The 20 Most-Loved Wii GamesS

Any game can sell. But any game that sells can collect dust a week after it is bought. These are the 20 games that collect the least dust, that get played the most per user.

Welcome back to Kotaku's monthly update of Nintendo Wii stats. At the beginning of each month we provide the latest look at which 20 games are getting the most use, per gamer.

Answers to frequently anticipated questions

1) No! This is not a list of the top-selling Wii games. This is a list of the games, according to public data distributed by Nintendo, that get played the most by people who have either rented or bought the game.

2) Yes! Those numbers you see are hours and minutes, tallied from the day the game launched. The average Smash Bros. owner is not playing 70-plus hours of the game each month. That would be unhealthy. They've logged those hours since they first got the game, be it launch day or otherwise.

3) See for yourself. Just click the chart to enlarge it.

4) We don't do this for the Xbox 360 and PS3 because data isn't available for those systems.

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The 20 Most-Loved Wii GamesS

Okay, now we have that out of the way.

This is the month that Monster Hunter Tri arrives on the chart. Long-time readers of this stats series know that I've been wondering if any game can knock Smash Bros. from its dominant perch. I thought Animal Crossing could, but it has lost steam. Some readers predicted Monster Hunter Tri, a game with a devoted fanbase and dozens of hours of entertainment, could supplant it. Given Monster Hunter's near-40-hour debut, it just might have a chance.

Do you think Monster Hunter can claim that top spot?

Harvest Moon: Animal Parade has some nice momentum as well.

Here's the Top 20 games from the chart in list form. Let me know what you think of it. I'm including the cumulative lifetime play-time counts, as of June 1, 2010 in hours and minutes. You can see just how close some of these games are. Zelda and Rock Band 2, for example, are so close!

1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl - 76:05
2. Animal Crossing - 70:44
3. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - 57:15
4. Harvest Moon: Animal Parade - 55:09 (up from the 8th spot)
5. Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn - 50:57 (down from the 4th spot)
6. Harvest Moon Tree of Tranquility - 50:53
7. Call of Duty: World at War - 50:41 (down from the 5th spot)
8. Rune Factory Frontier - 47:27 (down from the 7th spot)
9. Rock Band 2 - 47:19 (up from the 10th spot)
10. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess - 47:12 (down from the 9th spot)
11. Lego Star Wars - 45:57
12. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex Edition - 45:42
13. WWE Smackdwon vs Raw 2010 - 40:38 (up from the 14th spot)
14. Tales of Symphonia: DotNW - 40:15 (down from the 13th spot)
15. Monster Hunter Tri - 39:56 (*NEW*)
16. Mario Kart Wii - 38:23
17. Wii Sports - 37:58 (down from the 15th spot)
18. Guitar Hero World Tour - 37:00 (down from the 17th spot)
19. FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play - 36:42 (down from the 18th spot)
20. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 - 34:57 (down from the 19th spot)

Where's all this from? (AKA an explanation of the above chart for stat junkies only): In a move somewhat surprising for the generally secretive company, Nintendo makes all of this data public. Any Wii owner can download the Nintendo Channel to their Wii and begin browsing for games. Any game that has been played enough times has usage stats listed for it, contributed by anyone who chose to share their data with the channel. The sample size that the channel tracks is pretty good, though it is obviously biased toward users who hook up a Wii to the Internet. We calculate that sample size by looking at Wii Sports usage numbers, which show that more than 108 million sessions of that game have been played by Nintendo Channel users as of June 1 (up 4 million in the last month), for an average of 30.22 sessions per player. That divides to around 3.6 million Wii Sports users whose gaming has been tracked by the channel. Since almost all Wii Sports owners in North America would be Wii users, we will venture that as many as 3.6 million people have contributed stats. That is up from the 3.5 million people when these numbers were run for May 1. (Please not that in the chart atop this post October 09 data is not included due to a problem with Nintendo's data reporting during that period.)