Nintendo knows full well the 830,000-plus Nintendo 3DS early adopters in the U.S. won't be amused by the $80 price drop of the handheld console, just four months after launch. Nor does the company want to encourage potential customers to wait for the new $170 price to take effect on August 12, before purchasing a 3DS. That's why Nintendo is dangling a number of exclusive and free retro games at current 3DS owners: to encourage them to become "Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors" by August 11.
It's actually quite simple for individuals to earn the Ambassador distinction. As long as 3DS users visit the Nintendo eShop at least once by August 11 no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, Nintendo will automatically recognize the player as an Ambassador, which qualifies the him for free games this fall.
On September 1, 3DS Ambassadors can download up to 10 NES Virtual Console games from the eShop for free, including the following:
- Super Mario Bros
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Balloon Fight
- Ice Climber
- The Legend of Zelda
By the end of 2011, Ambassadors will be gifted with 10 more free games, this time from the Game Boy Advance cannon that will be exclusive to Nintendo's loyal customers. These retro titles include:
- Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3
- Mario Kart: Super Circuit
- Metroid Fusion
- WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Since Virtual Console games in the 3DS' eShop are only worth about $3.99 each, the 20 free games would be worth the same amount as much as the $80 discount late adopters will get on their device. Unfortunately, the olive branch Nintendo is extending to its best customers assumes they want to revisit old games, which may not be true for everyone -- most would probably prefer the extra $80 in their pocket. So much for "rewarding" early adopters.
Are these free titles compelling enough for you to drop $250 on a 3DS right now, or would you prefer the lower price tag but with no freebies?
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