The newest “Super Mario” game isn’t coming to a Nintendo game console, but to Apple’s iPhone and iPad. The game, “Super Mario Run,” arrives on December 15 and costs $10.
And there’s more good news – it’s really good! The game’s available to play at Apple stores; employees are even wearing Super Mario pins to advertise the coming game.
There is one unfortunate downside we just learned: “Super Mario Run” requires an internet connection to play.
That means no “Super Mario” on the subway, or in that part of your office without any service, or anywhere else an internet connection is hard to find.
That news comes from an interview with Nintendo creative director Shigeru Miyamoto conducted by Mashable’s Adam Rosenberg. “For us, we view our software as being a very important asset for us,” Miyamoto told Mashable. “And also for consumers who are purchasing the game, we want to make sure that we’re able to offer it to them in a way that the software is secure, and that they’re able to play it in a stable environment.”
Many prominent mobile games require an internet connection, from “Clash of Clans” to “Pokémon GO” to “Game of War.” But these games are dependent on internet connection for gameplay – they actively pull data that impacts gameplay.
In the case of “Super Mario Run,” it’s a “Super Mario” game; Mario runs from left to right, and you tap on the screen to make him jump.
It’s hard to understand why, from a gameplay perspective, Nintendo would lock “Super Mario Run” into requiring an internet connection for play. It turns out that the reason isn’t based on gameplay, but piracy concerns and a development issue.
“We wanted to be able to leverage that network connection with all three of the [“Super Mario Run”] modes to keep all of the modes functioning together and offering the game in a way that keeps the software secure,” Miyamoto said.
“Super Mario Run” has three modes: “World Tour,” “Toad Rally,” and “Kingdom Builder.” The latter two modes require the game to pull data that impacts the game.
- In the case of “Toad Rally,” you race against the “ghost” of another player’s run through a level. Thus, your phone needs to pull that information from a server. In the case of “Kingdom Builder,” you build a “Super Mario Bros. 3”-esque world map using coins you’ve earned in game. Thus, your phone needs to verify the purchase to make sure people aren’t cheating the game’s currency system.
But in the case of “World Tour,” you’re just playing “Super Mario Bros.” levels. No data is being pulled; the internet connection requirement is solely a measure of verifying your purchase. To Nintendo’s credit, Miyamoto told Mashable, “This is something that we want to continue to work on as we continue to develop the game,” in reference to freeing “World Tour” mode from an online requirement.
Piracy is a major concern for Nintendo, and the Japanese game giant has been fiercely protective of its characters, but this policy usually doesn’t affect people who legally purchased its games.