Another Gateway Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Lastly, Jan 25, 2014.

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Do you like my review? Should I continue?

  1. It's great! Keep up the good work!

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  2. It's horrible! Burn it with fire! Burn it with fire!

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  3. I hate your sense of humor. Get rid of it.

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  1. Lastly
    OP

    Lastly Honorable UltimateAdmiin - Highest Rank

    Member
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    Aug 8, 2008
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    This review is ever expanding. I will add screenshots later and expand the sections as it is incomplete. I will even expand the review as new Gateway version comes out.

    __________________________
    _you must read the notices and disclaimers | Notices,notices, & Notices


    I would like to start out with something: I got a reviewer’s copy from http://www.3ds-flashcart.com

    Notice though, this is 3ds-flashcar(T).com and NOT 3ds-flashcar(D).com. With a T, with a T!

    And a second notice: I am impartial and I mean it! I am in no way influence by the reviewer’s copy and the review of Gateway 3DS is reviewed with my honest opinion. As you will see, I will balance the pros and cons and not fabricate facts or manipulate how I feel.

    And a third notice: On behalf of 3ds-flashcar(T).com, they ask me to review their site and the Gateway 3DS as a product. Rather than writing two reviews, and making one of them make me sound like a spammer, advertiser, and a biased temper, I decide to compress them into one. While I do relate the Gateway with my 3ds-flashcar(T).com experience at times, I kept most of “impartial advertisement” at the end of the review. Please treat this as experience, rather than an advertisement, as I am sharing my honest review. Please, please don’t ban me!

    And fourthly: I do not endorse piracy. I do not, ever endorse piracy, not even once, twice, or thrice. I am not a with affiliated with Gateway or 3DS-Flashcar(t).com. Again, I do not endorse piracy or the infringement of copyrights. Not now, not ever! Buy the games you want to play. Buy it, buy it! Support the developers, and the developers will in turn continue to create innovative games for you to play. I am a developer and know how it takes hundred of hours to make a game, and it only cost you $40 bucks to enjoy a game indefinitely forever.

    And fifthly: Please disregard my odd sense of humor. I have none. And you have been warned.

    And lastly (haha, get the pun? No? No? OK, I will get out now…): There are rumors, from potentially reliable source, that Gateway version 2.0a and 2.0b causes your 3DS console to brick. Either downgrade or stop using the Gateway. I, personally, have not experience any brick or damage, but my experience may not be the same as yours. There may be further problems that have yet to been reported, so be cautious. I am not responsible for any damage of any scale. Anything from your Gateway 3DS, your 3DS console, your house, or the worldwide pandemic of a zombie apocalypse.

    YOU MUST READ ALL THE DISCLAIMERS. YOU MUST NOT FAIL TO READ IT. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT AND YOU MUST UNDERSTAND IMPORTANT THINGS. OR ELSE YOU MIGHT NOT FEEL VERY IMPORTANT. THIS WARNING MUST NOT FAIL ITS JOB OF WARNING THE READERS TO READ THE DISCLAIMER OR ELSE THIS WARNING IS USELESS. AND I HAVE EMPHASIS WITH HUGE CAPS AND ALL. HOW ELSE CAN SOMEONE FAIL TO READ THIS? IF YOU ARE READING THIS, STOP. THINK BACK IF YOU HAVE READ THE DISCLAIMER. IF NOT, READ IT. I AM WARNING YOU.

    __________________________
    _about the very thing you don't care about in a review | very long unimportant Bio


    I’ve written this section to supplement the popular debate of homebrew on flashcards, so it is indirectly relevant to the Gateway review. If you are the type to skip prologues in those thick, thick epic story about wizardry and dwarfs in medieval times, this section is not for you. Skip ahead, and you will be glad to miss out one of the worse written section in all of cyberspace since the announcement of Raspberry Tau. **

    Only nine years ago, the only mainstream affordable gaming device was your Nintendo DS and well, the uh… highly “customizable” Gameboy Micro. I mean, for sub-150-dollars, what device could you ever possibly buy that brings over 1,300 titles to your awfully shiny, fancy, new-dangled Dual Screen console? PDAs? If you don’t know what’s that… well… in layman’s term: they were at cheapest, $90, that are like “iPad prototypes.” It can browse the web, check your e-mail, but there weren’t “there’s an app for that.” The experience wasn’t much like, “Intuitive. Innovative. It’s just there!” Well, not at least at a reasonable price range. Want a wi-fi chip in there? Probably going to cost you so extra bucks. A pen? Yup, extra. A brighter screen. Extra. Wait now… isn’t there something else like this…. At a much cheaper price range?

    Enough rhetorical questions. If you fail to understand the eloquence of my amazing rhetorical work, let’s get to the point. CAP ON TO EMPHASIS. THERE ARE NONE. caps off. Back then, there were no iPads. I know it is hard to believe, but we all (except you nine-years-old kiddos who think y’all know everything tech-whizzy to know) live in the era where tablet means a flab of stone used for inscription, like those archaic maps in National Treasure. Nope. None. At least to most consumers. That’s where homebrew comes to be. Even if you aren’t a gamer, you could get the NDS and start doing… stuff on there! Watch a movie using MoonShell. Play a quick game made by people like you and me. Calculate and sign equations and documents. You could even read a book… using two screens! Think about the majestic treasures that one could dig up! Infinity amount of productivity and entertainment for people of all age for an affordable price! Before it could be realized, the little hope that was never there to begin with died out.

    In the age of affordable tablets, a mass majority of gaming has segued to “there is an app for that.” Look around, teenagers hog around their 4.7 inches Nexus 4’s playing Nova 3 multiplayer, the old whizzer next-door listens to iTune Podcast on his iPad Mini, and even your vexed best friend has used his Ouya to pacify his 2-years-old son.

    One year after the boom of the iPad, why would one even think of homebrew on the 3DS, an inferior device an almost every level, macroscopic and microscopic wise? The difficulty of development on a platform not created for the indie is effort wasted. Why not develop on, say, the Android platform, where Google welcomes Indies?

    The exploits in 3DS’ security were not publicly released in history. Many actually broke through the security, like yellow8 and such, but announced that a public version will never be released. What’s more, fake announcements like Crown3DS made empty promises, and turned out to be a hoax. There were even scammers that asked us tempers to raise $2000 to research (by decapping) the 3DS for any vulnerable holes. They all ran away with two (and $300 as an extra) grands.

    From what we though was the abyss of all hope, we found ourselves deeper down at the very nadir of hopes. That’s where things changed.

    It’s unbelievable, but even in the age of “there’s an app for that,” Nintendo has sold more than 122 million units worldwide, an impressive number that is targeted only for the gamers. With the momentous day that Gateway 3DS was released, the exploit they used kickstarted the community into a homebrew into a momentum. Fellow members from all of GBAtemp have understood this unrealized potential from the days of NDS, and many homebrew projects has just begun. To learn more, read http://gbatemp.net/threads/homebrew-development.360646/

    “Hey now! What does this all have to do with the review,” you might say. This is the prologue; I was setting the unnecessary mood for it. With this in mind, continue on.

    __________________________
    _brief intro to the gateway | theshorter Intro


    If you are into the homebrew and flashcard scene, you probably have heard about it: The almighty Gateway that can play all your 3DS games and from any region. Still you might have heard from your pen pal that the cartridge is a hassle to setup and is not child-friendly. Or you heard from rumors that the Gateway kills your 3DS console. You might even be surprised that game from 2013, like Animal Crossing and Pokemon XY, still do not even work! Worry that games from this year won’t ever be supported? That is where, my dear worried tempers, I give you the most non-humorous and non-technical review that was ever written since the dawn of time. I will explore the aesthetics, packaging, upgradability, “should I buy it?”, and the future of Gateway 3DS.

    __________________________
    _prettiness and neatness count | the Aesthetics and Packaging


    When the delivery package arrived, I took out my nifty Swiss Army Knife and shred the DHL package to find a blue box inside, and felt rather unimpressed. The small plastic box, around the size of a Gameboy Advance box, is decorated with intersecting white logistics and exponentials lines. While the uninspired artwork of the box may have been disappointing, it is the norm as most flashcards fail to impress the niche of flashcard gamers in the field of aesthetics.

    (The following is an advertisement from our beloved sponsor. Fortunately, your AdBlock+++ Premium Edition with Extra Security Added were bypassed *BEEP*) The 3DS-Flashcar(t)’s shipping was incredibly fast during the crusades of Christmas. As mention before, it only took 3 DAYS, yes 3 DAYS to get from China, the land of censorship and Ma-bo Tofu (Angel Beats Style!), to the US. (*End Of Advertisement*)

    The box was crumbled, probably due to shipping, but the contents were protected from on slaughter of Christmas rush, and no casualties were reported. Inside, you will find not one, but two cartridges, oh what joy! The box is left with much to desire, but the cliché media message says: look at not what is outside, but the quality of the inside. And in this case, those cheesy kid shows are right for a change! The cartridges’ quality is undistinguishable with an official game cartridge you will find at your game stores like (everything but) GameStop. Even without a lot of pressure (repeat after me, pressure equals force over area!), the cartridge failed to give a feedback, in a good way of course. No creaks, and best of all, no breaks!

    There are two cartridges for a reason, and no, it is not because two is better than one, at least not in the eyes of investors. The black cartridge with the shiny/glossy blue “mathematical curtains” is what you can call the “starter kit” to do the fancy stuff. You will need it at initial startup and every time after you play an NDS game. The white “3D Kit” cartridge with velvet red sticker is where you store all your 3DS goodies (except it is not plural… yet. More on that in the “Learning Curve and Software” section).

    Upon close examination of the cartridges, the crooked labels were carelessly attached. Turn around the two Gateway’s, the 3D Kit actually has an additional mini-sticker on the back. Why, you uncertainly will ask? Not for aesthetics, like you may think. Or for “the kicks of it.” The answer is: (nondramatic pause) money. Instead of adding another layer of plastic to hide the micro-SD, a cheaper sticker is used to hide the slot tray. Oh, and did I say mine secondary sticker came 1-pi right side up (That’s 180 degrees for those rusty in math. Why I used pi? Because I love pie.) But here is a disclaimer for those who are luring away from buying it: Math is not needed to use Gateway, you leftists. And no, as much as you hate crooked and upside down sticker, this does not in anyway affect the performance of the Gateway 3DS or sanity of any person, unless you are an absolute perfectionist who uses bubble levels to straighten a computer monitor. And good news to those who are: the later batches seem to fix the crooked labels, so don’t you worry about buying from 3DS-Flashcar(t), perfectionists!

    Unlike many other previous flashcards, there are so far no spring loading issues. I eject my micro-SD a lot, and so far, there has been no broken spring so far. The same can be said for the contact lens. Back in the NDS days, my AceKard2i broke my cartridge slot, when I tried fixing the contact lenses. No reported incident on the Gateway so far, no sir!

    As far as packaging and aesthetics, the Gateway team has a way to go. No pretty and sparkly boxes, and no MicroSD-to-USB. Despite the unimpressive presentation, the box packs a great amount of high-quality cartridges.

    __________________________
    _difficulty using the hardware | softwares & Curve


    With every new software, there is somewhat a learning curve. Unfortunately, this curve got a lot bigger since second-generation NDS cards, tag with a bigger limitation.

    Don’t expect to unwrap your Gateway and toss a dozens of games on there. It is not possible… yet. As of now, you can only load one ROM at a time, no matter how large your microSD is. You have to plug in your SD into your computer and “flash” the game over. Now, now. Don’t go buying the smallest capacity there is. Gateway has promised (check out “The Future” for the team’s credibility) a drag-and-drop multi-rom loader. This means that your lucid dreams of having all the game you want on one card can come true!

    This is important if you have noticed yet: Gateway only works on firmware 4.1 to 4.5! If you do not have the slightest clue of what I am talking about, head to the settings app and check the bottom right corner of your top screen. If you have been closing your eye, praying to Tempist, open your eyes and exhaust your tension. If you were those unfortunate enough, either seek out to buy a 3DS console with the appropriate firmware or give up. At this time, all of Gateway and the future of homebrew will only work on these selective firmware’s. (Ah! There’s goes half of my readers!)

    To the other half, there some more bad news to come! The limitation I was mention earlier is that whenever you turn on the console, you have to “exploit it.” It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but it is annoying if you just transited from NDS flashcards. Every time you turn on the console, you have to enter the Settings app and enter “Nintendo DS Profile” to enter Gateway Mode.

    (At a later time, I will update a section on how to set up the “Starter Kit” and “Gamer Kit” For now, follow the Gateway’s official instructions here: http://www.gateway-3ds.com/downloads.html)

    From here, you have two options when pressing the “Nintendo DS Profile”: hold L to enter the Gateway Menu or don’t hold L to return to the home menu. If you press L, you will be introduced to a coverflow of some rather technical options. The plethora of options include Backup the Console NAND, Boot into Classic Mode, Backup 3DS Game Cartridge, Diagnostic Mode, and Prepare SD NAND Image.

    As complicated as it sounds (if you never ever care about any technical terminology ever), all it means when it backup the console NAND, is it makes a copy of your console. Like I mention before, Gateway only work on version v4.1-v4.5. If you make a backup, you could update the (Gateway Firmware) to the latest firmware, like v6.0 and (NOT, NOT, AND EMPHASISED NOT) your (Original Firmware). There are two firmware (and I’m using simplified terminology so the newbies can understand me), (Gateway Firmware) and (Original Firmware). When you backup your NAND, it is stored inside the big SD card that comes with every 3DS (and not the microSD that is in your Gateway). When you enter Gateway Mode, it will attempt to boot the (Gateway Firmware) which is the “fake” firmware that can be used to upgrade to any future firmware. The NAND stored on the SD/(Original Firmware) is kept safe as long as you do not accidently update the (Original Firmware).

    I know, I know. That was a lot to absorb, and there are video guides and manual on Gateway’s Official Website, found here: http://www.gateway-3ds.com/index.html

    This is a review, so I will analyze instead of repeating what FAQs say. And yes, I agree, to the faint-hearted, this stuff is quite complicated. I hope that at some time in the future Gateway can simplify the process somehow, like a step-by-step setup build onto the “Gamer Kit” on first boot up. The learning curve is steep for the initial setup, but after that, I’m pretty sure anyone with a reasonable IQ can enter Gateway Mode from the Nintendo DS Profile. The user then do not even need to know all the fancy technical details (which was already simplified) to play a 3DS game in the Gateway mode, all except to: NEVER UPDATE THE CONSOLE (cough, cough. That hurts my throat).

    I forgot to mention an important issue: do not use cheap microSD. Cheap microSD will corrupt save files eventually, destroying the years of work in your favorite games. My extensive testing show this only occurred when using low-quality microSD, which I hypothesize is due to slow transfer rate.

    __________________________
    _who pwns who | Compatibility & Competition

    Now on to the most important section when selecting your next flashcard. You know all those time when you hog over your PC at the wrong posture to research about NDS flashcards for the best value and compatibility.

    The competitors right now are R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe and 3DS Link Revolution. R4i Gold 3DS Deluxe is not the same company as the original NDS flashcard manufacture. Fortunately and yet, unfortunately, there is no competitive difference among the 3DS-Flashcards beside price. 3DS Link and R4i Gold cost roughly $25-30 less than Gateway 3DS and has the same game compatibility and features as the Gateway. Why then, would I ever buy Gateway 3DS? Two reasons. Which do you want to hear first? The bad news or the worse news? It has been shown in the community and from “highly deceptive” interface (that even has the Gateway logo printed into their modes) that R4i and 3DS Link steal work from the Gateway. This mean that Gateway will get their update first with potentially never-coming updates coming to the competitors later. The second news is: Gateway has implemented, at least according to reliable sources, a killer-code. By using any foreign exploits or “clones” (like the 3DS Link or R4i), the 3DS console will be render useless, and void all warranty from Nintendo. Yes, I know, it’s the worse. But never fear, Gateway has guaranteed that Gateway user is free from such plague!

    _______Key___________________Key___________________Key____________
    Green – Runs flawlessly like an official game
    Orange – Playable, but is there are some nags here and there
    Yellow – Works, but some many annoying issues persist
    Red – Not playable
    ________________________________________________________
    Scribblenauts Unlimited
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Bravely Default
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Sonic Lost World
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Project X Zone
    Initial boot up and loading time are slightly longer than the official cartridge
    Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
    No Noticeable Flaws
    Animal Crossing: New Leaf**
    Does not run at all. Update incoming.​
    Pokémon X & Y**
    Does not run at all. Update incoming.​
    *This was untrue for NDS, but the 3DS has region-locked games. But thanks to a update from Gateway, games from all region now work. This mean you can play games that is in your language from another country (like Europe games in the US and vice versa), or games from Japan and the likes.

    **There were some incompatibility with some games, like Monster Hunter, but a recent update has fixed that, too. The only games not working are NAND-saving title, like Animal Crossing and Pokemon XY. If you don’t understand what is NAND saving, don’t care! Gateway has demonstrated on their website and promised an update that these two games will be compatible on Gateway soon!

    While all games** work, the online portion does not. Everything is near flawless, just that Gateway does not support the online features that the game included. This is a huge loss for some of the more socialized gamers.

    __________________________
    _gateway's credibility and future of home-brew | theFuture
    [To Be Written]

    __________________________
    _a experience shopping the gateway | the Sponsor


    The service from 3DS-Flashcar(t).com is incredible and snappy. Unlike many other retailers, the support team fully understands English and reply back without fail. Shipping is free, but what make this site stand out is the freebies that are deliver with your order. Yes, that's right. F-R-E-E!!! It could be anything, but those small gifts and engrish-free support team makes 3DS-Flashcart a more than reliable website. If you are searching for the Gateway 3DS, their affiliated partner website, R4Pick, have the Gateway 3DS at the lowest price on the web, and essentially the world! R4Pick's support and service is very similar, so they both make an excellent stop for all your flashcart needs.

    While they do ship from China, I got my package in three days. Yes, “3” days. It was unbelievably quick. After I got my package, the team even asked me how was their service, to which I replied “AMAZING!”

    Again, this is my honest opinion and in no way I was affected or bribed. This is not an advertisement, but rather a tidbit of my experience at 3DS-Flashcar(t).com

    __________________________
    _should you buy it | the Verdict
    The Verdict

    Should you buy it? If you are the type that hates setting up computers and cable boxes, this is not for you. Some computer knowledge is required at initial setup, but after that, the games on you! Other than that, the experience is transparent comparing to the official cartridge, beside the fact that online multiplayer is not working. If you can get around the steep learning curve and relevantly high price, I recommend you the Gateway will deliver a continuously amazing experience.

    Pro
    + The first 3DS flashcard provides a promising community
    + Reliable updates provides great feature
    + Game compatibility is excellent
    + Cartridges’ quality is great
    + Spare cartridge can be used to play NDS games

    Con
    - Learning curve is steep
    - Rumors of brick code can leave some worried
    - Packaging and lack of microSD-to-USB is left to be desired
    - Online multiplayer currently does not work
    - Lot of requirements for the Gateway to run
     
  2. shanefromoz

    shanefromoz GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Jun 18, 2007
    I got a gateway and love it.
    There are a few videos like this that you can follow that make it real simple to set up.
    You will not be disappointed especially when multi rom is live very soon.
    My son even plays his original carts via gateway mode using DLC that he purchased from the e shop.
     
  3. pwsincd

    pwsincd Garage Flower

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    sounds too much like an advert trying to be a review. and right hand side alignment messes with my head.
     
  4. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Oct 22, 2011
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    Could you please add some pics?