How to Download Nintendo 3DS Game Demos

Want to try out a game before you buy? Download the Demo

A Nintendo 3DS

 Chris Weeks / Getty Images

If you're interested in a Nintendo 3DS game but aren't quite sure whether or not you'll like it, Nintendo now offers free downloadable game demos via the eShop. Like most game demos, the Nintendo 3DS demos are for preview purposes only. You'll receive a playable snippet of the game, usually enough for you to get a good handle on what it offers in terms of graphics, sound, setting, and gameplay. Demos are an excellent way of sampling a game before deciding whether or not you want to buy it. Downloading a Nintendo 3DS demo is easy! Here's a step-by-step guide.

Here's How to Download a 3DS Demo

  1. Turn on your Nintendo 3DS.

  2. On the Main Menu, tap the icon for the Nintendo eShop (the orange shopping bag). You'll need a stable Wi-Fi connection in order to access the eShop.

  3. Once you've connected to the eShop, scroll to the right until you see the icon for the "Demos" category. Tap on it to enter the Demos menu.

  4. When you're in the Demos menu, you should be able to see the Nintendo 3DS game demos that are available to you. Tap on the game that you want to preview. Note that if you select a demo for an M-rated game, you will be required to enter your birth date.

  5. Once you've selected your game, you can look at its details (including screenshots and summaries), and any available video clips. To download your demo, tap the "Download Demo" icon. It looks like a 3DS system receiving a Wi-Fi signal.

  6. Make sure to take note of the game's ESRB rating. A game that's rated "T" or "M" won't necessarily have mature content in its demo, but it's better to tread cautiously if you'd rather not encounter any potentially offensive material. If you'd still like to proceed, tap "Next" on the bottom screen. Otherwise, you can tap "Back."

  7. On the next screen, you'll be informed of how many memory blocks the demo will take up on your SD card, and how many will remain. If you need to manage your data, you can cancel the download. If you're ready to proceed, tap "Download."

  8. Depending on the size of the demo, the download might take a little while to complete. When it's done, it'll appear as a gift-wrapped box on your Nintendo 3DS's Main Menu. Tap on the box to unwrap it.

  9. Enjoy!


  • You can only play a demo 30 times. A demo experience typically remains the same each time you play it, so exhausting those 30 playthroughs would admittedly be an interesting exercise.
  • To delete your demo(s) once you're done playing, go to the 3DS's Main Menu, select System Settings, then Data Management. Tap the Nintendo 3DS icon, and then the "Software" icon. This is where your downloaded data hangs out, including demos. Tap the demo you want to download, and then "Delete."

What You Need

  • A Nintendo 3DS
  • A Wi-Fi connection
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