When a social media platform shuts down on a quietly abandoned console, does it make a sound? In terms of Nintendo's Miiverse after its five-year lifespan, yes. Or at least, kinda.
Even if the Miiverse seemingly lives on in Splatoon 2's own ecosystem, the Miiverse still exists for now on the Wii U. The Miiverse was Nintendo's own built-in social media for the underused platform, where players drew intricate sketches using the tablet-like GamePad and scribbled little messages tethered to miscellaneous games. The Miiverse fostered a creative and meme-obsessed community, something Nintendo hardly had a hand in ever before.
For some players, letting the Miiverse shut down without a pause on November 7th of this year wasn't an option. So much digital fan art directly tied to games like Splatoon or Super Mario Maker would just be erased with no qualms. Some users wouldn't accept that, so they made a program to archive the Miiverse as it stands today, outside of users preserving their own work as insisted by Nintendo (even though it's comment-free and Yeah'd-free, or the latter how players would "like" or "thumbs up" others' work).
"Social networks disappearing leaves behind a ton of content," web developer Tim Miller told Motherboard. "People have invested a ton of time and effort into giving parts of themselves up to it. Just look at the Splatoon drawing feed. The effort that goes into that art is insane. And Nintendo is going to go 'Fuck you, it's gone.'" To save fans' hard work, Miller and other members of the Archive Team are "CTRL-C and CTRL-V"-ing history with an archiver on GitHub, since Nintendo won't.
In a Tweet, Miller revealed on September 3rd that over 57,000 Splatoon images have been saved with the archiver thus far, and that's only accounting for the Japanese site—a single game, within a single region. Miller's overall goal isn't just to save the artwork itself, but everything about the site—the comments, the Yeah! votes, essentially how the community engaged with everything in addition to creating art. According to Motherboard, once the project's all said and done Miller wants to either create an easily sharable database with all the Miiverse work, or at the very least share it with another who will do the same.
In the meantime, the achiver keeps trucking on. Preserving culture in a vapid online space where so much can be lost with the flick of a switch.