Introduction: Add Games to Your Zune (Revised for 3.0)

Games and Applications on the Zune have been available since May 2008. 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.

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

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

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

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 or

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 !

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 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?*