Marketable War and How Nintendo Brainwashed a Nation via Exercise: The Best-Selling Video Games of 2009

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In real life, the year 2009 saw the discovery of the world’s oldest stone axes, which is pretty boring compared to the totally sweet batch of top-selling video games to come out in this time period. Well, to be fair this year seemed curiously similar to the previous two, what with Wii dominating the charts yet again. Seriously, maybe there were mind-control enzymes in Nintendo’s buttons or something, because the same game charted twice (well, one was an “enhanced” version, but still). Luckily, America’s favorite Xbox shooter managed to blast its way into the Wii party, AND the hearts of impressionable youth.

5 Wii Fit Plus (Wii) — 5.53 million sales

Wow, twice on the same list? Granted this is the “plus” version, but come on it’s basically the same game. By adding fifteen new balance and aerobic games as well as six extra strength training and yoga activities, Nintendo finally cracked the code and reached all the way past non-traditional gamers to the coveted mainstream diet-trend crowd. Who wouldn’t be drawn to such a sleek, playful means of weight reduction? Very futuristic. Throw in some Rhythmic Kung-Fu or Big Top Juggling and it’s clear to see why so many lazy-daises hopped to, and embraced Wii Fit Plus.

4 Wii Fit (Wii) — 3.6 million sales

Uh, wasn’t this on here last year? It totally was, representing a shift in what and who video games are for. Not only did this game trick impressionable youth into thinking that exercise was somehow fun, Fit made such a cultural impact as to land in nursing homes all over the world. Now granny could build up the necessary muscles as to not fall down apropos nothing. Even crazier, Finnish Defense Forces acquired a bunch of Wii consoles specifically to encourage physical activity among its soldiers. So that’s why Finnish warriors have exceptional core balance…

3 New Super Marios Bros. (Wii) — 4.23 million sales

This one’s a no-brainer. Take the most beloved character in video game history, give it a fancy new 3-D spit shine, slap it back into a 2-D world, and let even more people play it at once. Beautiful! This new version of the classic side-scroller let not one, not two, not three, not fou—oh wait, yes four people play together, as either the titular bros., or Blue/Yellow Toad. It’s the perfect combination of nostalgia and innovation. And fireballs. Got to have the fire balls.

2 Wii Sports Resort (Wii) — 4.54 million sales

Very clever, Nintendo — way to use physical exercise and the associated endorphins to create a positive bond between gamers and all these “movement” titles! One of the first games to use the accuracy enhancing Wii MotionPlus accessory, Sports Resort leads players through twelve different sports games, including swordplay, table tennis, and power cruising — so basic every day hobbies. Set in the sparkling beach resort of Wuhu Island, one could easily imagine an afternoon of archery, while enjoying the associated pleasant lifestyle of relaxing alongside other skilled vacationers. Seems kind of like a paradise… say, not a bad idea for a game: “WiiTopia”

1 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) — 8.82 million sales

One of the most highly anticipated sequels ever came back bigger and badder, firing on all cylinders, gaining tons of awards, and leaving a wake of controversy just like a good game should. Released in November 2009, Modern Warfare 2 did in a single month what the others on this list needed a whole year to pull off. Granted, it included a truly unsettling level wherein players go undercover as Russian airport terrorists, only to be executed once the public slaughter concludes. Heavy stuff, but the rest of the game is standard run-and-gun adventure with blockbuster size narrow escapes and genuinely cool technical equipment so don’t buy it and burn it out of protest just yet.

So that about sums up 2009, the year Nintendo continued its dominance over the video game market by reinventing the role of virtual entertainment. Like all trends however, grandma and Fat Uncle Luke had to put down the controller sooner or later in favor of medicine or cheese snacks, but that time was still a little ways off. What’s important to note here is that out of the group of Wii games that charted, all either involved Mario, or required the full novelty of Nintendo’s new system, a dangerous area to be in should interest in both areas ever wane. What do you think should have been this year’s best-selling games?

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