In news that will make everyone and their dog (with opposable thumbs) happy, Nintendo announced today that they are dropping the price of the 3DS as a result of Sony’s Vita being so sexily priced that it made Nintendo drop a load in its big, blue overalls. Actually, that’s explicitly not what they are saying, but that is what the blank space between the lines is saying. So what’s the price if you want to pick up a 3DS on the cheap?

$169.99! That’s just enough less than $170 it tricks my brain into thinking it’s an even better value! From the press release:

Nintendo of America today announced plans to drop the suggested retail price of its portable Nintendo 3DS™ system to $169.99 in the United States, as new games based on some of the world’s most beloved video game franchises head to the system. The new price, down from the suggested launch price of $249.99 and effective Aug. 12, makes an outstanding value even better and sets up a strong holiday season for the system.

“…sets up a strong holiday season for the system” means: “We want to get an early jump on sales before we have to actually compete with anyone.” I shouldn’t harp on Nintendo. It’s a strong move that reflects the changing landscape to come. It is rather interesting to see the price drop so quickly. I cannot think of any other Nintendo system that has had a drop so quickly, but I also am not an encyclopedia of price information. Still, with a pretty strong competitor on the horizon and fairly stagnant sales (for a Nintendo handheld), it’s easy to see why they made the decision.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. If you are one of the pioneers of the 3DS, and spent the $250 for one when it came out, you aren’t totally at a loss. If you have gone online at all with your 3DS, you are automagically enrolled in the Ambassador Program, which gives you a total of 20 free games from the eShop. These include some pretty alright choices, too.

These free games are available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11. These users will automatically be registered in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. The program contains two elements:

Starting Sept. 1, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES™ Virtual Console™ games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros.™, Donkey Kong Jr.™, Balloon Fight™, Ice Climber™ and The Legend of Zelda™, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.

By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi’s Island™: Super Mario™ Advance 3, Mario Kart™: Super Circuit, Metroid™ Fusion, WarioWare™, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong™. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.

The NES games are fairly negligible, aside from Zelda and Super Mario Bros., but if you haven’t played those yet then you are a fool. A DAMNED FOOL. On the Game Boy Advance side of things, however, you get some choice gems. I can say with certitude that all of them are fun.

Well, future paycheck, I know what you are buying.