This week, Nintendo finally did the inevitable. For years the company maintained that it was fine with the mobile gaming empire it’d built on the back of handheld consoles like the Nintendo 3DS and the GameBoy. Nintendo’s leadership didn’t have a problem with smartphone games, but the company seemed to have no appreciation for the little time wasters that dominated the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
Now, all of that is changing. This week Nintendo announced that it’s partnering with DeNA to produce mobile titles for iPhones, iPads and devices running Google’s Android operating system. Instead of porting over the classic title available on its mobile platforms, DeNA will create all new custom titles for smartphones and tablets. Presumably, some of those will involve new characters we’ve never seen before. It’s also possible that well see some of our series favorites make their way to the iTunes App Store.
Here are 5 Nintendo iPhone Games We Want in 2015 based off some of the Japanese company’s famed franchises. Some of them wouldn’t be great without an external controller. Others could be easily ported to the iPhone.
Long ago great mainstream video game makers realized that you can’t just shoe horn any game on any platform. For Nintendo, that lesson came with the Wii and Wii U. Developers couldn’t just introduce games from other consoles and expect them to sell on the Wii and Wii U. The Wii had a motion controller that needed to be planned for. The Wii U has a second screen built into its surface WiiPad controller that compliments what is happening on the screen.
The biggest challenge for Nintendo and DeNA will be how it maintains the same quality and experiences, while approaching these new devices from a different angle. It should have the easiest time with the Mario Kart series. At this point, nearly every smartphone includes an accelerometer and gyroscope. Mario Kart on the iPhone could allow users to steer their characters in the same way. Nintendo wouldn’t have to do a lot extra since the franchise is really just about firing off weapons once you get close enough to your enemies.
There are a lot of Nintendo franchises that would have a hard time making their way to iPhone. Pokémon isn’t one of those titles.
Mostly, Pokémon on iPhone would make sense because it’s not a game that involves a lot of precision movements and actions. It’s a role-playing game. You name your character, travel the world in search of new treasures and new creatures to battle and that’s it. The combat is great for a touchscreen because it’s very simple and nuanced. Even better, some of the one-off things that Nintendo has tried – like letting users buy a special pedometer to evolve their Pokémon – would work well too.
It’s also worth noting that Pokémon should be an easy game to monetize in small chunks. It’s full of weapons and power-ups that you need to find today. For a possible Pokémon companion on iPhone, Nintendo could simply add new extras as in app purchases.
Super Smash Bros.
Nothing is guaranteed to sell like Super Smash Bros. In the series you simply take on the job on the role of one of Nintendo’s characters and battle it out until a winner is decided. Unfortunately, Super Smash Bros is one of the games that wouldn’t necessarily translate well into a Nintendo iPhone game without some heavy changes or accessories.
On the accessories front, Nintendo and DeNA could roll out a game that functionally behaves the same as past Super Smash Bros. titles. Then the company could see its own brand of iPhone controllers to complement the game. That’s roughly what it does for the Wii U with the GameCube controller today. It’s also possible that the company could simply pair down the game for smaller screens and shorter attention spans.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker
For some reason, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker captured the imagination of console gamers the world over. On the surface it’s hard to see how anyone could get excited or this game. You are simply dumped into puzzle levels and left to figure out how to get around and collect the rest of the treasure.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is perfect for an Nintendo iPhone game. Buyers of mobile games like treasures and puzzles. What’s more, it’s a slower pace meaning users less likely to need an external controller.
Many adults buying iPhones and iPads today spent their youth with an orange and white plastic gun trying to shoot any and everything that flew in Duck Hunt. Duck Hunt on the iPhone seems like an obvious opportunity.
Instead of guns, which Nintendo isn’t necessarily comfortable with, players could simply tap on the screen to take down the different ducks appearing on their screen. Again, Duck Hunt is so simple that a mobile version would be pretty easy to dive in and out of. To monetize the game Nintendo and DeNA could sell different “guns” with wider shot dispersal.
We could start seeing some Nintendo iPhone games in the next year thanks to this partnership.