clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Nintendo is removing its Mario celebration games in March — here’s why

‘This is a celebration of Mario’s 35th anniversary’

Artwork of Mario, Toad, Peach, Luigi, and other characters riding on a globe from Mario Kart Tour Image: Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

If you haven’t purchased Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy from the Nintendo Switch eShop yet, you’re going to want to get on that. Nintendo is removing Super Mario 3D All-Stars — the bundle of those three games — on March 31, 2021. Folks who purchase those games before then will still have access to them, but there’ll be no way for anyone else to buy them afterward. Physical copies may still linger at retailers, but Nintendo said it will stop shipping out new units.

Also, the multiplayer Mario battle royale Super Mario Bros. 35 will disappear in its entirety on March 31.

Nintendo giveth, and Nintendo taketh away.

But why? In an interview with Polygon, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said it’s simple: These Mario games were added as part of a celebration. It was intended to be a special, unique moment for the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.

“And with some of these titles, we felt it was an opportunity to release them for a limited period of time,” Bowser said. “They’ve done very, very well. Super Mario 3D All-Stars has sold over 2.6 million units in the U.S. alone. And so clearly, consumers have been able to jump in and enjoy that.”

What about players who buy a Switch in, say, June 2021, though? When asked about that, Bowser said, “Yeah, at this point, the decision was really made around that celebration feature and aspect. I can’t speak to plans beyond the the end of March.”

Like the eShop games, the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. handheld that was released as part of the anniversary will have a limited availability, too. Nintendo is only selling a bunch of these, and will stop shipping them out to retailers around March 31 as well.

Fans, particularly, still find it odd that Nintendo made the decision to sell these items — especially the games — for a limited period of time. But to that, Bowser said it’s not a strategy that will be widely used, just “one [Nintendo] thought was very unique for the actual anniversary.”