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Monday, November 23, 2015

Nintendo Badge Casino

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Gateway to Internet gambling.

Once upon a time, Nintendo released this quirky 3DS application called Nintendo Badge Arcade that allows you to put "badges" (nice little pictures of Nintendo characters) on your 3DS menu. This decorates it substantially to go along with your themes, folders, and game thumbnails! It's "free-to-play"... not really. It's basically a crane game and you use a dollar of real money to get 5 crane chances.

Here's what my home screen looks like now:

Nintendo Badge Arcade Starly Makuhita Lucario Staravia 3DS home menu screen Splatoon theme
Ludwig's 3DS home screen, featuring Starly, Makuhita, Lucario, and Staravia.

The folders used to be labeled "DUDE", which was totally unintentional. These stand for "Daily" (Starly), "Useless Shit" (Makuhita), "Demos" (Lucario), and "e-Shop Games" (Staravia). I haven't changed this since folders were first invented on the 3DS and it's served me sort of well! Though there has definitely been mobility, like Swapnote going from "Daily" to "Useless Shit".

Anyway, I got those badges from the "practice" plays that, if you're fortunate enough, seem to give you 1-3 free tries at the crane per day. Could you just grind off that?

Well, no. Because the badges are available for only a limited time, and apparently dozens of these are available at any given moment and expiring at any given moment. The result? If you want everything, you need to pay. A fortune. 

Just look at this sap from Miiverse:

Nintendo Badge Arcade addicted gambling Miiverse user one more dollar Deoxys and Rayquaza
“So tempted to spend a dollar on this JUST FOR DEOXYS AND RAYQUAZA”

I don't think one mere dollar is going to get him what he desires, however. The point here is to observe the PRESSURE Nintendo is putting on people to spend real money on useless objects. They even give you a newsletter that's constantly sending system notifications to tell you to come back to the game. Still, there are folks out there who think Nintendo has noble intentions. Like these guys.

Miiverse Nintendo Badge Arcade play as much as we want
Excerpt from this Miiverse post.

"This game is suppose to be fun not to spend money ;("

You're very unfortunately wrong there, Finley. This game is designed to get your money, and I have no idea why Westerners were begging for the game to come over here. They seem to want to throw dollars at Nintendo's schemes but not their legitimate game products!

This is basically a glorified gambling operation by Nintendo. Funny they picked a crane game... Crane games are luck-based and entirely riggable by their operator. Some would consider them equivalent to slot machines.

How is this a game of chance? You can select how far you can go horizontally, but what happens after that is automated and completely up to the game. How far down the crane arm goes and how it opens and closes is outside of your control. That means you do not have full control over the game. Can you really call it a skill-based game at that point?

Let's be clear: Gambling is defined as requiring "consideration, chance, and prize." Consideration means you're putting up a stake, which is your dollar every time. Chance means it's more luck-based than skill-based, which is true here. You're not guaranteed an outcome. And prize is either cash or merchandise.

The badges are considered merchandise, are they not? You're pretty limited in what you can do with them, and it's digital aesthetics only... so that might not pass muster.

Nintendo Badge Arcade swap over to paid play now bunny
They ask this question to "swap over to paid play now" every single time.

The real issue here is that unlike a real casino or even online gambling websites, there don't seem to be any protections or programs in place to protect "problem gamblers." These are the few percent of folks who don't know when to quit and obsessively waste away their whole life savings while gambling. You can endlessly funnel money into your eShop account and Nintendo will be all the more happier as that money goes into badges... the success of obtaining them determined by an RNG.

And if you don't know if you're a compulsive gambler, Nintendo Badge Arcade is a fantastic way of finding out! It's pretty much a "gateway" to "real" gambling, though the financial costs are just as real.

I'm pretty content with the one free practice a day thing. I was totally fine with my HOME menu just being "DUDE" made up in folders before. I don't need to spend anything on these badges! I'm done being an addict! I will be taking CONTROL over my life! You should too.

The Nintendo of a decade ago wouldn't do something like this. Sure, it wasn't technologically possible back then, but they've really changed philosophically. This is just transparently shameless. And props to them for transparency, I guess! Note: I don't think it's necessarily unethical. Just disgusting. They are targeting children, but they do ask children to make sure a parent is with them while playing!

Ludwig has experience with online casinos when he visits Sierra Leone on KoopaTV staff meetings. Online gambling is illegal in the United States, unless it's run by a select few of the state governments. So no more about that. Staravia is one of his favourite Pokémon, so he's already happy!

Check out Ludwig's updated HOME screen here!
Ludwig has abandoned playing this gambling app, but Nintendo keeps trying to suck him back in.
Nintendo Badge Arcade would definitely get banned for being a loot box.


  1. When this thing showed up in the Nintendo Direct, I referred to it as Microtransactions: The Game, and I don't understand why people are willing to spend money on it.

    1. I see hundreds of folks on Miiverse just spilling their money and I bet Nintendo is wondering why they didn't bring this over sooner!

    2. From that perspective, you can hardly blame Nintendo, sad though that may be. -_-

    3. I dunno, they like to say they have corporate social responsibility!

      Oh no I said "I bet Nintendo is..." I'M BETTING IT'S GETTING A HOLD OF ME

  2. To think Pokemon games modified the game corner in some non JP released games and now look what happened.

    Also crane games are my bane. Most of them have plushies in them.There was this one crane machine I attempted to get a plush because I had another of it at home and it meant a lot to me. I knew when to quit but I spent way more than I should on it. And a few days later that plush was covered up with more plushies being added to the machine.

    1. I miss the Game Corner. Now it just doesn't exist anymore.

      My advice is to never ever download Nintendo Badge Arcade.

  3. I don't see any purpose on wasting money on this gimmick considering there are greater upcoming games to spend it on, such as Pokémon Picross!

  4. My friend actually came up to me the other day complaining about this thing, and at the time I had no clue what he was talking about. (Splatoon has dominated my life) After reading this I finally realized he was talking about this whole badge thing. Honestly this is ridiculous. A dollar for a little... icon things that just sit on your home screen? Paying a dollar for a theme is okay, as a theme completely alters your whole home screen, complete with music. But these? Nothing. Nada. They just... SIT THERE. Now, if they provided game bonuses or something (Which will probably never happen) now that would great! But no. An icon. A... "badge." Good going, Nintendo. That's REAL nice.

    1. The badges don't even have a little animation or jingle if you cursor over them or press A on them in the Home screen. :(

    2. Aw. They really just SIT THERE, don't they?

    3. Sit there and look pretty!

      ...I'm fine with that for amiibo, though. At least when I pay money to get an amiibo I have a 100% chance of receiving it.

  5. simple game. I played it last year