M3 DS Real Tutorial

Updated April 17, 2017

M3 DS Real is a home brew ROM loading cartridge for Nintendo DS. The cartridge allows users to download home brew (amateur-developed) software from the Internet and load it onto a compatible MicroSD card. From there, the software can be transferred to Nintendo DS. Set-up of M3 DS Real is a procedure that takes several steps, but it will enable you to get to know your cartridge better before diving into use of the device.

Formatting an SD Card

The first step of setting up your M3 DS Real is choosing and formatting a MicroSD card. M3 DS Real supports MicroSD or MircoSDHC cards: the former can hold up to 4 GB (Gigabytes) of data, while the latter can have capacities of up to 32 GB. Once you have your MicroSD card, you'll need to open it on your computer using an SD card reader. Open "My Computer" and go to the "Removable Drive" icon that signifies your MicroSD card. Right-click and select "Format." In the window that pops up next, select "FAT32" and name the card "M3 DS Real." Press "OK" to format your card.

Loading the M3 DS Real Software

Before you can use your FAT32-formatted MicroSD card with your M3 DS Real cartridge, you need to load it with the software that tells the card how to function as an M3 data storage medium. Download this software from the site in the "Resources" section. Unzip the file and create a folder called "System" on your MicroSD card. Drag all files from the downloaded zip file into this folder. Your MicroSD card is now ready to use within your M3 DS Real--but don't eject it yet, because the fun part has yet to come.

Adding Homebrew Software

There are many sites on the Internet serving the Nintendo DS home brew community. Some focus on game software, while other sites are more geared toward media software or utility programs. One site is provided in the "Resources" section to give an overview of the various types of home brew software available for your Nintendo DS. Another site gives a list of some of the best-regarded home brew apps as chosen by the Nintendo DS home brew community. Unzip your downloaded home brew software to your computer and copy all files to the root directory of your MicroSD card. If you've downloaded home brew games with an "NDS" suffix, place these in a folder on your card called "NDS."

Running M3 DS Real

With your card loaded with software, it's time to boot up M3 DS Real. Eject and remove your MicroSD card and insert it into the top of M3 DS Real. Place M3 DS Real into the top slot of your Nintendo DS and turn the system on. Select "M3 DS Real" to bring up a list of the software available from your card. Scroll down the list using the DS' D-pad and select the software you wish to run with the "A" button. Before loading software, you will be given the option to activate game cheats. (These vary among titles.) You can also assign a button combination to resetting the software if it malfunctions, and another combination to activating slow-motion during gameplay. When you're happy with your software's options, select "Load" to start your game or software running. When you're done, press the button combination you have assigned to the "Reset" function, or just power down your Nintendo DS.

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About the Author

Nick Grimes was first published in 1998. Since then his work has appeared in the New Zealand Listener, Evening Post, City Voice, Turbine,, and Gamesradar. He has a master's degree in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, New Zealand.