Game Info

Looking Back at the Charts

ELSPA, the UK Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association produce a lot of interesting publications about gaming and the various forms of entertainment they cover.

They also keep the UK gaming charts. This week we received an interesting new publication from them. It's called "Unlimited Learning: Computer and Video games in the learning landscape." It's an interesting piece with great information in it, talking about how videogames can be useful within schools and generally their application as an aid to teaching.

But that's not what this is about. While we will be having a few articles on the bulk of this article, the appendix at the back had some ELSPA charts across the years. This caught my eye. Just how much have the UK sales charts changed between 1995 and 2005?

First up, 1995:
Top Ten games 1995 (Cartridge)
1. Fifa Soccer '96
2. Fifa Soccer '95
3. The Lion King
4. Theme Park
5. Mortal Kombat 3
6. Killer Instinct
7. Mickey Mania
8. Brian Lara Cricket
9. Micro Machines '96
10. Premier Manager


Top Ten Games 1996 (CD)
1. Fifa Soccer '96
2. Destruction Derby
3. Command & Conquer
4. Discworld
5. Star Trek: The Next Generation -- A Final Unity
6. Dark Forces
7. Wipe Out
8. Tekken
9. Rebel Assault
10. Theme Park


Man, this area has some memories for me. Theme Park appears on both lists, which was a staple of my PC gameplay back in the day. Micro Machines doesn't surprise me as a cart game -- neither does the Lion King -- both multiplatform and massive successes on both consoles. Killer Instinct's high position on the chart would undoubtedly cause fans to give more call for Rareware to bring it back on 360. EA dominates the market on both formats, getting the first spot on both, and the second on cartridges. You Americans take note -- FIFA football games are to the UK what Madden is to the US.

Sports and Platformers rule the mid-90s, with some others edging into the charts.

Moving on into the new Millennium, here's the ELSPA list for the top games of 2000.
Top 10 Games 2000 (All)
1. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
2. Pokemon Yellow
3. Gran Turismo 2
4. WWF Smackdown 2
5. Pokemon Red
6. Pokemon Blue
7. WWF Smackdown
8. Fifa 2001
9. Toy Story 2
10. The Sims


What a change from 1995! EA's football series slides down to number 8, while Pokemon is present throughout the charts, and wrestling series Smackdown takes two slots. There's some interesting "sleeper" hits there, too, including #1 title "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," based off the TV show of the same name. Interestingly, and characteristically of the time, all the titles aside from Pokemon and the Sims appeared on the Sony Playstation. Some were also multiplatform, but in these cases the majority of the sales came from the PS1 titles.

And now, we go to just one year ago, 2005. How different is the market now?
Top 10 Games 2006 (All)
1. FIFA 06
2. Pro Evolution Soccer 5
3. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
4. Gran Turismo
5. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
6. FIFA Street
7. Star Wars: Battlefront II
8. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
9. King Kong: Official Game of the Movie
10. The Sims 2


2005 sees another drastic change in the charts. EA makes a return to the #1 spot, with FIFA selling like hot cakes, also coming in at number 5. The sheer power of them as a publisher is more than evident, with 4 of the top 10 titles published by them. The new Gran Turismo and Sims titles are back in the charts after five years, while the world appears to be gripped with Star Wars fever, with two licensed titles from the series selling enough to appear in the top 10.

So what can we see from all this?

It's interesting for a start because it shows the immense difference between Europe and the other regions. The top titles here are shockingly different to those in the US, which I found immensely interesting. I won't even begin to compare it to Japan. We can also see the rise of the casual gamer in this -- Games like Smackdown, FIFA and Need For Speed have replaced the likes of Micro Machines and Theme Park, with the number of "kiddie" titles significantly reducing over time.

Perhaps what interests me most about this is thinking about what the chart will look like in five years' time. Will Nintendo's Wii strategy succeed, and will the charts be filled with games like Brain Age, or will the PS3 and 360 rule, meaning the charts will remain largely populated with shooters, racing games and movie tie-ins?

Will Ubisoft succeed in their goal, and will they replace EA and release more top-selling articles to become the #1 third party? Only time will tell, but it's interesting to speculate and look at past events.

If anybody has the top US game charts that are similar to these, please feel free to email them to me, as I'd be most interested in seeing them.

All the charts listed here are Compiled by Chart-Track and Copyright ELSPA.

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