The Inevitable: Nintendo finally puts mario on iPhone

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NINTENDO HAS NOW, well and truly, embraced mobile. At today's Apple event in San Francisco, the company took the stage to announce Super Mario Run, a Mario action game for iPhone.

Appearing on stage to show off the game, in a historical debut at an Apple event, was Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Super Mario Bros. and the world's most famous game designer. Joining him on stage, barely acknowledged and silently demoing the game, was another legend of game design: Hideki Konno, director of all-time classics like Super Mario Kart.

Super Mario Run, which apes the graphical style of Nintendo's current Super Mariogames, falls into that classic mobile genre, the automatic runner. Mario will zip towards the finish line automatically, and you just have to tap to jump and avoid obstacles. You can play it with one hand, Miyamoto pointed out.

Super Mario Run will not be a free-to-play game, Nintendo said. In a follow-up press release, Nintendo said players can download "a portion" of the game for free, and then pay a "set price" to unlock the full game. It will release the game in December in 100 different countries and nine languages.

Nintendo properties were all over the Apple presentation. John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, took the stage later to announce that Pokemon Go has been downloaded more than 500 million times, and that the app would soon be coming to the Apple Watch.

In its press release, Nintendo reconfirmed that it would release mobile games in the Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing series by the end of March 2017.

With Nintendo's first smartphone game Miitomo being a critical and sales disappointment, and Pokemon Go not actually published by Nintendo, we still haven't seen Nintendo plow into the mobile market with its full might—until today. Miyamoto showing up at an Apple event with aSuper Mario platform game is about the biggest push that Nintendo could possibly make into mobile. It's a shocking turn of events, and yet, if you think about it, completely inevitable considering the way the winds are blowing for Nintendo.

"It's not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone," Nintendo's late president Satoru Iwata said in 2014 about the mobile game business. Time to test that assumption.

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