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Christmas Gift Guide

How does the Switch rank? Let's find out.

Nintendo DS (2004)

Top-selling DS game: New Super Mario Bros.

Game Boy (1989)

Top-selling Game Boy game: Tetris

Wii (2006)

Top-selling Wii game: Wii Sports

Game Boy Advance (2001)

Top-selling GBA game: Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire

Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)

Top-selling NES game: Super Mario Bros.

Nintendo 3DS (2011)

Top-selling 3DS game: Pokemon X/Y

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1991)

Top-selling SNES game: Super Mario World

Nintendo 64 (1996)

Top-selling N64 game: Super Mario 64

GameCube (2001)

Top-selling GameCube game: Super Smash Bros. Melee

Wii U (2012)

Top-selling Wii U game: Mario Kart 8

Switch (2017)

Top-selling Switch game: Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Virtual Boy (1995)

Top-selling Virtual Boy game: Mario Tennis

Early sales of Nintendo's new Switch console -- and its best launch title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- have broken plenty of sales records so far. But how does it compare with the great Nintendo consoles of the past?

To celebrate the Switch launch, we've ranked the last 31 years of Nintendo consoles and their games based on total worldwide sales so far. And Nintendo's top console is ...

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

First released in 2004, the Nintendo DS proved to be a massive hit with the public, thanks to its 64-bit graphics, touchscreen functionality and backward-compatibility with Game Boy Advance games.

As of March 31, 2016, the DS has sold 154.02 million units, making it Nintendo's best-selling console to date.

Caption by / Photo by GamesMaster Magazine

The best-selling game for the Nintendo DS is New Super Mario Bros. (2006). It was the first Mario platformer to mix three-dimensional character models with traditional side-scrolling gameplay.

Nintendo reports that New Super Mario Bros. has sold 30.8 million copies as of March 31, 2016.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

The 8-bit Nintendo Game Boy was a smash success for Nintendo, establishing the company as the dominant player in the handheld gaming market.

Its 160x144 monochrome screen looks dated today, but in 1989, gamers just couldn't get enough. Nintendo sold 118.69 million units of the handheld.

Caption by / Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft, Corbis / Getty Images

Game Boy launch title Tetris -- the first piece of USSR-developed software to be released in the US -- was so addictive that the Chicago Tribune joked in 1988 that the game could be "part of a diabolical plot hatched in the Evil Empire to lower worker productivity in the United States."

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Can Nintendo ever recapture the magic of the Wii?

Diehard Nintendo fans, such as this man, camped out in front of stores for days -- literally -- just to be the first to get their hands on the console. It remains the company's most successful home console to date, selling 101.63 million units since its November 2006 launch.

Caption by / Photo by Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images

The Wii console was a smash success for Nintendo, in part because it appealed to many outside the traditional gaming mainstream. Wii Sports found surprising success in senior living communities and retirement homes, offering low-impact, motion-based simulations of bowling, tennis and other popular pastimes.

Wii Sports has sold 82.78 million copies since its 2006 release, making it Nintendo's best-selling game of all time across all consoles.

Caption by / Photo by Gilles BASSIGNAC, Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

The 32-bit successor to its original handheld, Game Boy Advance was a big hit for Nintendo, and has sold 81.51 million units worldwide since its introduction in 2001.

Caption by / Photo by Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

You can't have a list of top-selling Nintendo games without the Pokemon series making an appearance.

Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire may not have been as popular as Pokemon Red/Blue, but with 16.22 million copies sold, it was easily the most popular game for the GBA handheld.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Nintendo took a big risk when it released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to the American public in 1985, when the industry was still reeling from the video game crash of 1983.

That risk paid off big, of course: The NES sold 61.91 million units and made both Mario and Zelda household names.

Caption by / Photo by GamesMaster Magazine

Though Mario made earlier appearances in both Donkey Kong and Mario Bros., this is the game that made the Nintendo character a true star. Roughly 40.22 million cartridges have been sold since its 1985 release.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Nintendo's most recent handheld may not be racking up the same kind of sales figures that the Nintendo DS did, but the system continues to hold its own.

As of March 31, 2016, the Nintendo 3DS has sold 58.85 million units.

Caption by / Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images for Nintendo

The top-selling Nintendo 3DS game -- for now, at least -- is Pokemon X/Y. According to Nintendo, the title has sold 14.7 million copies worldwide as of March 31, 2016.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Though the 16-bit Sega Genesis had a one-year head start on the 16-bit Super NES, a steady stream of gaming hits (Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, Final Fantasy II and III, Super Metroid, etc.) pushed Nintendo's console over the top in terms of sales.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System sold 49.1 million units, about 18 million more than Sega Genesis.

Caption by / Photo by Fox Van Allen

Here, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto plays Super Mario World (1991), the fourth game in the incredibly popular series.

Mario's 16-bit debut was an absolute hit, selling 20.6 million copies (thanks, in part, to new system bundling).

Caption by / Photo by Ralf-Finn Hestoft, Corbis / Getty Images

Though you could hardly call it a failure, the nostalgia-steeped Nintendo 64 was absolutely trounced, sales-wise, by the competing Sony PlayStation.

The N64 sold 32.93 million units compared with 102.49 million Sony PlayStations sold.

Caption by / Photo by Yvonne Hemsey / Getty Images

OK, sure, Mario looks a little bit rough around the edges in this game. But back in the day -- 1996, to be exact -- being able to play as Mario in the third dimension was a huge deal.

A big enough deal, anyway, to sell 11.8 million copies.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Though there were a handful of memorable games released for the Nintendo GameCube (such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker), the console sold a far-lower-than-expected 21.74 million units.

Indeed, the post-GameCube/pre-Nintendo DS days were some of the company's darkest: In November 2003, the company posted a $26.2 million deficit, its first six-month loss since 1962.

Caption by / Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

According to Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001) sold 7.09 million copies worldwide as of 2008, making it the top-selling GameCube game of all time.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, with roughly 7 million copies sold, is a close second.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Nintendo's Wii U, sadly, has been a massive sales disappointment. One of the company's sales representatives projected before launch that the Wii U would sell 100 million units. But as of March 31, 2016, only 12.8 million have been sold.

Caption by / Photo by Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images

The best selling game for the Wii U is the spectacularly fun Mario Kart 8.

It has sold 7.09 million copies, suggesting that roughly 60 percent of Wii U owners bought the game.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

It's a bit early to be ranking the Nintendo Switch here, we'll admit. But the early numbers look very promising.

According to Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime, Switch had the strongest two-day launch in Nintendo history, even outselling the Wii. Nintendo is forecasting sales of 2 million units through March; IDC analyst Lewis Ward says the Switch is on pace to sell 8 million units through Q1 2018.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been getting tremendous reviews since its March 3, 2017 launch. Critics are largely divided into two camps: Those who think it's the best Zelda game in decades, and those who think it's the best Zelda game ever. (The game currently has a 98 rating on Metacritic.)

Nintendo isn't releasing specific sales figures for the game yet. Fils-Aime did share this bit of info, though: Breath of the Wild the best-selling stand-alone launch title in Nintendo history, beating Super Mario 64.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo

Virtual-reality gaming is the new hotness, but for Nintendo, it's nothing new -- the company came out with its first VR console in 1995.

Unfortunately, the tech was not ready for prime time then. The 32-bit Virtual Boy was so heavy, it couldn't be worn on your head. And the red monochrome images projected on its screens were notorious for causing severe headaches.

The console was a huge flop for Nintendo, selling just 770,000 units. It was discontinued less than a year after its launch.

Caption by / Photo by Evan Amos

Only 14 games were released for the system in North America, the best selling of the bunch being Mario Tennis. That shouldn't come as a surprise, though: The game was bundled with every $179.95 Virtual Boy console sold.

Caption by / Photo by Nintendo
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