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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


Firmware used by the Nintendo 3DS when running GBA virtual console titles.
A term given to software very early in development, which is not feature-complete, and is not stable to run.
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.
Code name for the Old 3DS's ARM11 core that is responsible for running applications (such as games). The other core being the syscore.
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.
Advanced RISC Machine, the type of processor architecture used by the 3DS.
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.
ARM9LoaderHax (A9LH)
An exploit which uses a flaw in the ARM9 loader to run unofficial code. The exploit makes use of a modified encryption key in order to corrupt the ARM9 binary when it is decrypted by the loader. This is done in a specific way to make the execution flow jump to a previously injected payload.
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 term given to software that is still in development, but is largely feature-complete. Beta software will likely still contain various bugs that make it unsuitable for release.
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.
BootROM of the ARM9
Boot9Strap (B9S)
A modified firmware that makes use of sighax and a vulnerability in the console's NDMA engine to gain code execution on the ARM9 BootROM (Boot9) and load a payload ("boot.firm") from the SD card. It uses a modified version the ARM9 payload loader of Luma3DS. The software can also dump the console-specific OTP and BootROMs.
BootROM of the ARM11
Piece of read-only memory that contains the code needed by the system to boot (aka the bootloader).
A state in which the system becomes corrupt and will be unable to execute any (meaningful) code. This essentially makes it as useful as a brick, hence the name. Some bricks can be recovered; either through software or hardware.


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
The main "3DS" partition of the NAND.
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.
Data Execution Prevention. A security feature of the CPU that marks parts of memory as "non-executable". This makes it harder for hackers to inject and execute their own code.
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.
A platform for smaller, cheaper games that are designed for the Nintendo DSi and can be downloaded from the eShop. The 3DS also supports DSiWare due to backwards compatibility. DSi titles run under their own firmware (TWL_FIRM) on the 3DS.
Digital signal processor. A type of microprocessor that is used by the 3DS for audio mixing.
An extraction of the otherwise protected contents of a chip or disc. For example, games can be "dumped" from their ROM chip inside the game cartridge. This is called a ROM dump (or simply a ROM).


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. A technique where access to the NAND (internal flash memory) of the console is redirected to a specific location on the SD card. The main difference with RedNAND is that the first 512 bytes of the NAND are relocated to the end. An EmuNAND is usually created by dumping the console's internal NAND (known as SysNAND). They are often used as a second NAND for the system, which offers various advantages, such as being more brick-safe, and bypassing the installable titles limit.
An online store for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U where digital games, demos, and other things can be downloaded.
The executable code of a ROM image.
A piece of software designed to take advantage of a flaw in a system to run unauthorized code.


Fast Cycle DRAM. The type of RAM used in the Nintendo 3DS, developed by Fujitsu.
File format of the 3DS firmware.
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.
An exploit that uses the GPU's access to the main memory (FCRAM) of the console to override parts of the current running application, making it execute custom code, bypassing the system's DEP.


Modification of a file or a system. For example, a 'ROM hack' means a 'modified ROM'.
A number system that uses the base 16 instead of the traditional 10. The letters A-F are used to represent the numbers 10 through 15. It is often preferred to the decimal system in computing due to its relation to the binary system.
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 used 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.
A popular Custom Firmware (CFW) for the Nintendo 3DS that sports a variety of features, such as payload chaining and on-the-fly game patching.


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.
The main firmware of the Nintendo 3DS, which is loaded when the console is booted, and is running most of the time while in 3DS mode. Its version can be seen in the System Settings application of the console.
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.
A module on the 3DS which is used for various system functions, such as launching titles, initializing game updates, and shutting down the system.


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.


A piece of software that is used to update another existing piece of software. Patches are often used to fix bugs, to bypass security measures (see Crack), or to generally improve/alter the workings of the affected software.
The type of GPU used by the Nintendo 3DS.
The act of illegally acquiring copyrighted materials, by downloading it from the internet without permission of the author.
One who engages in piracy.
The single process that runs on the ARM9 in user mode.



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. A technique in which the access to the NAND (the 3DS internal memory) is redirected to a specific location on the SD card. This allows for a fake second NAND. A similar technique is EmuNAND.
Release Candidate (RC)
A piece of software that is not yet released, but is now at a stable enough version that it can be considered for release.
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.


Safe Mode
See Recovery Mode
The firmware that is used while running in Safe Mode. Used during system updates.
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.
An exploit, using a flaw in the RSA signature checks of the ARM9 BootROM (Boot9) to load unofficial firmware images.
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.
Exploit for the New3DS where a second "safe mode" version of the NS module is started at the same time of the actual NS. This second instance is in range of the GPU, so it can be altered by GSPWN. Only possible on the New3DS due to it containing a second "safe mode" version of NS with a different ID.
Code name for the web browser of the (non-new) Nintendo 3DS.
Service Set IDentifier. An unique identifier for a wireless network (WLAN).
Code name for a system call in the ARM9 that accepts any function pointer and executes it in kernel mode. The only process on the ARM9 (Process9) has access to this syscall, meaning user mode and kernel mode are essentially the same on the ARM9.
Code name for the AMR11 processor core on the Old 3DS that is responsible for running the system menu. The other core being the appcore.
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.


A ticket contains the signature and encryption info for a specific title. The ticket is needed in order to install and launch this title. Some tickets, such as those of system titles, are valid for all 3DSs. Other tickets, such as those for games, are console specific.
A title is an application for the 3DS, which has a unique identifier. Examples are 3DS games and system applications such as Mii plaza.
Title Metadata (TMD)
The title metadata contains information about what a specific title contains; as well as SHA hashes for verification.
"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.
Code name of the Nintendo DSi.
The firmware on the Nintendo 3DS that is used for running DS(i) games in backwards compatible mode.
Partition of the NAND that is structured like that of the Nintendo DSi. Used for backwards compatibility.


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)