I was curious about which franchises I've played the most games from and due to me having a (mostly?) up to date record of my game library in the Negative World game database I realized that I could just go and count. I probably missed something here and there but I'm sure this is fairly accurate. As a bonus I also picked my favorite and least favorite game from each franchise. Keep in mind that my least favorites are only based on the ones that I have played, and I try to only play games that I think I will enjoy, so some of them I would still consider good or at least ok games.
Also, for the sake of this list "played" means put some real time into. I am not counting games where I have only played a demo, etc.
10. (4-way tie) Final Fantasy / Fire Emblem / Shin Megami Tensei / Wario - 9 games Welp, I didn't expect a 4 way tie, but maybe I should have. Final Fantasy is kind of obvious, probably even higher up for most people but I never got super into it. Fire Emblem I loved for awhile, though I haven't finished the last few games that I played. Shin Megami Tensei (and yes I'm counting Persona) I basically play every new game, at least the RPG / SRPG ones. Wario kind of surprised me until I realized it's mostly WarioWare games that I've played and I love that series.
Favorites: Final Fantasy VI (SNES), Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS), Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2), WarioWare: Twisted! (GBA) Least Favorites: Final Fantasy III (DS), Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch), Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable (PSP), Wario World (GameCube)
9. Star Wars - 12 games I don't know if Star Wars should count as its own franchise but I'm doing it! I love Star Wars so it's no surprise that I've played a lot of Star Wars games.
Favorite: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (GameCube) Least Favorite: Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (GameCube)
7. (tie) Castlevania / Metroid - 13 games I was a little surprised Castlevania made it up so high until I remembered it got like a million handheld games. Metroid is a no brainer, I've pretty much played them all except for Federation Force.
Favorites: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX), Super Metroid (SNES) Least Favorites: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES), Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB)
5. (tie) Donkey Kong / Resident Evil - 14 games Donkey Kong was a bit of a surprise but I'm counting all of the old arcade games so that makes sense. Resident Evil is a franchise I came to the party late on but have done a lot of catching up fast!
Favorites: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U), Resident Evil 4 Remake (PS5) Least Favorites: Donkey Kong 64 (N64), Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (Wii)
4. Kirby - 15 games A little surprised by how many Kirby games I've played considering I'm not the hugest fan of the straightforward Kirby platformers, but Nintendo uses Kirby for a lot of experimental games too and I tend to love those.
3. Zelda - 21 games Another no-brainer, pretty sure I've played them all except for Tri Force Heroes.
Favorite: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) Least Favorite: Link's Crossbow Training (Wii)
2. Mega Man - 25 games Was a tad surprised at how many Mega Man games I've played but there are a lot of Mega Man games in a variety of series so between the original, X, Zero, ZX, and Battle Network games I've played quite a bit, with a few other random ones thrown in there.
Favorite: Mega Man X (SNES) Least Favorite: Mega Man Soccer (SNES)
1. Mario - 60ish?! Games I guess this is a pretty big duh. Mario just has so many side series and I've played a ton of them, plus basically all of the mainline games.
Favorite: Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) Least Favorite: Mario Golf: Super Rush (Switch)
What about the rest of you, which franchises have you played the most games from?!
I don't have a great record of everything I played before the days of really being able to track things online. I may have double-counted a game or two, or left out a game here and there. I also cheated a little bit and grouped a few similar series together to come up with a neater list (otherwise there'd be a 6-way tie for 9th place and like an 8-way tie for 10th place...).
10. (tie) Devil May Cry / Donkey Kong - 6 games This is basically the DKC games plus the original DK. I prefer the DKC games but I recognize the original as an arcade classic. I played DMC1-4 in order a while back, and played the more recent ones as they came out. Not my favorite series but 1 and 3 are excellent.
Favorites: Devil May Cry 3 (PS2), Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii) Least Favorites: Devil May Cry 2 (PS2), Donkey Kong (Arcade)
9. (3-way tie) Hitman / Soulsborne / Tomb Raider - 7 games First example of cheating, as I've played four proper "Souls" games but I'm including other FromSoft games in there as I feel like they all belong under the same umbrella, Sekiro maybe being the most iffy. With Tomb Raider, I played a few games from each era (early Core Design, mid-era Crystal Dynamics and the more recent reboots). A series I've always liked but generally less so over time. Hitman has become one of my favorite series with the most recent trilogy.
Favorites: Hitman 3 (PS5), Elden Ring (PS5), Tomb Raider '96 (PC) Least Favorites: Hitman: Absolution (360), Dark Souls II (PS4), Tomb Raider: Legend (PS3)
8. Silent Hill - 8 games I'm counting P.T. as the 8th game here. Not my second-favorite survival horror series (I'd rank a few ahead of it) but my second-most played.
Favorite: Silent Hill 2 (PS2) Least Favorite: Silent Hill 4: The Room (PS2)
7. Metal Gear - 9 games Another classic Konami franchise makes the list. Like SH above, this isn't my favorite stealth series but it's the one I've played the most games in. I also have a clear favorite and least favorite. Even though Kojima's games are heavy on story and cutscenes - to varying degrees of success, I've always preferred his games which balance that out more with strong gameplay.
Favorite: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4) Least Favorite: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3)
6. Metroid - 10 games I've played at least some version (original or remake) of each of the main games here. There's only one that I didn't really like, so it's easy to establish the bottom of the list. It's a very consistent franchise otherwise, as ranking them in order requires a highly advanced science degree!
Favorite: Metroid Prime (GameCube) Least Favorite: Metroid: Other M (Wii)
5. EA Sports Football (Madden / NCAA) - 12 games Almost forgot about ranking sports games. I'm not sure how accurate this is, but I've played a lot of Madden over the years. Need a game to get at launch? "Let's get Madden". Need something to rent for the weekend? "Let's just get Madden". In high school and college years, Madden and NCAA Football were among my most played multiplayer games with friends.
Favorite: Madden NFL 2004 (GameCube) Least Favorite: NCAA Football 2007 (360)
4. WWE/WWF/WCW - 14 games Cheating a little bit again here and lumping all of the pro wrestling games under one category, though most were under the THQ banner anyway. Most of these games weren't very good, but the four THQ-published wrestling games on N64 are truly great videogames.
Favorite: WWF Wrestlemania 2000 (N64) Least Favorite: WWF Royal Rumble (Dreamcast)
3. Super Mario - 20 games At first glance it seemed I may have undercounted, but I never really got into many of the side games, sports games or the RPGs. I'm not a huge Mario Kart fan either. I double-checked and I believe this is correct.
Favorite: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) Least Favorite: Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GameCube)
2. Resident Evil - 21 games Remakes and remasters boost the count for one of my favorite series. It's feels weird to not list REmake as my favorite, but we live in strange times.
1. The Legend of Zelda - 22 games I've played all of the main games in my favorite series (though I should probably finish TotK at some point! ), with some remakes and remasters boosting the total here.
Favorite: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64) Least Favorite: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS)
@Zero Oops! Thanks for the heads up! Was too busy italicizing, I guess.
EDIT: I might have screwed up my list in other ways too. I think I might have missed a few Mega Man games since they're listed as Rockman games in my list of carts. But I can't be arsed to recount.
EDIT 2: Also, I've written the wrong numbers on a couple of series. Guess I'll have to do a recount anyway.
EDIT 3: Realized I had missed two of my favourite series completely for some reason. Also realized that Street Fighter, Kunio-kun and Atelier would have made it onto the list if I'd been the kind of guy to actually play games instead of merely buying them.
@Hero_Of_Hyrule First I just went though my games in the database ordered by ratings, because I figured my most played franchises would also have a lot of my higher ranked games. Once I found a franchise I thought might be in the top 10, I'd search by its name and order by "in collection". Of course, I may have forgotten to add some games to my collection, or played games that I never owned, etc. So I also looked at the games not in my collection just to make sure.
But of course sometimes you get games in a franchise that use a different name, so it's not totally exact.
With Mario though I kind of winged it because there is no way I'd get that exact number.
It's an interesting question, but I've played too many games! Trying to figure that out would take a while. I already know my number one would far and away be Mario, especially if we're still counting stuff like Yoshi, Donkey Kong, and Wario as part of the Mario franchise. Number two would likely be The Legend of Zelda, though that could be close. These two are definitely my fave franchises, but after that, I don't think a list of most-played franchises would match up with my remaining fave order. For example, I've played a lot of Pokémon games simply because there are so many, but I wouldn't consider it one of my faves.