As the Wii U and 3DS shut down online services, we've lost some modern classics forever

As the Wii U and 3DS shut down online services, we've lost some modern classics forever
Images via Nintendo

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Published 

9th Apr 2024 17:15

Say what you like about the Wii U, but it's a pretty important part of the Nintendo furniture. Although it flopped pretty miserably, that's what made it such an important console in many ways.

The Wii U reminded those following the industry that success was never assured for a gaming conglomerate, even one that had just enjoyed the greatest home console wins of its lifetime in the Nintendo Wii. The box and its weird gamepad were an ugly mess, but it continued to churn as though it wasn't, and in the process, we got some diamonds in the rough.

As we're now forced to say goodbye to the online connectivity of the failed brick and its much more successful handheld friend, it feels about time that we seriously question how we treat the games lost to a console that once put down, was simply never picked up again.

The Wii U and 3DS online services are put to rest

Console shutdowns are always a pretty sad occurrence, but it's easy to forget just what is lost in the process. Our nostalgia Spidey senses start to ping with suggestion that an era has come to a close, and it's easy to understand their impact through the lenses of the games that we played in days gone by. Equally, the dramatic impact that many of the games in the Wii U's lifecycle have now been lost.

There is no legal route for players to experience Splatoon in its most authentic form, and as a title that can technically be played as is, its core draw was its multiplayer mode which has now officially become inaccessible.

The same goes for Super Mario Maker, a game that is mechanically inferior to its sequel, but its loss severs (according to the Miiverse) at least 133 million Super Mario Bros levels that fans poured their hearts into from players everywhere. Each of these games have been improved since in sequels, but the chance to see where the games began has been cut off entirely.

It's sad to see the 3DS' online capabilities go, too, even though the design and intention of the console made its online components an easier turn to accept. Even so, as one player proved by playing Mario Kart 7 until its servers officially closed, there's still endless love for the console and the engagement it was still reeling in.

The list of games across the consoles ticks on - Pokken Tournament, Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS, and even battles across Pokemon Sun, Moon, Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire are canned. What's left to do?

What can be done about catastrophic server shutdowns?

A team of green inklings brace for a game in Splatoon.
Click to enlarge

Ultimately, as players move on and the cost of maintaining console servers remains, developers are left with little choice but shut down while players simply have to bite down on the fact. Thankfully, it's a little easier for some than others to keep games going.

Call of Duty has had a great track record so far of keeping its servers alive on modern consoles, knowing that players will always be willing to head back to the games of their youth, and that so many of them will do so that lobbies are rarely desperate for players.

Thankfully, there are new teams that could help to ensure games we love don't suffer the same fate as those on the Wii U. Xbox's recently established forward compatibility team could lead us to a future where the games launched during this generation might not have to suffer the fate of their most important feature falling away.

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From the player's perspective, we're offered little in the way of remedy. Suck it up or mope about it - the result for Nintendo remains the same. But there's hope that, as games still grow more and more dependent on an internet connection by the day, the servers themselves will become more valuable with them.

Until then, we're just going to have to step up to the sequels, even if Super Mario Maker 2 doesn't offer the chance to play as Babymetal or Hello Kitty.

Joseph Kime
About the author
Joseph Kime
Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.
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