Not so long ago we reported on a hack that utilises a flashcard and edits to a launcher to enable a 3DS to play legitimate cartridges region-free. Intriguingly, the tweak made the launcher itself unable to play ROMS and illegal game copies, but did mean a 3DS could run games from anywhere in the world, though admittedly with limitations such as restricted or hobbled online play; there was also the fact that the 3DS systems in question had to be fairly out of date — in terms of system updates — to be utilised in the initial setup.

Though never likely to become a mainstream activity — by any stretch of the imagination — it was intriguing that the region-lock had been circumvented, and we were interested to see what, if anything, Nintendo would do to block the limited use of this tool. It seems Nintendo didn't need to act, as the team behind a launcher utilised for this mod has apparently included code in that software that eventually bricks systems with unofficial changes applied. What we have, essentially, is the producer of software designed to mod hardware and run illegal ROMS taking on those modding that software for additional purposes. Hence the slightly silly, yet we think accurate, headline.

We've learned of this via the relevant gbatemp forums, the same source of that original region-free story. This move by the team behind the launcher in question affects various things beyond that region-free hack, but we won't be naming names or attempting further details here.

The crux is that the region-free 3DS workaround appears to have been blocked off by the threat of the modified launcher bricking the system. There is a certainly delicious irony at play — a modding team defending a sort-of copyright on software that bypasses Nintendo copyright — that, ultimately, leaves very few winners among the minority that do manipulate their 3DS systems in this way.

It's a twist, in any case. When discussing this topic below bear in mind our Community Rules, sticking to the issues raised in the article and refraining from posting any links or information that is inappropriate.

Thanks to zip for the tip.