Nintendo’s Miyamoto on Why Super Mario Run Came to iPhone First

We’ve seen game developers take to the stage at Apple’s media events, but seeing Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo marketing manager Bill Trinen on stage yesterday was a huge surprise. And the timing of the unveiling of the Mario-themed runner game for iOS was just perfect. Time sat down with Miyamoto to talk about the game and much more.

Super mario run

For those who didn’t watch the event yesterday, Super Mario Run is a game that you can play one-handed. Mario runs automatically to the right, and you need to help him navigate past obstacles. It includes three discrete game modes: straightforward courses, “Toad Rally”, in which you compete against others, and a third that allows you to “create your own Mushroom Kingdom” using the coins you’ve collected in the previous two modes.

When asked what differentiates Super Mario Run from other mobile runner games, Miyamoto said:

So the basic premise this time was, we started by wanting to make a Mario game that you play one-handed. And if you think about Mario games up until now, generally Mario games are very simple and anyone can play them. But as you get deeper into the mechanics it gets more challenging. For some people, they have a hard time running, using the ‘B’ button to dash, or jumping while trying to run and dash at the same time. So the approach we took was, “How can we take that essence of the simplicity of Mario and bring it to mobile devices?” And that meant thinking about a game that would run automatically, on its own, but where there’s still the challenge of jumping and things like that, that are uniquely Mario.

When asked why Nintendo chose the iPhone as the first device on which to launch the game, he commented:

Of course there are other mobile devices we’ll be bringing the game to later. But with the Apple devices, their hardware design is such that there’s not much you have to do from a compatibility standpoint across multiple different devices. It’s very streamlined. And I think just from a philosophical standpoint, there are elements of their design that are similar to ours. So that’s why we’re bringing it to iPhone first.

Speaking about future plans, Miyamoto said that while Nintendo initially expected to launch about five apps by the end of this fiscal year, general market conditions and the development process has interfered with their plans, and the new target is a total of four mobile titles.

You can read the full interview on Time.