Super Mario on iPhone: Sonic, Pac-Man and other nostalgic games already on your smartphone

Super Mario will be jumping onto Apple's App Store in December.
Super Mario will be jumping onto Apple's App Store in December.PHOTO: REUTERS

Yes, Super Mario is still around, and he's coming to your iPhone in December.

The iconic Nintendo video game character has been collecting coins and jumping on heads for more than 30 years. Super Mario remains one of the industry's most enduring icons, with a string of well-received and top-selling games, even as he evokes feelings of childhood nostalgia for many.

But you don't have to wait till December for a dose of nostalgia. Many games and characters from decades ago have found new homes on smartphones.

Sonic the Hedgehog

A screenshot from Sonic The Hedgehog's App Store page. PHOTO: SEGA/APPLE

Mario's fierce rival in the 1990s, Sonic the Hedgehog has fallen by the wayside somewhat as his newest outings dipped in quality.

But his classic games are available right now on both iOS and Android, with the caveat that controlling them with a touchscreen might be a bit tricky.

1991's Sonic The Hedgehog and sequel Sonic The Hedgehog 2, released the next year, are on both platforms, for $4.48 each on iOS, and for $4.14 for the first game and $3.73 for the second on Android. A 1993 spin-off, Sonic CD, is on iOS for $4.48.

The games boast enhancements like new stages and visuals optimised for today's displays.

The spiky blue hedgehog with a need for speed also stars in a host of modern, 3D games also on smartphones, like the endless runner Sonic Dash.


The yellow dot gobbler that sucked up countless hours in arcades in the 80s is still at it today.

Navigating Pac-Man around mazes lends itself well to the swipes of a touchscreen, which could be why, amid a number of spin-offs, there are at least three solid options for a Pac-Man fix on smartphones.

The first is the original Pac-Man that comes with the classic maze and six new ones. There are free versions with in-app purchases on both iOS and Android, and a full paid version for $6.98 on iOS.

A more modern take is Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, first released on consoles in 2010. Lauded by critics, it adds on new modes, elements and courses to create something "insanely addicting", one review said. It is on both iOS ($6.98) and Android ($7.08).

The most recent is Pac-Man 256, where Pac-Man's maze has been turned on its side and he has to keep moving while dodging ghosts as a "glitch" eats up the area behind him. The popular mobile title is on both iOS and Android for free, with in-app purchases.

Western Bar

Screenshots from the Western Bar - Pro App Store page. PHOTOS: PENG-HUA YANG/APPLE

Casio's Western Bar was big in the 1980s as a flip-top handheld LCD game that saw the player moving around the titular bar, shooting plates and mugs, and even getting into a one-on-one showdown with another gunslinger.

Modern versions on mobile may not quite have the charm of the old LCDs but serve as compelling replicas nonetheless. Western Bar - Pro on iOS sells for $4.48, while Western Bar on Android is free.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft has been raiding tombs for two decades now, and her first two adventures, originally released in 1996 and 1997, can be played in their boxy glory on the go.

Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider II are both $1.48 on iOS and Android - but come with a lot of on-screen buttons that could get in the way of smooth action.

She also stars in a proper mobile adaptation called Lara Croft GO, available on both iOS and Android for $6.98. It is a turn-based puzzle game that aims to capture the spirit of the originals, and was named Apple's iPhone game of the year in 2015.

Grand Theft Auto

Screenshots from the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas App Store page. PHOTOS: ROCKSTAR GAMES/APPLE

The Grand Theft Auto games were havens of freedom in which crime and violence take centre stage.

GTA3 and its two sequels on the PlayStation 2 were lauded for letting the player roam anywhere they wanted and drew the attention of many adults, not to mention minors lucky enough to get their hands on them.

They once impressed with their lifelike depictions of sprawling cities.

These days, GTA3, Vice City and San Andreas fit in the palm of your hand. All are on iOS ($16.98 for a bundle) and Android (3, Vice City, San Andreas).