Spoiler alert: the answer is “it would look awful.”
When Super Mario Run hit the App Store on December 15, it was quickly flooded with reviews by salty iPhone users who were furious that Nintendo actually wanted to charge for a game. Maybe they assume that developing games doesn’t cost any money, or maybe they are just ignorant trolls. We’re not exactly sure. The point is, Nintendo had already announced that the first Mario game for iOS would not be a freemium game (a game that is free to download, but has pricey microtransactions to help you win or add new power ups). Instead, they were giving gamers a free demo (the first three levels) and then charging to unlock the full game. One payment, one time, for the whole game — a game with no ads and no future pop-ups begging you to buy coins/gems/stars/energy/etc. for the low price of just $4.99.
We felt it was a refreshing shift away from the model used by many of the most profitable games in the App Store, like Candy Crush, Subway Surfer, or Clash of Clans (to name a few). Entitled gamers apparently disagreed, bombarding Super Mario Run with negative reviews that reportedly actually caused Nintendo stock to drop. As we write this, the game sits with just a two-star (out of five) rating in Apple’s digital marketplace.
Pocket Gamer went ahead and imagined what Super Mario Run would look like had Nintendo decided to make the entire game under the freemium model. Honestly, it looks terrible. Check out these fake screenshots.
Thankfully, Nintendo knows more about making and selling games than the angry gamers who apparently expected to get an entire Super Mario game for free.
You can check out the rest of the fake screenshots here, but mostly you should just be thankful that Nintendo likes to do their own thing. Super Mario Run is a fun game, with plenty of replay value. While some have a valid gripe that the game requires an always-on internet connection, we still think it’s worth the money. Good games aren’t often free, after all.