Grab your diary. Turn to 15 December (it’ll be towards the back) and draw a big fat mushroom/green pipe/your best Mario face.
Nintendo has revealed that Super Mario Run – a super slick mobile platformer you can play with one hand revealed during Apple’s major September event – will touch down on iPhones and iPads on Thursday 15 December for £8. You can watch it in action below.
“What?! EIGHT QUID?!”
Yep, and that’s actually a really good thing.
For many years, Nintendo was reluctant to get involved in the mobile gaming marketplace, the logic being that apps don’t always make money, and that if gamers wanted to play Nintendo titles on the move, they could buy the handheld 3DS. Then in 2015, following sluggish profits and woeful sales of the Wii U console, Nintendo finally decided it would give apps a go.
Their first effort was… weird. Really weird. Miitomo wasn’t a ‘game’, but a “communication application that helps friends share fun personal facts and interests”. It wasn’t the retro gaming experience we’d hoped for.
The next piece of Nintendo property in the app space knocked it out of the park: Pokémon GO became something of a mobile phenomena, breaking records for fun. While the game was free, it made monthly revenues of $292 million via in-game purchases – though it’s not been revealed how much Nintendo itself makes from the game.
Part of Pokémon GO’s huge success was its ability to implement in-game purchases without pissing off its central user base: to monetise an app, many games can irritate its players by slowing down game progression or limiting features to those who are willing to pay regular lumps of cash.
By offering the full Super Mario Run game to players for £8, Nintendo is being very shrewd. You’ll be able to play the core experience of the game (making Mario jump over obstacles, collect coins and set a high score) for free, allowing those with a passing interest in playing a Mario platformer on their phone to dip in for fun.
If you find you love it, Nintendo is then offering you the full experience for a one off lump of £8 – much more than you’d spend on your average app, but Nintendo is promising to take apps seriously. This will be a proper game, with proper achievements and – should enough people sign up (they will) – a proper community to play against. These two options of free-but-limited and one-off-payment is the best way of making everyone happy, and not constantly bombarding you with payment requests.
We’ll be comparing high scores with you come 16 December. You can get more news on the app here.
06:30 - Wake Up
Free (iTunes, Android Market)
The alarm clock is a necessary evil. No matter how soothing the wake-up music, there are times when it might as well be an avian Luftwaffe of Messerschmitt-faced ravens pecking at your eardrums. If you live in London you’ll forgive Tube Alarm for waking you, though, as it does it so intelligently. The app receives Transport For London updates, and thus wakes you earlier when there are delays occurring to your line, and allows a lie-in when the Tube is running smoothly. Simply set your three favourite Tube lines, how much earlier you want to be woken (eg 10 minutes for minor delays, 30 minutes for severe delays) and you need never queue outside a taxi office again.
07:00 - Go For A Run
Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro
£2.49 (iTunes), £2.57 (Android Market), £2.45 (BlackBerry App World)
There is a vast number of running apps available, but Endomondo breasts the tape by virtue of its accompanying website, which records every stride taken and calorie burned. Friends can follow your progress live and — here’s the best bit — send inspirational (or goading) messages. These are delivered to you instantly and read out by an automated dominatrix who sounds like Rosa Klebb. A terrifying, but successful, way to bust a gut.
07:30 - Make Breakfast
The Perfect Egg Timer
£1.49 (iTunes), £1.16 (Android Market)
According to Ogilvy & Mather’s iconic TV ad, everyone should ‘go to work on an egg’. We’ve tried it and, well, what a nightmare — they don’t even have handlebars. Eggs, however, do make a nutritious breakfast, and this app will help you boil them to perfection. Set the diameter and temperature of the egg, your altitude (water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitude) and the desired runny-ness of the yoke. The app then calculates the boiling time to the precise second.
08:30 - Commute To Work
Commuting to work is a good time to focus your thoughts for the day. Gesture Notes allows you to create lists in multiple formats, including text, photos and voice memos. But what sets it apart from the competition is the revolutionary ‘motion gesture’ recall function. It assigns a gesture to each list. For example: shake the iPhone to bring up a list on a new project; flick the iPhone to access a list of things you need to ask your boss.
10:30 - Meet A New Client
SpeechTrans Ultimate is a contender for Best App Ever Made. A game-changing translator that eliminates language barriers, it enables you to do business in 14 languages including German, French, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin and Arabic. Its ‘bi-directional’ speech recognition and translation works like this: speak into the phone (for up to 55 seconds) and the app instantly translates your speech into the desired language, reading it aloud in a realistic human voice. The other person can reply — and their speech is read back to you in English. It’s incredibly accurate (SpeechTrans claims to recognise 95 per cent of speech correctly) and effectively means you are now multilingual and able to do business almost anywhere in the world. Now, about that pay rise…
- Includes 400 translations free, with a subsequent charge of £6.10 per 500
12:30 - Grab A Sandwich For Lunch
Free (Requires a Samsung Tocco smartphone on Orange)
QuickTap is the UK’s first contactless mobile payment app. It turns your smartphone into an electronic wallet, enabling you to pay for goods up to the value of £15 by swiping your mobile on a contact point. It aims to eliminate the need to carry small amounts of cash — and speeds up the daily sandwich dash. The app requires a Barclaycard account and a Samsung Tocco on Orange. Although the tech is embryonic, there are already 50,000 locations ‘live’ across the UK, including lunchtime staples Pret A Manger, Eat and Subway. Purchase your chicken club sandwich and swipe your phone on the reader. Saunter back to the office leaving the other customers to fumble with change or tap their fingers while waiting for Chip & Pin…
13:00 - Turn A Whiteboard Brainstorm Into A PDF
After two or three hours of arduous brainstorming, the average boardroom whiteboard will be a spent mess of spider diagrams and scribbles. At this point some poor soul will be nominated to turn that mess into a shiny presentation. Pocket Scanner is the perfect tool for the job. Take multiple snaps with the iPhone’s camera, crop and edit, before compiling everything into a PDF to be emailed around. Naturally, though, it’s all a waste of time anyway — your idea was the best and anyone who doesn’t see that is an ignorant nuisance.
15:00 - Rehearse A Presentation
Ah, the company-wide presentation. Employees from every department join forces to create one seamless production — each secretly hoping that their rivals choke to death at lunch. The beauty of Rehearsal 2 is that, as the name suggests, it allows one person to upload a presentation script, highlight their sections, and perform a last-minute rehearsal alone. The app reads out colleagues’ parts, allowing you to practise in peace and accurately time the whole thing.
17:00 - Present To The Boss
Teleprompt+ For iPad
Whether it’s David Cameron addressing a party conference or Steve Jobs delivering a keynote, their speeches are delivered with timing, precision and sincerity. The secret? That drug from Limitless? No, teleprompters. Teleprompt+ turns the iPad into a sophisticated teleprompter, enabling you to confidently deliver pitches without having to memorise the words. Simply import the text and set the scrolling speed. Oh, and do a test run. Google ‘Sam Fox Mick Fleetwood Brits disaster 1989’ if you want to know why.
18:30 - Eat Dinner With Your Girlfriend
Free (iTunes, Android Market, BlackBerry App World, Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, Nokia, webOS)
Have you heard about that amazing free app that tells you which restaurants are nearby? That’s right, it’s called… your eyes. But to be fair, they cannot distinguish which restaurants have tables free and which are full until 10pm. Open Table is similar to other restaurant guides, but also displays which have tables available and at what time. Scroll through a list of reservation options and convert one to a booking with a few taps of your finger.
19:30 - Work Out Tomorrow's Workout
We generally shy away from the phrase ‘utterly brilliant’, as it conjures thoughts of polka dots and foam mallets. But this app is more than worthy of such acclaim. It can tell you how many calories are in the plate of food you photograph. Sure, it’s a rough figure, but nevertheless, it’s clever. The app correctly identified carrots (just from the leftover tops) and a lamb burger, before suggesting we burn off 720 calories. Of course, it can be fooled — it couldn’t, say, sniff out a slice of foie gras concealed under a Chinese leaf. Yet.
19:45 - Catch The Big Game
That Premier League crunch match is kicking off any second now, and time is of the essence. FootiePubs (‘Keeping your eyes on the ball’) can guide you from a wilderness of shimmering cocktail bars and TV-less gastrodomes to a pub showing the football in mere minutes. See that little pint logo in the corner of the screen? They actually paid for it — you don’t even have to feel guilty! Trebles all round. Although, not for you Fergie — not unless Messi snaps both his legs off.
21:45 - Travel Home
Free (iTunes, Android Market, BlackBerry App World)
With so much grown-up, important stuff to remember, it’s easy to forget to pick up the little essentials: milk, tea, gin, Nik Naks and so on. ReQall relieves your memory of these mundane duties, leaving you to focus on the bigger picture. Construct a list of the things you need, speak or type these items into your phone, and ReQall will remind you at the precise moment you’re passing the relevant shop via GPS. A bit like writing on your hand in Biro.
23:00 - Map The Stars Before Bed
If, like us, your celestial knowledge extends no further than Coco Pops Moons & Stars, then Starmap Pro will enable you to beguile your girlfriend with eloquent talk of the solar system. The app has a catalogue of 2.5 million stars — with detailed information on 9,000 of those. Glide and zoom through galaxies, selecting objects that interest you (or have romantic names), then switch the iPhone to nightvision mode and head outside. Starmap Pro will use GPS to help you locate your selections.