Gateway 3DS: The first 3DS flashcart!

The Gateway 3DS is the first 3DS flashcart which can allow us to play 3DS roms. Now it is on hot sales in the market. The Gateway 3DS cart is available on now!

It caused quite the commotion when the team first released their video demonstrating what they achieved. Since then they haven’t updated us much on their progress, except for the save functionality video. But now they have the released the cart and people are getting their cart to finally be able to play 3DS backups.


The Gateway 3DS comes in a plastic box bearing the red Gateway logo. The cards themselves come in their own plastic bed.

Features of the Gateway 3DS

These are the features you have with the Gateway 3DS.

  • Play 3DS backups on both 3DS and 3DS XL
  • Play NDS backups with the blue Gateway card.
  • Saves are stored on the SD card of the 3DS

Out of the box only the blue cart works with the correct firmware. The blue cart is essentially an R4i cart, and as such needs firmware files. The cart pops up as Deep Labyrinth and works up until 3DS firmware 6.1
The red cart is a special case as this one requires no firmware, only that the microSD card is loaded with a game. To enable the red cart, you must first use an exploit based hack. This is done by first preparing the system with a .nds file on the blue cart. After that you must copy the exploit to the SD card you use in your 3DS and go the NDS profile settings on your 3DS. After this process has completed and you are returned to the main screen you can use the red cart to play your games.When starting the blue cart you will be greeted with a somewhat familiar firmware, that of an R4i. As such not much explanation is needed about the workings of the blue cart. When you have prepared your system for the red cart it will pop up as the game you have loaded on the microSD card.

NDS Game Back Up Compatibility

These games where tested on the standard Gateway firmware.
Scribblenauts (E): Worked Perfectly
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (E): Worked Perfectly
Pokémon HeartGold (E): Worked Perfectly
Pokémon Conquest (E): Worked perfectly
Inazuma Eleven 2: Blizzard (E): Worked Perfectly

3DS Game Back Up Compatibility

These games were tested with the red Gateway cart. The 3DS was updated to 4.5.x with Luigi’s Mansion 2 as this is the highest firmware the cart still works on. Any game released before June 2013 will have a 4.5 update, games after June 2013 will have the 5.x update.
This section will be updated when the Gateway team has released their fix for the firmware problem.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 (E): Worked perfectly
Bit.Trip Saga (E): Worked perfectly
Naruto Shippuden 3D: The New Era (E): Worked perfectly
Star Fox 64 3D (E): Worked perfectly
Kid Icarus: Uprising (E): Worked perfectly
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (E): Worked perfectly
Fire Emblem: Awakening (E): Worked perfectly
Paper Mario Sticker Star (E): Worked perfectly
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (E): Not working because of saving method

Demonstration of setup process


Build quality

The build quality of both carts is good, they feel quite solid. The blue is a NDS cartridge while the red one is a 3DS cartridge complete with the bit that sticks out at the top. On the red cart however you can feel the microSD card slot under the sticker because the case is removed there. I suspect this is because of the alignment of the components on the PCB board.
Only the red cart has as springloaded microSD slot.


The Gateway 3DS certainly lives up to the expectation of playing 3DS backups. However, as of writing the cart only works up to firmware 4.5.x of the 3DS, as it is exploit-based. Games released after march 2013 (need comfirmation on this) come with the 5.1 firmware update and will break compatibility. The games that do work, work fine. If you exit the game on the correct way the savefile will be stored on the 3DS SD card, which makes having multiple saves and exchanging them quite easy.
The bundled NDS cart is a necessary but certainly not unwelcome addition to the package. It is not only meant for preparing the system for the exploit, but it can also play most if not all NDS games.

  • Plays 3DS backups.
  • External saving.
  • Comes with good NDS flashcart.


  • Only works with certain games released before the 5.x update.
  • Not being able to have multiple 3DS games on the microSD card.
  • Expensive
  • Limited compatibility

Considering this is the first 3DS flashcart I can live with not being able to play every game yet. The Gateway team is hard at work to updating the exploit to support 5.x and possibly 6.0 firmwares so more compatibility will be seen in the near future. And as this is the first 3DS flashcart the price will be high.

——– Quote from DS-Scene Forum:

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