Whether you’re a Nintendo super fan or just looking at the gaming history this venerable Japanese company represents, you’ll be excited for this new era in which Nintendo partners with social and free-to-play juggernaut DeNA to bring it’s valuable content to mobile devices.
Gotta catch ‘em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International
The Pokémon Company International just took another step towards iOS domination with its free-to-play game, Camp Pokémon, now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This new game will let children of all ages explore Camp Pokémon, learning to become a Pokémon trainer.
This is a big step in the right direction for Pokémon video game players, since Nintendo has as yet refused to put it’s incredibly lucrative Pokémon RPG games on any platform besides its own. However, The Pokemon Company owns the rights to the card game; they can put it on any platform they choose.
“Kids will have a blast exploring Camp Pokémon as they immerse themselves in the Pokémon universe in a fun, interactive setting,” said The Pokémon Company’s J.C. Smith. “Parents will love watching their little campers participate in fun activities and create memories at the virtual Pokémon island.”
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.
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.
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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…
Recently, a clever little Pokemon clone called Micromon shot to the top of the App Store bestseller list. If the success of Micromon proved anything, it’s that an official Pokemon game would be very well received if it came to the App Store.
If that’s something that appeals to you, good news. A version of the Pokemon online trading card game is coming to the iPad sometime soon.
Nintendo won’t bring its popular game franchises to iOS, and Apple won’t allow emulators in the App Store. In order to play titles like Super Mario and Zelda on your iPhone, then, you have to look at unofficial alternatives. GBA4iOS was one of the most popular — but after its creators received a DMCA notice from Nintendo this week, it is no more.
The Pokémon Company just released an official app for Android and iOS called Pokémon TV, which allows you to watch Pokémon episodes on your smartphone or tablet completely free of charge. Although this isn’t the Pokémon game you’ve been waiting for for years, it’s sure to please plenty of Pokémon fans.
A free SpongeBob Squarepants game from Nickelodeon has had to be pulled from the App Store following complaints that it violates children’s online privacy rights. SpongeBob Diner Dash asked children for their names and email addresses without parental permission — so that it could fill their inboxes with spam, no doubt — causing an advocacy group to report the app to the Federal Trade Commission.
Will this be the first of many Nintendo titles to reach iOS?
Nintendo, unlike many software developers, has chosen to ignore the goldmine that is Apple’s App Store by refusing to develop its titles for iOS. It’s almost guaranteed that the Japanese company would make an absolute killing if it just brought fan favorites like Super Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon to our iPhones and iPads. But president Satoru Iwata is adamant it will only develop titles for its own hardware.
There are signs, however, that Nintendo is cracking. It just released its first paid iOS app, a mobile version of the Nintendo 3DS’s Pokédex, to customers in Japan.
Remember Little Masters? Of course you do — it’s the hugely promising Pokemon clone we told you about back in July that’s coming to iOS. Well, after a lengthy wait for App Store approval, the game is finally coming to the App Store tomorrow, September 6.
The wonderful role-playing game that is Bastion kicks off this week’s must-have games roundup, accompanied by Blast-A-Way, an awesome new puzzle game from Illusion Labs; Dragon Island Blue, the closest you’ll get to Pokemon on iOS right now; and Granny Smith, a platform game that features a granny on rollerscates. Need I say more?