Earlier today we reported on the latest 3DS system update to version 9.5.0-22, another that falls into the 'stability' category. We often have a little joke about these updates and allude to the fact they're likely tackling hacks and exploits, but on this occasion we thought we'd actually delve off into the world of ROM hacks and figure out what, if anything, the update was doing to halt illegal mods.
To be clear and upfront we won't be linking to the forums and sites that we've visited, as per our policy on this topic. With that clear, we've seen - with some help from readers to get us started - that this update has made a change to the "ARM9 binary", adding a new layer of encryption. This update doesn't, as far as we can see, have any impact on the browser-based exploit used for loading Pokémon and also loading Game Boy Color ROMS on the system.
So what does it do? It appears to be taking on the Gateway flashcard. This is a product we covered some time ago and allows users, through a fairly complex process, to load 3DS game ROMS onto a Micro SD card and run them through the flashcard. It's not the only product out there doing this, but looking through forum threads it's evident that owners of these devices are having to consistently avoid system updates and wait for the flashcard companies to release their own counter-measure updates.
On this occasion, it seems that the new 3DS software version has shut down the ability for Gateway owners to run multiple ROMS from the same SD card; that's inconvenient, naturally, and those users are having to avoid the eShop or firmware update triggers in order to keep using their ROMS without being restricted to one file per Micro SD card.
We've looked into this to gain an appreciation of the dance that consistently takes place between Nintendo and those producing flashcards and other exploits. Updates are dodged - in some cases removing online functionality for those players - and attempts are then made to get around the new firmware. It helps to explain why a number of these 'stability' updates are so small and arrive relatively frequently.
We've written this article as a point of interest and discussion is welcome; please observe the updated Community Rules when doing so, nevertheless.