Super Mario Run, Nintendo’s first mobile Mario Bros. game, released seven days ago (our review here) and has already been downloaded at least 40 million times. Not every one of those downloaders purchased the full version of the game for a one-time fee of $9.99, which gives unlimited access to all levels and lets you unlock two of the six characters you’d otherwise be unable to play. Some people — who have apparently become far too accustomed to the highway robbery that is micro-transaction gaming — have been bellyaching about having to pay ten bucks for a game. Because it’s soooo unfair how we have to pay for things that cost money to produce.
But what if Super Mario Run were a micro-transaction game instead? What would that look like? Hot garbage.
Pocket Gamer theorized what Super Mario Run would look like if it were a killjoy experiment in behavioral economics — er, a “free-to-play” game, we mean. Now instead of paying ten bucks one time and never getting shaken down for cash again, this version of Super Mario Run constantly halts to nickle and dime you via in-app purchases in exchange for basic functionality.
Now you have to hit up Facebook friends for energy and grind the first level over and over if you don’t want to pay for the next level: