Nintendo Should Make a Pokémon Game for iOS

It’ll be super effective!
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Nintendo, this could be your future (Reuters)

Nintendo is a company in trouble. Last week, it warned investors to expect a massive loss for this financial year. Its share price tumbled.

The loss was no aberration. Since January 2009, Nintendo stock has lost 65 percent of its value. Things are only getting worse: At Kotaku, the writer Stephen Totilo has declared 2014 the company’s toughest year ever.

That might be the case.

I, however, have a solution that will save the company if not the world economy. It is:

Nintendo should port old Pokémon games to iOS.

Why should they do this? Because it will be great. But also: Because everyone will buy it.

Critics may allege that this is not a particularly original notion.

Making smartphone versions of its games “is the move the company gets asked about all the time,” writes Totilo. “[It] repeatedly waves [the idea] off since it would be seen as an abandoning of company philosophy that it can only make the best games if it has also made hardware it can tailor for those games.”

Note that Totilo here is talking about any old Nintendo game. Legend of Zelda, MarioKart, Ice Climber. Nintendo can do whatever it wants with those games. I am not talking about any old game. To port those games would clearly be an abandonment of company philosophy, which apparently should not be broken even when every former Game Boy owner carries a very similar device with them all the time, which differs from a Game Boy chiefly in that it is a better computer and is connected to a credit card. 

But Nintendo shouldn’t do that. I am proposing that they they break their company philosophy only with Pokémon games. 

Now, other critics may allege that I know nothing of the economics of video games. I have labored in the comments of no Microsoft live blogs, have with moist palms awaited few Sony investor reports.

I know, however, that one way video game makers make money is to sell a lot of video games. And I know for sure something that will sell a lot of video games: A Pokémon game that has been made for iOS. So Nintendo should make it. 

Earlier, I indicated that every Millennial will buy Pokémon for iOS. This was fallacious. Everyone will buy Pokémon for iOS. Even people without iPhones will buy them, probably. 

A whole new culture will grow around Pokémon for iOS. Imagine: Millennials, astride the toilet and bored, will flip mindlessly through the App Store, see the Pokémon games, and purchase them, with their Game Boy-like pocket computers that have an Internet connection everywhere and an attached credit card number. The sorry Millennials will have no choice.

It is virtually assured, this culture of iPokémon: Twentysomethings, their hair fashionably lopsided, will wear t-shirts that say in big letters KETCHUM SAYS RELAX. Studio apartments in every city—normally bare, or decorated only with applications for student debt relief—will be bedecked instead with maps of Cerulean City, Cinnabar Island, and the Unknown Dungeon. Bulbapedia will be the world’s most-visited website, narrowly edging out the New York Times’s dialect quiz.

Handsome men, entombed in chambray and sipping IPAs, will speak only of Jigglypuff.

And Nintendo will be profitable. Because they will have made Pokémon games for iOS. But please also Nintendo if you are listening you should only do this with Red and Blue, or maybe Gold and Silver. There were too many new Pokémon in the other one. I don’t even remember their names. Nobody’ll buy those.

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Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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