When it comes to video game mascots, Mario has had a better run than most, with a legacy spanning over 35 years and counting. From humble arcade beginnings with Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. to his breakout success with Super Mario Bros. on the NES, Mario’s 35th anniversary was a major success, as many fans throughout the generations showered the plumber with praise and adoration. Several merchandise and games were released over the span of several months to commemorate Mario’s impact within the video game industry.
The celebrations were first announced by Nintendo in September 2020 during a special Direct dedicated to Mario’s 35th anniversary. Included with the announcement of Super Mario 3D World‘s expansion, Bowser’s Fury, several exclusive pieces of merchandise were also announced. The Super Mario Bros Game and Watch handheld device, Super Mario Bros 35, and the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection for the Switch were among the limited-run games that Nintendo announced during the Direct.
Since the original Direct, Nintendo has warned that the limited-run titles and merch would be removed at the end of March. Now, with a week away from March 31st, the date looms over Mario fans with some declaring the date as the “death of Mario.” Since the original announcement of the deadline months ago, Nintendo has been subtly reminding its fans of the incoming date, despite resistance from some of its fans.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars, for example, includes remasters of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Sunshine on the Switch, three games that had never received a port on the console prior to the announcement. Many fans show concerns that the removal of these games on March 31st equates to the “death” of the overall-wearing plumber, removing a piece of history and locking it in the Nintendo vault indefinitely. This sparked a trend among fans since the beginning of March, declaring “Mario dies” as the 31st draws near.
While the tweets are humorous and in jest, the end of Mario’s 35th anniversary has caused some confusion among Mario‘s fans, wondering exactly which games and merchandise would be removed on March 31st. Nintendo has reassured that Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit would remain available among retailers, with several pushing the final restock of the Game and Watch and Super Mario 3D All Stars titles.
Unrelated to the conclusion of the Mario 35th Anniversary event, another title that Nintendo is removing on the 31st is Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the Switch port of the first Fire Emblem game released on the NES. What makes this removal disappointing to Nintendo fans, especially Fire Emblem fans, is that the game was never released outside of Japan officially. This makes Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon the only time players can experience the original NES title officially, at least until Nintendo decides to release it again in some capacity.
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is available on the Switch until March 31, 2020.