The 10 Best Selling PS1 Games of All Time

The most sold and the best?

Milan Zagorac
Milan Zagorac
9 Min Read

The PS1 has been a prolific, era-defining console to say the least. It comes to no one’s surprise that the PS1 has seen games with millions of units sold over the years. Generally, the amount of units a game sells is a great way to identify its overall quality and whether its worth playing.

But, don’t judge every book by its cover, while a lot of these best-selling PS1 games made a lot of numbers, they didn’t live up to that critical acclaim.


Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo is the #1 best selling PS1 game.

Release: 1997
Developer: Japan Studio/Polys Entertainment/Cyberhead
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Gran Turismo is by the numbers, the most-sold PS1 game, but does that make it good? In retrospect, it was and is a great game. It is a racing simulator with two game modes, regular and simulation. 

The latter is a more serious mode where you start without a driver’s license. You have to race your way up the ladder, earn money, purchase better vehicles, and live the life of a professional racer. It is indeed a great racing game.


Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is a legendary RPG that has multiple spin offs built around it.

Release: 1997
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square/Sony Computer Entertainment

Final Fantasy VII is an RPG that became so popular that its prequels have prequels, remakes, and remasters. All jokes aside, it is probably one of the best PS1 games, and deservedly so. It stands out in many ways.

The story is futuristic, departing from the usual fantasy tropes of the time, medieval times, swords, and magic. The music is iconic, and the gameplay is good, but not groundbreaking. The narrative plus soundtrack make Final Fantasy VII an amazing RPG.


Gran Turismo 2

Gran Turismo 2 is a great game, and a worthy sequel to the first title.

Release: 1999
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

The sequel should be better, right? Well, not according to the sales numbers. Though, they rarely tell the whole story. The game had some improvements but also launched with a ton of bugs. They were fixed and buyers got replacement discs.

As for the game, it plays just like the first one, with more cars to choose from. The two game modes are back, allowing you to pick between casual and serious. Despite the early glitches, Gran Turismo 2 is still one of the best PS1 racing games.


Final Fantasy VIII

The start of Final Fantasy VIII, one of the most sold PS1 games.

Release: 1998
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square/ Square Electronic Arts/Sony Computer Entertainment

It was beyond difficult to top Final Fantasy VII, but the following game in the series wasn’t far off. It mixes a futuristic setting and a fantasy setting, to create a unique blend that works well. The battle system should be familiar to anyone who played a Square RPG.

As for the story, we have six protagonists on an unnamed planet. This was innovative, unlike the villain who plots the end of the world/universe. The story unfolds perfectly and is best experienced in person, as this is one of the best PS1 JRPRGs.


Tekken 3

Eddy Gordo in Tekken 3, in the Tekken Force mode.

Release: 1997/1998
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco

Tekken 3 remains one of the best fighting games (link to PS1 fighting game article) that was released on the PlayStation. It stands out primarily due to the fluid animations, as well as a plethora of new characters compared to the previous Tekken entry.

Follow Jin Kazama, Forest Law, and Eddy Gordo, as well as returning characters such as Nina Williams, Yoshimitsu, and Heihachi Mishima, through their fights and stories. There are multiple game modes, including some entertaining ones like Tekken Force.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Fred, George, and Harry in front of the Gryffindor common room in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Release: 2001
Developer: Argonaut Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts

Following the explosive rise in popularity of the Harry Potter franchise, the books, movies, and video games, sold very well. This is the first title, also known as the Sorcerer’s Stone in North America. It follows the events of the book.

Play as Harry as he starts his first year at Hogwarts, and from the get-go, there are challenges that he must overcome. The challenges vary from puzzles, and duels, to life-threatening boss fights. If you’ve read the book or watched the movie, you know what’s in store.


Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Crash before smashing some boxes in Crash Bandicoot 2.

Release: 1997
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

The original Crash Bandicoot was a great launchpad for what was going to become one of the best franchises on the PlayStation. Crash 2 is a platformer, much like the first game. You run into the screen most of the time, collecting all sorts of goodies along the way.

This is a graphically superior game to the first one, and the controls are better, however, the levels are punishing. Repeating a level a couple of times until you master enemy movements and all the traps is to be expected.


Crash Bandicoot: Warped

Crash in Crash Bandicoot: Warped, one of the best selling PS1 games.

Release: 1998
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Warped is the third game in the series, and all three were later remastered and added as part of the N. Sane Trilogy. Warped takes us to different times, literally, as Crash and Coco go through time to find 25 crystals.

Each of the five zones has five levels, and each of those contains a crystal. There are bonus levels, of course. After you finish all five levels in a zone, you have to fight a boss. All levels are accessible through the central hub, which is where you time travel from.


Tomb Raider

Lara Croft jumping in the first Tomb Raider game.

Release: 1996
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Tomb Raider is another successful franchise that got its start in the 90s and is an action-adventure title. What makes it stand out is a 3D world and a camera that is fixed to Lara’s shoulders. The movement was also innovative.

You could run, flip, jump, swan dive, and pull up over ledges into a handstand. Lara would have to equip guns if she wanted to shoot, which meant no climbing mechanics until combat was over. The stories vary but often deal with Lara looking for artifacts of all kinds.


Metal Gear Solid

The changeable camera in Metal Gear Solid, showing a cinematic feel to an already great game.

Release: 1998
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Japan
Publisher: Konami

The franchise had to start somewhere, and even though the first title was released in 1987, this was the first 3D title. Metal Gear Solid is a stealth-focused action-adventure game. We follow Solid Snake as he attempts to avert a crisis involving nuclear weapons.

Set in an alternate timeline where the Cold War continues into the 1990s, everyone has itchy trigger fingers. Solid Snake is dispatched to neutralize a nuclear weapons threat. Things get complicated as he finds out more about his past.

There you go, a great way to start your PS1 gaming journey, with a list of bestsellers. This could be a good way to introduce yourself to the console’s library. Some are available as remasters and most, if not all, can be played with an emulator.

With almost every genre covered, the bestsellers open pathways to new gaming adventures.

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With over 1650 hours of Apex Legends, and 2100 of League of Legends, Milan is an avid gamer. When he's not indoors, he climbs mountains or does urban acrobatics. Add a passion for writing to the mix and you get a hopefully interesting broth.
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