Earlier this week, Nintendo started rolling out a new cosmetic app for 3DS systems. Today, Nintendo Badge Arcade arrives in North America.
The app is purely driven by microtransactions. Players can purchase tokens for an arcade crane game, with prizes in the form of “badges” you can place on your home screen.
These stamp-like aesthetic items allow players to create scenes featuring a variety of characters and items from Nintendo properties. These include Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Animal Crossing. For those series that have multiple visual styles, you might find badges from different iterations.
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There are also badges that serve as replacement icons to launch software. These are stylized in different ways, but actually work as buttons instead of other badges that are just aesthetic icons.
You’ll get a shot at six badges for free, but after that you’ll be asked to pay $1 for five tries. There are free plays each day that allow you to practice, but you don’t get to keep the badges. However, some of those badges can award you free real plays, and doing well on the practice machine might earn you some real tries. Nintendo will also be giving out credits for real attempts from time to time.
The shop will also offer exclusive themes from time to time. These are awarded if you purchase a minimum number of plays while the theme is available. These are designed to serve as backdrops that complement badges, turning your home screen into a Colorform playground.
In combination with the news that the first smartphone games will be free-to-play and previous forays into microtransactions like Pokemon Shuffle, it’s clear which way the wind is blowing. The badges are purely aesthetic though, and are easily ignored for those that don’t want to turn their 3DS into a coin-op arcade.
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