Review: Gateway 3DS, the first Nintendo 3DS flash card

Gateway 3DS is the first flash card that allows you to play with backups on Nintendo 3DS. We have had the opportunity to test it thanks to the Gateway 3DS team.

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First of all, we will talk about the package:

The product comes with two separate cards with different colors:

  • Red card: this card is used to load 3DS backups.
  • Blue card: this card is basically a R4i flash card and it must be used to install the exploit in your 3DS that allows you to play DS backups.

 

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Both cards need a micro SD card to work. We recommend owning two of them because you will need to use both (at first) to load 3DS games. Besides, we will use the SD card inside the 3DS to copy the launcher program required, so it will be a good idea to use a new one instead the original that comes with the machine.

Only systems with firmware version between 4.1 and 4.5 work with 3DS Gateway. There is no possibility to load 3DS games on a machine with a greater firmware.

The process to install the exploit is very simple. You need to copy some files in one micro SD card and put it inside the blue card.

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Then, you have to run the “game” (you will see an icon recognizing the game as Deep Labyrinth from Atlus).

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When you run it, you see the Gateway Installer.

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Once the Gateway Installer has finished the process, we will need to copy a file called “Launcher.dat” inside our SD card (the one inside the 3DS). This file will allow us to launch the exploit and play backups in our 3DS.

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We have almost finished the process. Now, we will need to copy a backup copy of a game to the micro SD and put it into the red card. To perform this, we need a tool called “Win32 Disk Imager” (you can download it here). To copy the backup into the SD card, we will press the folder icon.

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We choose the game we will want to copy.

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And finally, we will click on the “write” button (we must be sure that the destiny device is the correct one. In this case, the “I:” drive).

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Once the process is finished we will insert the card into the  Nintendo3DS and launch the exploit to run the game. To perform this, we will need to go to the configuration menu in the 3DS.

Then, we will choose “Other Settings”.

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“Profile”.

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And at last, “Nintendo DS Profile”.

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We will see the exploit in motion and once it is finished we will be able to play our backup.

We need to repeat these steps every time we want to play a game.

We have tested it with a Bravely Default backup.

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One important thing to notice is how Gateway 3DS manages the save files of the games. We need to press the home button to open the Home Menu and then press it again to close the menu. Automatically a save game file will be generated in the root of our SD card.

3ds_gateway_16Now we’ll talk about a nice feature called “Emunand”.

Emunand allows you to load/emulate a firmware bigger than 4.1-4.5. With this feature we will be able, for instance, to access to the eShop with Nintendo 3DS systems not upgraded with the latest firmware. The process is not adequate for beginners, so we recommend that only advanced users try to use it.

When the exploit is loaded (touch the Nintendo DS profile in the menu to load it) you can press at the same time the L button to load the Gateway 3DS menu. You should see something like this:

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The first step we will have to perform is a system NAND backup. This will allow us to restore our 3DS if we brick it.

We will get a file called “NAND.BIN” (at least 1 GB of free space in the SD card inside the 3DS console is required)

Be sure to save this file.

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Now ,we’ll have to choose the option called “Format Emunand” (we will need again an SD card with at least 1 GB of free space).

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Once the process is finished, we will run the exploit and we will see that our 3DS version info (inside the “System Settings” menu) will be showing the value “4.1”-“4.5” along with the letters “GW3D”.If you see them, you have successfully installed the Emunand feature.

Now, we can set up the WI-Fi connection.

With the “GW3D” X.XX.X version number verified, proceed to update the console by going to “Other Settings“, scroll right to the last page and press the “System Update” button.

When the update has finished, you will have the last firmware emulated, working only when you run the exploit.

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In our opinion, Gateway 3DS is a very good choice to play 3DS backups, although it is far from perfect right now. We know that the Gateway 3DS team is working actively to include new functions and fix all the limitations Gateway 3DS has right now.

Pros:

  • Almost all the 3DS library is playable right now.
  • It is not permanent, you can eliminate the exploit easily if you want.
  • Emunand is a nice feature, you can emulate a firmware greater than 4.5 to connect the system to the e-shop.

Cons:

  • Some games as Pokémon and Animal Crossing (NAND saved games) are not playable. However, the Gateway 3DS Team has announced that, internally, these games are actually working.
  • You can’t use original games from other regions, only backups.
  • The process could be difficult for some people because of the need to use two cards, several files, etc.
  • No Multi-Rom support yet. The Gateway 3DS team teases this functionality actually working internally.
  • Does not support systems with firmware greater than 4.5.

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