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!
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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…
Back in August, a new game arrived in the iOS App Store and almost immediately vanished without a trace.
“I received a few great reviews from news sites, but not enough to have an impact,” says Robert Topala, founder of RobTop Games and developer of the disappearing game. “Since I had no marketing budget it quickly dropped in rankings after release.”
For most games that would have been it. And if the story stopped there, it wouldn’t have been a tale of total failure: Topala wasn’t a professional coder, and had only been making mobile games for a couple years at the time. Simply finishing a game, getting it in the App Store and picking up a few accolades would have been nice enough.
This video by game video YouTube user NicksplosionFX is perhaps the most awesome thing you’re going to see all day.
It’s a shot by shot recreation of the stunningly fantastic Game of Thrones television show introduction sequence done in the style of Nintendo’s classic Super Mario Brothers video game.
Whether your a Game of Thrones fan, a classic Nintendo nerd, or a combination of the two, you’ll love that the video maker also has a side by side comparison of the two videos (below) so you can critique his recreation with all your righteous nerd fervor.
I love games like Canabalt, even though a world of tricky endless runners flowed from that simple endless platformer’s success. Last Bunny takes the Canabalt style and introduces tilt controls along with jumping to give you more control over the fearless rabbit bounding over buildings.
Last Bunny by Ultrapped Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone Price: Free
You play as, well, the last adorable bunny in a world overrun by those grumpy stone blocks from Super Mario Bros. games and missiles. You jump from building to building trying to avoid bombs and pitfalls. Unlike Canabalt, you have control over the speed at which the bunny runs. By tilting your phone to the right or left, you can increase or decrease his movement to make jumping more precise. This is very helpful when blocks fall just outside the rabbit’s jump distance which will ultimately lead you to running into them unless you’re moving at a slower speed.
I’m usually turned off a game by overbearing mustache adoration, but Puffington appreciates much more than the very impressive mustache supported by the dapper protagonist. You play as Puffington, a sea gentleman who is dismayed when ruffians kidnap the lovely lady worm he’s set his eyes on. Like any love-stricken fish, Puffington sets out to rescue her by collecting coins and gizmos scattered through increasingly tricky levels.
Puffington by Hojo Studio Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone 5 (other devices soon) Price: Free
Puffington is a platformer, and plays like the underwater levels in the Super Mario Bros. games. Tapping the screen makes Puffington inflate, which will make him rise up a bit. Tapping repeatedly will give you a burst of speed which is handy when you’re trying to outrun the edge of the perpetually scrolling level.