Nintendo 3DS Hacked Using Obscure Game

Smealum demonstrates his Ninjhax exploit of the Nintendo 3DS using the game Cubic Ninja by AQ Interactive and Ubisoft.

Smealum demonstrates his Ninjhax exploit of the Nintendo 3DS using the game Cubic Ninja by AQ Interactive and Ubisoft.

Ever heard of a game called Cubic Ninja? Probably not. Following its release in 2011, the puzzle game for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console quickly faded into obscurity. Until this month, that is, when hackers discovered that a unique bug in the game could let people run their own code on the 3DS.

For three years, the Nintendo 3DS had remained impervious to hackers' attempts to crack and modify it. The Cubic Ninja bug lets people run "homebrew," slang for unauthorized code, on the console, allowing the use of pirated or unauthorized games on the 3DS, as well as user-created games and software. 

MORE: Top 10 Nintendo 3DS Games

An online hacker known as Smealum created an exploit (a piece of software designed to exploit a specific flaw) for the Cubic Ninja bug called ninjhax, demonstrated in the below video.

The exploit has exploded Cubic Ninja's popularity. While the game cost about two dollars on Amazon last month, it's now going for $40 or more.

The code for Smealum's exploit is also available on his website, though potential users should know that running homebrew on the Nintendo 3DS will probably void the warranty. Any pirated or modified software may also be illegal.

Nintendo can push out over-the-air 3DS updates, so it's probably safe to say the company will fix the bug soon.

Meanwhile, people have already developed homebrew software for the Nintendo 3DS, including a SNES emulator for running SNES games on the 3DS, a 3DS adaptation of Minecraft and a GameBoy emulator for playing Game Boy games.

Jill Scharr is a staff writer for Tom's Guide, where she regularly covers security, 3D printing and video games. You can follow Jill on Twitter @JillScharr and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, onFacebook and on Google+.

Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects. 

  • IpwnedU123
    @Jill Scharr

    If you did any research on this topic, then you would know that this exploit DOES NOT have access to the 3DS permissions that are required running pirated 3DS games and installing anything on the console. The exploit only installs to the Cubic Ninja save data, not the 3DS itself. The only reason that Smealum shared the exploit is because it DOES NOT allow 3DS piracy. If you want to report on 3DS piracy for all firmwares, then write an article about the Sky3DS flashcard.

    Also, the 3DS has been hacked for over a year, but only on firmwares 4.1-4.5. Have you ever heard of the Gateway card or the Nintendo DS Profile exploit in the System Settings?

    In the past 6 months this is the second article from tom's GUIDE that I have taken the time to read, and BOTH OF THEM WERE GREATLY MISINFORMED AND INACCURATE.

    I suggest that you and the other writers for this site get your act together and start researching your article topics MUCH more thoroughly. I will recommend other people to stay FAR AWAY from tom's GUIDE and tell them that any other tech site is more reliable than this one!

    (and yes, I created an account here JUST to tell you how wrong you and the other writers here are)
  • techkid133
    i do agree that people here are sadly misinformed nowadays and on a lot of other tech sites as well
  • Newellrw Allen
    This method can't play 3DS games.
    I thinks this is a full guide of hack 3DS