In 2016, I reviewed the Playstation Vita capture kit. It’s basically a hardware mod, which allows you to capture footage. While expensive, you can capture footage of all Vita games, which is something that you can’t do on the Playstation Vita TV officially.
In November, I decided to buy a Nintendo 3DS capture kit since Pocket Monsters Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon is coming out with it being the last on the console. Now that I used the kit extensively, it’s time to share my thoughts.
Like the Vita capture mod, the 3DS capture mod is the same. A board is installed to capture the display output, which the signal is passed through a USB port. Unlike the Vita, the 3DS have two different makers for these capture cards. A man called Loopy develops a model for the original 3DS, which is currently sold out. The other is Katy Co. Ltd, which unlike Loopy, create capture cards for all models of 3DS. However, there are some complaints, especially with the USB ports breaking on the New 3DS models.
Either way, to get one of these capture cards can become very expensive. If you can find one, a 3DS with Loopy’s capture card mod goes for $600+. As for Katy’s models, they range for $218.99 to 249.56 if you send in a console or $280 to 500 for an assembled one.
As for me, I decided not to send in my console given my experiences. Instead, I decided to buy a used Japanese Nintendo 3DS with the capture card off the Japanese version of Amazon. Afterwards, I used a package forwarding service, Tenso. In total, the kit cost $310.41. Yes, this cost as much as a Nintendo Switch plus tax. If I bought this new, it would cost $330, which would be a Nintendo 2DS with a capture card board pre-installed.
With that, how well does the 3DS capture card is? The quality overall is good and is more reliable than the homebrew method. Not to mention, I can capture gameplay while using the online functionality, which is nice. This allows me to stream online Pokémon battles in real-time instead of using battle videos.
To record footage, you need to use a screen capture program. While there is an option to send over the audio via USB, it’s out of sync with the screen output. Therefore, it’s best to use an audio cable to record the audio. The program I use to record and stream on the Mac is Telestream’s Gameshow, which works better with my capture card and screen recording. Open Broadcaster would work, but you cannot accelerate the video encoding using Intel’s Quick Sync, at least on the Mac. The program works great with the program used to display the 3DS’s display output. Like with the Vita capture mod, there was no input lag.
What is the strengths and drawbacks to this solution? Sure, you can install homebrew and boot up BootNTR to capture gameplay for free. However, that solution is not really reliable since it may stop showing output. Not to mention, the 3DS Wi-Fi card is only Wireless G, meaning there will be framerate issues. Given that Nintendo doesn’t like people installing homebrew on 3DS and outright banning hacked consoles, it’s not a good idea.
While the 3DS capture mod is the most expensive option, should you buy it? It depends on what you want to do with it. It’s becoming hard to justify the hard price since the Nintendo Switch will eventually replacing it. With the Switch, you only need any video capture card that can record HDMI video.
However, if you plan on streaming or recording footage of 3DS games, especially Pokémon I would buy it. You will get better quality video without the risk of Nintendo banning your console and making it a paperweight. ¶