Here at Highsnobiety, our interests extend far beyond the world of fashion and sneakers. We’ve always got our finger on the pulse of wider cultural issues and events, so today we’re taking a look at the highly anticipated launch of Super Mario Run.
Next week, Apple and Nintendo will finally release Super Mario Run, Nintendo’s launch into mobile gaming via non-Nintendo platforms. As a bit of an international phenom, the move is a pretty big one, not only to the glee of fans but also for the company which had to tweak gameplay in order to get the desired experience.
Thursday night in New York, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto held a talk at the Apple Store in SoHo to celebrate the game being launched at all Apple Stores starting yesterday. Best known as the creator of some of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling video games of all time, Miyamoto is responsible for having a helping hand in Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, F-Zero, Pikmin, and Wii. At the launch event he mainly focused on Mario, the carpenter turned plumber, and how Super Mario Run came about.
Nintendo already has their own mobile gaming platform with devices like the DS. But now, Super Mario Run is going off platform, launching exclusively with iPhone/iPad, though reports say it will eventually also come to Android. “We wanted to reach the biggest possible audience,” Miyamoto said. “If you look at the way Nintendo has designed our games, we’ve always focused on a single platform — our own platform — and repeatedly designed the game for that particular platform. The reason we like to do that is when you design a game for multiple platforms you end up having to do a lot of extra work that’s not related to the creative side of game development just to get the game to run on those other platforms.”
While the company has been thinking of transitioning to a smartphone for years, only recently has Nintendo found that the functionality they are able to pull out of a game specific device is matched or even exceeded by that of an iPhone. Reports have also surfaced that Android availability has been shelved because of security issues. This coupled with the the game’s demand for 24/7 internet connectivity while playing will certainly shave off components of the expected user base.
How Does the Game Progress?
What players will notice immediately about the new Mario is that like his name suggests, he’s always running. “We decided that what would be best for novices and experts is that if Mario just always ran,” Miyamoto explained. Upon reviewing game playing habits from Super Mario players, Nintendo found that part of the key to their success was that they never stopped Mario from running on any device, or executing maneuvers mid-run. Conversely new players often reported finding it difficult to run consistently, holding down the B-button and also keep up with the speed of play. To eradicate this as a problem, in the new game Mario consistently runs forward for the duration of the level.
But How Do You Do Anything?
There is only one input mechanism for the new Mario: touch. To the surprise of some, this isn’t the first time the Nintendo franchise has used that option. “One thing I think people around the world often forget is that though we didn’t use positive touch, Nintendo actually used touch as an input mechanism before the iPhone was ever released,” Miyamoto laughed. His reason for using touch was simple though: accessibility.
“We had gotten a lot of requests for including swipe or 3-D Touch Control but for us it was more interesting for you to just to control using touch and the length of your touch and that’s it.” Miyamoto continued. “We felt that by taking that approach it would be easiest for the widest number of people to easily know what to do and be able to play the game standing up one handed on the train.” Though play on the subway may be difficult going through stations with no Wifi.
When running through the game players tap the screen to get Mario to jump. Quick taps will elicit shorter jumps while longer taps will allow the player to jump higher and further. In a demo of the game available on Apple devices at Apple Stores worldwide now, a double tap makes the user flip in mid-air for a second jump.
So I Can’t Stop?
While you can’t stop Mario on your own, the game is embedded with action boxes. These boxes contain arrows or the universal symbol for pause that will allow the user functionality they couldn’t otherwise obtain. Run (or jump) through the box to activate it. In order to go backwards, you either have to hit one of these boxes, or if you die, you float backwards in a bubble until you tap the screen to start again.
What About Everything Else?
Like every other Mario game there are turtles and other types of foes in the game. For most small-sized foes, Mario will simply jump over them. Players can also jump right before they get to the enemy to vault off of them or jump onto them to smash them down. Mushrooms work similarly to other Mario games, and you can also do shell jumps. The key of Super Mario Run is timing, though everything is premised on tapping to jump at the right moment while already running.
Super Mario Run will be available in the App store in 150 countries for $9.99 USD on December 15. A demo version is available in Apple Stores worldwide now.
- Writer: Mikelle Street
- Photography: Thomas Welch / Highsnobiety.com