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Nintendo’s online servers for Wii U and 3DS shut down today

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We knew it was coming, but that doesn’t . Nintendo shut down the online servers for both the Wii U and 3DS today. This means the end of online multiplayer gaming for both consoles, turning Mario Kart 7 for 3DS and the original Splatoon for the Wii U into single player or couch co-op experiences. The first Super Mario Maker is also effectively dead, as there’s no way to browse for and download player-created levels.

Both consoles are relatively controversial. The 3DS was originally considered a , though it eventually . This was thanks to a glut of incredible titles, from Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to more niche fare like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Fire Emblem Awakening. The portable console also had a robust lineup of online exclusive titles, like Pushmo and BoxBoy!.

The Wii U, on the other hand, never quite found a significant audience and is largely considered one of Nintendo’s biggest missteps. It was the next home console after the culture-defining Wii, so it had large shoes to fill. However, the company went with a name that was an absolute nightmare for the Wii’s core audience of casual gamers. Was it an accessory to the original Wii? A new console? A crappy iPad? Those of us glued to gaming media knew the answer, but the casuals never stood a chance.

There was also the console itself. The company never delivered a compelling use case for the “asymmetric gameplay” offered by the device. Simply put, the Wii U gave you two screens. There was the TV, of course, but also a touchscreen tablet. This was supposed to lead to unique gameplay mechanics that gave the person holding the tablet a different task than those holding traditional controllers, but only a few titles truly explored this concept.

Just like the 3DS, however, the Wii U was buoyed by a robust selection of first-party classics. I found the first-party offerings of the Wii era to be mostly underwhelming, with desperate attempts to shoehorn in finicky and gimmicky waggle. I still get panicked when remembering just how horrible it felt to fly Link around in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The Wii U, on the other hand, brought Nintendo back to a novel concept called “just make good games.”

The console brought us Mario Kart 8, which is still the gold standard for digital kart racing, and the underrated Super Mario 3D World. There was also Super Mario Maker, a great Super Smash Bros. title, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3 and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, among many others.

Even if you never owned a Wii U, you’ve probably played some of these games. Nintendo knew the console itself was a flop, but the games were good. This led to numerous re-releases on the Switch. It’s worth noting that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild . Also, it had Miiverse! Nintendo, for the love of Bowser, . It was the only pure social network.

Of course, there’s a strong case to be made that both the design of the Wii U and its failure led to the Switch. Both devices allow for portable play, but the Wii U required people to be tethered to a bulky console. The Switch, on the other hand, is the (not bulky) console. Nintendo’s smash hybrid , as of December. The Wii U sold under 14 million devices throughout its lifespan.

Nintendo already for the 3DS and Wii U last year, so this is the final goodbye. Luckily, speedrunners a Super Mario Maker level that was long thought to be impossible just a few days ago. Life always finds a way. Sleep well, my two old friends.

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