The greatest video games are usually the result of a dedicated advertising effort requiring years of organization and several million euros. Viral video games are another story.
Whether it’s iOS or Android games, PC or console, the success of such titles is sometimes a surprise. The key to success often lies in word of mouth – passionate gamers know how to popularize the titles that are close to their hearts.
What is a viral video game?
A viral video game is a title that has gained rapid and unexpected popularity. This is usually due to the media coverage of the game in social networks, which is then relayed by the mass media.
Viral video games often outperform releases from major AAA studios ! Although the developers of viral video games may dream of success, and some may expect it, none of them dares to hope to achieve such impressive results.
Whether it’s Android or iOS games, card games, RPGs , shooters or any other genre, viral video games are titles that have far exceeded expectations.
Below are the viral video games that have changed our perception of entertainment the most. Whether you’re a gamer or not, chances are you’ve played or heard of at least one of these viral phenomena.
The top 6 viral video games
1. Pokemon GO (2016)
Augmented reality (AR) games were nothing new in 2016, but the market was waiting for an application that could dominate the landscape. That’s where Pokémon GO came in, becoming the first of the viral exclusive augmented reality games on mobile.
A viral game that wasn’t just fun, Pokémon GO also encouraged physical exercise.
Pokémon GO is considered the first of the viral Android and iOS games to combine popular appeal and the need for movement.
Fans of this viral game had to catch their pocket monsters first, then move around to hatch eggs and level up.
Pokémon GO brilliantly brought a long-held fantasy to life: conducting virtual battles in an actual “gym” with a real social aspect. Pokémon GO, one of the biggest phenomena in video games, is a quintessential viral game.
2. Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy (2017)
Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy is one of the viral video games fitting perfectly into the 2020s era. The games of the late 2010s set this title up well for its glory days.
It was the era of streaming, and it was thanks to streaming that this viral video game took off.
It is a platform game where the protagonist plays the role of a man in a pot. Equipped with a simple climbing hammer, the goal is to climb as high as possible.
This task is much more difficult than it initially seems when one has to use the clumsy mouse or trackpad controls. What made this title one of the best viral video games is that it was fantastic for streaming.
Streaming personalities were straining to outdo each other. With failures often resulting in a flurry of emotions and a lot of lost progress, Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy dictated new trends in video games .
3. Farmville (2009)
Published by Zynga , Farmville is the best-known game in the world for demonstrating the strengths of social media in title hype.
The idea was simple: players had to grow plants, tend to their farm, and visit other people in their quest for continued growth.
The idea of farming in video games was not born in 2009. The Harvest Moon series, whose first title was launched in 1996, was also based on this idea.
Farmville, however, took the social aspect of casual gaming to the next level, which is why it became one of those revolutionary viral video games. It was easy, fun, and engaging enough that even non-gamers wanted to try it.
Although the original game was dropped in 2020, its legacy and influence remain strong, and the sequels persist to this day.
How do video games go viral?
Social media is the main culprit, which explains the success of Farmville. Tightly integrated with Facebook, Farmville arrived before many of us understood what notifications were for.
He bombarded our friends with messages, and through continued discussion, he remained a topic that everyone had an opinion on. Ask people today if Farmville is one of the cool games , and you’ll always get positive responses.
4. Among Us (2018)
Among Us is one of the more interesting viral video games because it took a while to find its feet. Soon after its release, the network deduction game had only 30-50 concurrent players.
Because of what the developer considered poor marketing, the game performed poorly and was nearly scrapped.
For over a year, Among Us continued to struggle, peaking at around 1,000 gamer YouTubers during that time. Thanks to continuous updates, as well as attention from streamers, the game’s success snowballed and then skyrocketed.
After a slow start, Among Us has passed the 430,000 concurrent player mark.
All this so fans can figure out who the “sus” was, and evacuate the accused monster into space.
Now one of the most played video games of all time, Minecraft was originally considered a fairly mundane experience by some.
The game does not look like much, but it relies on an extremely important aspect of humanity: our creativity. Real Lego transformed into a video game, Minecraft has gained immense media force.
Today, with a huge community of modders and a fan base of all ages, Minecraft is often on the list of the best viral video games of all time.
Not bad for a viral game whose graphics can be imitated with cardboard boxes…!
6. Wordle (2021)
Wordle is a bit off the beaten path. One of the few viral video games that plays with words, Wordle is a tricky title now published by The New York Times . Both challenging and simple, Wordle is one of the popular games to reach a modern audience.
The idea is simple: you have six suggestions to make to find a five-letter word. Guided by clues, Wordle tickles a part of our brains we rely on but rarely train after leaving school.
Plus, unlike the New York Times crossword puzzle, it’s a game that most people can play to the end.
These six examples are just a drop in the sea of the most anticipated games on the market, but they illustrate just how wide the palette can be.
Whether you’re an avid gamer or just a passerby, these titles are just as appealing, though their charm may wear off after a while.
If you haven’t already, try playing one or two of these titles, or you’ll be sorry you missed the boat for so long.