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Nintendo Badge Arcade (3DS) Review

by Justin Berube - December 28, 2015, 8:39 am PST
Total comments: 10


If you have a gambling problem, you should probably stay away from this game.

Over the course of the year I saw many people I know with imported 3DS units talk about Collectable Badge Center, the Japanese version of Nintendo Badge Arcade. Then late one night, to my surprise, the "free" title was released here in North America. I immediately dove in.

Upon booting up the title, users are brought in to the seedy underworld that is the Nintendo Badge Arcade. It is here where one of Nintendo's cute but dastardly sales rabbits show up, a dead giveaway to Nintendo fans that this guy is out to take your real world money. Like a drug dealer, the rabbit will introduce players to the game and offer up a few free sample plays.

Basically, Nintendo Badge Arcade lets players try to win Nintendo themed badges from a plethora of different crane machines that rotate out every few days. I've seen three different styles of "claws" and countless different badge sets that come from various Nintendo franchises. These badges can then be used to decorate a user's 3DS Home Menu screen or placed on folders. Some badges can even work in place of the traditional system application icons. In this sense, Nintendo Badge Arcade blurs the line between game and application.

After a player’s initial free plays are up, they will learn that it's possible to earn more plays by succeeding at a practice crane machine that can be used once daily. Players can earn a free play by collecting 10 practice badges, or by earning a random bonus for obtaining these badges. I've found that I usually will earn one free play a day, but I have been lucky and earned up to five at once. There have also been times I've earned none.

If you don't earn any from practice, that's OK. Sometimes, during special promotions, the rabbit will offer players one free play. If you still haven't had your fix, the sales rabbit will then let you know you can purchase more plays. The going rate is five plays, or grabs, for US$1.00.

When you look at what's going on in Nintendo Badge Arcade, you will see how it's going all out to use psychological warfare on your mind. The rabbit tries to suck you in daily with frequent free plays. These plays make the harder, and usually more popular badges easier to obtain. However, in order to get them the player will need to start spending money otherwise the machine will reset the next day.

This whole system continues to build on itself. Since the machines are swapped out frequently, you may see that one that you like only has two days left, or worse, is on its final day. There is no promise these will ever return. Additionally, Nintendo Badge Arcade let's players view dioramas of each badge set they've completed, and what percentage of each series of badges they have collected. Also, a statue levels up based off of how many badges have been collected.

The problem with all of this is that the game really tries to scare you into spending more money to earn these badges. It wouldn't be so bad, but the going rate of five tries for $1.00 is incredibly steep. For the price of a few plays you could just buy a Virtual Console title instead. Every now and then players who do spend money can earn exclusive 3DS themes, but the sad part is that these themes don't have music like the premium ones that can be purchased directly from the 3DS Theme Shop.

One other problem I have with all of these badges and themes is that we have no idea if all of these earned goods will be useful in the future. Nintendo hasn't been clear if these items will somehow transfer to the next Nintendo platform, adding to the question, are these goods are even worth it?

Nintendo Badge Arcade is the type of software I'd expect to be released a few years ago for free. It just seems like the perfect additional application that could make use of 3DS Play Coins instead of real world money. The badges themselves don't really serve much of a purpose. How many people truly want to decorate their 3DS home menu screen? The best use I've found is to place Game Boy system badges, or a Famicom badge, on folders where I keep games for those respective platforms.

The major redeeming quality of Nintendo Badge Arcade is the writing. Some days the rabbit will have new things to say that are surprisingly witty. Nintendo proves to be extremely aware in what the rabbit says, often times referencing things from pop culture, the company's history, and often will promote upcoming Nintendo games, events, and promotions in funny ways. It's enough to make players want to check in each day to see what is said, but that starts the cycle of wanting to earn those rare badges all over again by maybe spending money.

I'd be lying if I said Nintendo Badge Arcade wasn't addictive; it was clearly designed that way. That said, this is the most disgustingly blatant, money grabbing game Nintendo has ever released. I really don't want to see more pieces of software like this from the company. Deep down, it just seems completely evil in the way it tires to mess with your psyche in order to get players to hand over cash for basically nothing.


  • Frequent updates
  • Several available badges
  • Witty writing
  • Earned themes lack music
  • Future use of earned goods is unknown
  • Plays are expensive
  • Uses psychological methods to try and get players to spend money



Every now and then players who do spend money can earn exclusive 3DS themes, but the sad part is that these themes are nowhere near as awesome as the Sega Genesis theme that can be purchased directly from the 3DS Theme Shop


ClexYoshiDecember 28, 2015

Quote from: jusdberube]

If you have a gambling problem, you should probably stay away from this game.

Do you hear that, Daan Koopman?

you have a gambling problem

xcwarriorDecember 28, 2015

It's a terrible concept. LIke you said, 5 plays for $1 is so wrong. Plus that's $1 for about 1 minute of gameplay. You got more playtime out of your 25 cents in an arcade, even if you were bad at the game.

And that stupid bunny just never shuts up. You aren't funny, or amusing. He's like an even more annoying version of the two girls who pester you every time you boot up Splatoon, and they need to go as well.

I'd give this system as 3/10. I've done it a few times when there are free plays, but none of the stickers really do anything for me to warrant changing my 3ds home screen.

ForgottenPearlDecember 28, 2015

The badges aren't even all that great.  I was excited to get some Kirby badges to replace my Mii and System Settings icons, but they're quite blurry compared to the other icons.  I used to play this (free only) whenever I was waiting for a Splatoon match, but I've lost interest.  Quickly.

Oh, and the insane load time at the beginning doesn't help, either.

ejamerDecember 28, 2015

To counter some of the negative opinions, I like having my screen decorated and customized with badges.  It's a nice touch, and the fact that you can accumulate a pretty decent "library" of badges for free is nice.

This clearly is not something that I'd recommend people spend much money on. (Full disclosure: I have spent money to get badges when a bonus theme was offered and don't feel bad about it, but don't plan to repeat that decision.) But it's a nice distraction, provides a way to customize your home screen, and lets folders to have a more interesting label than the previous single-character limitation would allow.

Also, my kids like badges. The 3-5 minutes* it takes each day to win a few new badges is fun for them, and often followed by 10-15 minutes of adjusting and decorating their screen.

*Yes, loading times are terrible. We load the game while doing other stuff and just mash A to get past the Bunny speak and into the game. Although it's 3-5 minutes of play time, it would be annoyingly longer if we were just sitting waiting for the app to be ready.

ShyGuyDecember 28, 2015

Ah... the shady dealing Nintendo Rabbit.


UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorDecember 28, 2015

What is with Nintendo and using bunnies for sales pitches?

You got the StreetPass rabbit, Badge Bunny, Peppy in Sub Wars, Ravio in Link Between Worlds...

Is there some kind of Japanese lore that Rabbits can't be trusted?

Mop it upDecember 30, 2015

Sadly, this game is just a reflection of where the industry in general is headed. It's far from the first, and there will only be more.

StratosDecember 30, 2015

I like what it is as a free app and I will never spend a dime on it. I like how the pins can be used to decorate the home menu and I do make a point of spending the 3-5 minutes a day to get my free plays.

Though, like the Smash trophies, this just whets my appetite for more authentic Nintendo merch. Going to Disney world made me wish that we could see a similar venue from Nintendo in terms of a theme park. The rides could be fun, and I would love to collect real pins on Nintendo themes similar to how you can get ones in Disney World.

With seeing how Disney has handled Marvel and Star Wars, I almost wish that Disney could buy Nintendo and make them their games division. But that is a very very big almost.

I plan to spend money whenever they have a theme promotion. I think I've spent a good $8 on this already. At all other times I treat it as a play 2-3 minutes a day app, a lot like streetpass.

I actually have no personal issue with games with microtransactions like this, BUT, if you don't know what you're getting into you should RUN AWAY FAST. I love the bunny, (have you seen him in REALISTIC mode? Haha!) but the entire game IS designed to, well, get you to spend money.

So yeah, unless you know going in that this game is designed to tempt you with $1, 2, or 3 purchases at a time, and that it will not relent, and that you WILL be tempted despite the free plays it doles out slowly, and that you'll still be able to maintain your composure in the face of such an assault, steer clear. This game is potentially very dangerous for certain personality types.

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Genre Party/Parlor
Developer Nintendo

Worldwide Releases

na: Nintendo Badge Arcade
Release Nov 10, 2015
jpn: Badge Toreru Center
Release Dec 17, 2014
RatingAll Ages
eu: Nintendo Badge Arcade
Release Nov 13, 2015
aus: Nintendo Badge Arcade
Release Nov 13, 2015

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