“That’s not a real Mario game.”
If you plan on playing Super Mario Run this fall, the new Mario game for iOS, someone will say this to you. Ignore them.
Nintendo fans have long defined themselves in opposition to so-called casual gamers, and the idea of a one-handed Mario game is going to offend some sensibilities.
But you know what? Fuck that noise. Super Mario Run looks fun, and that’s reason enough to play it. Its existence doesn’t hurt the side-scrolling Mario games on Nintendo consoles, and if anything helps bring core Mario mechanics like mushrooms and question boxes to a whole new group of gamers.
It’s not like the Mario franchise is in danger of being watered down. At this point Nintendo’s iconic plumber regularly appears in racing, tennis, and soccer games, not to mention occasionally smashing the ever-loving snot out of Donkey Kong, Link and Pikachu. Mario’s resume is vast, so why not add “endless runner” to it?
I’m reminded of another Nintendo franchise that recently made it’s way to mobile. Pokémon Go is not a perfect game, and the combat system is shallow compared to basically every other game in the franchise this side of Snap.
But I took a walk the other day, and I saw an elderly couple walking around, staring at their phones. One of them caught a Geodude, and I couldn’t help but smile. There is no way either of those people grew up playing Pokémon, but they seem like real fans. I wonder if they might buy a Nintendo DS later this year, when the new Pokémon game comes out.
Mario is going to be the same way. A bunch of people who have never played a Mario game in their life, or at least since the 80s, are going to be (re)introduced to the franchise. Some of them might even buy a console later, to get access to more.
So ignore anyone who calls this a casual game, or you a casual gamer. If you play games, you’re a gamer. Even if you play while eating a hamburger.
Follow our coverage of Apple’s iPhone 7 keynote and find the latest stories about it here.