Ask anyone who’s ever played video games and they would know Mario, the iconic Jumpman.
Dressed in overalls and a cap, Mario could be guided to fight his way over multiple obstacles in different scenarios and even worlds, to rescue the lady in peril. He starred in several video games, and from arcades to handheld consoles.
Mario was so popular, that he was eventually made the mascot for the company which created him, Nintendo. This Japanese designer is one of the largest video game manufacturers in the world. Their in-house devices and games have a cult following spanning several generations of serious gamers.
Last week, Nintendo came out with a much-awaited announcement – they would soon develop and release games for smart devices like mobiles and tablets too!
Video Games And Nintendo
Started in Japan as a manufacturer of playing cards, Nintendo dabbled in many other industries such as cab services, hotels, and even food. In the 1960’s, the focus slowly shifted away from playing cards and into toys. With the influence of the West, 1973-74 saw video games dominating Nintendo’s business.
Different formats of gaming quickly took shape - from arcades to homes, and from computers to dedicated handheld gaming devices. Nintendo explored all these and much more, both in Japan and in other countries. As hardware devices (like Game Boy, Wii, Nintendo 3DS) and software games (like Mario, Zelda) developed separately, people could choose to buy a device and then load their choice of games into it.
With time, video games became more sophisticated. Capturing motion on the screen became more realistic. Sound, graphics and other additional effects were all programmed into their games, which now also enabled multi-players. Games like Mario were a huge hit – the spirited, little character made his way into television series, comics, toys, clothes, and even movies!
What Prompted The New Move?
Until recently, Nintendo focused exclusively on games for its own devices. However, its largest revenues which came from consoles (Wii U) and handhelds (3DS) have been falling yearly.
In the meantime, mobile devices have revolutionized the gaming arena. Whether you have an iPhone or Samsung, you can simply log into the app store and download the game onto your device. Hundreds of developers have been creating free games for the phone. Think of Angry Birds or Candy Crush.
Nintendo could no longer afford to ignore mobile gaming and have now teamed up with DeNA Co., another Japanese company with a popular gaming network for mobiles. The plan is to carefully redesign some of its existing games and adapt them to suit mobiles. Like other developers, they might offer free versions of the basic game with payment for higher levels or additional features.
Nintendo claims that while they are exploring the mobile gaming market, they will continue to produce their own devices. They have also announced a new console NX to be released in 2016. Let’s see if this does better than the 3DS.
Meanwhile, what’s your favorite video game? Which one would you like to adapt so that you can play it on your mobile too?