Nintendo Wii U and 3DS online servers have been shut down

The inevitable curtain call has arrived. The official shutdown of online servers for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U has arrived, bringing an end to online multiplayer features for these beloved consoles. Games like Mario Kart 7 and the original Splatoon will now be relegated to single-player or couch co-op experiences.

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The 3DS had a rocky start, often seen as an underwhelming sequel to the phenomenon that was the DS. However, it carved its own path to success thanks to a stellar line-up of titles. From instant classics like Super Mario 3D Land and A Link Between Worlds to niche gems like Kid Icarus: Uprising and Fire Emblem Awakening, the 3DS offered something for everyone. It even thrived in the online space with unique titles like Pushmo and BoxBoy!

The Wii U, on the other hand, never captured the mainstream audience, largely considered a misstep by Nintendo. It entered the scene with the near-impossible task of following the cultural juggernaut that was the Wii.  The name itself, a confusing mashup of “Wii” and “you,” alienated the casual audience. Was it an accessory? A new console?  The message was muddled.

The unique dual-screen design, with its innovative gamepad tablet, never quite reached its full potential. While promising “asymmetric gameplay,” few games truly capitalized on this concept.

Despite their shortcomings, both consoles benefited from Nintendo’s signature strength: first-party games. Unlike the Wii era’s reliance on gimmicky motion controls, the Wii U offered a return to Nintendo’s core philosophy – crafting exceptional games.

It delivered Mario Kart 8, the pinnacle of digital kart racing, and the underappreciated gem Super Mario 3D World. We also saw the birth of Super Mario Maker, a phenomenal Super Smash Bros. title, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, to name a few.

Even if you didn’t own a Wii U, you’ve likely experienced these games through re-releases on the Switch. Notably, Breath of the Wild, a masterpiece that redefined open-world adventure, was originally developed for the Wii U.  Let’s not forget Miiverse, the one true social network for gamers, a platform sorely missed by many.

The design and market struggles of the Wii U arguably paved the way for the Switch’s success. Both systems offer portable play, but the Wii U tethered players to a bulky console, while the Switch itself is the console. This hybrid approach has been a smash hit, selling over 140 million units compared to the Wii U’s underwhelming 14 million.

The 3DS and Wii U stores shut down last year, and now the final curtain closes on online play. Yet, even in their demise, there’s a spark of life. Speedrunners recently conquered a once-thought-impossible level in Super Mario Maker, proving that ingenuity and passion can find a way.

So, farewell, 3DS and Wii U. You had your flaws, but you also delivered unforgettable experiences. Rest easy, my friends, and may your legacy of innovation and exceptional games continue to inspire.