How to Convert 3DS Games to CIA Files

Before any hacking was done on the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming console, people had to actually buy physical cartridges in order to play games.

Now, I do not mind doing that since well, buying cartridges will not only give you games, it will also give you something to collect.

Conversion for comfortability

But as cool as it may be, actually buying a lot of games and carrying them with you all the time is not a wise thing to do as it can be cumbersome and a lot of things can happen (like, your cartridges will be lost or stolen).

Now, with the advent of R4 3DS cards, buying physical cartridges to play games is a thing of the past. You can now play games using just the R4 3DS card as you can store games on the card.

But before you can actually play games using the R4 3DS card, you need to do a special process of conversion first.

You see, when you dump the game cartridges to create a digital copy of the game, it will be converted into a .3ds file. This file format does not work on the R4 3DS cards. Instead, it works with the .cia format.

In this article, I will share with you what you need to do in order to convert .3ds files to .cia files so you can play games using your R4 3DS card.

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Before anything else, you need to download two things: the BigBlueMenu and the SaveDataFiler programs. Both can be downloaded from the internet.

What are the actual steps?

Here are the steps to convert .3ds files to .cia:

  1. Download and extract the BigBlueMenu file. It will create two files, one in .3ds format and one in .cia format.
  2. Put these files in the root folder of your microSD card. After putting the files on your SD card, put it in your R4 3DS card and fire up your Nintendo 3DS.
  3. Now, whatever R4 3DS card you have, make sure to put your Nintendo 3DS in a mode where you can install homebrew applications.
  4. When prompted, install the BigBlueMenu.
  5. After installing BigBlueMenu, download any Nintendo 3DS game you can find on the internet and then put them on your microSD card. Fire up the BigBlueMenu and then there will be an option to convert a game into a .cia file.
  6. Choose the game you want to convert and after that, just wait until the program converts the file and you should be done!

Before you play the games, though, you need to use the SaveDataFiler application to convert the game’s save files so that it can work with the .cia format.

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There you have it; I hope that this tutorial has helped you install these 2 programs so that you can play digital copies of Nintendo 3DS games.

Gone are the days where you have to dish out money to buy Nintendo 3DS games. There are plenty of games on the internet that you can download. Just make sure to get an R4 3DS card and you should be good.


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