I am in possession of a 3DS, bluish-purple in color, almost lavender.
One of my older friends found it along a trail in the woods a while back. We assumed it had been there a while, based on the amount of dirt and leaves on it, and that the owner had most likely stopped looking for it.
He gave it to me to try to fix it up, saying that if I could fix it without spending too much time or money on it, he would give it to his son as a gift. It seemed simple enough, a short clean-up job and making sure it functioned well. This was easier said than done.
After I brought it home to clean and test it, I found that, for all the dirt, grime and mud that was all over (and through) it, the more delicate parts functioned nicely, the 3D function working especially well on the bright, newly cleaned screens. The microphone worked, as well as the speakers, touch screen and wireless function.
But the circle and directional pads, as well as the A, B, X and Y buttons were all unresponsive. Even the power button didn’t really function right, as the 3DS kept turning itself off… and on.
My first task, after cleaning it, was to try and find out who the DS belonged to by checking the settings and Miis. I had trouble at first, since the cursor on the main screen moved on its own. Always scrolling up, always scrolling to the right. The Miis looked normal enough, a one named Richard and a fairly similar one named Jack. It took forever to get to the plaza, as the cursor kept moving on its own, always moving up, and to the right.
I figured that it was a simple solution of setting the 3DS back to its factory default. I inserted a SD card into the empty slot, hoping to be able to save the downloaded games onto it.
That’s when things began to become strange. As soon as I inserted the SD card, all game data was erased. All $200 worth of games. I tried to remove the card, see if the data came back, but it was stuck, almost like it fused with the machine. At that point, I gave up. I called it a night and took it up to my room.
I could barely sleep. Not only was I annoyed that I couldn’t fix it, the thing kept on turning on, quietly playing music and its screen seeming like it was directed right at my eyes, though I was certain I closed it and turned it off before going to bed.
I don’t know why, maybe it was because I was thinking about the thing all night, but I felt compelled to try the streetpass function out the next day.
The result was… less than what I’d hoped. Even though the original Miis survived the data reset, what appeared on my friend’s screens was not the Mii, Richard, who I selected. The mii seemed corrupted, both eyes in weird places, mouth upside down, or placed in a vertical line across the face, hair white with random splotches of black. Even the messages were corrupted, using characters and letters at random. At least… for a while.
The messages eventually evolved into things that some of my friends claimed look a lot like ‘hello’ and ‘help me.’
It was at this point I finally checked in with Nintendo to see if they could take the 3DS and repair or, preferably, replace it. The first question they asked me was “Have you or anyone else opened the 3DS?” That was when I finally took a good look at the bottom of the 3DS. The white bar where the serial number and barcode were supposed to go was completely smudged off, presumably from the time it spend in the woods. But the underneath the battery cover was the strangest part. It showed signs of being scratched by a screwdriver, as if someone tried to open the DS by prying it open.
Someone before me had tampered with it, and since that violated both the warranty and some user agreement, Nintendo couldn’t take it back or repair it. So I decided to try and fix the system by opening it up myself.
The screws were stuck, and some of them stripped. I eventually took my dremel and simply cut the back open. The battery was fixed in by more screws, which, to the best of my knowledge was normal for the system. There was a slight bit of dust, which was easily cleaned away.
Cutting further into it, I found wires soldered into the properly labeled areas, buttons where they needed to be, all connections making perfect contact with the motherboard.
All but the battery.
I wanted to throw it away, but something makes me keep it, continue messing with it, try to fix it. And the flashing screen, how it keeps me up at night, flashing black and white over and over again. Off and on, off and on.
Playing that one song, from that one town in Pokémon, I think…
Doo doo doot doo….