It’s been a long run with the Nintendo eShop Badge Arcade, but after some careful consideration, I have thrown in the towel. Hung up the jersey. I’m out.
Not that I didn’t enjoy my time in the Arcade, but the novelty really wore off for me. To be honest, I’m surprised I stuck it out this long, considering it launched November 10th of last year and I played it damn near every single day since launch day. Nearly 7 months to the day! My stats are thus:
Play Time: 16:16
Times Played: 161
Average Play Time: 0:06
First Played: 11/11/2015
Last Played: 5/18/2016
I did some damage.
While my reasons for quitting are all over the place, overall I think the Badge Arcade is a terrific and mostly well-intentioned little minigame that became a little too greedy for it’s own good, which frustrated me to the point of not wanting to ever see that bunny again. But let me take a step back here for a minute.
I’ll come right out and say that I was one of the people who dropped cash in the Arcade, and had no problem with spending money on fancy pixels. I collected just over 1,000 badges as of two weeks ago and spent in the vicinity of $50 total, if I had to guess. And I don’t consider that a lot, as I could burn that through a slot machine in 4 minutes and come out with absolutely nothing. It’s gambling, plain and simple. I enjoyed the time I spent in it, and I’d call 7 months of fun worth $50 to me.
No, the money part didn’t bother me. But let’s get into the things that turned me off to the Nintendo Badge Arcade, and what they could do to fix it.
Although the regular crane worked pretty well, it was tough to figure out what kinds of direct force to the prongs would get it to stop and retract. On days where I really wanted a victory, I’d typically go to a machine with the hammer tool. That thing worked great.
Bombs, however? Yeah, not so much. The explosions were too weak and hardly did anything. I’d love some sort of mega-bomb that would send badges flying absolutely everywhere. Perhaps some sort of drill that could alter the actual machine itself?
Game Launch Time
Upon launching the Badge Arcade, you are greeted to a loading screen that takes way too long. I’ve launched the game 161 times, both on an OG 3DS and a New 3DS XL. It takes less time on the XL, but still far too long for any daily player like this. There were plenty of times where I had 3 minutes to dawdle about, and collecting some badges was just what the doctor ordered. But by the time I had gotten through the neverending load sequence and finished playing, it was simply taking too long. Which brings me to my next point…
Frustrating Sequence of Gameplay
As mentioned above, the launch time was a drag. Combined with the flow of gameplay, I felt like I was constantly waiting for something more to happen. After the game finally loaded, I’d be content with no receiving any free plays, for no reason other than having to go into the arcade, use one play, to then have to practice, win another play, go BACK into the arcade, and use that play.
That order of operations never seemed right to me. Why not let the player stockpile plays until they are ready to use them? Give them a free play on top of the practice results.
How about started the app right inside the practice game? After all, the majority of players are going to go there first thing anyway. This shaves off seconds of waiting and would hold people in the app longer, perhaps coercing then to spend actual (or more) money.
That Feeling of Getting Ripped Off
It’s important to look at the Badge Arcade as if it were a slot machine in Atlantic City (or Vegas, depending on where you’re reading from), because at it’s core, you’re gambling. It’s not a slot machine per se, but you’re playing a game that relies on a high degree of good luck. That being said, I had gotten burned a few times, and those moments sucked. But something happened in the last couple months, and I swear I can’t be alone in thinking this.
The arcade machines got a lot more difficult. The placement of some badges were just terrible.
The first one that comes to mind involved five cosplaying Pikachus on a swinging platform. It took me $3 to finally get all of them. True that it was a huge win when I finally knocked off the last ‘Chu, but boy did it contrast hard with the feeling after feeling burned out of $2.
Another one that was slightly more recent was a pile of four Nintendo DS. Tried as I might, I could not get more than one DS to fall off. And my god was it enraging.
Not for nothing, but the cost of operating the Badge Arcade cannot be that high relative to the amount of money it brings in. At some point, it just seemed like the difficulty spiked, and suddenly I was finding myself spending $2 just to play cleanup with two or three leftover badges, and I wasn’t cool with that.
Truth be told, I realize that with a lot of things, there is just the case of burn-out. The odds of me playing Badge Arcade every day, forever, until I died of natural causes, were pretty low. I had a great time with it, however, and I’d love to give it another shot at my spare five minutes per day if Nintendo can make some adjustments to the overall flow and feel of the game. It’s a damn fun time, with or without actual cash transactions, but the spiked difficulty towards the end made me feel like I was getting ripped off.
Until we meet again Badge Arcade Bunny!