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Turn your New 3DSXL or New 2DSXL into a fantastic emulation machine.


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As always, no piracy please - play games you bought and paid for!

 

So, I found this one really interesting.  Someone on Facebook was flogging a New 3DSXL with a game for £50 and I snapped it up.  I never got along with the original console back in the day because the 3D effect just didn't work for me, but the XL has a nice bigger screen and something called 3D calibration which apparently uses the camera to make sure the 3D effect is pointing straight at your eyes, or something.

 

Anyway, it turns out that you can mod these consoles in full.  I was surprised to learn this as the previous 3DS homebrew scene was based around the use of piracy cartridges such as the infamous R4 and SimplyDS thingys from years back.  But the new 3DS and equivalents can be modded with just the use of your PC and an SD card.  There's a guide here that will sound like gibberish, but in reality it's the same process as many other consoles.  Simply format an SD card to FAT32, download some files and run them on the DS.

 

The biggest obstacle was to remove the existing SD card.  The console comes with a 4Gb card in the console and this can be removed by unscrewing two tiny screws and carefully removing the back.  My top tip here is that the screws do not come out - they are attached to the back panel.  Turn both screws until you can feel they are loose, then carefully prize up the indented areas from the side of the console.  The back is a flimsy piece that should lift away and you can remove the SD card.

 

Once you have the mod installed you can download a homebrew FTP client (FTPD for 3DS), and that means you can transfer future files from your computer without the need to remove screws again.

 

There's an app called FBI which allows you to install files, and it has a QR code reader built in.  Some of the homebrew apps I have installed didn't have links on the website, all you do is scan the QR code and the app downloads to the console, then installs itself and deletes the setup files automatically.  This blew me away, it's so simple.

 

There's an interesting Virtual Boy emulator which is quite slow, but it does transfer the 3D of the original games to the 3D screen on the DS.  I'm also looking at an app that copies your cartridges onto your SD card, which solves the biggest issue of the DS range of consoles - carrying a collection of cartridges around with you that all fit on the SD card.   There's a PC application that lets you inject GBA games so they are icons on the DS menu screen, and an installable menu called Twilight which replicates the DSi, allowing you to run DS ROMs using the built in DS hardware. 

 

There's Retroarch too but I've found the emulation has been better in the stand alone emulators.  The SNES seems perfect and so far all the retro formats I have tried have worked very well.  I think it's sometimes down to the emulators being designed for the DS, DSi etc  and benefitting from the faster processor of the New models.  I believe the New 2DS XL is the most powerful of them all and right now I'm not sure which I prefer - the 3D screen seems unclear during gameplay, although that only affects 3DS games anyway.  

 

At the moment, the 3DS looks like Nintendo's equivalent of the Vita when modded.  Just as the Vita becomes a one-stop shop for Playstation, PSP, PS Vita and other emulation, the 3DS becomes a one-stop for Gameboy, GBA, DS, 3DS, VB and then emulation of retro formats as well.  

 

https://3ds.hacks.guide/

 

Injection of other game formats into the 3DS.

https://digiex.net/threads/nintendo-3ds-gba-game-injection-gba-on-3ds-pokemon-128k-saves-rtc-support.15393/

 

This seems to be a perfect guide , and where is uses words like Bootstrap9 and gibberish, just following the instructions anyway was enough for me to do it all first time in about half an hour.  All I need to do now is find Portrait of Ruin, which I definitely have in the loft in a box somewhere!!!!

 

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Top tip for removing the back... look at your stylus, it's got bit of a lip on it, that fits nicely in those indents to pry the back off :)

OG 3DS hack used to be Cubic Ninja, it's not a terrible game, but was pretty useful for getting FBI  and the homebrew channel on there circa 2013 or 14, still got mine in the 3DS :-p

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  • 2 weeks later...

I kept getting chucked out to the sleep mode screen, I thought I must have messed up the mod somehow and the games were crashing.  Turns out, if you press the power switch, you get a choice of sleep or switch off, but no way to get back to the game, and the power button is where your little finger naturally falls when you use the trigger buttons with your forefingers. What a terrible bit of design. I googled it and I'm not the only one who turns their 3ds off mid game by accident.

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2 hours ago, dumpster said:

I kept getting chucked out to the sleep mode screen, I thought I must have messed up the mod somehow and the games were crashing.  Turns out, if you press the power switch, you get a choice of sleep or switch off, but no way to get back to the game, and the power button is where your little finger naturally falls when you use the trigger buttons with your forefingers. What a terrible bit of design. I googled it and I'm not the only one who turns their 3ds off mid game by accident.

 

This might explain why it happened to me once while playing Bravely Default last year, the first game I got for it. I remember the screen going off randomly and not being able to get it back to the game again. 

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