The Future of Pretendo After Nintendo Network

Published by
Jon Jon
on April 8, 2024

Today marks the end of Nintendo Network. As sad as this day is for many, it also comes with some positive developments. In this blog post we'll go over some new developments and plans, including official game support and a new way to connect to Pretendo without homebrew!

A Somber Farewell

As of today, April 8th, 2024 Nintendo Network, the online servers powering the Wii U and 3DS's multiplayer, has shut down. Launching in 2012, Nintendo Network lasted exactly 12 years, 2 months, and 14 days (longer than the Wii!). This era of Nintendo's history is often looked down upon, made fun of, even by those of us in the scene. But we believe it's important to highlight the good that came from it, sending this generation off with the respect it deserves.

Unlike the competitors at the time, Nintendo opted to continue with offering their online services free of charge. While it may not have had as many features as competitors, including staples like achievements, private messaging, etc. it cannot be denied that the low barrier of entry made it many users' first time playing online. The inclusion of Miiverse gave the games a sense of community still unseen in the current generation, and is something Nintendo fans and non-Nintendo fans alike would like to see again.

Nintendo's backwards compatibility with the previous generations, not only through hardware support with vWii, but further beyond through the Virtual Console, is an incredible feat. While plagued with low sales, and even lower developer adoption, this generation released some of the most beloved games/franchises to date. Mario Kart 8 and the Splatoon franchise began on the Wii U, as did Super Mario Maker. Most of the Wii U's library was eventually ported, or continued, to the Switch, where they sold incredibly well, showing that the console had a solid lineup.

The 3DS pushed hard for player interactions, going so far as to build systems into the hardware to reward players who passed each other in the real world. The charm of getting a StreetPass is something that still has people carrying around their consoles 12 years later. The barrier of entry being even lower on the 3DS, as most games did not require the user to create an account to play online at all.

We at the Pretendo Network team, as much as we poke and tease, love these consoles and the impact they had on gaming. The Wii U was truly ahead of its time in many ways, plagued with bad marketing killing its chances at success. We thank Nintendo for giving so many of us entertainment in this era, and bringing many of us closer together.


As a parting gift to you all, we are releasing our private SSL exploit for the Wii U: SSSL! Found by our very own shutterbug, this exploit allows users to connect to Pretendo Network from a stock Wii U, with no homebrew or custom firmware at all; only a DNS change! We've been holding on to this exploit for this day for quite some time, in case Nintendo decided to issue patches for it. Select services which use their own SSL libraries are unsupported. This includes several 3rd-party titles like WATCH_DOGS and YouTube, as well as titles which run in an embedded browser like TVii, the eShop, and the Miiverse applet. Miiverse functionality IN GAMES is still supported through SSSL!

We hope this new method of connecting will be useful for those who have trouble installing homebrew, those who are worried about mods, and for users who may live in areas where local law may make it more difficult to install mods. For more information, see our updated setup guide!

SSSL is only available for Wii U systems running firmware version 5.5.5 or higher. SSSL is not available for 3DS users.


Over the past 6 months, we have been hard at work pushing for the archival of as much data as possible. To that end we created the Archival Tools repository, a selection of tools dedicated to archiving specific content from various games and services. Together with help from the community at large we have been able to archive several terabytes of this data from various services.

All archived data we have collected, including SpotPass data, Super Mario Maker courses, many games leaderboards, etc. will be posted on the Internet Archive at a later date once it has finished being processed. The data will be freely available for anyone to download. Some of this data will also make its way onto our servers at a later time. Specific dates for these events will come in the future.

Colors! 3D

As of April 7th, the day before the shutdown, Pretendo has collaborated with the developers of Colors! 3D, a drawing and art sharing game for the Nintendo 3DS. Together we have officially added support for each other, meaning Colors! 3D will continue to operate as normal when using Pretendo Network. Checkout their game, and their Discord server, for more information on the Colors! franchise!