Picture of Add Games To Your Zune (Revised for 3.0)
Games and Applications on the Zune have been available since May 2008. ZuneBoards.com has a small community of people developing these games therefore, all of these games are completely free.

I added games and applications to my Zune very easily but a lot of people get the impression from the instructions at ZuneBoards that it's way too complicated. So I made this Instructable to try to simplify things a little.

After you figure out what's going on, you can add a lot of games and applications to your Zune quickly and easily.

Refer to the images in this Instructable to get a better understanding of how to use Visual C#.

Note: This Instructable has been revised for the Zune 3.0 firmware update.

And also, this Instructable has been changed to collaboration. Since I no longer have a Zune, I don't really keep up with the cool stuff.

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Step 1: Download and Install

There are two programs you need to download and install before you can add games to your Zune.

Note: If you updated your Zune from 2.5 to 3.0 you will need to uninstall Microsoft XNA Game Studio CTP.

The first program is Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0. Download it for free here:


The other is Visual C# 2008 Express Edition. Download it here:


Install Visual C# 2008 Express Edition first (vcssetup.exe), then install Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0 (XNAGS30_setup.exe).

XNA Game Studio 3.0 is a toolset intended for developing games on the Zune, Windows Computers and Xbox 360. Since we are not developing games (just syncing them to the Zune) we won't use it but it still needs to be installed for any of this to work.

Step 2: Add Zune Device

Picture of Add Zune Device
Visual Launch.jpg
Add Device.jpg
Add Zune.jpg
Zune Device.jpg
Open Visual C# 2008 Express Edition and add your Zune to the device list.

In the top left corner, there should be a drop-down box and an icon of a monitor with a Red X in it. If the drop-down box and X isn't there, right-click at the top and select XNA Game Studio Device Management 2.0.

Then click the icon with the Red X. The Device Center will open. Click Add Device, then the Zune icon. Then select your Zune from the list. It needs to be connected and detected by your computer.

Step 3: Download Games and Apps

The only place I know of that has a compiled list of completed games is ZuneBoards.com.


There's a community of people developing games for the Zune so there are beta versions there too so leave feedback on any bugs you find.

There are a lot of interesting games available and a few of them are multiplayer (Zune to Zune). Also check out the Applications. They have clocks, calendars, calculators, Phone books and even Instant Messengers (Zune to Zune).

Anyway, the threads with games will contain a link to download the needed files. The files will be compressed and some are in .RAR.

I use 7-Zip to open rar files.


Once you have the file decompressed, find the solution project. It should have .SLN as it's extension. Drag that file into Visual C# 2008 Express Edition.

Note: If you have the Zune 3.0 update, you will need to find games that are compatible with XNA Game Studio 3.0. Here is a link to a compiled list of compatible games.

Game Compilation


Application Compilation


Step 4: Deploy to Zune

Picture of Deploy to Zune
Deply Zune Game.jpg
On the far right in Visual C# is a side-window called Solution Explorer. There are three copies of the one Game/App, either for Zune, Xbox 360, or Windows. Select the Zune Copy of the game (just select it).

Then go to the top menu. Select Build > Deploy Zune Copy of "game/app name"

If there is nothing in the "Solution Explorer" window then select a project in the "Recent Projects" section on the left side of the screen.

In the bottom left of the screen, there's a small message that states when it starts to deploy (your Zune will also show deployment files on it's screen), and when it has succeeded with the deploy. If it succeeded, the game/app was successfully installed onto your Zune.

Step 5: Common Problems and Errors


Fonts needed for games and applications have to be installed on your computer. If they aren't on your computer you can download missing fonts at sites like dafont.com or fonts.com.

Sometimes fonts will be included with the downloaded files for the game/app.

To install fonts go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Appearance and Themes > Fonts and copy/paste the font file there.

Or: copy/paste the font file to C:\Windows\Fonts or C:\WINNT\Fonts


Sometimes Visual C# will report an error that it couldn't detect the Zune. If the Zune is connected and indicates on its screen that it's connected then just restart Visual C#. If it still doesn't detect the Zune or reports the same error, close Visual C# and click the enter (center) button on the Zune to cancle. Then disconnect and reconnect the Zune to your Computer. After that, open Visual C# and try to deploy the game solution again.

Also do this if font errors don't go away (after you install the needed fonts).

Zune Restarts

If you quit out of the game you are playing, the Zune will reboot itself. I'm not sure why it does that but all games and applications do that when you quit. It's a built in feature by Microsoft so it is intentional.

Step 6: Finished !

Picture of Finished !
When Visual C# successfully deploys the Zune Solution exit out and disconnect your Zune from the computer.

Turn on your Zune and scroll down and select Games in the main menu (between Podcasts and Settings)

It will take a couple seconds to load the games or applications that you installed. Select one of the games and a silver Z (Zune Z Logo) will appear. The game will load.

Once you quit the game, the Zune will reboot.

Enjoy your new feature.


If you have any questions PM me or email me at aDimWit@hotmail.com. I'll do my best to help with Visual C# errors.

And if links stop working, please notify me so I can update the Instructable.

Also leave feedback. I hope this Instructable was helpful.

*Would it be possible for someone to make an Instructable about how to develop your own games with Visual C# 2008?*
Xixfas2 years ago
how do you install the programs?
REA6 years ago
i wonder if MS will just add an option to sync games through the normal zune software instead of having to use XNA and C#. its a hassle and C# VS only has a 30 day trial for free.
kittyofdoom REA6 years ago
Funny Microsoft let me haveit for free, after 30 days I just registered... and I am all clear now
REA kittyofdoom6 years ago
ya i just figured out that its a free register. still they should add it to the Zune software. by the way, do you know how to install .ccgame games?
C# won't install on my computer. Any ideas about what's causing it? HELP!
All of the games and apps compatible with zune 3.0 are put in a list here. And are available for download (it's on the same site). This is a great Instructable and I'm excited to be playing cool games on my zune!
here...whoops. forgot to put in link. wow. here...
physco136 years ago
could you please help me walk through this like a phone number man i really wanna learn this and seem smart thanks soo much NORMAN
physco136 years ago
i dont have the build option on the c# 2008 i cant find it am i a dummy or is it just not there
aDimWit (author) 6 years ago
On Step 1, the link was dead because XNA Game Studio 3.0 Beta was updated to 3.0. I fixed the link. You will probably need to Uninstall Beta and download/install the latest version. XNA was probably updated again (On Oct. 30, 2008) to be compatible with the Xbox 360 Fall update.
i drag the sln into the the program and solution builder stays blank
sparenciia6 years ago
My zune is updated to 3.0 and i dont know if im still able to put games into it. how can i add games to it?
aDimWit (author)  sparenciia6 years ago
I updated the Instructable. You can now add games to a 3.0 Zune.
aDimWit (author)  sparenciia6 years ago
The games don't work with the Zune 3.0 firmware update. The games only work with the Zune 2.5 firmware until XNA Game Studio 3.0 Beta is released. XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP is only compatible with the 2.5 firmware. XNA Beta is supposed to come out soon, and when it does I'll try to update this Instructable.
I haven't been able to get on the Marketplace for over a week. Can anyone help me?
Just curious... does this void your warranty?
aDimWit (author)  killersquirel116 years ago
No. The ability to add games was specifically added to the Zune 2.5 firmware update by Microsoft. The two other programs were also developed by Microsoft to put games on the Zune (and the 360).
OK, I've installed both programs in the order you said. When i try to add my zune to V. C#, it prints an error message. >System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x80004005): Could not >connect to 'Cross_the_border731'. Make sure the device is connected to >the computer and not busy syncing content. > at Microsoft.Xna.RemoteServices.ZunePrimaryConnector.Connect(String >hostId, Session session, Int32 millisecondTimeout, StringBuilder >diagnosticBuilder) > at >Microsoft.Xna.RemoteServices.HostConnection.OpenPrimaryConnection(StringBuilder >diagnosticBuilder) > at Microsoft.Xna.RemoteServices.HostConnection.ConnectToHost(Int32 >millisecondTimeout, StringBuilder diagnosticBuilder) I dont know what it means or why its happening. help, anyone?
I have it working now. I had to uninstall the V C#, XNA and Zune and delete any traces of them in the hard drive as well as the registry. reinstalled C#, XNA and Zune in that order. Did not open Zune software at all.
aDimWit (author)  cross_the_border7316 years ago
I think I got that message a couple of times too. Does your Zune Software startup when you connect the Zune to your pc? If it does, turn the auto-open thing off in the software settings. Then disconnect the Zune device and close the software and C#. Then reconnect it and restart C# and try again.
The setting is turned off. (note: to change this setting, go to "settings", then "device" its at the top. click on "device options", and at the bottom there will be an option that says "start the zune software when i connect a device" uncheck to disable or vise versa) I have modified the registry so that it shows up in My Computer. Restarted. Nothing. I've unistalled the Zune software and the drivers. Restarted. Installed Zune driver. Nothing. I even updated the Zune firmware and software to 3.0, but now I have to wait for the beta release of V C#. Thanks for the tip though.
sorry for the confusion. I meant to say the beta of XNA.
PlaDD aDimWit6 years ago
How do you change that setting on your zune software?
Solderguy6 years ago
Will this work on other mp3 players?Specifically a 8gb Sansa view?
aDimWit (author)  Solderguy6 years ago
No. Both of the programs needed to put games on the Zune are designed to be compatible with the Zune and Xbox 360 only.
whats your zune tag
aDimWit (author)  learningmasters6 years ago
Mine is just "aDimWit"
mines leeator
JellyWoo6 years ago
NOOO!!!! i have the zune software on one computer and i tried to install visual basic on it and it didn't work so i installed it on my other computer but now i can't install the zune software! this is annoying!
Should i continue to install V. Basic if I have the zune software on my comp.?
aDimWit (author)  Rockerx6 years ago
Yeah. I think Visual Basic will detect your Zune even if you don't have the software installed
Dude, what's a "zune"? ... lol
omg! r u serious?
Rockerx6 years ago
Cool! I always wondered if this was possible. I'll have to try it out. Do you think I could use Visual Basic Express 2005 for this? It's already installed so it would be one less step for me.
aDimWit (author)  Rockerx6 years ago
I'm pretty sure you need the 2008 version. I think 2008 is the only version that has the ability to deploy the games to the Zune.
Rockerx aDimWit6 years ago
Alright. thanks!
thank you thank you thank you!!!!!! love it.....
Whoa! I have had a Zune since the day they came out and never knew about this! Maybe that's because it sits around not being used lol.