Your guide to 10 free NES game on your 3DS

In two short days on September 1, all you suckers lucky people who purchased a 3DS at the original price will be rewarded by Nintendo with free games. It turns out that it may be a little tricky finding out exactly how to get in on the free game goodness, but that’s why Infendo is here to guide you through the grueling path to free games.

From the Nintendo website:

How Do I Download Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Games?
Step by step instructions on how to download the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador games.

Important Note! The games are available only to systems that are eligible for the Ambassador Program.


  1. From the Nintendo 3DS HOME menu, select the Nintendo eShop icon.
  2. Scroll left and select “Settings / Other.”
  3. Scroll down and select “Account Activity” to view a list of transactions.
  4. The NES game will be listed here once it is available to download. Tap “Software Info,” and then “Redownload” to begin the download process.

The Ambassador Certificate: This certificate can be used to receive updates regarding the Ambassador Program, such as when new titles are available to download.

Ok so I lied, the process is really not that complicated and I have a feeling come Thursday, my 3DS will will be flashing with a SpotPass telling me exactly what to do. Anyhow, you’re welcome.

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.


  1. Eugene, are you as suddenly apprehensive as I am about the sentence:

    “The NES game will be listed here once it is available to download” ?

    Game. Singular? From that line, and the images from their website, it starting to kinda look like they’re going to dole these out one at a time. I hope that’s not the case. I don’t want to sound greedy, and I really wouldn’t mind too much spreading them out at a weekly rate, but…to quote Veruca Salt, “I want it nowwwwww!” Having ten classic NES games suddenly on the home menu will certainly make my 3DS a happier place, and the sooner the better. 🙂

    I’ve been curious about the way they’ve stated the games would be available “Beginning Sept. 1.” Well, what does that mean? We can get all ten starting Sept. 1 or they’ll start appearing Sept. 1? Grrrrrrrr!

    Guess we’ll find out soon, huh? At least it looks like Super Mario Brothers is a guaranteed first day download. That’s the one I’m looking forward to most, anyway.

  2. @Richard

    I think they will all be downloadable on Sept 1st. The “beginning” just means that is when they are available and the singular use of “NES game” refers to the fact that you’ll have to download each game one at a time, and they will appear separately in the downloaded games list. At least I hope so. Personally I think that once you have an emulator working there is no reason why the entire back catalog should not be available on day one, other than to sell the crap first when people want content, and save the better stuff for later because people will buy it anyway. Sure you make more money that way, but you shaft the fans IMHO.

    Basically the eShop is pretty shoddily designed/programmed and i think that is why they have to do it this way. Rather than have a special channel that appears only for ambassadors in the main eShop menu, we’ll have to take the above-mentioned steps. This leads me to believe that the eShop main menu is the same for all users in a region, and relies on the region code of the 3DS accessing it to determine this, not the IP address (meaning that a Japanese 3DS will still connect to the Japanese eShop even if you are at a wifi hotspot in Chicago). Furthermore, i don’t think it is possible with the way the eshop is currently set up to have the main menu display differently for a different account- so basically Nintendo has to upload the games they want to give us for free and change our individual accounts so that the games register as already purchased. This is why we “redownload” them. The eshop thinks we already bought them and deleted them, so we are simply redownloading. Then nintendo simply has to not create a channel in the eshop main menu for the games. So the games are up on the eshop, but only we can get them.

    This leads me to believe that us Ambassadors will ONLY be able to get specifically THESE 10 games free. We can’t only download 5 of them, and then wait till more games become available and then choose which ones we want for free. It’s these or nothing, basically. And i think that has to do with how the eshop is programmed to work. The only other way they could do it (without changing the eshop) would be to credit our accounts with money, which we might spend on third-party games, which means Nintendo would actually have to split the difference. This way they guarantee that they are giving stuff for free and simultaneously not taking any losses.

  3. Just looking forward to having all those NES games on the go.

  4. @Brett

    You’re right about how the shop works in terms of regions. I brought my Wii with me from the US when I moved to Germany, and it’s always logged me into the Region 1 store, still.

    In other news, I blew out my Wii with a faulty power converter here. Any idea how I can get it fixed?…local electronic guy? Sending it to Nintendo? Nintendo America, or Germany?? I just needed it to last me until Skyward sword…and I also dislike that I’m going to get fucked over if I buy a European WiiU…

  5. @Jared I’m a little bit of an electronic repairman myself. (It kinda is my job actually.. lol) Anywho, I’m just gonna say that it’s just your Wii’s power supply that took the hit. If you can find a buddy with a Wii, ask to borrow his AC adapter and try it. Pretty sure it’ll work just fine. Good luck to ya sir.

    I’m looking forward to playing Zelda 2 again. Such a different take on Zelda games, but fun, and I miss playing it. I still have the original gold NES cart. Still works, but I’d rather be portable. 🙂 Thanks Ninty, I’d still buy a 3ds at the original price if I had a do over.

  6. Also.. @Brett… Ya, obviously it’s those or nothing. They set it up the easiest way they could, which is credit the Amb. accounts to show them as pre-purchased. Kinda obvious if you ask me… Also, how do you give away free software, and not have a loss? Not making money from software, 1st or 3rd party=taking a loss.. >.>

  7. UPDATE:

    Brett, you were right on the money: I just checked the eShop and all ten games are now listed in my account with a 9/1/11 release date, turning my previous comment into paranoid drivel! 🙂

  8. LOL, I wouldn’t have expected anything less from Nintendo. They do want us to jump through hoops to get these games.

  9. Yeah, games we already have – and they’re not even in 3D!

  10. You know, there will probably be a simpler-to-download formal release tomorrow, as they promised. I think what’s showing up today is a faulty piece of prep work allowing us to download them early.

  11. @Alan

    They’re giving you something, don’t complain.

    Nothing would be fine as well; if the price of the 3ds is lower, more people (probably) will get one. Larger install base, more games! ….just…ignore 3rd party support on the Wii….please?

  12. You don’t have to wait for Sept 1st. they are available for download right now. Check the your downloads button….or so i’ve heard

  13. If you go to the eshop settings and select “your downloads,” you can “redownload” all 10 games. I’ve got them.

  14. @Richard
    I am glad to see all of the games available as well! I would be heartbroken if I was stuck with only one NES title to play today.

  15. Yes! Games are here!

  16. Not in Germany. 🙁

  17. Aw, man. You can’t use the “restore” save state function on the NES games. That’s a bummer.

  18. And this makes me regret buying an iPad 2 in march instead of a 3DS, I just got my 3DS on August 13th

  19. @Kaherka

    I believe I read that the quick save feature will be added to these games in the near future when they go up for regular sale on the eShop. But don’t quote me on that.

  20. They are on the eshop now if anyone is interested. They are all available, just finished last one.