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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 game has hidden development-related text.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

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

Careful, you'll lose an eye.
This page or section needs more images.
There's a whole lotta words here, but not enough pictures. Please fix this.

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.

To do:
"here's something i found interesting with lumaCFW
if you have two versions (english/european/japanese) of mario kart 7, and you can join your friend's game, the friends list will actually ask you which version of the game you want to play with them with." - possible unused feature found by Dodder#0064 on Rare Gaming Dump discord


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 is a key combination hidden within the system that is not listed in the 3DS' instruction manual. 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 regardless of setting up the system. Doing this will do the following:

  • Bypass forced system menu updates
  • Bypass parental controls (or lack thereof)
  • Bypass initial setup

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 will simply shut off the console, since there is no Home Menu for the system to return to. 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.

(Source: 3dbrew)

Boot from DS(i) Cart

If the system is closed (or a magnet is held over the sensor), holding Start + Select + X and pressing the power button will make the system try to boot 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, 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

Careful, you'll lose an eye.
This page or section needs more images.
There's a whole lotta words here, but not enough pictures. Please fix this.

Early on in the system's life, there were promotional videos released just after the system's launch, being incorporated into system menu version 1.1.0-10 for users that updated. However, there were only three videos ever released: one for Japan featuring an orchestral rendition of the main Super Mario Bros. theme, one for the US featuring a 3D music video of OK Go's White Knuckles, and one for Europe which featured various nature scenes and skydivers. These videos were removed when system menu 2.0.0-2 was released, although they later decided to bring it back from the dead: the European music video was included with the stock firmware built into all New 3DS consoles sold in that region, although this doesn't seem to be the case for Japan.

The US video can still be found on Nintendo Video, an application used for viewing videos. All of these videos have respective banners for their regions; however, because these applications are installed in the system memory, you cannot play them on another region's system, even though there are banners for other languages within the application. However, since Nintendo Video shut down, the video is no longer playable there. You can download and play the US video through Nintendo eShop, though.

Regional Differences

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

Nintendo DS Simple Start Mode

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

Just like the Nintendo DS, there is a Japan-only Simple Start mode that is accessible within the Nintendo DS Connections settings. By offsetting the touchscreen calibration, you can access the Simple Start mode outside of Japan by touching an invisible button in the top-left corner of the screen.

eShop Payment Options

To do:
Document a picture showing this.

Only the Japanese eShop has different options from what the rest of the world has for payment options. The Japanese eShop has options to pay using NFC-capable payment methods (such as Apple Pay, NFC-capable Android devices, and various tap-capable debit/credit cards for New 3DS users), as well as other Japan-exclusive options for payment.

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 Post 9.0 US/JP/EU/KR Pre 9.0 Korea Post 9.0 China (iQue 3DS XL) Taiwan
3ds home menu.png
3ds home menu pre9.0.png
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 bumpers 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 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, but 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 the 3D that 3DS models do. 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, such as an SD Manager, built into the system (although 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, 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)