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R4 3DS Affiliate Program

The R4 3DS Newsletter

Nintendo 3DS Homebrew Games A Look at the World of Homebrew Software

The Nintendo 3DS needs no introduction.  It was (and in many ways still is) the most popular handheld gaming system that allows users to play 3D games without the need for special glasses. While the 3DS has an extensive library of officially licensed games, there is also a thriving community developing home made or "homebrew" software for the device. In this article, we'll take a look at what homebrew games on the 3DS are and why people make and play them.

What are Homebrew Games?

Homebrew games refer to any games made by independent programmers and hobbyists for a video game console, without the support of a game development company. For the Nintendo 3DS, this means games developed by often for the fund of learning to code and distributed outside of the eShop digital store. Homebrew games run via custom firmware that unlocks extra capabilities on the 3DS beyond what is possible in the stock OS.


Homebrew games can be original creations, ports of old games to the 3DS, or even enhancements and mods of existing 3DS games. They are usually available as free downloads online. While the 3DS homebrew scene is not as large as more open platforms like PCs, there are still hundreds of homebrew titles available spanning many genres.

It also includes the creation of emualtors for classic system. Everything from systems like the ZX Spectrum right up to the Neo Geo and Super NES can be played with the help of the R4 3DS flashcart.

Donkey Kong GBC Emulator

Why Make Homebrew Games?

For programmers, creating homebrew games is a way to gain experience and have fun with a platform they enjoy. It lets them tap into the 3DS hardware, and distribute their games freely without needing payment. For players, homebrew games add more variety and content beyond Nintendo's offerings.

Homebrew games often explore experimental ideas that official games won't. They can also revive classic games in new forms. For example, there are homebrew versions of Doom, Quake, and other older PC games recreated on the 3DS. Homebrew games can even modify existing 3DS games via cheat codes and fan-made patches.

Playing Homebrew Games

To play homebrew games, you'll need either a 3DS, 2DS or 3DS XL and an R4 3DS card or even a card like the Stargate 3DS. This makes it possible to run the homebrew games and applications that would otherwise not run.

celeste 3ds homebrew

Once your 3DS is equipped with the R4 3DS, you can download homebrew games from sites like Game Jolt and even our own 3DS Homebrew section and transfer them to your flashcarts SD card.  Then you can open and play them just like official games!

The World of 3DS Homebrew

The 3DS homebrew scene gives gamers more options and flexibility. For developers, it's a chance to learn and create on readily available hardware. Homebrew games add diversity to the 3DS library and can even bring new life to older titles. While future support as the 3DS ages is uncertain, homebrew currently enables fun, fresh experiences on a classic handheld.