By S. Andrew Stowe, Anderson University
Where Technologies Go At the End: A Response to Delson Cox’s ‘Let’s Talk About Miiverse’
“We decided to end the service at this time because, among other reasons, many users are shifting to social networking services.”
(“Miiverse Service Discontinuation FAQ.”).
“Currently Nintendo has no plans to implement any services to replace Miiverse, but the Nintendo Switch system includes features for connecting with Facebook and other social networking services.”
“Miiverse Service Discontinuation FAQ.”
As I experienced Delson Cox’s work regarding the end of the Wii Miiverse, I had a few different reactions. First, it’s a thoughtful analysis of a now defunct communication platform. Secondly, it clearly communicates the about the essential affective qualities of that platform. And finally, it
leaves me with a sense that even if that iteration of a technology has come to an end, that communication practices and platforms are constantly evolving. These archives, as Cox explains, become ripe communities for scholarly inquiry.
My wife and I bought a Nintendo Wii in 2009. We were late to the Wii party (so to speak) but we had fun playing with it anyway . Though I enjoyed the bowling game, I was rather more captivated by the semi-social happenings that the Wii enabled. These were navigated with avatars that could be customized to have many different appearances (Batman, Chuck Norris,
and even a clock face character – made with clever positioning of eyebrows).
Notably, in one case, there was a game where the player predicted whether more people would have one opinion or another – so the player provided an opinion and then guessed how they thought others might respond. I had several avatars that would run around the screen or play the different games as I used the hand control. I imagine they are still standing around in the digital horizon of a box in my basement. This is where Cox’s scholarship becomes powerful because of the thoughts that this scholarship provokes about obsolescence and the nature of archiving the communication material from a now defunct community.
Despite my considerations of the unplayed life of the Wii avatar, Cox’s work answers the assignments prompt to investigate and track the history of a dead or (decaying) technology in a thoughtful and engaging manner. Mostly notably perhaps, (in keeping with the assignment sheet) he speaks to the “so what?” that really grounds such a work. Cox’s work argues that the
community that Miiverse offered provided accessibility for children (who used the device) to participate in a community forum. At Miiverse’s closing, users were able to download their records (if they chose to) and the content was archived.
This assignment and work are notable because it requires research into the technologies, history, impact, implications and what will happen to it in the future. Cox’s argument is presented in a website without a strict beginning and end, but the menu generally follows a top to bottom structure. Cox’s work fittingly ends with a discussion of where Nintendo is taking its technology in the future.
At the time of writing, the year is 2019. In 2018, “Vinyl album sales accounted for 13.7% of all physical sales, up from 10% in 2017 and 8% in 2016.” As vinyl grew in physical sales, CD’s dropped by 18.5% and Cassette sales grew by 18.9% (Forbes). I read recently that the movie “The Sandlot” is getting a reboot as a television show with the original cast (CBSsports) and discussions of Aaron Sorkin reviving “The West Wing” (Vulture) seem to pop up nearly every week. So, even if Miiverse never rebounds on a wave of future nostalgia comes back, it has been archived by a group called Archive Team on a webpage (“Archiverse”).
Because of this, Miiverse as a community has ended, but as an archive with potentials for future research it lives on. Just like my Wii in the basement?
“Archiverse.” Archiverse, Archive Team, archiverse.guide/.
Kiefer, Halle. “Aaron Sorkin Addresses the West Wing Reboot Rumor We Will Never Stop Bringing Up.” Vulture. 24 Apr. 2018. Vulture. 06 Mar. 2019
Leimkuehler, Matthew. “Vinyl Sales Continued To Grow In 2018, Report Says.” Forbes. 07 Jan.Forbes Magazine. 06 Mar. 2019 https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewleimkuehler/2019/01/07/vinyl-sales-grow-2018-
“Miiverse Service Discontinuation FAQ.” Nintendo Accounts on Nintendo Switch (FAQ) |
Nintendo Support. 06 Mar. 2019 <https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/27329/~/miiverse-service-discontinuation-