FAQ: Nintendo Ambassador Program and Free eShop Games

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The announcement of global 3DS price drops and free eShop games might have you confused, which is why we've put together this FAQ to help you make sense of the issues. This FAQ is a work in progress and we'll update it when new information comes in.

If you have questions, post them in the comments below and we'll do our best to answer as many as possible.

Run this 3DS Ambassador program past me one more time.

Anyone who bought a Nintendo 3DS console and registered it in the Nintendo eShop before 12th August 2011 automatically entered the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. That's because 12th August was when the 3DS price drop came into effect.

Ambassadors are eligible for 20 free downloadable games — 10 from the NES and 10 from the Game Boy Advance — as a "make good" package.

Oh yes, I remember now. But how will I know if I'm a 3DS Ambassador? Will there be a notification?

It's likely you've already downloaded your free NES games but if not there is a special section in the eShop for the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador certificate, a device for Nintendo to tell you about the Ambassador program.

What games are on offer to 3DS Ambassadors?

The NES games are:

Super Mario Bros.
The Legend of Zelda
Ice Climber
Balloon Fight
Donkey Kong Jr.
Wrecking Crew
NES Open Tournament Golf
Mario & Yoshi (the European name for Yoshi)
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The Game Boy Advance games are:

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island
Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Metroid Fusion
Wario Land 4
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames

When can I get these games?

The NES games will launch from 1st September. The GBA games will be made available from 16th December 2011.

I don't want those games. Can I choose something else?

Unlike the Wii Ambassador programme, it appears you will not be gifted with store credit, so don't expect to have free choice.

Are these 3D Classics games?

No, they're running under the Virtual Console banner so will appear as they do on the NES and GBA.

The press release mentions 'updated versions of these games will be available after launch'. What gives?

OK, so here's the deal. 3DS Ambassadors get basic versions of these NES games early — there are no digital manuals here and no cross-platform multiplayer, just run of the mill NES games.

Later on these games will be updated with digital manuals and multiplayer.

3DS Ambassadors will be able to upgrade to these 'enhanced' versions for free once they're available. Nintendo has not yet announced when these new version will be available.

Will these games have VC Suspend or Restore Point functionality?

A complicated question, and once that has its own dedicated post. Find out more official details of Nintendo 3DS Ambassador scheme.

How long do I have to download them?

We don't know yet, but don't worry, Nintendo doesn't expect every 3DS owner to download them immediately.

I bought my 3DS after 12th August — am I still eligible?

If you bought or registered your 3DS after 12th August, you are not eligible for these free games. These are for customers who purchased and connected their console before that date.

I can still buy those games myself though, can't I?

Well, yes and no. The NES games will be available to buy in the eShop at a later date — Ambassadors get them early, and for free.

We do not have any price information for NES games on 3DS Virtual Console. However, they're likely to come in around or just above the price of standard Game Boy games.

The Game Boy Advance games, however, are only be available to those who registered before 12th August: Nintendo says it has "no plans" to make the GBA games available to all users.

Won't 10 GBA games completely eat up my memory space?

Not necessarily — you can transfer most eShop downloads to your SD card and load them straight from there. Besides, the maximum size of a GBA game is around 32MB, so the included 2GB card should be fine for most; if not, just upgrade it. Simple!

Club Nintendo questions

Do I have to register my 3DS on Club Nintendo?

No, this is not a stipulation of the entry. By all means go for it, but it's not compulsory.

Will I get 200 coins from downloading those 20 games?

Yes, Nintendo has confirmed the 20 free games are eligible for Club Nintendo coins for users in North America.

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