The "Pac-Man" franchise is the most enduring gaming franchise, having been around for almost 40 years and evolving over time to become more humanoid and diverse.
Donkey Kong has been a major influence in the video game world, appearing in "Mario" and "Donkey Kong Country" series, as well as spin-offs in genres such as kart racing and rhythm games.
"Mario" has become the definitive mascot for video games due to the sheer volume of titles and consistent quality. However, age is also a factor, as the next entry predates "Mario" games, even if it doesn't predate the character.
The Wolfenstein franchise began with "Castle Wolfenstein" and hit its stride with "Wolfenstein 3D," which helped define the first person shooter genre. Since then, games have refined the gameplay and concepts, but the primary goal of fighting the Third Reich hasn't changed.
The "Carmen Sandiego" games have been around for a long time and have been entertaining and educating generations of kids. The appeal of flying all over the world to find the elusive villainess has been enough to spawn several TV series.
The Legend of Zelda franchise has been a mainstay of Nintendo consoles for over 30 years, and is renowned for its high quality adventure games, with "Breath of the Wild" spearheading the Nintendo Switch.
Dragon Quest is an older and more influential RPG video game series that has had a huge impact on gaming in Japan. It is considered the country's national game and was the first video game to be adapted into a ballet.
The "Final Fantasy" series is a long-running RPG franchise with iconic characters, music, and gameplay. It has become one of the most influential and long-running RPG franchises of all time, but there is another franchise that has been around longer.
Hideo Kojima's Stealth Action franchise began with the MSX2, then ported to the NES. "Metal Gear Solid" for the Playstation codified its mix of attention to detail, over-the-top elements, and cinematic cutscenes.
Street Fighter is one of the most popular and long-running fighting game franchises of all time, with many side series and spin-offs, including the successful "Marvel Vs. Capcom" franchise, and even puzzle games. It has been around for 30 years and has seen more remakes than any superhero movie combined.