Nintendo dropped a bombshell within these past couple weeks by announcing that they will officially start supporting Mobile devices and Personal Computers through their partnership with DeNA, a company that’s been working heavily with Mobile games of late in Japan. You’ve probably heard everyone talking about this deal already. I’m JaidynReiman, and I’m just going to summarize the basics before continuing.
In short, Nintendo will produce games new games for Mobile devices to act as a support for their main franchises. These will be micro games built with Mobile in mind, and DeNA will provide the framework for this system which will work on Mobile devices, Wii U, 3DS, and Nintendo’s upcoming planned NX system, of which nothing is known yet.
Here’s the important facts about this. DeNA is only providing the software that links Mobile devices and Nintendo’s consoles together. This will also include a successor to Club Nintendo. Nintendo themselves will produce the games, and they will not be ports; they will be new games built from the ground up. I’ve also heard a rumor that Nintendo’s entire history of IP’s are all open to be developed for Mobile devices.
Mobile Games Will Support Console Games
There’s been numerous critical reactions to Nintendo’s Mobile announcement, such as Nintendo’s abandoning consoles. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just consider how this would work. There’s numerous Nintendo spoof or clone games on handheld consoles where Nintendo is not involved in at all, and many of them are fairly popular.
This is a great medium for Nintendo to provide actual Nintendo IP’s and get people interested in Nintendo IP’s who wouldn’t otherwise. If they tie this closely to Nintendo’s console market as well, they can provide advertisements for full-scale Nintendo games in these handheld micro games. This is a great way to promote the franchises. Some franchises, like Panel de Pon, work for Mobile on their own, and other franchises have themes that could work for micro games. More on that later.
For these micro games on Mobile devices, they can appeal to people who like to play Mobile games on a casual basis. Namely, that situation where you just play a small game for a short bit while on a trip or waiting for something, pause, then continue later. However, through this combined system, Nintendo could potentially promote other games on their main system, or even allow people to purchase games on their main consoles from handhelds. There’s a variety of ways this could work, and my ideas are merely some of them.
Mobile Games Aren’t a Waste of Potential
One huge misnomer is that many people keep on assuming that these games will only consist of Nintendo’s top franchises, namely Mario, Pokemon, and Legend of Zelda. This is extremely unlikely to happen, though. They won’t be able to maintain a large variety of games with such a limited scope. Plus, as these are micro games, they could be developed a lot quicker and more easily than Nintendo’s main console games.
Another problem people have with this idea is the assumption that bringing back an old IP as a Mobile only game ruins the potential of that series. I see the exact opposite. Of course, people are assuming that this would replace the IP getting a new game. Just consider this: since they are Mobile games, they’d be quicker and cheaper to develop. Cost is undoubtedly a significant factor in why many classic franchises are not being brought back now, as developing big games on core platforms is expensive.
If a franchise is revived on Mobile first, it could raise interest in the series and provide a desire to continue that franchise. There’s also lot of franchises on early Nintendo consoles which are so small they could not be sold as full retail games today. But potentially they could work on Mobile, and bring back interest in these franchises; maybe enough for a full revival on Nintendo’s main consoles. There’s also other types of ways that smaller game ideas can be explored on Mobile platforms more in-depth.
Another concern is Nintendo’s potential use of the microtransactions system common with most Mobile/micro games. I’ve seen some concerns over, for example, the potential for a Panel de Pon game to use microtransactions. Iwata specifically addressed the concern of microtransactions and suggested that they’d probably use it where it works well, but would also consider other means of revenue, too. Yes, this will likely happen, but people are being too overly concerned about this. Nintendo has proven to be much better at this kind of thing than other developers, and I’ve tried out even Pokemon Shuffle. It does utilize microtransactions, but it doesn’t shove them in your face like most problem games do.
What Kinds of Mobile Games Could we See?
Now let’s consider the potential for the kinds of Mobile games we could be seeing. Naturally, Mario would be a significant factor in this. Since Mario is so versatile we could really see anything. I’d bet that micro Sports games could be possibilities, and small Super Mario Brothers handheld platformer games. Perhaps a mobile version of Mario Kart, as well. Pokemon is also versatile and could consist of a variety of different things, though this franchise may possibly be able to tie into the Pokemon Bank and you can use existing Pokemon to battle other Pokemon online, and just manage Pokemon without a full-fledged game.
Now let’s look at a few other franchises. Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Kirby game are probably the next one’s you’d think of. Zelda is definitely one that doesn’t translate well to Mobile, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make anything. How about Four Swords? Four Swords Adventures is one one I think of, and perhaps it could even include the ability to play as other Zelda characters instead of just four Links. Kirby can do quite a bit as well, but especially with the Canvas Curse style. For Donkey Kong, there’s a few suggestions, my favorite idea being the continuation of the pegboard games King of Swing and Jungle Climber. Mario vs. Donkey Kong and perhaps even the continuation of Donkey Kong Land are other good suggestions.
Let’s also look at some lesser but still decent sized franchises. Star Fox could definitely have a smaller flight simulator style of game, just make it in the same vein as 64 with new levels, perhaps even an “endless” option. Metroid’s normal style wouldn’t work but Metroid Pinball is an option to bring back. I don’t think Animal Crossing would work well for an entire game, but they could potentially include a small part like Tortimer Island and allow you to use an existing character then transfer it back later. Fire Emblem is another one I find difficulty creating a new take for Mobile based on the games. Let me know if you have any ideas.
WarioWare would fit the Mobile format very well as well. Wario Land is a bit more iffy but I think it could work. Yoshi Story I think is another good format. A proper Yoshi game would be more questionable, but something that’s relatively short and repeatable like Yoshi Story is a great option. Kid Icarus could possibly bring back the gameplay style of the old games, or make an endless flight simulator on Mobile. Punch Out is also something that probably wouldn’t be difficult to translate to a new Mobile game, perhaps in the line of Doc Louis’ Punch Out. The Pikmin franchise could work if they make mini-missions based on the Pikmin games such as utilizing waves of enemies in a limited area.
Now let’s look at the potential for reviving old franchises through this format. One I think this would greatly help is F-Zero. I think that the high-speed racer format could easily translate to a Mobile platform, and potentially bring interest back to the IP for a full console game later. Another great idea could be Ice Climbers. How about a small block puzzle game where you play as the Ice Climbers and have to get to the end of the level by pushing or breaking blocks and defeating enemies? Like F-Zero this could potentially lead to a future revival on Nintendo’s main consoles.
Mysterious Murasame Castle is a commonly suggested idea for a revival and if based on the original gameplay style this would very easily translate to Mobile. Panel de Pon, Drill Dozer, Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, Mole Mania, Nintendogs, Balloon Fight, Pilot Wings, Excitebikes, Mach Rider, Dillon’s Rolling Western, and Jam With the Band are among the many franchises which could work just by directly translating the original gameplay. Panel de Pon plays a special place in my heart as I absolutely love the puzzle game series and wish they’d actually localize the fairy characters for once.
Another possible one that could work if very limited I think would be Advance Wars. And I say limited because the original games didn’t have storylines, just characters and missions. If they do it entirely mission-based, they could provide a few missions for you to try playing on a limited range. I guess this is possible with Fire Emblem if based on the Akaneia Sagas but its harder since Fire Emblem is best done utilized with extensive leveling of characters, something unneeded for Advance Wars.
Whew, well, that’s a lot to talk about. What do you guys think about this? Like some of my idea? Let me know in the comments below. Just understand, if an obscure franchise does end up on Mobile, don’t think about it losing potential but think about the potential that bringing back the franchise in the first place could do.
If you liked this discussion please be sure to like, share, comment, and subscribe. Thank you for listening and stay tuned until next time. See ya later, crocodile. Well, here’s hoping, anyway.
P.S. One final note–yes, I did hear about the Zelda Wii U delay. It does suck, but there’s not much that can be done about it, and not much to talk about it, either. They announced its probably not coming in 2015. That’s really all there is to it, we know nothing else. Just wanted to bring it up before someone else did.