The Mission to Archive Nintendo's Dying Social Media Platform
All those 'Splatoon' memes may soon have a new home.
The Miiverse is dying.
For five years, Nintendo fans have filled up the walls of Nintendo's social media service with simple communications and beautiful hand drawn art. That art often filtered into Wii U and 3DS games, and made for unique experiences while playing Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon online. All of that will end on November 7, 2017 when Nintendo pulls the plug.
"We started the Miiverse service in 2012 along with the launch of the Wii U system because we wanted to provide a space where users could share their feelings about games with each other," Nintendo said in a statement. "Thanks to users' support throughout the years, we think we were able to achieve that goal. We decided to end the service at this time because, among other reasons, many users are shifting to social networking services."
On November 8, Miiverse users will wake up to a world where all their art, conversations, and Luigi associated shitposting will disappear. That is, unless, Tim Miller and the Archive Team can save it. Miller is a web developer and the Archive Team is a loose collective of programmers and archivists interested in preserving the world's digital history. It's most famous project was rescuing large parts of GeoCities from the ashes in 2009. They've teamed up to archive and host the Miiverse before it's gone forever.
"The great art on Miiverse will be lost when it shuts down," Miller announced on Twitter on September 3. "So I'm writing an archiver to try and save it." Two hours later he had archived 30,000 images from the Japanese Miiverse alone.
"Social networks disappearing leaves behind a ton of content," Miller told me via an Archive Team IRC channel. "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.'"
Miller acknowledged that Nintendo is allowing users to save their content by requesting an archive through Miiverse. The company promised to send users a URL containing their content, minus both comments and messages from others, from which they can download their Miiverse account.
Miller thinks he and Archive Team can do better. He wants to save everything. "Art, posts, user data," he said. "Leave no stone unturned. To me, it's all important, I'm not one to judge content. That's for history to judge."
"To me, and I think would go to the rest of Archive Team, it's a part of history and culture," he said. "And saving that for future generations is important. While it may be a failed social network for Nintendo, it's still apart of our culture in some way."
Once the team has collected all the data, Miller plans to create an easily shareable database for everyone to use. He's not interested in creating a site for the content, but he wants all that sweet Splatoon art ready to go in case someone else does.