Hackers Circumvent 3DS Region-Locking

If you're feeling brave, you can do it too. Proceed at your own risk!

News by Pete Davison, .

The 3DS' region locking is a source of considerable frustration for those who have enjoyed playing games from other territories on past generations of Nintendo handhelds.

On pre-3DS Nintendo handhelds, you could buy a game anywhere in the world confident in the knowledge that you'd be able to play it on your system. But for some reason, Nintendo chose to implement region locking on the 3DS, even as such a practice is becoming less and less popular in the industry as a whole.

For those of you willing to get your hands a little dirty, members of the "underground gaming community" have uncovered a means of circumventing the region lock and consequently being able to play games from any region.

Monster Hunter 4 is a popular choice for import gamers.

Full instructions are here, but it's not a particularly easy process if you don't already know what you're doing with hacking the 3DS. Note that the trick will only work on 3DS systems running old firmware, too -- it's designed to work on systems that are running version 4.5 of the firmware, whereas we're now up to 6.3. This means that if you've already updated your system to the latest firmware -- which you probably will have done if you've been playing recent games like Pokémon X and Y -- you'll need to acquire a 3DS running the old firmware in order to take advantage of it. Still, a locally-acquired used 3DS that you don't mind tinkering with is probably cheaper to pick up than an imported system from another territory -- and if you manage to successfully apply the trick described, you'll have a system that will be able to run games from any territory.

Unlike many other region lock-breaking exploits, the trick does not open the door to piracy. Like any exploit, though, there's a significant risk of disaster if you don't know what you're doing, so follow the instructions at your own risk.

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Comments 2

  • Avatar for metalangel #1 metalangel 4 years ago
    You'd have hoped region locking had been left in the past, in the dark days of the 16 and 32 bit days - I say that as someone who has convertor carts for his Genesis, N64 and Saturn, as well as a a chipped PS1.

    In a way, my procrastination buying a 3DS saved me as being stuck with a Euro system in North America would be very frustrating indeed.Edited January 2014 by metalangel
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