8 Nintendo games we’d pay a premium to see on iOS



The 8 Nintendo games we'd love to see on iOS

As crazy as it may seem, this year marks Nintendo's 125th anniversary, from its origins as a playing card company back in September 1889, to its status as a gaming powerhouse today.

As much as we love Nintendo, however, it has been pretty reticent about embracing the world of mobile gaming; refusing to port any of its core titles to iOS and forcing the takedown of emulators that have tried to provide this (slightly illegal) service. True gamers that we are, though, we hold out hope that one day Nintendo may see the light. With that in mind, here's our list of the 8 Nintendo titles we'd love to see on our iPhone screens.

Scroll through our gallery to see which ones made the cut.


Okay, so this month saw the announcement that the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is coming to iPad, but the Pokémon game players really want to see on iOS is the classic series of RPGs that made the Game Boy a must-have console.

While the first-generation games were all well and good (and by “well and good” I mean that I personally pumped hours into each one) it was with the follow-up trifecta of Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal where the series really took off. For the first time, day and night cycles were incorporated in a meaningful way, with certain Pokémon discoverable only at specific times.

There was also a Friendship/Happiness system, which meant that Pokémon became increasingly devoted to specific trainers. Throw this game into the App Store, and we’ll be clued to our iPhones pretty much non-stop.

(Picture: Nintendo/Samit Sarkar)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Legend of Zelda series started all the way back in 1987, but it took another 11 years -- when the franchise appeared on the N64 in 1998 -- for it to really hit its peak. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sold 7.6 million copies in all, and is arguably the best game that appeared on Nintendo’s 64-bit console. Tantalizingly, the game has already received a touch screen mobile port — in the form of 2011’s 3DS update, which also added better graphics. Still, to date there has been no sign of Zelda on iOS.

But look on the bright side: Zelda-hungry fans can at least download the mobile exclusive Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, which takes the Zelda formula as far as it can go without the official Nintendo seal of approval. Check it out if you haven’t already.

WWF No Mercy

What can I say? I’m a wrestling fan, and despite having well over a decade to catch up, the WWE 2K franchise (formerly the Smackdown series) has never been able to match the brilliance that was AKI’s wrestling games.

Of these, 2000’s WWF No Mercy was arguably the greatest: adding ladder matches, an enormous roster, and a surprisingly fun story mode to what was already a near-perfect game engine. There’s little to no chance we’ll ever see this ported to iOS on account of the difficulty of securing the rights to the WWE roster circa 2000, but this would be my personal pick of the bunch.

So long as a touchscreen (or an MFi game controller) were able to replicate the deep control system this would be iOS perfection that is!

(Picture: AKI/Gamefaqs)

Super Mario Bros.

Forget about Retina display, impressive 3-D graphics and pixels-per-inch for a second, and bask in the ambience of the greatest Nintendo platformer to ever grace our consoles. Released in 1985, Super Mario Bros. is the oldest game on this list, and the one that many fans would still pay a premium to see on iOS.

Nintendo is hardly making millions from the original Super Mario Bros. these days, so why not open up the vault and allow an official port for iPhone and iPad players? The fact that iOS gamers are still denied this game is a crime so wicked it can only have come from Bowser.

(Oh, and give us Super Mario Bros. 3 while you’re at it!)

(Picture: Nintendo)


Super Mario Bros. may be the most iconic side-scroller Nintendo ever put out, but Metroid surely runs as a close second. An action/platformer that puts you in the space shoes of galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran, Metroid is an immersive world-building experience that never goes easy on players. It’s levels weren’t linear, there were plenty of dead ends, and the villain unveiling at the end is to video games what Darth Vader’s Empire Strikes Back revelation was to movies. We’d dearly love to see this game grace our iPhone screens.

(Picture: Arstechnica)

Super Mario 64

Unlike so many other 3D games of its era (Crash Bandicoot, for instance) Super Mario 64 really was a game in which players were able to explore the vast 3D world which had been created for it to take place in. A 2004 Nintendo DS port added new playable characters like Yoshi, Luigi and Wario, and showed that the game worked just as well without the N64 controller that was specially designed for it.

With ten years now having passed since that port, it would be wonderful to see a re-release show up on iOS to wow a whole new generation of players.

(Picture: Wikipedia)


Mario Kart 8

As with many of the franchises mentioned here, there are some great games in the Mario Kart series, which makes picking one a real challenge. With that said, I’d love to see Mario Kart 8 make an appearance on iOS, just to show the karting pretenders (Angry Birds Go! I’m looking at you!) who’s boss. The game featured the same core ingredients we’ve loved since 1992, but it added some innovative touches like anti-gravity strips, which tweaked an already spectacular formula. The graphics are also top-notch.

GoldenEye 007

The Modern Combat games have shown that first person shooters can work surprisingly well on iOS. Why then can’t we have GoldenEye 007, the pitch perfect James Bond game that was 90 percent of the reason that most teenage boys bought the N64 back in the day? Throw in an online multiplayer mode for good value and watch the dollars roll in. The premium price would be worth it for the Facility stage alone…

  • markstickley

    I’m not bothered about specific games. I’ve played them all already. I’d like just 4 specific brands to appear on iOS: Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Pokemon. They would be brilliant, but sadly the only way I see this happening is when Nintendo goes the way of Sega – abandoning hardware. But I’d rather not see that happen.

  • Taylor

    Most of these games would be completely unplayable on iOS (without a controller, that is). How does this keep getting ignored? Nintendo games are great because they’re built around incredibly designed gameplay mechanics– which require the precision of buttons, d-pad, thumbstick, etc. Ocarina of time, for example, often requires a player to move with the thumbstick, target with the Z-trigger, dodge with the A-button, and attack with B– all simultaneously. Try doing that on an iPhone.

    I’m not saying that Nintendo couldn’t make great iOS games. I’m sure they could. But they would have to be completely different in execution. But stop saying that Nintendo is foolish for not porting “the classics” to mobile phones. To do so would be merely a cash-grab, and the end result would be an insult to gamers and Nintendo’s legacy.

    • lucascott

      Seems like you haven’t really been keeping up with the tech. Between MFi controllers with built in iOS support and Metal there is little of this argument left.

      That said, I think they should start with the classic games. The original Mario trilogy, Donkey Kong etc. These would be so such better to lure new fans into the franchises than Temple Run: Mario etc. Which is not to say those kinds of games wouldn’t have some appeal also but they shouldn’t be the only thing. Let the 3D stuff stay on the consoles for now. If the 2D games hook in then start with the early 3D stuff that was less complicated.

      Perhaps even release an official Nintendo accessory series of MFi controllers based on the original console ones. Heck for fun bring back a limited edition Power Glove. Why? Because its so bad

      • Taylor

        Read my first sentence again. I’m aware of MFi controllers.

        The problem with the iOS controller situation is the App Store policies regarding their support. Controller support is allowed, yes, but cannot be mandatory.

        So you get games like the recently-released Bioshock port, which plays great with a controller, but 99% of people who play will play it with terrible touch controls. Unless the MFi controller business becomes serious, and Apple allows controller-only games, Nintendo doesn’t really have a place on iOS. They are absurdly concerned with controlling the user-experience, and won’t put out non-optimal versions of their games.

        I once played the original 2D Mario games on an emulator on a GS3. It was abysmal. Not because the emulator wasn’t working well, but because touch controls don’t work for platformers. Platforming– the most successful genre in gaming history (besides FPS), and there’s yet to be a good or successful one on the App Store.

        In the next decade, the only chance I see of Nintendo putting games on a smartphone would be if they created their own with a built-in controller.

        (This would be awful. Nintendo really struggles with OS design.)

      • Taylor
  • Bomyne

    No to the last one. FPS games don’t do that well without a keyboard and mouse. But yes to the pokemon and Mario ones.

  • anon

    You can play some of the older games on GBA4iOS which is a downloadable app from the internet. Especially the older Pokemon games.