Shigeru Miyamoto on Super Mario Run: 'We're not just making a simple or easy Mario game'

The legendary designer discussed Nintendo's approach to designing a Mario game for mobile platforms from the ground up, and if players can expect to play old-school platformers on mobile. 


Design rock star Shigeru Miyamoto caught up with GameSpot to discuss today's announcement of Super Mario Run, due to hit iOS (and maybe Android) later this year.

Like previous Nintendo outings on mobile, Super Mario Run has been a collaborative effort with DeNA. The game offers a little bit of the Mario you know and some elements that should be familiar to anyone who's played Temple Run or its ilk: you'll collect coins, hop hurdles, and probably rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, all without the context of the endless-runner formula so prolific on iPhone and Android devices.

"There are a lot of techniques in the game that you can use, and the better you get at mastering those techniques, the better you'll perform in the game," Miyamoto explained. For instance, tapping your screen makes Mario jump, while pressing and holding makes him jump higher.

Miyamoto has been intimately involved in designing Super Mario Run. He has been "working on it every day with [Takashi] Tezuka-san and the main members on the team," he said. (Takashi Tezuka has been designing Mario games since 1985's Super Mario Bros. for NES; he also co-directed Nintendo's debut Legend of Zelda title alongside Miyamoto.)

Together with Tezuka and with input from DeNA, Miyamoto has focused on tailoring Super Mario Run to the strengths of touchscreens. Casual players will have fun, and so will players looking for (close to) a traditional Mario experience. "With Mario games, what's important is that they always be simple to understand, easy to know what to do. So this time we're really paying attention to that and making it one that you can play one-handed while still retaining the core essence of what makes a Mario game a Mario game."

Super Mario Run is a direct result of Nintendo's adamant decision to forego porting existing Mario platforms—such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World—to touch-based devices, an input modality ill-suited to precision and split-second reactions. "I don't think we'll take the past Mario games that we've made and just move them over to a mobile platform."

Instead, Nintendo will continue to adopt its pillars-oriented business strategy of supporting multiple platforms, such as consoles and handhelds, by creating experiences built for unique hardware. Miyamoto pointed to Pokemon Go as an experience engineered for AR devices like the iPhone. "So from our perspective what we're really doing is looking at continuing to find new opportunities to bring our characters to as broad of an audience as possible, and that's why we're moving onto things like the mobile devices."

As for the next iteration of traditional Super Mario games, Nintendo's working on those as well. The company's NX console will launch in March 2017, and Nintendo aims to release new Mario, Pokemon, and Zelda titles within six months of launch.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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