If you’re anything like me then by this point in the Half Term holiday you’ve spent all your available budget and are still in need of a few things to keep the kids quiet with until they go back to school on Monday. Ideally stuff that doesn’t cost any money! So I was quite grateful to Nintendo for the press release that dropped into my inbox earlier this week, reminding me that there are more than 100 demos and games to start free of charge (that may have optional in-game purchases) available to owners of the 3DS family of systems via the Nintendo eShop, the online app store built into those systems.
The Nintendo eShop is accessed via the orange shopping bag icon on your 2DS/3DS device’s home screen. The device will need to be connected to the Internet, and may need a system update to enable the eShop. You also need to have a Nintendo network ID set up, and will need to accept the network related terms and privacy policies.
The demos can be found in two different ways. First of all, sometimes when browsing or searching the shop you will see items clearly identified as a demo. Or when looking at a full game you might see a “download demo” button on the screen, which indicates a free demo is available.
Once the demo has downloaded you will notice that it shows you there are a limited number of plays available. Many of the demos come with 30 plays, but some games have fewer (Nintendogs + cats comes with just 10, for example). Each time you launch the demo it will confirm via a popup how many plays are left.
The number of uses is only decreased once the software is closed, so you can continue playing the demo as long as you like, even through putting the device into sleep mode without losing any plays. So there is quite a lot of playtime available with these demos if you’re prepared to play them exclusively for a while!
Once the number of plays reaches 0, you’ll receive a message to confirm, which also gives the option to go to the eStore and find out more about the full version of the game. If you choose to not do that you will then be given the option to delete the demo from your system. So be warned that encouraging your kids to try out new games in this way might lead to an increased number of requests to purchase the full versions for them!
If you’d like some ideas of demos to choose from then Nintendo have two YouTube playlists that you’ll find useful, where you can check out a selection of free demos or free-to-start games. More information about these demos and free-to-start games can be found over on the Nintendo website.
Disclosure: I am a Nintendo UK Family Blogger, and as such they send me press releases that they think might be of interest to my audience. I am under no obligation to write about any of them, and I don’t receive payment for writing about them. I just write about the stuff that interests me.