Ever since Nintendo announced their partnership with mobile dev wizards DeNA and planned on taking the leap into the world of mobile gaming, it was as if some kind of deity thrust their magic wand into the binary sea and violently parted the internet.
Left in the tides' sandy, salt crusted wake were two opposing sides steadily bickering over whether this new dawn signalled the end of the cuddly, fan friendly franchise churning machine we've come to know and revere over the past three decades.
Will this shift in direction usher in a new age of microtransactions, ads for random content popping up mid-level, or having to wait 5 hours before your Yoshi perk has cooled down so you can actually finish that DAMN STAGE?!
Nintendo's New Dawn
All of the fuss is being made over Miitomo, the very first of 5 mobile games Nintendo plans to release by March 2017, and it...isn't technically a game.
Miitomo operates as a free-to-play social networking app of sorts, where users will interact with their Miis who will in turn will interact with their friends via the "safe and secure" app. Sometimes without the user's knowledge, because, according to Mr. Kimishima, this will "help people who are hesitant to talk about themselves to communicate with others, and reveal a side of your friends you never knew."
Naturally, there will be paid add-ons and exactly what they entail has yet to be revealed, but I reckon they might have something to do with customizing your Mii with new clothes and accessories. Basically, think Xbox's avatar customization by the way of Whatsapp by the way of 3DS life sim Tomodachi Life, and you're onto a winner.
A View To The Future
In order to allay the viable fears that the big N might be shedding their core values to concentrate on social networking, new Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima spoke about Nintendo's new direction at an investor Q&A reported by WSJ:
"Although we have introduced Miitomo as a 'communication application,' we believe that it is a unique and Nintendo-like application in terms of the fact that it will encourage people who usually do not proactively share messages and information with others to enjoy a new type of communication by utilizing Nintendo’s IP called Mii."
All of this ties into a broader vision, which seeks to introduce two new services: Nintendo Account and My Nintendo.
Nintendo Account is a cloud-based data service which will allow you to transfer saved data between console games and mobile games. My Nintendo's details, however, still remain vague. But it sounds as if it will end up being some kind of reward system, possibly similar to ol' timey Club Nintendo which was recently closed down.
Though I'm excited to see how Nintendo fares in an already heavily congested mobile market, I was pretty disappointed that they decided to forgo dropping a new take on a classic IP, or even a whole new IP. I guess that will come later.
But what could they possibly have in mind for their mobile generation? Here are 5 Nintendo IPs I'd love to play on my mobile and/or tablet:
NES Classics Bundle
Imagine dragging Jumpman around the screen as he attempts to avoid Donkey Kong's attacks and eventually save Princess Peach. Or swiping up and down on the screen to change lanes in Excitebike? Don't forget to tilt right to increase acceleration! That'd be so sweet.
Mario Maker Mobile
Imagine being able to create mobile levels on Mario Maker, then downloading them onto your phone on the fly and attempting your and the other Makers' inventive creations?
Imagine you and up to 7 of your friends connecting your phones via NFC and/or Bluetooth and setting off on a journey through some of Nintendo's most mental Mario mini games?! Yes, I'd like that very much too.
Hear me out with this one. I dunno about you, but the fishing mini-game in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was one of my most favorite bits of the game. So cathartic...
So why not endure an arduous commute by casting a line into the Fishing Hole at the north-eastern side of Lake Hylia?
Mario Kart Tuner
Not so much of a game, but a tool for finding your perfect Kart setup. MK8 is such a joy to play, but variety of customization can be daunting for a first-timer. Why not have an app where you can fiddle and throw together the perfect combination of chassis, wheels and parachute?
Who knows what Nintendo have in mind to release! They always have a habit of surprising us, for better or for worse. But the question remains...