5 Classic Game Franchises That Should Be Mobile Games

Brandon Marcus
Games Nintendo
Games Nintendo Super Mario

As you’ve surely heard by now, Mario is coming to iOS (and eventually Android). At Apple’s event in September, Nintendo made a surprise announcement to reveal Super Mario Run for iOS. This brings up to a good question: what other iconic video game franchises should make the leap to mobile gaming? We aren’t talking direct ports here. Like Super Mario Run, we are examining old games and looking at how they might be configured for modern smartphones.

Which games would take to touchscreen controls and short playtimes? What franchise needs a little boost after years on the back burner? Which titles can be tinkered with just enough to fit modern gaming needs? If we had our way, these classics would be available in your app store soon.



We have all played Punch-Out!! All of us. We have all played — and been conquered — many times by this classic NES game. It’s so iconic and so relevant even today that I’m shocked it has never made its way to smartphones. In many ways, the game is perfectly crafted for mobile gaming. Imagine the ferocity of the original game with much-improved graphics, new fighters, and touchscreen controls. It would take some getting used to, but tapping the screen for each punch instead of mashing a button just makes sense. The good news: it’d be way more intuitive. The bad news: you’ll still suck.

Punch-Out!! is one of the most beloved and challenging games of all time, so it’s about time it made a resurgence. Nintendo has released various versions of the game for arcades, the NES, Wii, and 3DS. The company has an opportunity to introduce this gem to a brand new generation of gamers.

But if they did release a mobile game, it better not be any easier. Kids these days should know the pain of being repeatedly knocked out without mercy.

Earthworm Jim


In a just world, Earthworm Jim would still be one of the biggest franchises around. The first game, released on Sega Genesis in 1994, was unlike anything else at the time. Sure, it was a side-scrolling shooter, but it was so inventive and brilliantly odd. You played as a gun-toting earthworm who had a tendency to catapult cows into the air. This wasn’t your average game.

Sadly, the series didn’t stick around as long as it deserved to. It had several sequels but mostly faded away along with the Genesis. Years ago, there was talk of a long-awaited sequel, but nothing came of it. So, here’s an idea: Earthworm Jim on your phone. It could still be a shooter, just with upgraded graphics and gameplay. The most important thing is that the spirit and attitude of Earthworm Jim would stay intact.

We miss these games, and we want them back. Heck, we’ll even take a straight-up port if we have to, but it feels like Jim would thrive with a new series for mobile devices.



Picture this: Yoshi as a digital pet. We all loved Tamagotchis back in the day, and have toyed around with other charming buggers on our phones. Why haven’t pet-raising simulations taken off on smartphones? Probably because no pet can be as cute as Yoshi. If Nintendo were to release a Yoshi app on phones, it would fly off digital shelves.

Imagine downloading the app and receiving your polka-dotted egg ready to hatch. You tend to it and then — ta-da! — you have your own baby Yoshi. Raise him, play with him, teach him how to lick things and dance and be the adorable dinosaur he is. Maybe you can raise different colored Yoshis or even be granted the coveted yarn Yoshi. This idea is filled with possibilities.

Yoshi has appeared in multiple memorable games, but if Nintendo really wants to take the world by storm the way Pokémon Go did, they should allow you to raise Yoshi as your own.

Crash Bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot

When was the last time you played Crash Bandicoot? I’ll tell you when: a long time ago. While the character returned to consoles this month as a playable guest character in Skylander: Imaginators, it’s time he pops up on your phone too. The thing that’s so convenient about Crash is how easily he’d fit into the incredibly popular endless runner genre. Many of the original Crash games felt like endless runners anyway. You would race forward, leaping over crevasses, spikes, and various other obstacles. In many ways, Crash was a pioneer of the style.

With the series already being remastered for the current generation, Naughty Dog would be smart to bring the madness that is the Crash Bandicoot franchise to smartphones. Show endless runners how it’s really done.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

Here’s another no-brainer that makes perfect sense on phones. Those ridiculously addictive Fruit Ninja games consist of you slashing fruit before they fall out of frame. It requires good timing and good aim. When playing these games, I was always reminded of Donkey Kong. Maybe it was because of graphics that resembled DK’s aesthetic or maybe it was the fact that you cut up a lot of bananas and that lovable ape enjoys eating them. Whatever the reason, I always equated Fruit Ninja with Donkey Kong and felt he should get his own pseudo spin-off. Maybe you’re smashing barrels instead of fruit. Maybe it’s a rhythm game like the underrated Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. Or maybe there’s another way to utilize touchscreen controls for DK. Like the other games, Donkey Kong would fit right in on smartphones.

Brandon Marcus
A pop culture lover from birth, Brandon has previously written for VeryAware.com, NerdBastards.com, Trouble.city and CHUD.com. He has complained extensively about inconsequential things on all those sites. Brandon resides in the Pacific Northwest but his heart belongs to Gotham City.
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