Mario’s 35th anniversary was an underwhelming experience for many gamers. Not only did Nintendo celebrate with a collection of mostly unenhanced ports and an unexpected battle royale release – they did so with the anticipation of completely removing access to them on March 31, 2021. That day is today, and fans aren’t exactly happy about the fact that such the typically well-respected company is making such a groundless choice.
Last year’s release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario Bros. 35 marked a frustrating moment for long-time Nintendo enthusiasts. The former brought together some of the Italian plumber’s most beloved 3D entries – Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy – into a single package, but the ports were upscaled but not otherwise improved upon, serving to shine a light on the games’ ages more than anything else. Even worse, the entire package felt thrown together with little fanfare, a point made more discouraging when considering its cost of $59.99. This didn’t stop the game from selling well, of course, but few would argue Nintendo could’ve done so much more for such a major anniversary.
Meanwhile, Super Mario Bros. 35 introduced the world to a bizarre 35-player battle royale experience that took place on reworked levels from the 1985 NES original Super Mario Bros. It was an intriguing concept that Nintendo capitalized on very well to bring a sense of nostalgia to a modern genre that has been taking over the world recently. And being a free digital-only release, the compelling elimination-based title has enjoyed solid success on the Switch e-shop – until today anyways.
For reasons still not explained, the release of these two celebratory games were given expiration dates of March 31, 2021, and Nintendo has made clear both will disappear from official channels forever as of April 1. This means Super Mario Bros. 35 will no longer be available for download, and surprisingly, its servers will also shut down and make the game entirely unplayable. Super Mario 3D All-Stars will cease sale on the e-shop and will no longer be restocked at retailers.
This has sparked quite a controversy, especially over on Twitter, where confounded gamers all around the globe are coming together to declare today the day Mario is executed. Not only are players of Super Mario Bros 35. losing permanent access to a game they may have invested hundreds of hours into, but everyone is aware that ceasing sales will inevitably drive up pre-owned purchases of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, too, making it prohibitively expensive for many people who didn’t get a chance to snag it prior to retailers running out of stock.
It’s an all-around disappointing event that hasn’t done Nintendo any favors in the public eye, but the company has opted not to comment further on the matter. It’s hard to imagine what point there really is to ending production of the games, though. Even with the mediocre reception of the ports, Super Mario 3D All-Stars managed to become the 10th best-selling game of 2020 by moving a total of 8.32 million copies. What does Nintendo have to gain from ceasing production and sale of a profitable title? We may never know.
You have merely hours to get your hands on Super Mario 3D All-Stars on the e-shop before it is delisted, and the game is selling out at retailers rather quickly already. It’ll likely only be only a matter of days before stock is fully sold out everywhere and second-hand prices begin to skyrocket. And if you’ve enjoyed Super Mario Bros 35., you may want to spend a few hours playing it today before it, too, is gone forever.