Nintendo 3DS Finally Hacked After 3 Years On The Shelves

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It’s been well over 3 years since the Nintendo 3DS hit the shelves — and in that time, the device has proven itself remarkably resistant to hacking and modification. Until now.

This evening, a hacker going by Smealum released an exploit that seems to allow 3DS owners to run unauthorized code — or “homebrew”, as it’s known — on their devices.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the whole story: the exploit relies on a bug in a QR code reader built into a previously almost unheard of game called Cubic Ninja.

A week ago, the easiest place to find Cubic Ninja was in your local game shop’s bargain bin. After hackers disclosed the name of the game involved with the hack, however, prices skyrocketed. Whereas a used copy may have cost you under a buck on Amazon a week ago, copies are now going for $40-70. It’s no sealed-in-box copy of Chrono Trigger (or, better yet, Gamma Attack), but that’s some pretty insane overnight inflation.

Still wondering what exactly “homebrew” is? Think of it sort of like jailbreaking an iPhone. Nintendo likes to keep a pretty tight hold on what can run on their console — this opens the door to things they probably wouldn’t approve of. Things like emulators, one-off indie games, etc.

What it doesn’t allow for (or at least, isn’t meant for) is piracy. These “homebrew” hacks are often custom tailored to not run bootleg copies of retail games — though, more often than not, the pirates find a way.

Given that Nintendo can flash the 3DS over the air, it’s likely that the company will move to patch this up pretty quickly.

The video above demonstrates the exploit in action — but if you’re more interested in getting it up and running yourself on your 3DS, you can find the details here. Be warned: as is par for the course with things like this, you’re moving forward at your own risk. At the very least, you’re almost certainly voiding any warranty on your device.