given all of this, it was not only inevitable that this game would be on this list; it’s surprising that it’s not higher.

MX Unleashed
THQ / Rainbow Studios
Platform: PS2
Released: February ’04
Estimated Sales: 740,000
Revenues: $22 million
Franchise Sales:  1.5 million
Gameranking: 78.7%
OFH: MX vs ATV Unleashed
Rainbow Studios has games about racing in dirt down to a science. MX Unleashed really polished the formula before the franchise fused with the ATV Off Road Fury series, so it appealed to a greater number of people than just the premise would imply.


The Incredibles
THQ / Heavy Iron Studios
Platform: PS2
Released: November ’04
Estimated Sales: 740,000
Revenues:  $24 million
Franchise Sales: 1.5 million
Gameranking: 62.8%
OFH: Rise of the Underminer
Children’s movies hyped this large usually have their games sell well by proxy, and the hype for The Incredibles’ theatre release was gigantic. It was a Pixar film however, so it had a wide, all-ages charm to it – had the game been able to follow suit, it probably would be higher on this list. As it is, it only found a large audience of children.



Kirby Air Ride
Nintendo / HAL Laboratory
Platform: GameCube
Released: October ’03
Estimated Sales: 750,000
Revenues:  $23 million
Franchise Sales: 750,000
Gameranking: 64.1%
OFH: None

By the time Kirby Air Ride finally came out (it was originally announced as an N64 title) the Saturday morning cartoon Kirby Right Back At Ya! had been on the air for over a year, a bona-fide children’s license. Of course, the game was blasted by critics for being so simple a preschooler could play it. On the other hand, preschoolers probably enjoyed it.

Microsoft / Day 1
Platform: Xbox
Released: November ’02
Estimated Sales: 750,000
Revenues: $26 million
Franchise Sales: 1.1 million
Game ranking: 81.2%
OFH: Mech Assault 2: Lone Wolf

There was a period in the early days of Xbox Live where MechAssault was the game that defined the service. It was there at launch, it was simple and bombastic, and it provided an excellent online multiplayer experience that gaming publications ate up with a spoon. Consequently, it spent its long life as a Platinum Hit, or bundled with Xbox Live Starter Kits, making it fairly ubiquitous and popular.

DDR Max 2: Dance Dance Revolution
Konami / Konami TYO
Platform: PS2
Released: September ’03
Estimated Sales: 750,000
Revenues:  $28 million
Franchise Sales: 5 million
Game ranking: 82.5%
OFH: Various

Dance Dance Revolution is one of those perennial franchises that always sells decently, but mostly to an unchanging audience. They know what to expect, and each DDR delivers on hot dancepad action and a combination of J-Pop, techno, and local flavor in the music. So it plugs along, keeping its fans happy. There are certainly enough of them.

Electronic Arts / EA Canada
Platform: PS2
Released: October ’03
Estimated Sales: 750,000
Revenues:  $28 million
Franchise Sales: 3 million
Game ranking: 91.6%
OFH: SSX; Tricky; On Tour

The SSX franchise is yet another that took advantage of newly-launching hardware to create a new brand. In the case, it did so via a PS2 launch title that exceeded all expectations via its excellent controls and large, gorgeous snowboarding courses. SSX 3 is considered by most to be the series at its best, but it’s not like any of them have fared badly.

Def Jam Vendetta
Electronic Arts / Aki Corp
Platform: PS2
Released: March ’03
Estimated Sales: 750,000
Revenues: $30 million
Franchise Sales: 1.8 million
Game ranking: 80.5%
OFH: Def Jam: Fight for New York

Def Jam Vendetta was one of those games that couldn’t miss in the market. Not only did it offer the chance to be a famous rapper and beat up other famous rappers, it did so with the legitimacy of the Def Jam license and the quality of the Aki wrestling engine, which some consider the best ever made. Could it have done better if it had more artists? The sequel had more, and it didn’t.

Eye Toy
Platform: PS2
Released: November ’03
Estimated Sales: 750,000
Revenues: $34 million
Franchise Sales: 1.5 million
Game ranking: 80%
OFH: Various minor spin-offs

The success of this franchise should have been another warning factor that unique new ways to interact with games are an ideal way to grow the medium and the market. Eye Toy came packaged with whimsical minigame collection Eye Toy Play, which was so intuitive even total gaming neophytes had no trouble at all. Besides, everyone loves looking at themselves.

Super Monkey Ball 2
Sega / Amusement Visions
Platform: GameCube
Released: August ‘02
Estimated Sales: 760,000
Revenues:  $22 million
Franchise Sales: 1.1 million
Gameranking: 85%
OFH: Super Monkey Ball

Leave it to Sega to perfect Nintendo’s formula – Super Monkey Ball was charming and cute as a button, and the majority of the game could be played with the thumbstick alone. The sequel came out fast enough so players still had a good taste in their mouths from the GameCube launch original, and it was also an improvement in every way on that game.