Opinion: As Nintendo ponders iOS, it’s time for Mac console game emulators to shine

mariogalaxyemu

When Nintendo announced last week that it will collaborate with DeNA to release iPhone and iPad games, gamers split into two camps: people intrigued by the promise of brand new Nintendo titles designed for mobile devices, and others — including myself — who expect Nintendo to release shallow mobile minigames, mostly to promote console titles. Nintendo hasn’t actually committed to bringing the Super Mario games people love into the App Store; instead, it’s saying only that its characters will appear in new titles that won’t require complex controls. The implication is that only Nintendo consoles are capable of playing Nintendo’s console games.

I disagree with that. For years, Macs and PCs have been able to run thousands of classic console and arcade games, including Nintendo’s best-known titles, using emulators. These free programs let discontinued, often HDTV-incompatible games play on computers — in many cases, with noticeably better graphics than you remember. Freed from the fuzzy, low-contrast televisions people used to own, classic games can look pixel-sharp on Retina displays, and some emulators actually improve the edges and textures of 3-D objects. Nintendo may not want you to play its prior console games on your favorite Apple device’s screen, but thanks to emulators, it’s possible today. The picture above? That’s Super Mario Galaxy, running on a Retina MacBook Pro…

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Opinion: Don’t hold your breath for real Nintendo games on your iPhone or iPad

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My feelings for Nintendo are complicated. I’ve loved its games ever since the original Donkey Kong, owned every Nintendo console (including the Virtual Boy), and recommended the Wii U as the best game console for families and kids. But if I was mildly displeased with Nintendo as a company during its haughtiest years — the time when most of its key third-party developers walked away — I’m downright angry with it today. At a press conference in Japan this morning, Nintendo announced its second collaboration with a mobile game publisher in two months, the headline from which was what millions of people have been waiting years to read:

“Nintendo to start making iPhone games, including first-party IP like Mario.”

Sure, the official Nintendo press release actually says “smart devices” including phones and tablets, but iPhones and iPads are a safe bet. The press release also says “gaming applications” rather than games, but a press release from Nintendo’s new mobile partner DeNA confirms that the companies will indeed produce mobile games together. Just think about it: Super Mario World on the iPad! Donkey Kong Country on the iPhone! That’s just what everyone has wanted! But there’s a catch…

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Nielsen: Your kid wants an iOS device for Christmas, don’t mess it up

Nielsen is out today with the results of a new study to gauge interest in buying mobile devices and gaming consoles leading into the holidays in the United States. Much like last year, Apple’s iOS devices remain among the highest ranking with kids ages 6 to 12, while the iPhone and iPad also get top spots in the 13+ category.

As you can see from Nielsen’s charts above and below, the full-sized, 9.7-inch iPad gets the top spot in both categories with 48 percent in the 6 to 12 age group (up from 44 percent last year) and 21 percent in the 13+ group. As for the iPad mini, it was less desirable among kids, coming in at 36 percent for kids ages 6 to 12, just behind the Nintendo Wii U and iPod touch in second and third positions.

Approximately half the children surveyed expressed interest in the full-sized iPad (up from 44% last year), and 36 percent in the new iPad Mini. The iPod Touch and iPhone are also coveted devices among these young consumers (36% and 33%, respectively).  Kids are also likely to ask for dedicated gaming hardware this holiday, with 39 percent excited to own Nintendo’s just-released console offering, Wii U, and 29 percent indicating they want a device from that company’s portable DS family.

While game consoles dominated the top spots when Apple devices didn’t, the 13+ age group showed interest in non-iPad tablets with 18 percent of the group interested in buying over the next 6 months. Mobile devices from Microsoft, Amazon, and Samsung didn’t do as well, coming in at under 20 percent for both groups and 6 percent and under for the Surface: Read more