Piracy-enabling 3DS flash cart bricking consoles

2 min read


Nintendo’s top-selling DS handheld was plagued with piracy thanks to a bunch of flash carts, like the infamous R4 and its myriad clones. They made it ridiculously easy for people to download DS games and run them on their consoles without any hardware modification. It’s not quite that simple with the 3DS, though there is a flashcart that enables piracy. And some users are finding the thing to be  bricking their consoles.

It all comes about because the Gateway Flashcart, which enables users to play pirated 3DS roms, was recently updated to ironically combat piracy of the Gateway cart itself in the way of copycat devices, built using its code.

Users of GBATemp found a way to bypass the 3DS much maligned region locking using the Gateway cart, which required modifying a file in the Gateway’s launcher. Only the gateway included a kill-switch, which bricked the 3DS handheld it was running on. Brilliant.

"We are investigating the issue about the recent blue screen bootrom error some users have reported, and we have discovered this is caused by memory corruption due to flawed copying or modifications of our official launcher firmware," Gateway wrote on its official site. (via Eurogamer)

"We specifically warn users to avoid clone launcher firmware [companies which sell modified, older versions of Gateway’s code] and avoid the region-free patches made by Normmatt [the GBATemp user behind the region-free hack]."

"We can reassure our users that our official (unmodified) launcher firmware is free from such memory corruption and is 100 per cent safe to use."

Those who’ve been affected by the kill switch now need to send their 3DS units back to Nintendo for repair, and those users feel Gateway’s apology does not suffice.

"Bricking a 3DS console is going too far," moaned one affected user. "Nintendo has never intentionally bricked a console for having a modified firmware or flash cart, so customers should not have to expect that from Gateway. Plus, Gateway never directly notified customers that they coded this in to happen."

Piracy sucks, and if you were using the Gateway to play pirated 3DS games I have a tough time feeling sorry for you. If you really, really just used it to bypass that blasted, and completely stupid region locking…well, tough break.

It still irks me that people are selling 3DS and DS flashcarts pretty openly at places like Bid or Buy without the slightest consequence or repercussion. Yes, games are expensive, but that’s really not a good excuse to steal them.

Last Updated: January 21, 2014

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