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An emulator that emulates a 3DS console. Currently limited to certain 3DS homebrew apps.
.3ds file
Unofficial format used for 3DS ROMs as well as GateWay-compatible homebrew.
.3dsx file
The main format used for 3DS homebrew applications. Usually launched through The Homebrew Launcher.
.3dz file
Modified 3DS ROM with an injected header to allow for online play.
.cia file


A term given to software very early in development, before it becomes a beta form (See Beta).
Series of figures by Nintendo that contain an NFC chip used to communicate with 3DS and WiiU consoles. On the new Nintendo 3DS, the Amiibo can be connected by placing the figure on the bottom screen. For the old 3DS, a separate adapter needs to be bought, as it does not have NFC capabilities.
Augmented reality. By aiming the 3DS camera at specially designed AR cards (included with the console), the console will show things that are not really there.
One of the processors of the 3DS. This is the secondary single core processor. Runs a process called "Process9", which uses the kernel to run commands for ARM11. Used for NDS backwards compatibility. Also responsible for the initial boot, encryption/decryption, and all signature checks.
One of the processors of the 3DS. This is the primary dual core (quad core on the new3DS) processor of the system, and handles most tasks. One of the cores is used solely for the Operating System of the console, while the other(s) performs all other tasks.


A software that is incomplete, in development or not in its final form. Beta software may contain many known bugs (See Bug).
An accidental mistake made in the programming of a piece of software (i.e. a video game), that may cause undesired operation or produce errors or worse. A bug can often be fixed or resolved by applying a patch (see Patch).
Bad ROM/dump
A ROM that has been dumped incorrectly, which may cause it to produce errors during execution or may stop it from working as it should. 'Bad Dumps' almost always require the original cartridge to be dumped again properly to produce a good ROM.
Piece of read-only memory that contains the code needed by the system to boot (aka the booloader).


A popular programming language. It is used for a large variety of purposes, including homebrew development.
A popular programming language that started as an extension of the C language (hence the name, which means C+1 in C). Like C, it has a wide variety of purposes, including homebrew development.
CTR Importable Archive. Internal format used as a generic data container meant to be installed on the 3DS (similar to WADs on the Wii), though it is usually protected so it can only be installed on 1 specific console. Manual installation is normally done through Dev Menu. All eShop content is in this format.
Cartridge (cart)
A plastic casing containing variable content, for example, a PCB containing a game held on ROM including a backup EEPROM/battery to hold the game save. Here, this term is commonly used to describe a 3DS game card or any other device used to slot into the expansion slots of a handheld, even flash kit adapters.
A type of Cartridge which contains a backup EEPROM/battery to hold game saves. EEPROMs that hold game saves have a specific size (256KB and 512KB); games requiring more space or faster access are using the Card2 type. When using a Card1 ROM dump with a 3DS flashcart, an external save file is created to save the game progress (filename.sav).
A type of Cartridge which does not contain a backup EEPROM/battery to hold game saves. The game progress is stored directly in the same chipset holding the game data, located at the end of the game's data, and can use all of the chipset's remaining free space. When using a Card2 ROM dump with a 3DS flashcart, no external save file is created and the game progress is saved directly into the game image (filename.3ds or filename.3dz).
CTR Cart Image. The official format used for ROM images. Used for cartridges.
CTR File Archive. Official format. Contains data relating to a CXI (the main executable). Common examples are the electronic manual and system updates.
An emulator that emulates a 3DS console. Mostly used for 3DS homebrew for now. The first emulator to get a 3DS game (Ocarina of Time 3D) working.
Clean dump
A ROM dump that has not been modified from its original form on the cartridge.
A unexpected fault (bug) in a software that will cause it to halt immediately. A crashed piece of software can not be recovered and must be re-started.
An unofficial patch released by an individual or group which is meant to be applied to a piece of software to remove certain restrictions, features, or anti-piracy techniques. For example, a time restriction on an official demo piece of software.
Codename for the Nintendo 3DS
Custom Firmware (CFW)
Firmware that is patched to provide additional features, such as the ability to install CIA files. Most often used in combination with EmuNAND.
CTR Executable Image. Official format. Contains the executable code for ARM11 (aka the actual game). Is combined with CFAs (data containers) to form a CCI (cartridge ROM image) or CIA (importable archive). Can only be played directly on development consoles.


A trial version of a software or game usually released by the developers of the software for promotional purposes. Demo software almost always has restrictions such as a time limit, lack of features or the inability to perform certain functions.
A port of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), which includes compilers for C and C++ and related utilities. Used to compile code for ARM processors.
A collection of toolchains used for homebrew development.
Dev Menu (dEVMEN)
A special 3DS application used by developers only. It has various functions, such as installing CIA files. Normally only available on 3DS development consoles.
Domain Name System. A system that translates a domain name to its associated IP address (among other things). When the system does not have a local cached DNS record for a domain, it will contact a DNS server to get the record from there. On the 3DS, it is possible to manually assign such a DNS server by changing the primary DNS. There is also a secondary DNS server which is only used in case the first is unavailable.
The opposite of an upgrade: reverting to an older system menu version. Generally requires a hardware modification or an already vulnerable system.
Download Play
A system in the DS and 3DS that allows part of certain games to be "downloaded" to another (3)DS console. Allows for single-cartridge multiplayer, but is usually more limited than multi-cart multiplayer.
Downloadable eShop software that was designed for the Nintendo DSi. The 3DS also supports DSiWare due to backwards compatibility. DSi titles run under their own firmware (TWL_FIRM) on the 3DS.
Synonym of ROM. The term "dumping" is a method of backing up an original cartridge to a PC.


A program that replicates the functions of a piece of hardware in order to run the software designed for it on another platform.
Emulated NAND; also known as Redirected NAND (RedNAND). A technique where access to the NAND (flash memory) of the console is redirected to another location, such as the SD card. This has various advantages, such as being able to update the EmuNAND to the latest system menu version while still keeping the console itself on an old version. It is also more resistant to bricks since the EmuNAND can be replaced if broken. An EmuNAND is usually created by dumping the console's internal NAND (known as SysNAND).
An online store for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U where digital games, demos, and other things can be downloaded.
A piece of software designed to take advantage of a flaw in a system to run unauthorized code.


The code that a device runs from. A device which allows for firmware upgrades means that a new version of the device doesn't need to be bought to get new features.
Unofficial cartridge containing some sort of rewritable flash memory, allowing it to emulate an actual cartridge.
Flash Memory
Storage space that is stored on a chip instead of a disk that must be read like a harddrive. Contains no moving parts. Can be used either as internal memory like the 3DS, or can be used as a portable storage device like thumb drives or SD cards.


Gateway 3DS
A 3DS flash cart, notable for being the first to support 3DS ROMs. Comes with a blue cart (an R4 clone) which is used to run an exploit which enables the primary red cart. The red cart is then used to run EmuNAND and play 3DS ROMs.
Acronym for "Graphical User Interface". Basically means there is more than text on the screen.


Modification of a file or a system. For example, a 'ROM hack' means a 'modified ROM'.
A homebrew application is an unofficial application programmed at home, often by hobby coders.
The Homebrew Launcher (hbmenu)
A menu designed for launching homebrew applications in 3DSX format. Used with ninjhax and its related exploits.
Home Menu
The main menu of the 3DS, seen when the console is launched. From here, games and other applications can be launched. It can be accessed at any time through the Home button on the console. Later system menu versions allow users to change the theme of the menu.
Collection of techniques use to imitate StreetPass Relays (Nintendo Zone) at home, allowing you to "StreetPass" people at home. Involves spoofing the MAC Address and SSID of a Nintendo Zone to make the 3DS believe it is connecting to one.


Exploit for the eShop game IronFall: Invasion.



Kernel mode
A mode in which processes have full control over all hardware and may access all memory addresses.


Acronym for "Local Area Network". Connects a small, local areas together.
Acronym for "Liquid Crystal Display". Uses a smaller amount of power making it suitable for battery powered devices.
Legit CIA (Clean CIA, Perfect CIA)
A CIA which has valid signatures for a console. This allows the CIA to be launched from an official unmodified firmware (SysNAND). In order to install them, a CFW or similar is still required, however.
Linked NANDs
When dumping the SysNAND to an EmuNAND, both NANDs will share the same folder on the SD card and are considered "linked". While linked, changes done to one will affect the other as well. The NANDs can be unlinked by formatting either NAND, which changes the directory used on the SD card for that NAND.
A lightweight programming language used for various purposes. Homebrew can be written in this language and run via a Lua interpreter like Lua Player Plus.


Micro SD
A smaller version of the SD card. About half the size of a mini SD and about a quarter of the size of a normal SD card. Can hold just as much data as a normal SD card.
Multi-picture object. An image format used by the 3DS to store 3D images. The file essentially contains multiple JPG files (2 for the 3DS), which can be extracted if needed.
Internal name for the 3DS System Settings application.
A 3DS flashcart. Clone of the Gateway 3DS.


Type of flash memory that is used by the Nintendo 3DS as internal storage. Sometimes also used to refer to the contents of the storage.
New Nintendo 3DS (N3DS)
An updated model of the Nintendo 3DS which has double memory, improved screens, a second analog stick, and more. There is also the new Nintendo 3DS XL as an updated version of the regular XL, although the screens of the normal version are slightly larger to begin with.
Near field communication. A series of protocols that allow nearby devices to communicate via radio waves.
NFO, an abbreviation of "info". "NFO" files are ASCII text files with the filename extension ".nfo". These are commonly found alongside pirate software releases by individuals or groups. They contain information about the release and other useful and useless information.
An exploit for the 3DS game Cubic Ninja. Can be used to execute specific homebrew applications. First released game-based exploit.
Nintendo 2DS
A revised Nintendo 3DS that adapts a revised form factor and drops support for 3D. Mostly intended for younger children who are more likely to drop the console and are harmed by the 3D effect. Was only released in North America and Europe.
Nintendo 3DS
The latest handheld from Nintendo. The first handheld to display 3D pictures without needing 3D glasses.
Nintendo 3DS XL
A revised, larger version of the Nintendo 3DS. Features a 90% larger screen than the original, a larger battery, and several other improvements. Known as the 3DS LL in Japan.
Nintendo Network
A network of servers by Nintendo used for online play.
Nintendo Network ID (NNID)
An unique ID used by people to identify on the Nintendo Network. Intended to replace the older friend codes system. Can only be used on 1 Nintendo 3DS console at a time.
Nintendo Zone
A series of download stations located at various retailers across the globe. These stations have various purposes, such as providing game demos. They also gather StreetPass data, allowing people to StreetPass each other without ever actually meeting. The Nintendo 3DS will automatically connect to them if brought in range, revealing the hidden Nintendo Zone application built into the console. By carefully configuring your wireless network, the 3DS can be tricked into accepting it as a Nintendo Zone, although the application will not work and may not even appear at all.


Old 3DS. Refers to any non-new Nintendo 3DS console.
Official/original firmware. The unmodified firmware installed on your console, without any hacks applied.
oothax (oot3dhax)
Exploit for the game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.


When a large program is released that has a bug, a patch is usually released instead of having the user download the whole program again. The patch is then applied to the existing data and fixes the bug.
The act of illegally acquiring copyrighted materials, by downloading it from the internet without permission of the author.
One who engages in piracy.



Recovery Mode (Safe Mode)
A special mode built into the 3DS which is meant to be used to recover from a failed system update. If an update was already downloaded to the SD card, declining it will erase it from the card, unlike in normal mode. To access, hold A+L+R+DPad Up while the console is booting.
Redirected NAND. See EmuNAND.
Release Group
A group that releases ROMs on the internet. A group is given credit to a ROM when they release it.
Read-only memory. A ROM is a piece of flash memory that contains permanently stored data that cannot be added to, modified or removed. The term ROM is also used to describe a ROM from, for example, a game cartridge that has been extracted and backed up to a single file on a PC. This method of extraction can also be referred to as "dumping" and the end file is commonly called a "dump".
A read-only file system used by ROM images. Part of a CXI or CFA.
Return-oriented programming. A hacking technique where the attacker gains control over a program's call stack and uses it to overwrite return addresses. This directs the control flow of the program to unintended locations. Multiple returns are chained together with the eventual goal of reaching arbitrary code execution.
ROP loader
A piece of software used to load a ROP chain.


Official developer application that allows for extracting and importing save files. Normally only available on development consoles.
SD Card
Acronym for Secure Digital cards. It is a flash memory card format used in the 3DS and several other portable devices.
SD High Capacity. Refers to SD cards that are larger than 2GB, up to 32GB.
SD eXtended Capacity. Refers to SD cards that are larger than 32GB, up to 2TB. The 3DS supports SDXC cards up to 128GB if formatted as FAT32.
A 3DS flashcart that works by imitating an actual 3DS game card 1:1. This has the advantage of not needing an exploit, but limits the functionality to that of a regular cart (No Homebrew, EmuNAND etc). Switching between games is done through a physical button on the cart, so people have to cycle through the games one by one. Used to have a 10 games limit, but this was later removed with an updated "blue button" cart. The old "red button" carts were also given a patch to remove their limit.
Code name for the web browser of the new Nintendo 3DS.
smashbroshax (smashhax)
Exploit for the game Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Also works with the demo version.
SMDH (.smdh file)
File format that stores an icon and author data for a homebrew app or cia.
Code name for the web browser of the (non-new) Nintendo 3DS.
Service Set IDentifier. An unique identifier for a wireless network (WLAN).
The internal NAND (flash memory) of the 3DS console. Stores things like the System menu and settings.
System Menu
The menu used on the 3DS.


"Trimming" means to remove "dummy data" from a ROM file in order to decrease the file size. Contrary to how the majority of people think it works. It simply does not compress the ROM in any way. It's just a method of removing dummy (garbage/filler) data from the file which can be anything from a few KB to a few MB.
An emulator that emulates a 3DS console.
Exploit for the YouTube application for the Nintendo 3DS.


Universal legit CIA
A legit CIA which has signatures that are valid to any console, and can thus be played from SysNAND on any console. These only exist for pre-installed software (from console bundles), which contain special universal signatures.
Universal Serial Bus. A connection interface that is now the most common used amongst external computer peripherals, including MP3 players, external hard drives, keyboards and mice. USB is widely used because of its simple connection, easy to use socket, its data transfer speeds and its "plug 'n' play" reliability. Many GBA flash kits use USB.
User mode (userland)
A mode in which processes have limited access to system resources. Specifically, processes may not directly access hardware or use memory dedicated to other processes or the kernel. Most processes run in this mode.


Virtual Console (VC)
A service on the Nintendo 3DS offering you to download old console games to be played from their own application in the home menu. The games use an internal emulator which is tweaked to the game itself.


Short for "Wireless fidelity". Wi-Fi is a type of wireless LAN. This makes it possible for a Wi-Fi enabled device, such as the Nintendo 3DS, to access an internet connection shared via a wireless LAN without any additional wires or connections.


A generic file used to decrypt 3DS games. The file is "XORed" with the original encrypted ROM (.3ds/.3dz) to create the unencrypted ROM (.cia)