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Nintendo 3DS

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Title Screen

Nintendo 3DS

Also known as: iQue 3DS XL (CN)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Released in JP: February 26, 2011 (original), July 28, 2012 (XL)
Released in US: March 27, 2011 (original), August 19, 2012 (XL)
Released in EU: March 25, 2011 (original), July 28, 2012 (XL)
Released in AU: March 31, 2011 (original), August 23, 2012 (XL)
Released in KR: April 28, 2012 (original), September 20, 2012 (XL)
Released in CN: December 2012 (iQue, XL)
Released in TW: September 28, 2012 (XL)
Released in AS: September 28, 2012 (XL)

DevTextIcon.png This console has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This console has unused graphics.
ModelsIcon.png This console has unused models.
SoundIcon.png This console has unused sounds.
DebugIcon.png This console has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This console has regional differences.
Carts.png This console has revisional differences.

PrereleaseIcon.png This console has a prerelease article
NotesIcon.png This console has a notes page

The Nintendo 3DS is the successor to the Nintendo DS, featuring greatly upgraded hardware, much better internet connectivity, a more robust operating system, migraines, and region locking. Also, way too many hardware revisions.


Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info
Miscellaneous tidbits that are interesting enough to point out here.

Unused Models

DSiWare Banner

An early design of the banner can be found in version 1.0.0-0, at romfs/3D/BannerDSiWare_LZ.bin

The text label has a shine animation that is absent in later versions. It uses the icon from the DSiWare game Paper Airplane Chase, and contains a different placeholder text.

1.0.0-0 Post 1.0.0-0
Original Translated



Game title here

"Maximum of 17 characters wide"


Software Present

The present model and its animations can be found in version 1.0.0-0, at romfs/3D/BannerGift_LZ.bin

This model is unseen as Nintendo eShop did not release at the time and SpotPass distributions did not begin yet. But it contains some differences.

1.0.0-0 Post 1.0.0-0
3DS-SoftwarePresent-V1.png 3DS-SoftwarePresent-Final.png

The colors are dull compared to later versions and lacks the text label.


In addition, there is another variant with a blue gift wrap that goes unused. Each animation uses 1 of 2 material animations that colors the gift red and blue, suffixed with "Tiger" and "Boss" respectively.

Tiger is the codename for Nintendo eShop, and Boss is the codename for SpotPass. Could be used for SpotPass advertisements since they're gift wrapped when received.


An animation that rotates the model back and forth, titled BannerGift_Loop. It is removed in later versions.

BannerGift_Loop_Tiger BannerGift_Loop_Boss

A rough opening animation titled BannerGift_Open.

BannerGift_Open_Tiger BannerGift_Open_Boss BannerGift Open (Post 1.0.0-0)

Unused Textures



A placeholder 2D banner can be found in version 1.0.0-0, at romfs/3D/Banner2D_LZ.bin

It was replaced with a 16x16 blank image in later versions.

Original Translated



Texture size is 256x128


Without a 3D model

Unused Sounds


1.0.0-0 Post 1.0.0-0

The banner sound for the present. Interestingly enough, this banner sound is longer than 3 seconds.


Unused 1 Unused 2 Final

Two unused sounds when the dialogue for new software appears.

Hidden Key Combinations

There are a few key combinations hidden within the system software that are not listed in the 3DS' instruction manual.

Auto-Boot 3DS Game

There are a few requirements that have to be met for this to work:

  • You must not have set up the system (i.e., brand-new system out of the box or fresh from a factory reset).
  • You must have a 3DS (not DSi or DS) game card inserted.

By holding A + B + X + Y + R, you can force the inserted game card to boot directly, bypassing the initial setup and Home Menu, along with any updates on the gamecard's update partition that would otherwise be required to be installed to play the title.

The following will also occur:

  • Usage of games will not be added to the Activity Log.
  • You will not have any Miis, so games will resort to their defaults.
  • You will not have an internet connection or be able to use StreetPass.
  • Games will not be able to check the Friends List because it will be empty.
  • Region lock will still be enforced.

Some games may not take to this mode nicely - for example, Super Mario 3D Land will crash if you attempt to create a new save file (Likely because you don't have any Miis). Additionally, pressing the HOME button, or any software functions that would otherwise do the same as pressing the HOME button, will simply shut off the console. This mode could have been used for kiosk demos that have the Home button disabled, or for Nintendo's repair centers to be able to boot into a diagnostics card if the system can't boot into the setup for whatever reason. Trying to play a New Nintendo 3DS game (such as Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition for example) on a non-New 3DS using this feature will freeze the system at a black screen.

Some 3DS kiosk demos and other various demonstration software can also set a flag in their icon file that will cause them to auto-boot without this key combination held. The system checks for this flag before checking for the button combination.

(Source: 3dbrew)

Touch Screen and Circle Pad Calibration

After the above takes place, as the Home Menu is booting, before the menu finishes loading, you can hold down L + R + X to access the touchscreen calibration part of System Settings, and L + R + Y to access the circle pad calibration part of System Settings.

Boot Firmware from DS(i) Cart

If the system's lid is closed, or the lid close sensor is otherwise tricked into believing it is closed (a magnet on any model 3DS and the New2DS does the job nicely, while on the standard 2DS this is accomplished simply by using the sleep slider), holding Start + Select + X and pressing the power button will make the system try to boot from a DS cartridge directly before trying to boot from the NAND.

  • To clarify, it will actually try to boot from the cartridge, as in execute firmware from it. It will not work with a DS game cartridge, as it is expecting a different format.
  • Old 3DS models (3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS) won't boot while "closed" unless this combination is held.
  • Thanks to some flaws in the signature check done on firmware that is executed by the 3DS bootrom (through normal means or through a DS cart like this), this combination can be used along with a modified DS flashcart to unbrick a system and/or install custom firmware on it, as seen in this video.
(Source: 3dbrew, SciresM)

Home Menu Reset

To do:
There's a minimum firmware this works on, somewhere between v4.5 and v10.1.

If L + R + B + Down is held during startup, a confirmation message will appear asking if you want to delete the Home Menu management information. If you have custom firmware installed on your 3DS, this menu crashes.

Nintendo 3DS Home Menu Reset Popup.png

Promotional Videos

Right after the system's launch, there were promotional videos released through the version 1.1.0-1 update of the System Menu. The videos were all in a 3D format to allow viewing them in 3D on the 3DS' unique glasses-free 3D screen. There were three videos released: One for Japan featuring an orchestral rendition of the main Super Mario Bros. theme, which was recorded at the Nintendo World 2011 live concert, one for the NA featuring a 3D version of OK Go's "White Knuckles" music video, and one for Europe which features various nature scenes and skydivers. These videos get removed when System Menu 2.0.0-2 installs to the system, as it stubs the contents of each region's title so they no longer contain any data.

"White Knuckles" was at one point also available to watch on Nintendo Video in the US, and when it became unavailable there, it was also available for a while on the 3DS eShop as a downloadable video.

Japan North America Europe

Friend List "Join Game" Multi-Selection

Nintendo3DS FriendList MultiJoinSelection.png

Programmed into the Friend List applet on the Home Menu is the ability to select which version of a game you want to launch, in this screenshot's case, triggered by having two different regions of Mario Kart 7 installed to the system. This feature seems to go unused otherwise, as it is impossible to install a game from a region outside the region of your system without modding the console, and the games that you may expect to trigger the feature (Pokémon games, Animal Crossing New Leaf + the standalone Welcome Amiibo release of said game) either don't have Join Game functionality in the Friend List or do not trigger this menu.

Regional Differences

Besides the region lock that each system implements, there are a few differences between each region.

Console Models

To do:
I'm not sure this is 100% correct, N3DS updates are for whatever reason still released for all 6 regions
  • In Japan, the old 2DS was not sold for many years, eventually being available in limited edition bundles.
  • In America, the small New 3DS received a limited, delayed release.
  • In China, only the old 3DS XL was launched, with iQue being absorbed and closed by Nintendo in 2013. These systems also support Taiwanese software.
  • In Taiwan, only the original 3DS and XL were released... twice!

Simple Start Mode in Wi-Fi Connection Settings

Nintendo 3DS

Japan US
3DS Wifi Settings JP.png 3DS Wifi Settings US.png

Just like the Nintendo DS, there is a Japan-only Simple Start mode that is accessible within the Nintendo 3DS Wi-Fi Connection settings. As Simple Start routers are not sold outside of Japan, this button was fully removed in the US/EU versions of their respective region's connection settings (unlike with the DS Connection settings).

Nintendo DS Mode

Japan US
DS-Wi-FiSimpleStartJPN.png DS-Wi-FiStep2US.png

Ditto to the above, but in the DS Connection settings this time. As said above, the button was not fully removed in the US/EU version of the settings, just moved out of the boundaries of the touch screen (as was the case when accessing these settings on the DS as well). By incorrectly calibrating the touch screen, you can click the off-screen button and access this setup option, however useless it may be outside of Japan.

Browser Filter

3DS filter.png

The Japanese New 3DS browser has a filter that blocks pornographic websites (or at least, attempts to) and throws up the message "Because the device is fitted with a filtering system, you cannot open this page." It can be removed with a ¥30 payment, the idea being that kids wouldn't have access to a credit card and be unable to pay this fee as a result. This is completely absent from other regions.

(Source: Kotaku)

2nd Taiwanese Version

As the 3DS was not initially launched in Hong Kong/Taiwan/Macao, those countries resorted to Japanese imports.

By late 2012, the "Traditional Chinese" model was launched, featuring a red rectangular "Ct" logo on boxes. It predictably failed, according to precedent, to the above. These are the Taiwanese consoles as documented hereafter.

In 2015, these products were superseded by another range sporting a round green "Jp" logo, which are fundamentally different from true Taiwanese systems:

  • As the logo suggests, these consoles run Japanese software.
  • The near totality of online services (Nintendo-provided and otherwise) and some more features are visible but blocked:
    • StreetPass Mii Plaza, Nintendo eShop (including game update download), Nintendo Zone
    • Friends List, Internet Browser, Miiverse, Theme Shop, Nintendo 3DS Image Share
    • NNID Settings, System Transfer, EULA
    • StreetPass
  • The only language is Japanese - except for the error displayed when selecting one of the above, which is in "English" only: This is not available to this Nintendo 3DS.
  • Updates for some Japanese games are preinstalled on the bundled SD card.
(Source: [1] [2])

Home Menu + Revisions

To do:
If intending to show all revisions, should also capture the home menu as it was from 1.0.0-0 to 6.1.0-11 (pre-NNID support and Miiverse)
US/JP/EU/KR Pre 9.0 US/JP/EU Post 9.0
3ds home menu pre9.0.png 3ds home menu.png
Korea Post 9.0 China (iQue 3DS XL) Taiwan
3ds home menu korea.png 3ds home menu china.png 3ds home menu taiwan.png

The Miiverse applet and "Change Theme" + "Save/Load Layout" option under the Home Menu Settings are absent from the Korean version of Home Menu even if it has theme code handler, whereas the Chinese/Taiwanese version of Home Menu layout remains unchanged despite being on system version 9.0 and higher. The Taiwanese version of the Home Menu has an amiibo settings button as an applet button due to the Home Menu Settings button not being present.

Language Selection

  • American systems, also sold in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, offer (American) English, French, Spanish and (Brazilian) Portuguese.
  • European systems, also available in Oceania, have English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Russian.
  • Taiwan systems, have traditional Chinese by default and unused English language with most of the system apps translated, it lack a language selection option.
  • Japanese, Korean, and Chinese systems are monolingual and completely lack a language selection option.

Furthermore, only the appropriate countries and their subdivisions are selectable as residence area.


EUR/USA Russian (EUR) Japanese Korean Taiwan with hidden English language
3DSkyb Eur-Usa.png 3DSkyb Ru.png 3DSkyb Jpn.png 3DSkyb Kor.png 3DSkyb Twn.png
EUR/USA numpad Russian (EUR) numpad Japanese numpad
3DSkyb Eur-Usa tel.png 3DSkyb Ru tel.png 3DSkyb Jpn tel.png

Unlike the Nintendo DSi, the 3DS keyboard has regional differences.

  • Japan/Korea/Taiwan/China all have the symbols and accents on the same section and Europe/USA have separated section for accents and symbols
  • Japan and China have a 50-key japanese keyboard (and a button to toggle hiragana/katanaka)
  • Japan is the only one region to have a space button on numpad
  • Japan and China can type hiragana/katanaka using the qwerty keyboard
  • Korea, Taiwan and China doesn't have numpad
  • Russia is the only one language to have a extra Russian keyboard as a different section

Console Revisional Differences

Nintendo 3DS XL

A step up from the original 3DS model, boasting larger screens and rubber bumpers on the top screen's surrounding plastic to keep the the rest of the system from scratching the Top Screen, as well as a slight rearrangement of some parts of the system, like the notification light, the location of the stylus to resemble that of older DS models, and lack of a 3D slider indicator light.

Nintendo 2DS

This model was released the same day as Pokémon X and Y in most parts of the world, except for Korea (which got it about two months later). Additionally, on December 24, 2015, it was announced that the 2DS would be released in Japan as bundles along with the Virtual Console re-releases of Pokemon Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow on February 27, 2016. It sold for a discounted price due to the lack of 3D hardware in the system, and was oriented towards those that didn't want the 3D. However, it came at a price: the system uses a single mono speaker, Sleep Mode is toggled with a switch because the hardware cannot fold to close, and the Power Saving mode is not present.

Other than that, the 2DS' hardware is fairly similar to that of the 3DS/XL. It can play all regular 3DS games, but is simply not able to display any games in the 3D display mode, as the screen lacks the required technology. Interestingly, the two screens on the 2DS are actually two sections of a single larger screen.

New Nintendo 3DS

This model of 3DS boasts a large boost from its predecessors. It includes more RAM, NFC support, a slot for MicroSD cards instead of standard SD cards, ZL and ZR buttons, and a second analog nub beside the ABXY buttons, eliminating the need for the Circle Pad Pro. It also has some software improvements, such as the ability to play video files directly in the built-in browser. The New 3DS has support for interchangeable cover plates, allowing users a degree of customization.

It also contains some additional system titles built into the system, such as an SD File Manager that allowed you to manage the files on your microSD card through creating a temporary SMB share on the WiFi network it was connected to (with some clever hacking, you can get this application to work on older 2/3DS models).

New Nintendo 3DS XL

This model is exactly the same as the New 3DS hardware-wise, but it is bigger and lacks the ability to change the faceplates; however, just like every other Nintendo XL system, it has larger screens. In a business move by Nintendo of America, only this version of the New 3DS line was available in North America for nearly eight months, as the XL outsold the regular-sized one by a margin of three to one. Certain units come with IPS screens, while others come with TN screens; however, Nintendo does not distinguish between them.

New Nintendo 2DS XL

Retains the same general clamshell design of its 3DS predecessors, but with a Top Screen that lacks 3D stereoscopic support. It does not have a user-removable battery, either. Bizarrely, wireless communications cannot be turned off as there is no switch or button in the Home Menu options. Otherwise, this model adopts the button layout, size, functionality (excluding 3D), and internal upgrades commonly associated with the New 3DS XL model.


To do:
Get a screenshot of how ErrDisplay acts when UNITINFO is set to non-zero. (Make sure it's not the Luma3DS crash handler! To get a picture of this will likely require a custom build of Luma or something similar to prevent the inclusion of the rewritten ErrDisp Luma uses by default)

UNITINFO CFG9_UNITINFO is a register read by the ARM9 processor of the 3DS that dictates whether the 3DS will be a retail unit or a few varying types of development/debugging unit. Normally, this register’s value is 0 on a retail unit, and 1-3 on a development unit, depending on the type of development unit, of which there are 3 that can be set by this register's value (Developer, Debug, and Firm). Using homebrew tools, such as Luma3DS Custom Firmware, the bit can be set to a non-zero value to make a retail system act like a development console.

When UNITINFO is set to non-zero, the following changes from a retail system (UNITINFO = 0) can be noted:

  • The system will switch its cryptography for installable software to use development keys, meaning any software that was not installed with the system or signed with development encryption won't work (most normal games and applications fall under this category)
  • The 3DS' Error Display module (ErrDisp) will print out more detailed information about the specific error that has occurred
  • The eShop will not work for reasons not currently documented or understood
  • Amiibo functionality will be disabled for reasons not currently documented or understood
  • Various system modules will act differently, but the changes to each are not currently well documented
(Source: 3dbrew, Luma3DS' option documentation)