How I Got the Nintendo 3DS 'Black Screen of Death'

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

I just received the so-called Nintendo 3DS 'black screen of death'. Except it's only partly black, covered with lots of perfectly legible words, and looks more like the message Apple computers display after a kernel panic. Call it the 'black screen of politely advising your handheld's demise' then.

I'm apparently not alone. Reports trickled in yesterday, mostly on message boards, of users receiving a screen that reads as follows:

"An error has occurred. Hold down the POWER Button to turn off the power, then turn it on and try again... If the problem persists, please contact your local customer support centre. For contact details, check the Operations Manual or visit"

Like any anecdotal claim, we can't verify or estimate. We're looking at a few random reports on message boards, the odd RT via Twitter, and the lion's share of replies so far indicating perfectly well-behaved systems.

[ Our 3DS review ]

Like I said, it's happened to my review unit just once so far. I was dropping out of Face Raiders after clicking the "Home" button. The "Home" button puts whatever's active to sleep so you can tap around the user interface and launch other apps.

It may be down to quirks in the launch software, to hear Nintendo UK tell it. Their response to NowGamer reads as follows:

"If anyone is experiencing any problems with their Nintendo 3DS console, we recommend that in the first instance they download and install the latest system update, now available online."

If you're still having the error after you update, Nintendo advises you contact your local Nintendo Customer service center "to investigate the problem further."

I've just pulled the new system update down and everything seems to be humming. The update adds a 3D video by band OK Go (unless I somehow missed that earlier) but leaves the Internet browser disabled.

Back with more as this one develops, or if it happens to me again.

Interact with Game On: Twitter - Facebook - Get in touch

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon