The Nintendo Badge Arcade, originally known as the Collectible Badge Center in Japan, is available to Nintendo 3DS owners worldwide. People can log into the app every day, hear the sale rabbit’s spiel, attempt to win some free tries and browse the machines. Here’s the funny thing, though. Did you know the bunny’s personality is slightly different in Japan?
The sales rabbit is quite enthusiastic and personable in all versions of the Nintendo Badge Arcade. He’s happy to talk up Nintendo’s games and grabbers. He rejoices when you win free plays. The difference is only apparent after you use said free tries. Japan’s sales rabbit tries to guilt you into spending money on paid plays.
Immediately after the free tries on a paid machine are up, both the localized and original sales rabbits ask if you’d like to switch over to paid play. In the US version, calling it quits results in him immediately rebounding. “No worries! That’s cool.” He doesn’t make you feel bad about your decision not to use real cash on the grabber. It’s fine.
In the Japanese version of the Nintendo Badge Arcade, his demeanor is entirely different. He dejectedly says, “So~ That’s a shame.” He’s clearly momentarily upset, before rebounding and sending the players on their way. The original game uses guilt as a motivator, and that’s absent in the western releases.
It’s a tactic employed in a similar Nintendo 3DS game. Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball. It’s a title where players can acquire Nontendo 4DS baseball minigames from a dog named Rusty Slugger. Each game costs real cash, which can be haggled down with coupons. However, emotional appeals are made. Rusty’s wife has left him and he’s trying to sell the out of date games to support his 10 children. Buying games provides insight into this fallen baseball player’s life and rewards you with knowledge that you’re improving his situation as you pay.
The switch is a means of dealing with the reaction in different regions. Nintendo is clearly aware of the free-to-play stigma in places like North America and adjusted the sales rabbit’s attitude accordingly. It also protects the company. There are laws in place in other regions that prevent marketing to children with aggressive tactics like guilt and suggesting something is free, when it isn’t. The attitude alteration means every base is covered. The result is a game that plays the same, but with a “hero” who’s a little more desperate to encourage people to pay for the grabber plays that pay his salary in Japan.