A well-designed space game should always evoke in a player a feeling of “being lost” and becoming a pioneer who is meant to take first steps in a distant and unknown world.


Video games provide us not only with a way for entertainment, but also make infinite and unbelievable scenarios possible. This is why they are perfect tools for escapism, thanks to which we can forget about our daily-life troubles for a while and immerse in vast, imaginary worlds where everything seems possible. And what makes a better escapist direction than having a chance to explore an infinite space?

This internal, human need for escaping reality made many space games see the light of day, and over the years gain huge recognition amongst the players all around the world. The outstanding titles, such as Eve Online and Mass Effect 2, which belong to different genres, but at the same time which oscillate around the common theme of space exploration, are forever inscribed into the canon of the best space games ever made. But what exactly makes a space game successful?

There are, of course, such elements like astonishing graphics, innovative mechanics and solutions, but they can fall to any game category. What makes a space game great in particular is putting the emphasis on the infinite, vastness of space waiting to be explored, and a variety of possibilities that players can come up with. A well-designed space game should always evoke in a player a feeling of “being lost” and becoming a pioneer who is meant to take first steps in a distant and unknown world.

You can see many successful space games on the market, ranging from Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) heavily focused on the team play, as well as colony managers which require a lot of strategic thinking. In this article we will focus on 5, best-selling video games of all time and explain what made them stand out amongst other titles.


Stellaris by Paradox Interactive is a manage-and-conquer type of strategy game, heavily based on Europa Universalis series developed by the same studios. Similarly to the previous games produced by the said developer, you become a leader of a nation, with the main goal of leading an empire to victory and glory. This time, however, your empire can be spread not only through the continent but also throughout the entire galaxy. Once you will deal with the internal issues of your solar system, you will have to depart from your home and subdue the rest of the galaxy by diplomacy or by force.

Unlike any other title by Paradox studios, Stellaris gained a tremendous success almost the same moment the game hit the market shelves in May 2016. A solid video game advertising gampaign, and favorable press helped this game reach huge hieghts very quickly. According to numerous reports, the game sold more than 200,000 copies within the first 24 hours of the release. It soon appeared to break the revenue record comparing to any other game made by Paradox Interactive studios. Within the next month, many reports confirmed that the game successfully sold over 500,000 copies, and in 2018, it became known that Stellaris sold over 1,5 m copies in total. It appears that the numbers will yet to increase due to the regularly released expansions.

Due to many custom scenarios and a variety of management features, Stellaris will provide you hundreds and thousands of hours of a non-linear gameplay. The game is huge, but there’s no need to worry – it has a clearly designed tutorial system that will introduce you to almost every little detail. If you enjoyed pondering over your next moves and scheming on how to overthrow your opponents in Europa Universalis games, you will experience the same thing here, but on a much larger scale. There are certain aspects like a combat system that still require some improvements, but generally speaking, it is a great space strategy game that both RTS and turn-based strategy fans should like.


It’s difficult to deny that Knights of the Old Republic series is probably one of the best, if not the best single-player RPG based on Star Wars universe. Both games, Knights of the Old Republic I by BioWare and Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords by Obsidian Entertainment give you with a thorough feel of Star Wars atmosphere thanks to the appealing graphics, writing and sound. Despite that the games were released approximately 15 years ago, they still got that “thing” and will surely provide you a feast for both your eyes and ears.

During the four days since its release in July 2003, KOTOR I sold approximately 270,000 copies on Xbox, gaining a title of the fastest-selling console game. By October, the number amounted to 600,000 copies. When the game was released on PC in November 2003, it gained a title of a third-fastest-selling game within the first week since the release. KOTOR II: Sith Lords on the other hand, managed to sell in more than 450,000 copies on Xbox during its debut week in December 2004. The moment the game was released on PC, it was considered the second-best-selling game at that time. To this day, both titles managed to gather a number of devoted players ranging from 4 to 10 million.

A strong point of both of these games is their duality and how good it works when comparing them together. Whereas KOTOR I tells us a story maintained in a typical, old-school Star Wars like style, with a clearly outlined good vs. evil struggle, KOTOR II: Sith Lords brings a lot more darkness and depression to it. Simply because a story in the sequel is much darker than it is in the first game. Nevertheless of how different both stories are, each game of the series has its own unique vision of the plot with equally gripping twists and genuine characters. All in all, both games are must-plays by any Star Wars universe fans and those that simply enjoy a well-written RPG.


In terms of scale and scope, Eve Online has no equal. This huge indie MMORPG created by an Icelandic developer studio CCP Games is probably the largest science-fiction body ever created by a human being. As a member of a vast, ever-expanding galactic corporation, a space pirate looking to pillage and plunder passing by ships and isolated colonies, or a curious space farer with the intention of making new interstellar discoveries, in Eve Online you can weave your own destiny the way you like.

Despite a recent reduction of players, Eve Online has nothing really to complain about. It has a regular, solid number of devoted community oscillating around 300,000 of players every month. What is more, according to the reports revealed in 2018, the game gained an immense amount of $425 since its release in May 2003 and it looks like the content is yet to expand in a close future.

The reason why Eve Online is still popular despite its growing age, is not only because of its immense size, but also because of how ruthless it is. Unlike any other MMORPG, Eve Online doesn’t give you a special treatment, but it brutally brings you to a level of an ant and casts you into the vast world where only the strongest or the smartest survive. You have to carve yourself out a piece of this cake because nobody will do that for you. Due to the abundance of content and possibilities, those who will decide to play that game for real will feel like living an alternative life in a completely different world.


If you enjoyed playing KOTOR series, then you will probably find Mass Effect somewhat similar. After all, it is another gem by BioWare that revolutionised the genre of the space-based RPGs. In fact, Mass Effect games are dynamic third person shooters with certain elements common to typical RPGs. In the game series you become Commander Shepard, a human leading a band of a trusted intergalactic crew destined to save the galaxy from the hostile aliens. Despite of how generic this scenario may sound to you at first, if you are truly a space RPG fan, you simply can’t walk past this one.

The first game of the series was released in November 2007. This video game was intellegently marketed, and within the first three weeks it managed to sell more than 1 million of copies. In March 2008, the game sold more than 2 million and generated an approximate amount of $120 m. Along with the sequel, Mass Effect series’ total amount of sold copies in April 2011 skyrocketed to 7 million of units. The next two games of the series, Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, didn’t manage to gain such huge recognition as the first two, however, they successfully contributed to the astonishing total amount of 17 million copies sold of all 4 games.

What makes Mass Effect series great Action RPGs is not only a dynamic gameplay, fluent animations and breath-taking graphics (at least as it comes to the first three games), but also deeply engaging stories with mature narrative and multiple dialogue options. Do I have to explain, how much we all love to make choices in games? Exactly. In Mass Effect series there are plenty of these. Whether your decisions will eventually kill your team members or accidently bring genocide on an alien race that… may not seem so bad after all, is completely up to your decisions. Mass Effect games may not have thoroughly designed open worlds and you have to get ready for a lot of running around the zones, but the feeling of exploring vast and unknown environments filled with different alien species will be thoroughly enjoyable.


And the last but not least, here comes the series of one of the most popular Real Time Strategy games (RTS) ever made – StarCraft. Even if you’re not a strategy veteran and you merely began your experience with gaming, the name will surely ring you a bell, but I will give you some slight insight just in case you’ve spent the last 20 years living under a particularly dark rock. StarCraft by Blizzard is a fast-paced build-and-conquer strategy game where you take control over one of the three available space faring races, gather resources, develop your base and erase your opponents from the map. It is also one of the most commonly played multiplayer game during various eSport events across the world, and of course, the best-selling space game to date.

StarCraft I was released on March 1998 and quickly turned out to be a grand success on the market. It managed to sell over 1.5 million of copies until the end of the year and by May 2007 the number increased to 9.5 million of units, including over 4 million of copies sold only in South Korea. Today, the numbers of sold copies of StarCraft oscillate around 11 million of units. The game became a series in July 2010 with the release of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. A refreshed version of the original game, but with plenty of new features, improved graphics and new campaigns, brought a grand success to the series. On the day of its release, StarCraft II sold more than 1 million of units, what made it the fastest-selling game of all time. It’s worth to mention that a total estimated amount of sold copies of the entire series is said to be more than 18 million of copies.

A grand success of StarCraft series comes out in the first place from a highly balanced and eSport-friendly gameplay. Regardless of how linear and devoid of the learning curve single player gameplay can be, a core of StarCraft is and always will be multiplayer games. It is through multiplayer games that you can try out different tactics, strategies and set ups of units. Whether you’re a fan of this immortal franchise or you’re just passing by, it’s definitely worth to give a shot to possibly one of the best strategies of all time.


And so the list of 5 best-selling video games has come to an end. No matter which of these titles you are going to try, you will be given a chance to experience what it’s like to be a hero of a well-written science-fiction story.

Or perhaps you’ll try to design your own space game. If you’d like to learn how to create a video game, consider enrolling in our online game design course.

Happy gaming everyone!

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