‘Nintendo needs to go mobile!’ is an opinion that invariably drums up an Internet war wherever it’s expressed. While Nintendo’s investors would love to see the company surrender its IP to iOS devices, fan opinion tends to be split. However, one anonymous fan has gone beyond uttering the usual plea for a Mario game on the iPad. He or she has set up a webpage and Facebook campaign titled ‘Nintendo Go Mobile’ that comes complete with game ideas.
Nintendo Go Mobile goes into detail about why Nintendo needs to make the jump to mobile phones. The site claims that smartphones enjoy enormous popularity (true), and that while the Nintendo 3DS’s StreetPass function is neat, people might find their 3DS too bulky to carry around (also true–unless you carry a bag or a purse, like Yours Truly).
But the argument stumbles when NGM’s proprietor claims that adults don’t want to be seen carrying around a ‘childish toy’ like the Nintendo 3DS, whereas nobody is embarrassed to carry around a smartphone. If there’s one thing Nintendo has proved over and over with its portable systems, it’s that people are perfectly OK with carrying around a candy-colored game system as long as its games are good. Every single Game Boy/Nintendo DS competitor has tried to sell itself on the ‘We’re slick/we’re adult!’ angle, and it has never been a draw.
The campaign still presents some interesting ideas, like avoiding mere emulation in favor of retooled game experiences–an endless runner based around Super Mario, for instance. After all, Rayman Jungle Run is pretty excellent: who knows what Nintendo could do?
Campaign or no campaign, Nintendo has long been ice-cold on the idea of putting its IP on mobile platforms. Besides, despite its slow start, the Nintendo 3DS sold over 17 million units worldwide by the end of March 2012. That’s pretty darn good. No, it doesn’t touch the iPhone’s numbers, but it’s difficult to make a side-by-side comparison of a dedicated gaming device to what is essentially the digital equivalent of a Swiss army knife.