Nintendoes Mobiles?

Ian McGurren reports live from hell, where it to be freezing over~..
It’s something that’s been bandied around for many years by the gaming community: should Nintendo develop for mobiles? Yes, say many; the 3DS technically pales in comparison to modern mobile devices (and it may not be long before the Wii U is eclipsed too), and Nintendo has such a vast treasure of intellectual property to draw on that Mario on the move can only be a good thing. However, as there are those who say yes, there are just as many who decry any move towards what they see as a kind of second tier of gaming. Do we really want such treasured characters, such as Donkey Kong, reduced to endless runners propped up with in-app purchases? Take Sega’s less that impressive range of mobile games, often doing not much more than besmirching the good past of their maker’s name. Look as well to when Nintendo leased its IPs for Philip’s CDi system, resulting in what are roundly considered the very worst uses of Zelda and Mario ever put to machine code.

However, Nintendo has announced that, along with a new system, mobile gaming is to be embraced. It isn’t clear in what manner, whether a version of Nintendo’s Virtual Console will be made mobile or if this is purely related to the nature in which the new device works (a mobile-cum-home console has been suggested). What if we even see HD-style remakes of some older games? Which would work on a device with no matching physical controls?

The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass / Spirit TYacks

Released in 2007 and 2009, these two DS-exclusive Zelda games kept the divisive cel-shaded art style first debuted in the preceding Wind Waker on GameCube. Essentially still the same town/dungeon/tow/side quest/dungeon format as most other Zelda titles, both games differed from the rest in terms of controls – both purely made use of the DS’s stylus for all aspects.

In turn this means that on mobile, the games would work perfectly well, especially if a split-screen layout is used. Zelda isn’t quite set up for bite-sized, pick-up-and-put-down gaming, though.

Would it work? Yes, if a suspend feature is added.

Will it happen? Unlikely – it’s too big.

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Professor Layton

Another DS debutant, the Professor Layton series concerns the everyday tales of a man in a stovepipe hat and his boy sidekick, solving mysteries through fiendish puzzles. Although each game is much the same, bar their location and underlying story, the Professor Layton series has been a huge success across a wide demographic. Like Zelda, they’re fully controlled by the stylus and, helpfully they’re also set up for bite-size chunks of gameplay too.

More importantly, maker Level-5 has already put out a mobile title from the same universe in 2013’s Layton Brothers.

Would it work? It already has. Will it happen? It already has, kind of…


If there is any system seller that resides outside of Nintendo’s core properties, it is without a doubt, Pokemon, the world’s favourite monster collecting / trading / fighting simulator. Owned by Nintendo but made by Game Freak, currently if you want to play Pokemon, then it’s on a Nintendo system only. However, as the majority of the core gameplay in the games is controlled by a few buttons, touchscreen interaction would be possible. It’s also one of the few franchises where in-app purchases or at least integration with Pokemon trading cards, would make sense.

Would it work? Definitely Will it happen? Depends if Nintendo likes earning more money than sand on the planet.

Nintendo’s possible entry into the mobile gaming world could be a watershed moment, one where the format gains credibility and Nintendo catches up with the rest of the world. We could see some truly innovative and exciting games from Kyoto. But then we may also just see Mario turn up as a playable character in an obscure pachinko or mahjong game. With Nintendo, you really never know…

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