Games that are a bigger deal than you thought

Over in the Secret Switch Games thread, @“chazumaru”#146 said something that got my mind going:


@“chazumaru”#p40087 Human Fall Flat qualifies more as a “secret industry juggernaut” than “secret game”

This feels like a discussion that likely has happened before, but I’m curious to learn about secretly huge / successful / enduring / other surprising statistic-wielding games.

For me Roblox is one that I was aware of early in its existence, then have been shocked to hear how huge it has become years later. I haven’t looked deeply into it, and if anyone has any good references for what’s happening in that universe, please share!

Similar to the original quote, you can take this topic in a “secret industry juggernaut” direction, or just a “wow I never visited this corner and there sure are a ton of people over here!” direction. Also, please link any past discussions that you find relevant!

Roblox is what comes to mind for sure, didn‘t even knew what that was up till a month ago but it’s huge.

GTAV has insane amounts of players still which is something that surprises me every time.

OSU is clearly another one, which doesn't get covered a lot because is a fan game which is also entirely free to play.

There are quite a few of these!

Garena Free Fall on its own supports more unique daily players than the entire contemporary Xbox ecosystem.

If you look at the top 5 games by active player count, the only one that's not surprising is Minecraft at #5.

The most popular game in the world is PUBG. In the States people usually think of Fortnite as a much bigger deal than PUBG. But PUBG has 3x the playerbase. The other surprising thing is the majority of it is on mobile. PUBG mobile has been downloaded a staggering 1 billion times.

Number 2 is CrossFire. Another billion with a b registered players game. It's an FPS from 2007 that has a massively popular show, itself with well over a billion views.

Next is Dungeon & Fighter, with a modest 700 million users. It's a beat em up RPG and a massive media empire, with anime and manga adaptations and its own Arc System Works fighting game in the works.

Rounding out the top 4 is GKart, a Mario Kart-like from 2010. Also 700 million users. Also available both on mobile and PC

the CIA is behind at least a few of these

The thing with Roblox specifically is that it hasn't been “secretly” big for a long time—as with so many other things, the traditional gaming press is aware of it and has consciously chosen not to become sufficiently acquainted with it.

At first, Undertale was a game made by my friend that I was scared to play after experiencing friend-game-making trauma in my early 20‘s. (a whole train wreck) I had played the demo when it came out, and three years earlier we had discussed our mutual game ideas over dinner.

I was couch surfing in a new state I’d never lived in before, when I caught my basic college esports-gamer-League of Legends-smash-bros. roommates‘ watching the big streamers everyone at the time was aware of play Undertale, they were also talking about it, and playing themselves. One of them recommended it to me. I thought, wow, glad my friend’s game is getting really popular, this is shocking how it circled around to me as cultural phenomena. (The creator of said game was shocked too, historically) So I emotionally prepared myself to play it. I cried a lot. I was glad to tell my friend that his game hit the way he wanted it to, and how he had realized the ideas we'd talked about in Boston, about giving an emotional, spiritual experience few games deliver as well as the Mother series did.

I still haven't played Delta Rune demo. It's a lot of emotional labor! The same way I'm scared to see a new miyazaki film. I know it's going to make me feel things. I know I'll dehydrate via my tear ducts. I know it'll make me question things in my life, and in society-- and not necessarily what the game wants me to question-- I know it'll make me wonder what if my life had gone differently, I wasn't illegally adopted, and had a good life without so much struggle. I have to emotionally prepare to play Deltarune.
Okay there's my sentimental response. Long Live Video Games

@“Syzygy”#p40211 You‘re telling me you WEREN’T editing your own custom versions of Gohan and Wolvering to be near-invincible? This wasn't a universal experience?

My wife is a primary school teacher and she is literally the only reason I was aware that Roblox is so big. I was blown away by it when my mate explained to me what his kids do on it, and how it's teaching them stuff like programming.

I now try to get my partner to give me the hot scoop on what the kids are playing. I have accepted I am out of touch.

I‘ve known roblox was big since the late 2000s and still, to this day, can’t figure out how to care about that fact! it is “interesting” in the way possibility spaces are interesting but I don‘t find possibility spaces that interesting. Little Big Planet and Dreams are also kind of “secretly big” though on a much smaller scale. I think I’m incapable of understanding the concept of doing work for fun lol. folks making most these roblox games are literally doing my job for free (I know there are folks in there who are making more money than I ever will, as well)

I try not to think about this stuff too hard because I am VERY aware that the part of the industry I work in, which sells games directly to people, is in fact the niche now. We are lucky that our niche is as vocal as it is because it makes people think we're the mainstream, but really the mainstream is f2p, builders, mobile. But those spaces are also walled off from anyone who *wants* to make a solid stand-alone single player or non-massively multiplayer experience. so yeah........ I try not to think about it.

@“MichaelDMcGrath”#244 See, that's perfect. I had heard of CrossFire & what a big deal it is, & then proceeded to immediately forget about it. And I had never even heard of GKART before you posted about it. I feel like those are very much in the educational spirit of this thread.

I'll give a shout to Neopets. I don't know if it's very relevant today & all I have to offer is anecdotal evidence at the moment, but in recent years I've been made aware of how influential Neopets was for a lot of adults now interested in or working in video games, as an early exposure to the whole format (or something adjacent to the format). Especially among women in gaming around the 20-30 year-old age group, it seems to have been a pretty significant cultural thing for folks that I had pretty much forgotten existed until recently.

@“tokucowboy”#p40296 Neopets by a strange happenstance became a property of the Church of Scientology


@“gsk”#p40151 The thing with Roblox specifically is that it hasn’t been “secretly” big for a long time—as with so many other things, the traditional gaming press is aware of it and has consciously chosen not to become sufficiently acquainted with it.

This was my stance coming into this thread, too. I already take issue with the general idea of judging a game's value based on its commercial performance or similar factors (something few of these bigger deal games actually evade), but to offer something more specific, if I had to guess a lot of the users here are Millennial and Generation X people who have been following the industry for years and may even have jobs in it, and that encompasses a certain range of experiences that inevitably color our perception of what makes a video game valuable. Think how much our understanding of/engagement with games centers on commercial trends set by large powers: consoles, blockbuster games, etc.

I'd be interested in seeing if zoomers and Generation Alpha are breaking away from such perceptions, although something tells me that's very unlikely to be the case. *Fortnite* is still commercial game culture, after all.

@“Syzygy”#p40309 God I was following these so closely for a while. I remember the days of Rare Akuma, Omega Tom Hanks and Light Yagami… to see how far the technology has advanced brings a tear to my eye.

@“Video_Game_King”#p40303 Fortnite isn't just commercial game culture - its an advertising platform unto itself! Much like google started as a search engine and Faceb**k started as a social network.


A recent dive into roblox. I tend to trust these fellows from Cool Ghosts / Shut up and sit down. This is the kind of roblox info I’ve been looking for.

Genshin impact… it’s suddenly everywhere what the heck! I just figured out fortnite this year and now there’s this?!

@“MDS-02”#p41078 I saw this yesterday, and at the risk of sounding like a luddite, it's taken a subject / platform that I think a significant proportion of older people have dismissed or glossed over and condensed the point of video into comparisons that you and I can take in (volume of games relative to Steam, 7X Ubisofts, etc).

A follow-up to the excellent video a couple of posts above.