After months of jokes about the death of Super Mario, the Nintendo Switch eShop has now removed two games that were released specifically for the character's 35th anniversary celebration: Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario Bros. 35. From the start, these games were specifically meant to be limited-time affairs. When Nintendo first announced them, fans were cautioned that March 31st would be the last day they were available, and today, the company made good on that promise. However, that doesn't make the decision any less baffling, even for those that have been following the company for a long time.
It's not difficult to understand why Super Mario 3D All-Stars is no longer on the eShop: Crass commercialism. At the end of the day, Nintendo is a company, and making the excellent compilation game a limited time affair probably made fans drop their cash quicker than they would have otherwise. The same can be said for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light, another game similarly delisted today. Fans don't have to like it, but offering these games for a limited time makes sense from a financial standpoint.
However, it's less easy to understand why Super Mario Bros. 35 is now gone. After all, the title was free (with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, of course), so it's not like Nintendo needed to pressure fans into a purchase. In fact, the game might have even helped the company appeal to new Mario fans. One reader reached out to me to let me know that her daughters loved Super Mario Bros. 35 despite the fact that they had never played the original Super Mario Bros. game.
Nintendo has always worked in mysterious ways. The company's decision-making can often be confusing. The best explanation I can muster for Super Mario Bros. 35 being removed is that Nintendo has plans for the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda which falls this year. Perhaps Nintendo Switch Online subscribers will be given access to The Legend of Zelda 35 or a similar anniversary title. That might help ease the sting for those that enjoyed Super Mario Bros. 35, but for now, fans are understandably disappointed.
Of course, the fate of Super Mario Bros. 35 is the same that awaits every online game, eventually. The sad fact is, the servers for all online games will eventually be taken down, and the games that were made available on them will eventually go away. It's been nearly 36 years since the original Super Mario Bros. released on NES, but players can theoretically still enjoy the game on its original hardware, unlike online games from even just a few years ago. Perhaps Super Mario Bros. 35 just sped up the process a bit.
Regardless of what the motivation might be, at the end of the day, it's still disappointing for Nintendo Switch fans. Super Mario Bros. 35 was a really fun take on the original game, and trying to compete with 34 other Mario fans at the same time gave it a lot of charm. Super Mario 3D All-Stars might have been delisted from the eShop, but those who bought the game can still play it. And for those that didn't, it's basically guaranteed that the three games that encompass the collection will be made available again in some format. The same likely can't be said for Super Mario Bros. 35, and that's a shame. There just isn't a good explanation for it.
Are you a fan of Super Mario Bros. 35? Are you disappointed about the game leaving the eShop? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!