Today I finished Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America. Longtime Nintendo fans can skip this one because they probably already know about the history of the company. For everyone else, like many corporate stories, Nintendo in 2013 faces a whole new climate than the one that got them where they are today. They don’t have a stranglehold on distribution anymore. Developers have other options and better deals.
In other words, how does Nintendo fit into a world where you can buy Tetris for your phone for $1?1
The easy way out of this is for Nintendo to throw up their hands and declare “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” and start making games for other platforms. On the other hand, why should Nintendo get into the red ocean of app stores? Could an official version of Dr. Mario do well for $5?
One quote that struck me had to do with how Nintendo didn’t threaten others who had used their property for Adobe Flash versions and other variations on their intellectual property.
Why not? Iwata’s explanation is commonsensical. “[I]t would not be appropriate if we treated people who did something based on affection for Nintendo as criminals.”
In the spirit of affection for Nintendo, I thought I would see if there are any apps paying tribute to Nintendo and searched for Nintendo properties in the Apple iOS App Store. I think some Nintendo titles, particularly the puzzle games, would do very well on the app store.
Let me be clear. This is what you find when you search for Nintendo games in the app store.
Doctor Vs. Virus
Looks inspired by Donkey Kong Country.
Looks inspired by Game & Watch.
Super Squirrel Bros
This looks more like a ripoff of the Chip N’ Dales: Rescue Rangers game.
Super Island Bros
Like Adventure Island. Also from the same guy who does Super Squirrel Bros.
By the way, this one has a number of in-app purchases, going as high as $99, that a little kid could easily make without knowing it.
It appears that whether or not Nintendo decides to make games for iOS may be irrelevant. They’re already there. Others have already done it for them.
About 6 years ago I bought Tetris for my DS Lite at around $25. That’s $25 Tetrises today! ↩