The daily updates of new badges and fun commentary from the Arcade Bunny at the Nintendo Badge Arcade for the Nintendo 3DS have ended with the service signing off from new updates in North America yesterday. This follows similar finales in other regions around the world. While the arcade will still be available, new badges will no longer be added and will instead rotate out some of the more than eight thousand existing badges. Playing at the arcade will still cost money, but the service will offer two free plays per day starting late next week. Over at USgamer, Caty McCarthy says farewell to the arcade.
The Nintendo Badge Arcade was an odd thing when it burst onto the scene around the same time that the New 3DS did in late 2015, with its customizable faceplates and all. It was the peak of "customize everything" Nintendo—the badges were both a joyful celebration of neglected IPs (Rhythm Heaven, Tomodachi Life) just as much as it showed off the familiar ones (Mario, Pokémon). Badges were digital trinkets implemented to spice up a 3DS' home screen, whether with obtrusive clutter or careful implementation. Some even replaced icons that already resided there, like a necessary settings icon, now made cute and functional.
I was a fan of the arcade and played it several times per week especially when free plays were offered. I often told my podcast pal Blake Grundman to never give it any money to encourage the continued rise of free-to-play services in the Nintendo ecosystem, but I'm guilty of tossing a few dollars at the Arcade Bunny over the years to try and get that one badge or two that I really absolutely had to have.
While I have my share of Mario and Kirby badges, I discovered that I have a serious soft spot for Mega Man badges with an emphasis on the Robot Masters. Take a look at my Mega Man game group on my 3DS menu and you'll see it decorated with Bubble Man and Spark Man, but my favorite achievement is catching the Mega Man 2 Robot Master mug shots that I then surrounded the icon for the Mega Man Legacy Collection to simulate the classic stage select screen. As far as I'm concerned, the entire Nintendo Badge Arcade was worth it just so I could create that tableau.
Oh, and Arcade Bunny? I don't know what's next for you, but it's a starring role as a Super Smash Bros. assist trophy isn't in your future, then someone made a bad decision somewhere along the line.