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Guess: Which Is The Most Prolific Platform?

Do you know which format has the most games, lifetime? Go on, take a guess. The Gameboy? Maybe the PS2? Or was the Amiga the most prolific? No, you're saying, this is a PC site. It must be the PC. Well, it sort of is, but it's even weirder than that. Although it's very nearly (and soon going to be) iOS gaming. In fact, before I reveal the answer, let's build up to it a little more. Because there are currently more iOS games than NES, Master System, Genesis (Megadrive), SNES, PS1, N64, Saturn, Xbox, PS2, Gamecube, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, XNA, XBLA, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, Dreamcast, DS, and PSP games added together.

No, there really are. And yet there's one source of games that's even more prolific. Go on, guess.

It's Newgrounds. The Flash gaming site. Newgrounds not only has more games than all those systems listed above and added together (the owners estimate it to be around 40,000), it has more than twice as many.

From data put together by TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog - Newgrounds also outnumbers all of the Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST games combined. (Which themselves, amazingly, outnumber the console list.) Only just, mind. It's a matter of a couple of thousand.

Of course, TUAW were compiling these numbers to explore the extraordinary success of the iOS games (iPhone, iPad) in just the last few years - it has, already, more than three times as many as the last twenty-five years of console gaming combined. But they admit there's some weakness to those numbers - many iOS games come in two versions, the free 'lite' version, and the pay-for full game. With the help of TouchArcade, TUAW creates an estimate of 32,438 unique iOS games so far. Which still keeps it FAR above all other individual consoles combined, all time.

Obtaining figures for PC games is mostly impossible. And of course there are many other sites that host Flash games other than Newgrounds. But Newgrounds is the largest, with a database going back to 1995. One containing approximately 40,000. It makes it by far and away the most prolific form of gaming of all time.

I doubt this will last for long. Newgrounds offers 15 years' of games. iOS's total is barely three years old. It's behemothic, and it's going to destroy us all. But for now, for this moment, be a little astonished to learn that Flash gaming is by a stretch the most populated type of game.

Huge thanks to TUAW for doing all the hard work here. (Although, for goodness sakes, don't read the comments.)

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About the Author
John Walker avatar

John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run buried-treasure.org

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