When Nintendo started to show interest in mobile gaming, it immediately grabbed attention. Nintendo has always been protective of their IPs and putting them on mobile was opening it up not just to those with Nintendo consoles, but giving easy access to the entire world. While they’ve already released two mobile games, Miitomo and Pokémon Go, neither of them has really felt like a true Nintendo title. But now, with Super Mario Run coming out soon, it looks like we’ll finally get a taste for what Nintendo is really planning for their future in mobile gaming.
Miitomo was Nintendo’s first push to mobile. While the concept was enjoyable and had people flocking to it on release, within a week those playing began to realize that there really wasn’t much game to it. It is cute being able to answer questions with friends, dress miis and take photos but it ended up feeling a bit shallow when players realized that was all it really had. Miitomo seemed like Nintendo’s attempt at a social media platform, but fell flat because it just didn’t offer enough. While the app is still actively being updated, much to the pleasure of those who are still actively playing, it needed actual gaming aspects to make it popular with the masses and just didn’t end up meeting expectations.
Pokémon Go, while being mainly Niantic’s game, received considerably more attention. It is based on Niantic’s game Ingress with a Pokémon twist, allowing players to capture Pokémon in the real world worked amazingly to capture the hearts of old and new fans alike. Unfortunately, even Pokémon Go couldn’t keep its momentum going after many players got frustrated with constant bugs, loading issues and lack of interesting new content months after release. Pokémon Go certainly still has a huge following, but it’s nowhere as massive a follow as it had upon release. With the future addition of more Pokémon being added fans will be drawn back again, but it’s unlikely it will ever see as big a response as it had originally. Mario, on the other hand, has a good chance of lasting a good deal longer.
Mario Run is offering something to Nintendo’s mobile gaming plans that is significantly different. It’s a fully fleshed out game with levels, challenges, multiple characters to play as and different gamemodes available. Players aren’t just buying an app to open up occasionally, they’re buying a game they can sit down stand or anywhere and play as long as they like. It does come with the $9.99 price tag, but it also doesn’t include any micro-transactions. Once bought, this game is for keeps and there won’t be any need to sink more money into it just to keep playing.
Nintendo has gone out of their way to put a lot of emphasis on the fact that people can play this game with just a single hand, which might come off as a bit odd at first but is one of the smarter moves they’ve made with Super Mario Run. People naturally multitask in their busy daily lives, so being able to make Mario jump with one hand while allowing them to also hold a bag, eat a hamburger, or even hold a railing on public transportation makes an impact. It’s a small convenience that makes a difference in how often people will play, especially for the older audience this game is likely to attract.
Not everyone has a Nintendo console in their household, but chances are good that they own a smart phone or tablet. Pokémon Go fed on a lot of nostalgia for the Pokémon series and drew in many older people who hadn’t kept up with the main games, now Mario can do the same. People who grew up playing the original Mario titles now have access to a Mario game without having to buy the latest Nintendo handheld or console. Nintendo is hitting a key part of their audience that was missing out on their games by opening it to an even broader platform.
Nintendo is finally offering players what they wanted on their mobile devices: an actual game. Miitomo and Pokémon Go were a step in the right direction, but Super Mario Run will end up being more popular simply because if offers mores challenges and fun gameplay. Hopefully Nintendo has big plans for the upcoming Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem mobile games as these two titles, in addition to Super Mario Run, will be a big step forward in Nintendo’s ongoing move towards mobile gaming as long as they continue to make enjoyable games for all players.