Well this was a bit of a surprise!
Nintendo sneakily released a (free) app on the Japanese 3DS eshop today that allows you to play a UFO catcher to win pins that you can use on your home screen.
Following a fairly bizarre tutorial, you have the opportunity to give the UFO catcher a shot, at no cost!
I managed to catch a couple of Famicom Mario pins, which I promptly stuck on my home screen.
I then hopped over to another UFO catcher with “wooden” prizes. I had five turns here, free of charge. One of my catches here had a bullseye on the back of it, which (I think) netted me some more free plays at the main machine.
There are a ton of little UFO catchers to choose from here. I first went for the Animal Crossing icons. You can win custom icons in Collectible Badge Center for the more mundane items on your home menu.
I managed to get two new icons here, but my UFO catcher urges still were not satiated, so I decided to check out the Famicom catcher. Out of free credits, I decided to bite the bullet and drop 90 yen for 5 plays. I won pins on four out of my five tries, which was cool.
Even cooler, I was given a free theme as well!
Here’s my home screen after all was said and done:
I love it.
Collectible Badge Center is a great addition to the 3DS. It’s clever, quirky, and allows 3DS owners to creatively customize their system. The UFO catcher games are fun, and while the app has microtransactions at its core, it never felt gross or exploitative. It’s a cool idea with a lot of future-potential (all I can think of right now are Metroid pins); I really hope it comes west!