How do you tell the region (America, Europe, Japan) of a Nintendo 3DS game from its case? A Wii game usually has "PAL" on front side if it's an European release, but how does a 3DS game indicate its region?

  • I'd suggest that you ask the clerk what country you're in before paying.
    – GnomeSlice
    Jan 23, 2013 at 16:19
  • @GnomeSlice The country doesn't really matter if I'm in Hong Kong or Taiwan. Jan 23, 2013 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


You can actually know not just the region, but often the individual country the game was released in.

Look near the barcode in the lower right on the back of the case. You'll see a code like CTR-APPP-GER or CTR-A66J-JPN, maybe with TSA before it, or a similar code with a P in the middle like CTR P ATHE USA. The last three letters indicate the country of origin with ASI for multi-country Asian releases.

This is the same code that's on the cartridge itself, though that one will be prefaced with LNA rather than TSA, and won't have a P.


I'm not aware of any sort of unambiguous region marker (though there could possibly be something in the fine print on the back that I've never noticed). At the very least, though, the ratings board designation could be an indicator, as to the best of my knowledge, almost all U.S. games will carry an ESRB rating; likewise, Japanese games will carry a CERO rating, and European games will carry a PEGI rating.

While it's technically not a guarantee, I know that most retailers in the US will only sell games that have ESRB ratings. If the same is true for other regions, it should be a relatively reliable thing to be able to check for.

  • This is probably only usable for games from the US, Canada, Japan, and maybe half of Europe. Germany will always have USK and rarely have PEGI. Many other European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, have proprietary labeling. Most Asian regions don't use CERO. South America doesn't use the ESRB.
    – user2640
    Jan 23, 2013 at 17:13

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