Tiny Cartridge 3DS

Super Mario 3D Land features new firmware that blocks flashcarts [update]

Super Mario 3D Land's non-game-related surprises aren't limited to the absence of a full physical manual; Japanese copies offer a new 3DS firmware upgrade, v2.2.0-4.

Initial reports indicate that the update is mandatory to play the game, and that it adds anti-piracy protections designed to block flashcarts. It’s also said to add a button in your Friends List that lets you join a buddy’s game in progress (presumably if the game has an online multiplayer mode and support for this new feature).

[Update: Other Friends List enhancements include the ability to quick scroll through your list when holding down left/right, and your friends that are currently online will now appear at the front of your queue.]

It appears that this is not the same 3DS firmware as the one planned for release later this month, which will introduce video recording, 3DS-to-3DS software transfers, StreetPass improvements, and a bevy of eShop features (demos, DLC, etc). We will update this post if we hear more news about this firmware.

Buy: Super Mario 3D Land (November 13)3DS system

Find: Nintendo DS/3DS release dates, discounts, & more

See also: More Super Mario 3D Land stuff

[Via enishi, watamarion3ds]

The crackdown on flashcarts continues:

"This month, France joins a growing list of countries taking a strong legal stance against video game piracy. The Paris’ Court of Appeals issued guilty verdicts on Sept. 26th against Divineo SARL, along with five other companies, for the importation, sale and distribution of game copier devices commonly referred to as ‘linkers’ in France (in other countries, the devices may be called R4s or Magicom).

This decision now brings France in line with other European territories, including the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Italy and Belgium, based on decisions they already have rendered. It also is consistent with other court decisions that have been issued globally.”

Buy: Nintendo 3DS (Flame Red, Black, & Blue)

Find: Nintendo DS/3DS release dates, discounts, & more

See also: Flashcarts: More than ‘illegal game copiers’

Jurry-rigged device for dumping 3DS games. Scene group Legacy claims to be the first to dump ROMs from 3DS carts, backing up (and posting online) copies of Super Monkey Ball 3D and Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.
This doesn’t mean rampant piracy like we saw on the DS is now possible on Nintendo’s new system, as there currently are no flashcarts or emulators that can run 3DS ROMs — even if emulators could, it would be difficult to display the stereoscopic 3D effect without an appropriate monitor.
Nor does this mean that we’ll see 3DS flashcarts soon. Two years passed after the DSi’s release before manufacturers put out devices with DSi-mode compatibility, and those carts still have their quirks, from what I hear.
As usual, we do not condone seeking out these ROMs or pirating any games. We’re just keeping you abreast on the latest in the war between Nintendo and hackers!
Buy: Nintendo 3DS console (Cosmo Black, Aqua Blue)
Find: Nintendo DS/3DS release dates, discounts, & more
See also: More piracy news
[Via DS-Scene]

Jurry-rigged device for dumping 3DS games. Scene group Legacy claims to be the first to dump ROMs from 3DS carts, backing up (and posting online) copies of Super Monkey Ball 3D and Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.

This doesn’t mean rampant piracy like we saw on the DS is now possible on Nintendo’s new system, as there currently are no flashcarts or emulators that can run 3DS ROMs — even if emulators could, it would be difficult to display the stereoscopic 3D effect without an appropriate monitor.

Nor does this mean that we’ll see 3DS flashcarts soon. Two years passed after the DSi’s release before manufacturers put out devices with DSi-mode compatibility, and those carts still have their quirks, from what I hear.

As usual, we do not condone seeking out these ROMs or pirating any games. We’re just keeping you abreast on the latest in the war between Nintendo and hackers!

Buy: Nintendo 3DS console (Cosmo Black, Aqua Blue)

Find: Nintendo DS/3DS release dates, discounts, & more

See also: More piracy news

[Via DS-Scene]

Testing flashcarts with the Nintendo 3DS. As expected, DS and DSi flashcarts will not work with the new system due to new and "sophisticated" measures meant to stem the piracy rampant in previous models. So, don’t expect to run any homebrew games or apps with your new 3DS!

Some manufacturers of these devices are confident they will eventually circumvent these barriers, but for now, the carts show up on the 3DS’ main menu and refuse to launch. For reference, hackers managed to break protections introduced with the DSi in just over a month.

If you don’t understand why Nintendo and third-party developers feel these measures are necessary, these informative Megwin videos clearly explain piracy’s dangerous effects on the DS:

Preorder a 3DS with: Our Nintendo 3DS Buyer’s Guide

See also: Flashcarts: More than ‘illegal game copiers’

[Via Mailenstein]

Piracy?: Downloading DS demo ROMs

Monday’s release for Ghost Trick's new downloadable trial reminded me about the clumsiness of DS demos — the norm for almost everything Nintendo does online.

Even if you have a Nintendo DSi, downloading one of the few demos Nintendo offers each week requires a Wii and a series of steps to transmit the game from the home console to your handheld. And if you decide to shut off your portable or play another game, you need to re-download the demo to try it out again later.

Why is the selection of demos so limited? Why is it still such a pain to download one? Any why can’t I keep the demo on my DSi’s internal flash memory or an SD card?

There is a solution to all three of those problems with DS demos, but it’s either piracy or very close to it.

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MAME4ALL arcade emulator for DS

French coder Alekmaul, who’s released a ton of emulators for various handheld platforms, is bringing his Dingoo MAME4ALL arcade emulator to the Nintendo DS — you can see the port in action above with the arcade version of Bubble Bobble playing on a fine dual screen system.

Obviously, the game and music aren’t playing at full speed yet, but I believe the project is still very early in development. Alekmaul managed to get this running on a Supercard DSTwo flashcart, which features a special on-board CPU — other devices without this feature would presumably have have trouble matching the DSTwo’s performance when running MAME4ALL.

The arcade emulator isn’t publicly available to download yet, but you can watch a bunch of videos of the application playing Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, Street Fighter II, Mega Man: The Power Battle, Pole Position, Pac-Man, Black Tiger, Commando, and more after the break.

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Supercard remains confident it can break Nintendo 3DS’s anti-piracy protections

Unfazed by the threat of new anti-piracy measures and automatically updated firmware for the Nintendo 3DS, flashcart manufacturer Supercard is confident its device will run on the new system — at least in standard DS mode — according to a report from GBAtemp administrator Costello, who claims to have spoken with the team.

The Chinese company believes the onboard CPU in its DSTWO cart, which allows for Xvid/Divx playback and improved GBA/SNES emulation, offers opportunities for the firm to find a workaround to defeat whatever protections the 3DS might have quickly.

Of course, Supercard could be blowing smoke to convince everyone into buying its products, as no one really knows how advanced the 3DS’s security will be — we still have more than four months before it releases in Japan (five until it hits North America), after all. The company says it will work to defeat the 3DS’s countermeasures as soon as the portable is available to the public.

For those of you who haven’t followed the battle between Nintendo and flashcart manufacturers, Supercard was the first company to get its device running on the DSi’s recent flashcart-blocking 1.4.1 update after just a day.

Buy: Nintendo DSi XL (Blue, Burgundy, & Bronze), Standard Nintendo DSi (White, Pink, Black, & Blue)

See also: More DS piracy/anti-piracy news

[Via GBAtemp]

Nintendo considers combating 3DS piracy with automatic firmware updates

Speaking at an investors briefing two days ago, Nintendo CEO and president Satoru Iwata offered some ideas his company is tinkering with to prevent the DS’s rampant piracy problems from spreading to the 3DS.

"As part of the functionality of SpotPass, we’re looking into having automatic system updates via the internet," said Iwata, according to a report from Andriasang.

Spotpass, for those of you who haven’t followed the torrent of 3DS news raining down on us this week, is the system’s way of automatically downloading “information, game data, free software, pictures,” and other content from wireless access points while the portable is in sleep mode.

Of course, people could always turn off the 3DS’s WiFi capabilities with the new switch on its side, but Nintendo also intends to have the firmware updates built into retail carts, similar to Sony’s approach for the PSP.

Iwata maintains that Nintendo will use automatic firmware updates not just to fight piracy but also to introduce new features. Unfortunately, that increased security will also lock out consumers who want to use their flashcarts for less nefarious purposes.

Buy: Nintendo DSi XL (Blue, Burgundy, & Bronze), Standard Nintendo DSi (White, Pink, Black, & Blue)

See also: Hella posts about the Nintendo 3DS

[Image via Calvin Cha]

New DSi update released, flashcarts blocked

Nintendo has updated the Nintendo DSi and Wii to block users’ access to homebrew and pirated games — while the company routinely releases similar Wii “upgrades”, the last time it put out new DSi firmware was in August 2009.

The last DSi update introduced improvements to the DSi browser, the ability to upload photos to Facebook, and anti-piracy measures, but this new DSi version 1.4.1U firmware lists only the following change:

  • This update provides behind-the-scenes improvements to system performance

There isn’t much information on what all those “behind-the-scenes improvements” include, but the firmware reportedly blocks a number of popular flashcarts:

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Kotaku and LIfeHacker have posted a thorough walkthrough teaching readers how to back up their DS games and store multiple titles on a single flashcart.

Unfortunately, this isn’t possible with the standard DSi or XL models, but it’s still a useful guide that’s very much worth linking here — I always want to point to something like this when I talk about patching imported back-up games (e.g. Mother, Tales of Innocence), but it’s difficult to track down decent instructions without trawling old threads on GBAtemp or other similar forums.

I imagine a lot of misinformed dudes are accusing Kotaku of teaching kids how to steal games, but your typical pirate really doesn’t go through all this trouble just to get a free copy of Barnyard Blast. Why invest so much time in buying a game, messing with router settings, and using an obscure tool to duplicate a ROM when it’s much easier to just download the game from a popular piracy site?

As I’ve said before, there are many valid reasons why law-abiding gamers would want to back up their DS games.

See also: Flashcarts: More than ‘illegal game copiers’

Love Plus+ turning away pirates’ advances?

I detest using question marks in headlines, but it will have to do this time as all I’ve been able to read on this matter are machine-translated reports and forum posts from Japan. Apparently, Konami employed a particularly cruel anti-piracy measure in Love Plus+ that prevents those who are playing downloaded/copied ROMs from ever hooking up with the virtual girl of their dreams.

From what I’ve heard, downloaded copies play similarly to purchased versions of the dating sim, minus the dating part — you can court Manaka, Rinko, and Nene all you want, but anti-piracy checks built into the game stops specific events from occurring, events that determine whether or not these digital girls ever go steady with you.

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Flashcarts: More than ‘illegal game copiers’

The phrase “illegal game copiers” conjures specific images in my head: racks of disc recording drives copying dozens of CDs and DVDs at a time; or custom hardware burning data onto bootleg cartridges with slipshod labels.

Nintendo pictures a particular device with that term, though. Most consumers think of it as an R4 chip or simply “R4”, while those more familiar with the technology call it a flashcart. The gamers in Japan call it “Majicon”.

But to the company that’s trying to cope with plunging software sales and a growing attitude that games aren’t worth paying for, it’s an “illegal game copier”. Nintendo used those words yesterday in a press release celebrating its lawsuit against an online seller of these devices.

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