Commentary

A Peripatetic Super Mario Bounds Into Apple Stores

Talk about clickbait for anyone interested in marketing, technology or diversions from reality: “Will Super Mario Run Be a Bigger Hit Than Pokémon Go?” reads the hed on a Bloomberg video report posted last night about the Nintendo app that will be available on iPhone and iPads starting Dec. 15.

“The numbers are going to be more significant than just the 20-million-plus that have done the ‘notify me,’” Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo America president and COO, tells Bloomberg Technology’s Emily Chang while assuring her that it is working with Apple and DeNA to make sure that the servers can handle the anticipated onslaught.

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The basic app is free. There are three different modes — World Tour, Toad Rally and Kingdom Builder — and 24 levels, however, and players must fork over a pricey $9.99 to unlock the opportunity to really put a crick in their necks.

“We believe that a high percent of people who begin to play Super Mario Run will go on to purchase the full application,” says Fils-Aime, based on what he has observed in the field. “Once people start to play Super Mario Run, they really are hooked.” 

Time’s Lisa Eadicicco appears to be one of them. 

“In classic Nintendo fashion, the company has managed to make Super Mario Run feel as versatile and satisfying as the Mario games it’s released for its own platforms over the years,” she writes after getting her hands on the peripatetic version of the venerable videogame at a press event. “Understanding how to play is simple and the gameplay remains rich and addictive, in other words, but true mastery is going to take plenty of practice.” 

The company is also proving quite adept at getting the word out.

“Fils-Aime showed off the game on ‘The Tonight Show’ on Wednesday and noted that you can play a demo at any Apple Store starting Thursday. CNET staff got to try out the game, too, and you can check out what we learned. (It's awesome.) The game was trending on Facebook as the hype train chugs along for the game's release,” writesCNET’s Alfred Ng.

As for those three modes, “World Tour features a series of courses, similar to what's available in most Super Mario games. The key difference is players only control how Mario jumps, while the character will automatically move, similar to ‘infinite running’ games like Temple Run,” explainsUSA Today’s Brett Molina.

“In Toad Rally, players can compete in those courses against friends, gaining approval from Toads, the mushroom-hat-wearing creatures part of Mario lore. If the player wins, those Toads go to live in the player's personal Mushroom Kingdom, customized in the game's Kingdom Builder.”

Super Mario Run “has been designed in a way so that all three phases of the game work together and feed off of one another,” says the designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, Molina reports. 

Nintendo released a video preview of the game last month. An Android version reportedly will be forthcoming in 2017.

One twist. “To play it, you’ll need an active Internet connection. That means no using the game on a subway or plane — unless you’re above ground or connected to Wi-Fi. Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed this detail in an interview with Mashable, saying the requirement was introduced to curb piracy,” writesThe Verge’s James Vincent.

Can’t wait? Well, talking about clickbait: “You can play Super Mario Run on the iPhone right now, and we’ll tell you how,” reads the headline on Zack Epstein’s piece for BGR. He’s a bit more subdued in his assessment of the app — “Super Mario Run isn’t exactly the full-fledged Super Mario game everyone wants, but it’s a start,” he writes, before concluding that it “actually looks like a very fun game.” Oh, as far as playing it “right now” goes, head to your local Apple Store. 

Mashable’s Brett Williams writes, “While it's not much of an achievement to get [Jimmy] Fallon amped up, the game is clearly a ton of fun. It looks to be a classic callback to Mario's sidescrolling platformer origins, complete with some new school graphics and modern tweaks.” His advice. Yup. “Drop what you're doing and run over to the nearest Apple Store.”

No wonder Apple CEO Tim Cook was so gleeful in announcing that Super Mario would be coming to Apple during his Fall Event keynote address a couple of months ago. But I’m guessing this would not be a weekend to take in that iPhone 6S of yours that thinks it's out of power when it’s not for a battery replacement.

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