Is Nintendo bringing Super Mario to the iPhone?

November 17, 2012

Solid news about iPhone apps seems to be few and far between, but an interesting story dropped on my desk this morning.

The app? Pokédex. Yes, it’s an app that lets you keep track of all the Pokémon in Pokémon World.

And yes, Pokémon still exists. But that’s not the news.

The news is that Japan-based Nintendo released the app. Yes, the creators of Super Mario and Mario Kart, probably the greatest video games of all time.

So the question is, could Mario be next? It’s hard to say at this point, but it would absolutely huge.

Nintendo also released a Japan-only app called “Pokémon Say Tap,” some kind of annoying game featuring annoying Pokémon.

The way I see it, Nintendo has one last chance to make an impact on the video game market with its new Wii U, which is expected to be ready this Christmas. The Wii U comes with a GamePad that includes a six-inch LCD touchscreen. With that kind of setup, you can probably guess that the GamePad serves as a second screen for console play.

While the video game community is certainly excited about a new console, the rest of the world isn’t. Remember the hype around the Wii? It was huge. Almost Apple-esque. People camped out and sold the consoles on eBay for three-times the price. I don’t see the Wii U doing that.

The fact is plain and simple: Nintendo has failed to innovate and it’s no one’s fault, except their own. Sure they’ve released some new consoles since the Nintendo 64 (which is still my favorite console of all time), but the idea of what Nintendo does hasn’t changed. They’ve failed to go mobile. And no, the GameBoy doesn’t count.

Why Nintendo needs Apple and Android

I’ve made this argument several times: Think of how much Apple would make by releasing the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and then 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, etc. (And Mario Kart of course!) Go through the lineup and make them great for the iPhone and iPad, and Android-based devices.

(Yes, I’m actually advocating for Android!)

Sell each game for $9.99. No, that’s not too much. People would pay $20 for Super Mario. In the first weekend alone, Nintendo would make millions of dollars. And would continue making millions.

As the format became more popular, they could start creating Bluetooth game controllers to play not only on Macs and PCs, but mainly tablets, like the iPad.

Certainly it would be a sad day when Nintendo stops making gaming consoles, but it might be time to innovate and turn into a video game company. Focus on the games we loved and then make new games.

I’m waiting for iMario.

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