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What Can A Hacked Nintendo 3DS Do?

What can a hacked 3ds Do?

The Nintendo 3DS was wildly popular, selling more units then the wildly popular Nintendo and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Although it was replaced by the Nintendo Switch in terms of popularity as well as sales, there still is a market for the dual screen handheld device. Given the ability to mod (otherwise known to the community to a hack or jailbreak on the device with the use of an exploit). The family of 3DS consoles such as the Nintendo 2DS, 3DS, 2DS XL are arguably worth more today than they were when they were first released.

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So, what can a hacked 3DS perform after it's been modified to it's full potential? Here are some of the key features we will touch base upon:

  • Using emulators and ROMs
  • Playing games for the Game Boy Advance
  • Using your backups of 3DS and DS games right from a SD memory card
  • Playing games from other countries that are region-locked
  • Playing patched versions of games
  • Customizing the home screen
  • Downloading and installing cheats
  • Creating and loading from save states
  • Streaming games from a PC
  • Running a plethora of homebrew games
  • Taking screenshots

These are a brief overview of the key features that a hacked Nintendo 3DS can do when unlocked to it's full potential. With the numerous pieces of homebrew games and applications, the possibilities are endless. If these features do not represent anything of substance to you, feel free to not worry. We will cover it in further detail below in order to provide a full understanding of how the 3DS acts when modded.

Note: This is by no means a jailbreak guide for the 3DS, doing so can cause the system to act differently than intended. Not following the correct guide may also lead to a bricked piece of hardware or to have the 3DS behave in an unexpected state.

SNES NES Emulators

Using emulators and ROMs

The 3DS is an absolute beast when it comes to playing classic retro games, particularly those from the SNES and SEGA Genesis eras and earlier. The Nintendo 3DS can access a wide range of games that were previously unavailable by using emulators. Additionally, these consoles and games perform even better on the more powerful New 3DS and New 2DS consoles than they do on the 3DS and 2DS.

GBA games Pokemon

Playing games for the Game Boy Advance

The Game Boy Advance's impressive library of games can be played on the 3DS with ease once running a hacked firmware. Backward compatibility with the GBA lineup, at least on the DS family of consoles, was unfortunately discontinued by Nintendo after the DS Lite, making the DS Lite a valuable handheld in today's market. Outside of the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program, which was only available to early adopters prior to the console's initial price drop, they did not pick it up again with the 3DS. However, the console is able to play all of these GBA games and more after some straightforward mods, and they run flawlessly.

Using your backups of 3DS and DS games right from a SD memory card

There is absolutely nothing wrong if you still want to use your original cards to play your DS or 3DS games directly on the console. But if you're holding a large library that might not fit with you on the go, or if you do not want to play your games for preservation values.

You're able to use the SD card and load your favorite games right off the device. This allows you to keep your games at home while you pack just your console with you for the best games on the 3DS.

Mother 3 3ds nintendo

Playing games from other countries that are region-locked

In addition to playing your favorite games right off the SD card, you can also play imported games that you may have not been able to run in the past. Game consoles are mostly region locked, meaning if you try to use a game from Asia on a North American console or vice versa, it will not let you.

This is where modding a 3DS comes into play. You can play all of your imported games on any console, region free. That's right, you can buy a 3DS game from Japan and run it on your North American device. This will unlock the rest of the 3DS library by modding the device.

Playing patched versions of games

Along with being able to play the countless region-locked games, being able to interpret those games in a language you can understand is equally important. More often than not, Japanese only RPGs are a classic example of where fan translations are brought to light. Fans will often take the native language and translate it to English. This gives you the full flexibility to play your favorite 3DS games on the go.

Mother 3 is a prime example of using a fan translation. It has been cancelled by Nintendo to a Western audience due to its controversial aspects. This was a shame as it's one of the best 3DS RPGs on the console.

Customizing the home screen

Customizing the home screen

Although there are a lot of great 3DS themes available on the Nintendo eShop, hacking is definitely the way to go if you want a unique background. You can choose from a wide range of excellent themes that can be downloaded and installed on any 3DS console equipped with custom firmware or even develop your own.

Downloading and installing cheats

Installing and downloading cheats is pretty straightforward. Gamers can access previously unavailable cheats for a plethora of well-known video games on the 3DS family of consoles. Think about it as if you took a Game Genie and was able to turn on cheats such as invincibility, level select or extra lives where this wasn't possible before.

Save/load state cheats 3ds

Creating and loading from save states

The term save state is notorious within the emulation scene. With so many emulators being able to load or save from a particular point in a game. Giving the player as many attempts to pass a certain section that they would otherwise burn through the rest of their lives to get past.

The use of save states was continued by Nintendo from their mini consoles such as the Super Nintendo Classic or NES Classic Edition. Nintendo has adapted a feature baked into most emulators into their actual hardware.

Streaming games from a PC

Did you think the Steam Deck was the only console that allowed streaming from a PC? Well, the 3DS can also be used to stream your favorite games from your PC with the use of additional applications.

That's right, you can keep your favorite games on a hard drive and load them when you're at home right from your PC. Saving you valuable storage space on your SD card if it's full.

3ds homebrew

Running a plethora of homebrew games

The term "homebrew" refers to software and games developed by users of proprietary computer hardware platforms, such as game consoles, that are typically not user-programmable and have hardware restrictions.

In reality, the games developed for the 3DS can include a port you never thought was possible on the console such as the Undertale tech demo or Half-Life. Yes that's right, you can play one of the best PC games of all time on your 3DS!

Taking screenshots

The ability to take an in game screenshot is a key feature in today's day and age. Whether you're a content creator or trying to share a new cool hidden location with your friends. Being able to take a screenshot is a great feature that should have been baked into the device without a hack.



Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨