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Nintendo Is Bringing Mario to Apple Devices :Nintendo Explains Why

Super Mario on mobile devices seemed inevitable, but I’m not sure anyone expected the official unveiling to helm an Apple event. Sure enough, in the lead up to Apple’s new iPhone 7 announcement on Wednesday, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo marketing manager Bill Trinen took the stage in San Francisco to unveil Super Mario Run, a Mario-themed runner you can play single-handedly.

In the game, you play as Mario, who runs automatically to the right, navigating Mario-ish obstacle courses. You tap the screen to jump, and short taps trigger short jumps, while longer taps trigger higher ones. Nintendo says the game will support three discrete game modes, the first straightforward courses where you’re maneuvering over obstacles and collecting coins. The second, dubbed “Toad Rally,” amounts to a challenge mode in which you compete against other players’ best times and “styles.” And the third lets you “create your own Mushroom Kingdom” using the coins you’ve snatched in the prior two modes.

"Over the years in our own experiments on our own platforms, we had come up with some ideas for how to make Mario simple for people who don’t play Mario games," Miyamoto told The Verge. "One of the ideas we were working on we felt was too simple for a home console device, and ultimately that was the one we decided to bring to smartphones."

Nonetheless, Miyamoto said he hopes people are "going to want to play a much more in-depth and a more challenging Mario experience … it’s going to increase the population of people interested in coming to our platforms, which is of course is our main focus."

With a rumoured Nintendo NX announcement soon, it’s just a matter of time before we know which platforms, the Kyoto-based company are referring to. Till then though, the smartphone audience is too big to ignore. So much so that Miyamoto believes there’s a shift to it being the very first device children interact with.

In addition to this game, we’re obviously still working on other games for our own hardware systems. And what’s important, is that we look at the unique features of the hardware systems. So the games being designed for our hardware will take unique advantage of our systems. With smart devices now, they find themselves in the pockets of people who don’t normally play video games, and it’s a very simple interface. So what we’ve done is we’ve looked at how we can take advantage of the uniquenesses of that mobile platform, and design a Mario game that’s perfect for that sort of simple interface and broader user base.

Of course there are other mobile devices we’ll be bringing the game to later. But with the Apple devices, their hardware design is such that there’s not much you have to do from a compatibility standpoint across multiple different devices. It’s very streamlined. And I think just from a philosophical standpoint, there are elements of their design that are similar to ours. So that’s why we’re bringing it to iPhone first.

In addition to all of that, we’re working with [Japanese mobile and e-commerce provider] DeNA on a portion of the game, which are the elements of growing and expanding and customizing the Mario gameplay.

With eyes firmly on a younger demographic, it also explains why Nintendo isn’t following a freemium business model for Super Mario Run. Miyamoto claims that this was a conscious effort to make it easy for parents to hand over a smartphone to play the game. Super Mario Run will have a one-time fee when it’s available.