As Nintendo gets ready to remove its limited Super Mario anniversary products on 31 March, the internet has drummed up a wild - and pretty dark - theory about the real reason behind the change... Namely, that Mario's being killed off.
Celebrations for Mario's 35th anniversary kicked off last September, and included the launch of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection on the Nintendo Switch.
At the time, Nintendo warned that it would only have a limited run until 31 March this year - and true to its word, the electronics giant later confirmed that the collection would be leaving the eShop at the end of this month.
The thing is, the internet reckons there's darker story behind the collection's removal, with social media users speculating that Mario's going to kick the bucket.
One person tweeted: "All the Mario games are going away on March 31 because Nintendo is killing him."
Another said: "Mario dies on March 31st."
Luigi sacrificing himself in march 31st in place of mario pic.twitter.com/YzENhlHvVW
- Diego :turtle: Commissions Open (@Diego9VII) March 1, 2021
Nintendo gives a final warning that Mario dies on March 31st https://t.co/vatvmFZh1u pic.twitter.com/BZjjJSJofy
- Wario64 (@Wario64) March 17, 2021
The idea has become something of a viral trend, although not everyone's joining in on the rumour - with one person pointing out that there's already something in Mario's diary for later this year.
They tweeted: "Do people forget Mario Golf is coming 3 months later?"
Another gaming fan speculated that Nintendo will join in with the joke, writing: "Watch Nintendo play into the 'Mario dies on March 31st' meme and do an April Fools post the very next day auditioning new Nintendo mascots or something."
Either way, you've only got until the end of this month to bag the anniversary collection, which bills itself as 'three of Mario's greatest adventures - all in one package', comprising remastered versions of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy.
Reminding gamers of the 31 March deadline, Nintendo said: "With this collection, you can play three of Mario's greatest 3D platform adventures: Super Mario 64:tm:, Super Mario Sunshine:tm:, and Super Mario Galaxy:tm:. This limited-time collection was released last year as part of the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary.
"If you've already purchased the digital version, you'll still be able to play the game after March 31st. Even if you remove the game from your system, you'll still be able to re-download any time."