Last year, Japanese 3DS owners were welcomed to a freemium app called the Collectible Badge Center. There, users could visit and earn badges that could grace their systems’ Home screens. It’s a cash grab, to be sure, but also offers daily opportunities to earn free tries on its grabbing machines. Now, as of November 10, 2015, all regions have access to the Nintendo Badge Arcade.
I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a Nintendo Badge Arcade master. I’ve been playing since the app’s December debut and attempt to log in as often as possible as to earn those free plays. While I do admit to spending between $5 and $10 in the arcade, the majority of my 331 badges came from taking advantage of the free plays and Practice Catcher. Now, I’d like to pass my wisdom on to you.
1. Play every day.
This one is a given. Every day, people get five free tries in the Practice Catcher. When you’ve grabbed 10 badges, you get one try in a paid machine of your choosing. If one of these practice badges has a blue or red back, you earn one or three tries on whichever machine you’d like. If things work out well, you could end up with four tries on a machine. Showing up every day could help you get the badges you want for free, and also means you’ll be around in case that rabbit happens to offer a free try to celebrate the addition of new machines to the arcade.
2. Don’t always try to “grab” badges.
There’s a lot more strategy to these virtual machines than you may suspect. The arrangement of badges in some may mean going for exact items will waste your tries. Take the Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer machine with outdoor items. It’s better to send the claw into the center in an attempt to push the badges into the pit below. In machines where badges are on an incline, the first grab should be immediately to the left of the hole, to nudge icons down the chute. The Practice Catcher is a great place to try techniques.
3. Patience is a virtue.
The Nintendo Badge Arcade is new. It’s exciting. You may be tempted to pop $1 in for 5 tries or $2 in for 10. It’s human nature. However, I ask that you practice patience. Japan has seen almost a year’s worth of grabbers, with icons from games like Fire Emblem Fates, Boxboy!, Pokemon, Rhythm Heaven: The Best+, Super Mario Maker, and Yoshi’s Woolly World. Fantastic decorations are on the way and, while seeing a “Final Day” notice might prompt you to panic, it will be okay. Those grabbers will be back again eventually.
4. Wait until the last day.
Let’s say there’s a promotional theme or grabbing machine you really like in the Nintendo Badge Arcade. For example, I love Fire Emblem If. When main character sprite badges appeared, I ended up playing the Practice Machine every day to earn as many as possible for free. When the last day came up, I paid the 90 yen to play the machine that would give me the icon for the female avatar. (I cleared the machine, naturally.) The key is, I waited until the last minute and so should you. Give yourself as much time as possible to get the badges you want for free before spending any actual money!
Enjoy yourself now that the Nintendo Badge Arcade is open! You’re going to get to see a lot of interesting icons and put together the prettiest Home screens ever.