3DS Modding

Yesterday, I decided to mod my New Nintendo 3DS device with boot9strap and Luma3DS. The device itself is rather old, and it hadn’t received an update in several years, its last update probvably was in 2018 or 2019.

This made it possible for me to use a rather cool exploit using SSLoth and the 3DS web browser to boot into the software I needed to mod the 3DS. It turns out old versions of the 3DS browser have a vulnerability allowing you to boot code through a specific website. Will this seems to have been patched in the newer firmware versions, it was still possible with my version.

I’ve always had a heart for homebrew and unlicensed software. As far back as I can recall, it began with a cracked cartridge of Yoshi’s Island for the Gameboy Advance, which would display an unofficial cracktro for the cracking group Mode 7.

=> Yoshi’s Island GBA Mode 7 Cracktro

Later, I got an R4 flash card for the DS, and I was amazed by how easy it was to put ROMs and homebrew on it. I remember having one homebrew on there which allowed me to build a mario level of my own, which was super awesome to me, as I love level editors.

=> Mario Craft

As I eventually got a 3DS, I was unfazed of the homebrew scene that spawned around it, as I was perfectly content with my flashcard card and DS games. Of course I knew that it existed, and I tried loading 3DS homebrew on my flash card, but as I found out it didn’t work, I also didn’t particularly care. However, as the 3DS and Nintendo eShop were discontinued last year, I grew more aware of the 3DS and its potential as a system, which culminated in me loading custom firmware on it yesterday.

The process was flawless and took 15 minutes at best. I have already loaded a few pieces of homebrew on it, like a Half-Life 1 port and a few Minecraft clones.

=> Half-Life 1 running on the New 3DS

The only problem I have with my 3DS is a hardware issue: It seems to randomly freeze up; the game will keep running, but the touch screen as well as every button short of the Home and Power button will stop working, forcing me to do a forced shutdown by holding the power button.

The 3DS is now long out of warranty, and I doubt Nintendo would even bother to let me pay to repair it nowadays, especially after I modded it, so it seems I have to open it up at some point and look around. I suspect a loose connection between the mainboard and the control circuit. Does anyone have more expertise? I’d be thrilled to know if you have worked with it before.

I do have a Nintendo Switch, but I will not mod it for the foreseeable future, once because I’m afraid of bricking it and twice because I don’t trust myself to be able to correctly solder a modchip. The homebrew looks awesome though.