The day that every said would never come has finally arrived. Yes that’s right, in what may become known as one of gaming’s most shocking moments, Nintendo announced Super Mario Run as a timed exclusive for iOS devices. What’s more, this announcement was made on stage at this year’s Apple event by none other that Shigeru Miyamoto.
Nintendo have long resisted the lure of the mobile market, with Satoru Iwata once claiming that “Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo” if they entered the mobile market. However, if there’s one thing that optimises gaming’s greatest ever company, then it’s Nintendo’s ability to constantly adapt and reinvent. As such, when Nintendo announced last year that it had partnered with Japanese mobile developer DeNA in order to bring some of it’s most iconic franchises to smartphones, it was a safe bet to assume Mario would be arriving soon.
Nevertheless, despite this logical assumption, it was still shocking to see Miyamoto take the stage for another hardware platform, most of all an Apple stage. That is the reality though, as for the first time since Hotel Mario for the dreaded Phillips CD-i, Mario will appear on a platform not of Nintendo’s. This comes in the form of Super Mario Run, a one touch auto-runner developed on the idea of simplicity and accessibility that will arrive this Winter.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “An auto runner? Nintendo have created a shameless free-to-play cash-in game”. Well thankfully you’d be very wrong. You see, despite the jump to mobile platforms, Nintendo has confirmed that this will be a premium title with a “set price”, one with multiple different modes of play. Although, players will be able to download a portion of the game for free before committing to the full experience.
The game itself, will see Mario run automatically, whilst players simply tap the screen in order to jump, with longer taps making Mario jump higher and longer. Through this players will traverse a range of different courses much like a traditional Mario title.
Additionally, other modes such as Toad Rally will see players compete to see who can both finish the course with the most “style”, and who can collect the most coins. Finally, players will also be able to create their very own Mushroom Kingdom utilising coins collected throughout both one and two player modes.
According to Miyamoto, the game has been created to be simple, accessible, and importantly fun for everyone. In fact, following the announcement he actually revealed that Super Mario Run is based on ideas that Nintendo deemed too simplistic for the NX, but ideal for casual play. As such, he hopes that Super Mario Run will help bring more and more new gamers to the more advanced experiences that Nintendo has long offered through its iconic consoles.
Essentially, what it looks like we have here is a traditional Mario title masked around simplistic mobile centric controls. As such, whilst this announcement does produce many questions surrounding Nintendo, it also leaves a lot to be excited for, with Nintendo clearly not abandoning its core principles. What’s more, what with the NX and the Nintendo Classic Mini on the horizon, the future of gaming’s retro giants just got a whole lot more interesting.