"60 Mario and friends" Soars. What's Wrong With This Picture?

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on February 11th, 2010

Like most App Store addicts, I browse the Top 100 lists from time to time. The top 10 spots are usually filled with games like Doodle Jump, Pocket God, Bejeweled, and whatever other big-name apps have hit recently. That makes sense. I can even understand things like The Moron Test and SpinArt being popular. The whims of the masses are ever-changing, after all.

But what the heck is up with "60 Mario and friends"?

60 Mario and friends (the poor capitalization is not mine, thank you) from Isayonline is nothing more than a soundboard app—it plays sounds from old Nintendo games. Super Mario Bros, Mario 64, Street Fighter, Zelda, and Donkey Kong game sounds are all present. Now, I consider myself a Nintendo fan, and I love these games. But there's something wrong with a simple soundboard app claiming the #2 spot on the top paid charts. First of all, this is a blatant case of copyright infringement. We've seen excellent, original games like EDGE and Stoneloops of Jurassica pulled from the App Store for supposed infringement, so how did 60 Mario and friends get through? It uses images of Nintendo's characters and sounds from Nintendo games; it doesn't get more obvious than this.

Secondly, the app has a two-star rating, and not because people are unsatisfied with the sounds—but because they thought they could have classic Nintendo games on their iPods and iPhones for a buck. Wait. What? The app is called "60 Mario and friends," and it's in the Games category, but it's obvious if you read the description that it's just a soundboard app. I suppose that literacy is too much to expect these days. If you can't read a few sentences, I don't think you should have the right to complain about losing a buck. Besides, Nintendo won't be releasing their games on the App Store anytime soon, not when the iPhone/iPod family is starting to compete with the DS/DSi.

As I said, I'm a Nintendo fan through and through, and I'm hardly alone. 60 Mario and friends simply milks our nostalgia for some great games. But Isayonline is profiting from something that they didn't create. There's nothing wrong with wanting to grab some classic sound clips, but let's not reward Isayonline for packaging stolen content—or Apple for letting it through.