With the December 15 release of Super Mario Run, Nintendo is moving full force into the mobile world, following the release of both Miitomo and Pokemon Go earlier this year.
Miitomo—by and large now forgotten—has faded into the shadows, while Nintendo only owns a small stake in Pokémon Go, one of the most successful apps of all time. If Nintendo wants its mobile strategy to truly succeed, Super Mario Run should be the first of many mobile games based on the company’s decades of iconic properties. Two other mobile games based on Nintendo proprieties are already on the schedule, with versions of Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing set to hit sometime before next March, after being initially slated for the fall.
But with the sacred cow that is Mario coming, what else could Nintendo have in store for its mobile plans? We decided to take a look at some of the other IPs Nintendo could bring to mobile, and what those games might look like as mobile iterations.
1. Mario Party
Mainline Mario games aren’t the only plumber-filled titles that could work on mobile phones. Look no further than the friendship tester that is Mario Party. It would have to take a little tweaking, but I think it could easily be worth it.
Other apps like Words with Friends have already paved the way. Now imagine an asynchronous Mario Party title where you compete with your friends at a variety of wild minigames to see who was the king of the game board. Mario Party already takes place turn-by-turn, so if Nintendo extended that and built up a collection of non-real time minigames, we’d all be fighting over stars in no time.
2. Advance Wars
Sure, we haven’t seen a new entry in the Advance Wars series in some time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to say die…quite yet.
In fact, Nintendo’s tactical series seems pretty well suited for the touch enabled smart devices of today’s day and age. And with Fire Emblem already coming to mobile, it could be a smart move to release another tactical-style game within its footsteps, giving tactics fans another reason to pay attention to Nintendo’s mobile offerings.
Now, the only problem is what to call it. iPhone Wars? Mobile Wars? Hmm, well, Nintendo can figure that one out.
3. Balloon Fight
Nintendo has the unique ability to tap not only into current releases from its IP catalogue, but also to bring in old-school games that even people who haven’t purchased Nintendo systems for years—even decades—will still have some memory of.
Balloon Fight feels right for a lot of reasons: Its simple control mechanics would work well on mobile, it would fit in well with other similar style endless runners, and most of all, it would also be a fitting tribute for late president Satoru Iwata, who programmed the original game.
There tend to be two types of Kirby games: Straight forward platformers, and weird and wild experiments. And there’s one particular one-off experiment that seems like the perfect excuse to bring the pink little mascot to mobile devices: Give me a Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble sequel.
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble—released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color—used an accelerometer built into the cartridge to guide Kirby through levels by rolling the world he was traveling on. It’s like tilting a pinball table, with Kirby as the ball.
With phones having that accelerometer technology built in, this unique style of control makes perfect sense. Nintendo has long been one of the chief proponents of motion controls, so taking their expertise with such tech to phones could be a good fit.
5. Brain Age
Of all of Nintendo’s franchises, Brain Age may work best for the pick-up-and-play style of mobile games. It’s also a call back to the ever successful DS days, a family of systems that many, many people picked up.
We haven’t seen a new Brain Age game in a bit, but it’s one of those more casual suited franchises that just seems to make sense for Nintendo to adapt to phones.
It’s a no brainer.
6. Game & Watch
Now we’re going really old school. If you (like me) weren’t around for the original hey-day of the Game & Watch games, you’ll at least know of them from a certain Mr. Game & Watch in Super Smash Bros. (or perhaps from playing the awesome Game & Watch collection on the Game Boy Color).
Small, bite sized games like this translate well from consoles to phones, and those Game & Watch games still hold up pretty well.
Just like Brain Age, Nintendogs is another DS-era sleeper hit that Nintendo had up its sleeves that seems to have petered out recently. Launching it on mobile gives the Kyoto company a chance to reclaim the attention of some of those millions of DS users who never upgraded to the 3DS.
But, much like Tamagotchis before it (which also had an app version release), Nintendo could now give people the ability to take care of their own digital doggy companions on the go, whenever and wherever they are as long as their phones are with them. They could even use the phone’s built-in step counter to make sure the dogs get taken for a walk every day, and maybe encourage a little bit of exercise. Can I get a woof woof?
8. NES Remix
While Nintendo is using modern-era Mario to bring attention to its mobile offerings, NES Remix gives Nintendo the ability to tap into decades of nostalgia with a wide array of its titles all within the framework of one game. Zelda, Mario—you name it, they are all here, and in a form that would appeal to non-hardcore Nintendo fans without the purist being mad over seeing Link on phones.
I doubt we’d ever see a classic NES emulator proper and legally supported by Nintendo, but NES Remix could be the next best thing, and sedate the masses hungry for classic NES titles.
A more recent franchise that Nintendo has developed on the 3DS and Wii U, the puzzle series Pushmo could quite easily make the switch to mobile, without having to change much from its console iterations.
Now, the one thing that Pushmo would lose would be the 3D depth on the 3DS, but given that the Wii U version also lacked that (and most people don’t seem to use 3D on the 3DS anyways) I don’t think people would miss it too much.
Throw in a continual roll out for Pushmo puzzles, and it doesn’t take a puzzle genius to see why this works.
10. Duck Hunt
There are some Nintendo characters that have wide brand recognition, and even before the reappearance in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS (and their own line of shoes and clothing in this year’s Nintendo x Vans collaboration), Duck Hunt was one of those NES games that it feels like everybody played.
If Nintendo wants to tap into that group nostalgia, Mario is one way to do it, but Duck Hunt would clearly be another. Tapping on the screen might not be the most exciting way to shoot Ducks, so the actual game might have to adapt a bit, but the name value alone would guarantee interest.
Duck Hunt also feels like the type of game that a console remake would never really do justice, and not just because that light gun technology is impossible on an HD TV. We don’t need a flashy and HD Duck Hunt game with a story and lots of complicated depth. We just need something that lets us shoot ducks and try to get higher scores then all of our friends.
Hey, stranger things—like Super Mario Run itself—have happened.