A Call to Arms: The 3DS Ambassador Title and What It Means

On July 28th, Nintendo – after not getting favorable reception for their new Nintendo 3DS system – announced a massive price drop across all regions, which triggered an outpouring of emotion froms gamers: happiness, rage, anger, relief, hopefulness and so on.

In order to keep the early buyers happy and away from any form of mass boycott, they also announced the “3DS Ambassador Program” which thanked them for their continued support and rewarded them with 20 free Virtual Console titles – 10 from the NES and 10 from the Game Boy Advance. Those titles all together covered the extra $80 that the early adopters paid while the 3DS went for $250.

While some have settled for the games, there are a select few who still have some form of resentment – why Nintendo speculated the unsettled future of the 3DS, their obvious blunders as a result of dismal efforts from the third parties and of course, waiting 3 months for the rest of the complete package to land.

It was clear that the 3DS wasn’t exactly flying off the shelves. I panicked when it came to the right time to buy the system (I planned for my birthday in May) but fearing that they may sell out, I opted for a launch day pick-up. When I pulled up to that GameStop that cold March morning, those long lines I expected were non-existent.

Months go by and I joined up with the StreetPass NYC group (a group under the global grass-roots StreetPass Network) and helped them to show off the potential of the 3DS and its features, mainly StreetPass. When the price drop news came, someone joked that Nintendo gave us a title we’ve been holding for about 4 months.

We’ve all been 3DS Ambassadors – we’ve shown off the 3D capabilities, the 3D camera, the AR Games, Face Raiders and other applications to our friends and family. Some were amazed, some weren’t.
And then… there’s the young owners.

I went on a shopping trip with relatives on the 3rd of September and being mindful of how busy the area usually was, I carried along my 3DS. I had 3 StreetPass tags that day, but the last one was the most interesting. I observed this young lad, about 9 or 10, who was playing Face Raiders in this department store. I inch closer to him, trying to trigger the StreetPass light and it happens. From a distance, I could see the kid open his Mii Plaza, pull on his mother’s arm and say that he got a StreetPass tag. He looked around to see who it was, and I raised my 3DS in the air.

The kid rushed over to the seat I was at and I introduce myself. I asked his permission to view his Mii Plaza. My Mii was the only one in there. I check his 3DS Menu and it looks as barren as my own on launch day. He had no 3DS games, no Nintendo Video/Netflix app, no Virtual Console games, no free 3D Classics: Excitebike, no 3D videos of any kind and then it hit me. He didn’t even have the eShop! I checked the system settings and the poor lad hasn’t even updated it once.

I showed off my extensive library of 3DS content – my 3DS games, the eShop, my ambassador games and my 3D trailers from E3 2011. His jaw dropped and I felt bad for many reasons:

  1. This kid was a prospective ambassador but missed his chance to get in on the program.
  2. No eShop meant no chance to get a free copy of 3D Classics: Excitebike.
  3. He was young and probably had no formal access to the Internet or something – so no profound knowledge of the 3DS other than “Mommy, look, it’s the 3D DS! Can I get one?!”

Before I took off, I told him to make sure he updates his 3DS once he gets home. I had no StreetPass NYC flyer to hand off to him so he could learn more so the only confirmation I could ever have of him following my advice is an okay and my Mii in his StreetPass Mii Plaza.

So, what have I learned? Not everyone knows about what the 3DS can really do. Sure, Nintendo may be calling us 3DS Ambassadors to cover for their mistakes in relations to their overspeculation but the title really means something. The new and inexperienced owners won’t know everything off the bat and it’s up to us, the experienced veterans, to educate them to the best of our ability.

Of course, this isn’t exactly to persuade you into doing so – what I did that day was clearly of my own intention. I may not be on Nintendo of America’s payroll for doing this, but the feeling of passing along knowledge to someone wanting to learn is its own reward. If doing this is any bit of wrong, then I wouldn’t wish to be right anymore.

So, if you wish to do it – go right ahead. Teach what you can and seek out a StreetPass group near you if you’d like to interface with other owners and get some tags in your plaza. It’ll be a while before the price cut’s effect will be far-reaching (I expect this holiday season to remedy that), so why not?

3 Responses to “A Call to Arms: The 3DS Ambassador Title and What It Means”
  1. Mia says:

    however, there are plenty of people (myself included) who still have those old systems and all the games and/or have beaten them several times and could care less about getting them on the 3DS so we still get nothing.

    as for the little kid, doesn’t a notification pop up when you receive the updates and need to download them? however, i heard it does go by the serial number so while the kid may have missed out on excite bike, they may still be able to get into the ambassador program


    • Sylverstone Khandr says:

      I was wondering about that as well.

      Either he had no stable internet connection, or something. It’s very puzzling.


  2. Wes says:

    This is a great article. I see this sort of thing a lot; iPads and iPhones that haven’t had the new software updates installed and Wii’s that are not connected to the internet so don’t even have the Weather Channel working (!). Let alone the wonders of the Virtual Console or the Everybody Votes Channel! Poor kid and these other people that are not getting the best out of their gadgets. It does make you wonder, if he has no internet connection at all perhaps? And whether or not he want’s the NES and GBA games or not, the other free video content on the eShop should be available to him.


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