Video games have been part and parcel of the teen/young adult cultural experience for going on 40 years now, since the advent of the video arcade that featured games such as Pong, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Tempest.

Soon thereafter, the arcade started moving into the living room, as video-game consoles became all the rage with Atari, Nintendo and others through the 1980s. Then, things have evolved to unreal proportions, where video games are now immersive experiences of virtual reality and some of the commercials look like trailers for blockbuster movies.

And before, while it was just you, a quarter and the computer inside the video game, now you have an interactive experience where a person can put in a game at home and play with thousands of others from all over the world – and even communicate with them in a social-network setting.

The evolution of video games has created its own demographic – the gamer.  And gamers have been vital in developing franchises in the gamer world, as certain games became hugely popular and spawned sequels and expansions of the franchise. Here, we’ll list for you (in no particular order) five of the most enduring video-game franchises of all time. If you are even a casual gamer, chances are you’ve played one of these or at least know somebody who does.

Mario

Mario is “The Simpsons” of video games, as the little plumber man started as one of the characters on the old 1980s arcade classic, Donkey Kong. He was the one who had to jump over the barrels that the gorilla, Donkey Kong, would roll down the ramps. Mario broke away from his primate friend and spread his own wings, combining with his brother, Luigi, to create Super Mario Bros., followed by MarioKart. He’s been around for 30 years, but he doesn’t look like he’s aged a day considering he has infinite lives and never dies.

Sims

Who wants to live an alternate reality?  We’re not alking a fantasy world, but a world that is plausible and yet is not your life. Welcome to Sims, the game that has developed highly successful franchises over the last 15 years since it first launched. With Sims, you can create entire towns and people, putting it whatever houses and businesses of your choosing and even control every aspect of the lives of the people you place in that town.  You could create a “relationship” with that crush and make her fall madly for you, or you can create a bully and finally stand up to him!

Call of Duty

Perhaps one of the most famous military/war franchises around, Call of Duty was one of the first such games to reach popularity. A very realistic game will garner a lot of players and will last a long time in the gaming subculture, and CoD meets that standard with its sights and sounds. It is one of the early adopters of an immersive experience, as if a player is actually in a war zone and surrounded by mayhem, starting with a World War II motif and moving forward through several of the most prominent military actions over the last 75 years – and even into new areas we’ve never broached in real life.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Like Sims, Sonic is another cartoon-like game, with a furry little friend named Sonic who runs rampant. Originally a Sega creation, little Sonic has been a rival of Mario on Nintendo system games for a number of years. He hasn’t had his own game in years, but his supporting role with Mario has been enough for him to have a popular recurring role with many gamers.

Resident Evil

Perhaps the zombie apocalypse idea came to root here with this horror-themed franchise that has lasted 20 years and has spread its storyline (yes, it has characters and a storyline!) over 12 games.  If you have ever loved horror films and always wanted to be in one, this is about the closest you may ever get. Enjoy it, because there are no Academy Awards for surviving.