With Nintendo poised to enter the smartphone gaming market - a move that it doggedly resisted for ages, while pundits and fans tore their hair out in frustration - a whole new audience may be about to experience Mario for the first time on their iPhones.
Details are slim on what Nintendo is planning for its first foray into smartphone app development, but the gaming giant has announced the first of these titles will be released this year, aiming to have four more in the market before the end of 2017.
Whether or not they'll be brand spanking new titles or ports of earlier released games isn't clear at this stage. But if Nintendo isn't planning to dish up some mobile ports of at least some of its older titles, it's missing a trick. There are loads of DS games that would fit the bill for starters - observe...
Hotel Dusk: Room 215
Hotel Dusk comes on like the love child of Raymond Chandler and David Lynch. Players take on the role of an ex-cop turned door-to-door salesman who finds himself in a rundown motel near LA, ostensibly to meet his old partner. Things quickly go sideways from there as it turns out there's a room in the hotel that grants wishes to whomever sleeps in it, and a crime syndicate happens to be very interested in it. Cing's point and click adventure is massive, filled with quirky characters, intriguing puzzles and shot through with the atmosphere of a hard boiled detective thriller. Playing it is like settling down with a rich and engrossing novel for an afternoon. A novel written by Jim Thompson. On mescaline.
Professor Layton & The Curious Village
Really, you could pick any one of the Professor Layton puzzle compendiums to port to a smartphone and they'd probably clean up in terms of sales. Puzzles in these games range from insultingly easy to eye-wateringly hard, but the stories that surround them are compelling enough for players to keep trying in order to open up the next stage of the narrative. Such is the popularity of Professor Layton, this series has spawned seven games, manga spin-offs and the titular character was even paired up with gaming lawyer Phoenix Wright in his last outing. Perfect for commutes of any length. Just pray your battery survives.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
Speaking of Capcom's anime courtroom battle series, Phoenix Wright is ripe for brand new smartphone adventure (following August 2014's fairly straight DS ports). Not just because the touchscreen controls translate so well, either. It's filled with colourful characters, decent plotlines and you actually have to pay attention and use your grey matter to be successful at it. It also has you playing protagonist sticking up for the downtrodden little guy, which, after a day of being yelled at at work, may be just the decompression on the way home you need. Some new phone camera features (perhaps using facial recognition to gauge the intent of your courtroom statements) could bring greater depth to an already-great series.
Admittedly, this is a bit of a fringe title, but we'd like to see it ported anyway - if just to give the smartphone crowd a taste of the craftsmanship involved in it. Made by Platinum Games - the developer behind bonkers offerings such as Bayonetta, MadWorld and Vanquish - Infinite Space allows players to build, crew and customise their own ships and then explore vast galaxies. Players can follow the game's involved plot or batter each other over a WiFi connection. Price this baby properly and its sales may even outstrip the original DS game's release - which wouldn't be hard as it barely cracked 40K in its native Japan.
Perhaps the most dangerous offering ever wrapped in cute graphics, Animal Crossing isn't so much a game as it is an obligation. Set in a town where players are tasked with exploring, collecting, building and taking part in activities, Animal Crossing creates a vast social network that allows players to visit one another creations. Furthermore, the game guilts you if you ever neglect it. Simple to play and utterly addictive, the Animal Crossing games are basically digital crack. It would take the likes of Triple Town out back and cap it, and the thought of Facebook or Twitter integration could take it to an even wider audience than it already enjoys.