How To Collect Your 20 Free 3DS Games

How To Collect Your 20 Free 3DS Games

Own a Nintendo 3DS or plan on getting one in the next couple of weeks? Congratulations you’re now a Nintendo 3DS Ambassador and that means you get 20 free games. Right? Maybe.

Nintendo’s 3DS Ambassador program isn’t exactly clear cut, so we hit up Nintendo to walk us through the intricacies of the program.

Earlier this week, Nintendo announced that they were dropping the price of their 3DS from $350 to $250. To make it up to all of those early adopters of the portable gaming system, Nintendo also kicked off the ambassador program.

The program entitles members to 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop, half of them NES games and half Game Boy Advance titles.

But it’s not automatic.

You need to sign on to the eShop with your 3DS before the Aug. 12 price drop kicks in. No Internet? Sorry, you may be out of luck. Once you do, or if you already have, then your system is signed up for the program. I say your system, because the program is tied to the device, not the user. If you were, for instance, to have registered the 3DS and then sold it, you’ve also essentially sold those 20 free games to whoever buys that system from you.

It remains unclear, even with the clarification help, whether you’ll be able to somehow retain those games if your system breaks or if down the line you decide to buy a new 3DS, say one with a different colour.

Now about those games.

The release says that those free games will include 10 NES Virtual Console titles, which will later go on sale, and 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games, which won’t.

I went to Nintendo to try and clarify a bit about those games. This is what I learned:

The full list of games has not yet been determined, aside from the five examples that Nintendo announced for NES and GBA. While it hasn’t been announced yet, it’s possible that there may only 10 GBA and 10 NES games total coming to the virtual console total. That’s an educated guess though.

The announced examples for the NES are: Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong Jr, Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda. The GBA examples are: Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs Donkey Kong.

While we know that the NES games will become available starting September 1, and the GBA games by the end of the year, we don’t yet know is how long a person will have to redeem those free games. I expect we’ll be learning more about then once the program goes live.

So can you take advantage of this ambassador program? Sure, but it’s a bit of a gamble. Since the registration is tied to the console it means you’re going to want to go to a retail store that price matches (like Best Buy) but is still selling these systems at the inflated prices. Make sure the 3DS will qualify before you buy it. Once the drop hits go back and get your partial refund.

It may sound a bit skeevy, but I figure that any retailer that is knowingly selling hardware at a price they know will drop in a couple of weeks, deserves the extra heat.


  • Hi,

    So, to be considered an “Ambassador”, you just have to had to WI-FI the upgrade and use it to get access to the the eShop and then connect to the eShop at least once (to get the free Excibyke (sp?) for example)…is this correct?

    The prepaid cards for the eShop are still not available here in Canada and so I have only used my 3DS to download the free stuff so far. Do you think this is enough to be considered an “Ambassodor” or do I actually have to have a credit card backed account in the eShop?


  • Hi,

    Just to be clear, you do not have to had actually purchased anything on eShop, just connected to it to download the free Excibyke game and some videos…right?

    The eShop prepaid card is still not available here in Canada and I am waiting for it before buying anything on eShop.


    • Like the Following article states, you only need register your device with the service which you have already done.

    • You know you can pay for games via credit card right? I’ve been doing that until prepaid cards come along for it.

    • how can u download free games onto the 3ds? i cant find any free anythings, except for that pokamon dex thing which i dont want….. WHERE R THE FREE GAMES!!!

  • Sometimes I think some articles should be edited or dropped altogether. This is one of the earlier. I wouldn’t get away with doing this at EB Games without getting my ass banned. That, and Big W (who doesn’t price match) are selling 3DSes + OoT3D right now.

    • “Sometimes I think some articles should be edited or dropped altogether. This is one of the earlier.”

      I think you mean ‘former’

  • If they only choose to release 10 GBA games on the 3DS VC this will be the epitome of missed opportunities. There are paople out there (like myself) wanting to buy up big on games from eras past. The GBA is still my favourite handheld, and I want Fire Emblem dammit!

    • I agree!

      I have been pretty critical of Nintendo recently (and rightly so), but the announcement of Yoshi’s Island is a very, very promising sign indeed.

      If they start releasing Virtual Boy, GB, and SNES games at reasonable prices then I will definately buy another 3DS (I sold my first one).

      Balls in your court Nintendo.

  • Hmmm… Personally, I can understand not accomodating for people without wireless, mostly because there ARE enough hotspots around to tag off. If you don’t personally have one, there’s a good chance a friend/ family member somewhere will.

    However, as good as some of those games are, I don’t know if it’s going to make some people $100 happier… I’ll enjoy some of those games, but it feels like a, ‘Sorry.. here’s a lollipop’ moment. Which blows significantly…

  • I’m really worried that this all ties in to the ninty club rewards program so I have been trying to reguster m6 3DS.
    Of course every time I do it , it just resets itself. Anyone have any luck with ninty club recentley?

    Any tips on signing up??

    • Golden sun might have a chance, but I think it will be no for castlevania.
      All the games will likely be nintendo published ones.

    • You need Wi-Fi. If you don’t have it at home, head to a hotspot eg cafe or Macca’s and leech it.

  • it sounds to me a marketing push to get more sales at the $350 mark, since it’s tied to the console and is only valid till the day the price drops, otherwise smart people will use a friends one to tie it to their account and wait for the price to drop. Not to mention putting the cut 2 weeks later rather than the next day would also give the feeling they are just throwing loyal customers a “Hey we’re sorry, but have this” and to new customers “A cut is coming soon, but if you buy now at full price, we’ll give you these games”

  • Looking at this article on my 3DS! I really hope that they send out a message through the 3DS regarding the ‘Ambassador’ state. So far there has not been anything through the system, but if Nintendo really intends to go through with the plan then they should send out a message of some sort.

  • I’m REALLY hoping they release Super Mario World on the 3DS virtual console. If it’s part of the ambassador program that would be great, but SMW is my favourite mario by miles, and I would pay any price for it!

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