One of Nintendo's weirdest games might be already be broken with the 3DS eShop shutdown

Nintendo Badge Arcade
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Loyal players of Nintendo Badge Arcade on the 3DS have been surprised to find that the game's been rendered unplayable, and while this may be a temporary technical issue, indications seem to suggest that the looming eShop shutdown will spell the end for this bizarre game.

Nintendo Badge Arcade launched in 2015, during an era where the company was experimenting with increasingly bizarre microtransaction models for downloadable 3DS games. The StreetPass Salesbunny would give you hard sales pitches on bonus Mii Plaza games, while Rusty's Real Deal Baseball had you listening to the sob story of a down-on-his-luck dog dad in an effort to get real-life discounts on bonus minigames.

With those kinds of efforts in mind, the concept for Nintendo Badge Arcade seems almost pedestrian. It's basically a 2D crane game with rotating machines to pull from and hundreds of badges to collect. The idea, of course, is that you'll pour real money into the game in order to get the badges you want - there's a reason we called this Nintendo at its most cynical back in 2015 - but daily free plays ensured that the game got an audience of people who enjoyed checking in to slowly chip away at their collection a day at a time.

But now, those free plays seem to be gone. There have been conflicting reports on how far-reaching this all is, but numerous players have been reporting that their daily free plays have suddenly disappeared. I was able to get some bonus free plays from the practice machine, though I'm not sure if that's just because I had some left over after not playing the game in years. None of the daily login bonuses popped for me, either way.

Dataminers have suggested that this might all be due to a mislabeled server configuration file, which caused this week's set of daily bonuses to end a day earlier than precedent would suggest. There's potential that a new, correctly configured config file could land within the next day or two and set everything right, but I'm not holding my breath.

Nintendo Badge Arcade already has a built-in expiration contingency, as an update years ago added an in-game message message that's set to be activated when the game shuts down. You can see the message in full on The Cutting Room Floor, but this excerpt will give you the gist: "We regret to inform you that this establishment has closed down. Our deepest thanks to all of you for your support and patronage."

Clearly, Nintendo is prepared for the Badge Arcade's eventual shutdown, and it's tough to imagine it lasting past the eShop itself. It's already impossible to plug your credit card into the store, and with the store shutdown looming, you soon won't even be able to use gift cards to bypass that restriction. Will a game built almost exclusively to push microtransactions really outlast your ability to put money into it?

Most Nintendo 3DS games you've downloaded will continue to work after the shutdown, and The Completionist recently underwent a ridiculous quest to help historians make it legal to save the rest.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.