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Nintendo 3DS

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Title Screen

Nintendo 3DS

Also known as: iQue 3DS XL (CH)
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 (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.
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.

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 game to boot directly, bypassing the Home Menu and initial setup, along with any updates on the gamecard's update partition that would otherwise be required to be installed.

The following will also occur:

  • Usage of games will not show up in the Activity Log.
  • You will not have any Miis, so the 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. 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 Xenoblade Chronicles 3D) on a normal 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 unit, this menu crashes.

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 music video of OK Go's "White Knuckles", 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 Nintendo e-Shop 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 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 (Pokemon 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.

Simple Start Mode in 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 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.

eShop Payment Options


Cacti speak Japanese.
...But what does it mean?
This game has text or audio that needs to be translated. If you are fluent with this language, please read our translation guidelines and then submit a translation!
Notes: Contact User:Luna if screenshots are needed for the rest of the bottom screen of the NFC payment page.
Payment Method Selection Credit Card Payment NFC Payment Video of NFC Payment in Action (Suica)
3DS eShop JP PaymentMethodSelection.png 3DS eShop JP CreditCard.png 3DS eShop JP NFCPayment.png

The Japanese eShop allowed you to use JCB for Credit Card payments, as well as allowing (on N3DS models only) different forms of NFC payment using Japanese cards from various companies that work on the FeliCa RFID card system. As of the iPhone 7 or Apple Watch Series 2 in Japan, the iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3 internationally, and the Pixel 3 in Japan (along with some other Android phones), you were able to add FeliCa cards to NFC wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay to allow for payment using a mobile device. Users lost the ability to add funds via Credit Card and NFC FeliCa cards like Suica in the Japanese eShop on January 18th, 2022.


3DS eShop EU PaymentMethodSelection.png

As of September 2019, the ability to add funds to your eShop account/NNID in Europe was removed, likely due to the implementation of PSD2 in the European Union, requiring strong authentication (usually an online banking login after inputting credit card details) to be used for all Credit Card transactions made online. While this was not confirmed as the reason for the removal, the date of the removal lines up with the month of PSD2 enforcement in the EU. You can still add funds through a connected Nintendo account, or with prepaid cards.

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 the fee as a result. This is completely absent from other regions.

(Source: Kotaku)

Home Menu + Revisions

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" option under the Home Menu Settings are absent from the Korean version of Home Menu, 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 not being present.

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 Top Screen from resting on the rest of the system, 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 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 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. 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 this. I found one somewhere, but I can't seem to find it again...

The UNITINFO, which dictates whether the current 3DS is to be used in a development or retail environment, contains a single bit that is normally set on a retail console with no way to change it. However, if this bit is cleared or simply not set, debugging information can be printed to the screen through the 3DS' own ErrDisp (Error Display) function whenever games run into issues while in operation.

Some other changes will be made to how the system behaves as well. The system will switch its CIA encryption (no, not the government agency) to only accept files with a certain kind of encryption, meaning only SDK apps can be installed; any others will fail. The Nintendo eShop will also give an error upon using, and amiibo functions will be disabled.

(Source: 3dbrew, Luma3DS' option documentation)