Nintendo 3DS Problems: Black Screen Of Death Crashing Error Messages

By Alan Ng - Mar 28, 2011

We have some worrying news to report to those of you who are planning on getting a Nintendo 3DS console, as we are hearing that the glasses-free 3D handheld is suffering from a ‘black screen of death’ issue, which causes the Nintendo 3DS to constantly keep crashing.

The issue involves a message which pops up on screen mid game, advising you to hold down the power button and reboot your console. You can see the message in full in the image below, as reported from vg247:

It appears that this problem is pretty widespread too, as you can see user complaints over at NeoGaf, Digital Spy and AVForums for further information. Aside from turning off the power like Nintendo recommends, it has also been mentioned that you could format the SD card to 32-FAT format to also fix the crashing problem.

If these black screen of death reports keep coming in, it’s going to be a major headache for Nintendo, just hours after the company launched the 3DS in the US and a few days after the handheld went on sale in the UK.

Firstly, what are your thoughts on this issue? If you have already picked up a Nintendo 3DS, let us know if you have received this message whilst in a game or not. If so, how often does it happen to you?

We’ll update this when we receive more information.

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  • cj

    not just that i get the black screens of death quite a lot..

  • cj

    top screen having a nonstop blackout not even hit it…don’t want to get a new 1 🙁

  • Shawn Lapso

    Im getting it on 3ds Sound

  • I bought a 3DS on launch day and thus far have had almost no problem. I haven’t had any issues with the “black screen of death” as of yet, however I have noticed that the power button on my 3DS doesn’t seem to work like it did when I bought it. I sometimes have to push it three or four times to turn on my system. I thought it could be that the 3DS just boots up slowly, but it appears that isn’t the case. I can also say that my system is in no way damaged, as I keep all my stuff in mint condition(or as close as physically possible). I suppose I should have held off on my purchase for a few months to give Nintendo a chance to fix the common “launch bugs”.

  • Josh

    Had it once while quitting asphalt 3D b4 update, and that's the only time it's happened. Hmmm seems a stream of ubisoft games cause it, I ma want to avoid driver renegade then!

  • vgf89

    Only crashed on me once. I was playing pokemon black on my acekard. Other than that one time, I have had no issues whatsoever, no matter what setting i have on or off.

    Also, I haven't had a single issue with Rayman except for the annoying convergence adjustments that occur when switching to first person.

    Also, you CAN update most current flash cards to run on the 3ds.
    Gbatemp has a thread for it:

  • brian

    fu** this sh**! even after turning the wlan off my 3ds is still crashing. it stopped for a while but it is doing it again.

  • Alicia

    Australian 3DS here, and yes, it's happening to me during Ghost Recon.

  • Lawliet

    I have been overcharging mine lately but this never happened to me 😀 BTW I tried using r4i with my 3DS and it did'nt work…Do you think they'll brick my DS even if I just tried it for 1 second?!

    • Folf

      If they find that you *have* used it, yes. They made their policy very clear.

      Will they be able to find out that you used it for '1 second'? highly unlikely.

  • jim

    rayman, splinter cell and ghost recon?? they all ubisoft???

  • wade

    iv had the 3ds for no more than 9 hours and it has crashed twice, and even after reeboot, the screen is just black…its fully charged…ffs

  • Jodie

    Update: seconds after I posted that I'd had 4 error messages whilst playing Rayman, I got the error again doing nothing with my 3ds while it was on home screen. So it's nothing to do with the games.

  • Jodie

    I've had the error message 4 times whilst playing Rayman, kinda annoying.

  • bob

    i have gotten that like 3 times while playing ray man 3d and it would happen when i have almost beaten a level then it would make me start from the very beginning it is very fustrating 🙁

  • Ellioy

    No problems here except the lack of decent games for it out atm.

  • Dude

    So far so good.

  • Dale

    I bought my system on Saturday and started using it on Sunday. When going through setup, I did the system update. I didn't have time to start using my system until Tuesday, and played Ghost Recon that evening for a couple of hours with no problems. Then Wednesday night I had three of those error messages happen about a half an hour apart. I researched the net to see if anyone else was having problems, and gaming boards were slap full of people having the same problem happening on various games, and even while not playing a game. Since Nintendo was saying to make sure that I had the latest update, I tried it and was told my system was already up to date. I tried turning off the wireless as some users suggested, and so far no more crashes. I'll keep checking to see if Nintendo puts out a firmware update to correct the issue.

  • Romario

    Yeah, I used my 3DS for over 4 hours two days ago.. and the headache and eye strain went away.. but now I can see everything in any electronic monitor in 3D.

  • Simon

    We have two 3DS consoles and both of us has had this black error message crop up on a number of occasions. Mine got so bad ( at least 4 times per day) that I took it back to the shops thinking it was a problem with the DS. However, my replacement one has now done the same thing, although I have only seen it once but SO frustrating! I hope Nintendo do something about this quick before I stray to the dark side…..NGP!!!

  • Haydn

    it's NOT the games doing it. it's the 3DS itself. I just had one, and I was only CHARGING the 3DS!

    I don't own splinter cell, so there's an obvious point that it's not the games doing the error

  • FuzzieBoy

    Hmm, me thinks Tom Clancy is sending Sam Fisher to infiltrate our 3ds's (is that how I would do it, or would it be 3dses?) but he is failing to eliminate all the guards, and when he is spotted, the system errors due to an unknown entity in the device!

    Or, if you want to listen to what Nintendo say, it could be a general error message…
    Anyway, I had this once on my first 3ds (one of the ar games errored, so I quit it, and then went in again, and it errored) but I hope my new one doesn't (my old one's green and blue notification lights didn't work, so we took it back to GAME and got a new one, who's lights definitely work (I've already seen 'em flash). Also, I have neither Ghost Recon or Splinter Cell, I have Street Fighter 4, Ridge Racer and Nintendogs, but the error occurred in ar games as I said earlier…

  • Kieran

    I have been getting the message with splinter cell 3d, they are both tom.clancy games lol

  • RichardR

    I've done some research on this myself and the only reports I've seen after the update are in Ghost Recon so it sounds like the crash people are seeing is due to a bug in that particular game and not an issue with the 3DS itself.
    If anything, the 3DS firmware is working well to protect the system and tell the user that the game has crashed in the first place, something previous Nintendo handhelds haven't done.

    • Matthew G L

      I got the error in super monkey ball

  • drift

    No guys, Iv had mine since febuary 14th and it didnt do it at all, until yesterday morning. Whats funny is that this was before i updated it, and then after i updated it a little later i haven't seen this error again. So i don't know anyone else's situation, so if you aint, try updating maybe ?

  • T-dogs

    Is this going to affect Australian 3DS consoles when they come out ?
    Also is the console region locked or is it only the 3DS games?

  • Andrew Hoffman

    Nintendo Blak screen of death eh? Bit of a worry.I reAd last weekend that _4 3DS havehad a firmware update already.Could this be the reason.

  • Grisi

    I am from Europe and get the error two times while playing Ghost Recon.
    I turned WLAN off and since i do that i don't receive the error. Hope Nintendo fix that soon

    • Alan Ng

      Thanks for the feedback Grisi…we'll let you know if Nintendo release a firmware update to fix this problem.

    • Vista

      Yep, I've done exactly the same. It crashed using Pilotwings, Nintendogs and Ghost Recon (not to mention the preloaded software) but since I disabled the Wifi connection, it's been perfectly fine? Time will tell I guess? When I spoke to Nintendo all they seemed interested in doing was blaming Ghost Recon, followed by "Have you updated your firmware?" Blah Blah Lets side step the issue shall we!

  • Christian

    I have not yet seen any issues with my 3DS.