Nintendo’s ‘Super Mario’ Death Hoax Spurs Social Media Buzz

NEWS ANALYSIS — When Nintendo on March 31 pulled the 35th anniversary special-edition video game releases Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. from its various platforms, some fans of the franchise took to social media proclaiming the Japanese publisher’s vaunted animated plumber character had been killed off or passed away.

The special-edition release has reportedly sold more than 2.6 million copies in the U.S., according to industry data.

While Nintendo announced it would stop supplying product to all of its platforms, including physical, at the end of March when it released the special-edition game last September, social media follows its own rules.

Online memes began surfacing that Nintendo had killed off one of its best-selling characters, which made about as much sense as Coca-Cola ending original Coke (oh wait …) or The Walt Disney Co. terminating Mickey Mouse. But then Disney has in the past used the marketing ploy of discontinuing legacy packaged-media titles and returning them to the company’s IP vault for future re-release.

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But in a digital ecosystem, there is no shortage of content — ever — and Nintendo’s refusal to comment on the situation only amped speculation — especially the day before April Fools.


Philo Launches Black & White Television

To celebrate April 1, online TV platform Philo is rolling out black and white programming of classic TV shows through a new new service dubbed “PhiloVision.”

“Travel through the decades of timeless TV hits with PhiloVision,” says the company. “Enjoy classics the way they were meant to be watched.”

Philo’s classic TV collection (also available in color) includes a curated a list of sitcoms, detective shows, sci-fi, westerns and sketch comedy. Shows include: “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Gunsmoke,” “CatDog,” “Doug,” “Eve,” “Family Matters,” “Frasier” and “Little House on the Prairie,” among others.

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Philo features more than 60 channels for $20 monthly fee, including AMC, A&E, MTV, BET, Discovery, VH1, Food Network, History, Nickelodeon, OWN, TLC, Lifetime, Hallmark, Paramount and TV One, among others. The platform also offers premium add-on channels, including Epix and Starz.

Notable Tech, Media April Fool’s Day Pranks

While much of the world celebrated Easter Sunday April 1, some enterprising media, tech and consumer brands couldn’t resist same-day April Fool’s pranks.

British-based subscription streaming video service BritBox announced a new feature, dubbed “Interp-Brit,” enabling subscribers to switch between British and American accents.

Amazon Publishing said it would begin delivering favorite authors in person to Prime members who bought their books.

Netflix said it had acquired actor Seth Rogen, “transferring full ownership of his personal autonomy to Netflix Inc.” The prank was a plug for the actor/comedian’s new show on the SVOD pioneer’s platform, beginning April 6.

Roku introduced “streaming socks,” giving binge-viewing users something comfortable to wear, wipe their hands with, select favorite programing, among other features. Each sock included a locator option if lost in the laundry cycle.

T-Mobile bowed a pair of branded “Sidekicks” high-top smart shoes with built-in phone, camera, screen, etc.

Internet curator, which showcases images, video and posts to a claimed audience of 250 million users monthly, announced the launch of an over-the-top video service, Imgur TV.

Fitbit bowed dating app “SoleMate” on Facebook. “Burning calories meets burning passion in first-ever dating app for people who love to walk.”

Media Play News reported about men’s Final Four basketball players’ confusion receiving packaged media swag.