Shortly after taking the stage at his company’s big presser on Wednesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook turned to gaming, bragging that there are more than 500,000 games available through the App Store. But one game, he acknowledged, has always been missing.
Moments later, the celebrated video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto joined Cook onstage to announce that Mario would be coming to iOS. “For the past 30 years, every time Mario has encountered a new platform … he has continued running toward a new goal,” Miyamoto said, speaking in hesitant English before switching to his native Japanese to debut the game itself.
Soon, Miyamoto explained, players around the world would be playing with Mario on mobile platforms. “And they’ll be doing it in a new game, Super Mario Run. The magic of Mario is that anyone can pick up a game and instantly start playing,” he said.
In Super Mario Run itself, the title character runs automatically to the right, collecting coins and seeking to reach the flag pole at the end of the level in time. Tapping makes him jump and “the longer you tap, the higher he jumps.” In later levels, Mario will be able to collide with boxes that change his running direction and otherwise affect his pace through the level.
Miyamoto stressed that the game, which appears to run in vertical mode, will be playable one-handed. “That means you can play while holding the rail on the subway, while eating a hamburger, or while eating an apple,” he said. The game also includes a more competitive mode that lets players test their pace against one another.
Some elements of this new title will be familiar with those who played Nintendo’s earlier mobile title, Miitomo. Indeed, several social elements of the Super Mario Run draw on that title’s clunky aesthetics, which the company has been employing since the release of its Wii console. Unlike Miitomo, Super Mario Run reportedly won’t be free.
Super Mario Run will reportedly be available in time for the 2016 holidays. Though there’s no word yet on if and when it will be playable outside the Apple ecosystem, nothing that Miyaoto or Cook said on stage precluded that possibility.