Nintendo 3DS update brings game glitch

An update to Nintendo's 3DS hand-held console, designed to bring new features, comes with a nasty bug - causing copies of the racing game Ridge Racer 3D to crash in certain scenarios.

The update was written to bring the 3DS eShop to the platform, a variant on the Wii Shopping Channel from Nintendo's mainstream console which will allow users to access trial games and buy full games for immediate download to the 3DS.

The eShop update also lays the ground for future software upgrades, including the installation of the long-promised web browser which is mentioned several times in the product's manuals and marketing information but which, at present, merely produces an error asking the user to be patient and wait for a future update.

As an incentive to get 3DS owners to install the update, Nintendo has promised those who are early in upgrading a copy of the 8-bit classic Excitebike, downloadable for free from the eStore. Those who choose to take Nintendo up on the offer may find that the freebie comes with a cost, however: a crash on Ridge Racer 3D.

"It has been confirmed that under certain circumstances when making a selection before the race starts in 'Grand Prix' in 'Single Play' mode of the Ridge Racer 3D game, the screen sometimes freezes," Nintendo confirmed in a statement issued today. "If you do not install the system update at this time, the symptom will not occur."

While the English-language statement is a bit terse, a translation of the original Japanese statement - issued first - offers a few more details: while those who press the A button to continue into the game will find things work fine, anyone pressing B to back out of the menu will experience the crash. Nintendo's official response to Japanese consumers hitting the bug is simple: don't press B.

The issue is not thought to impact save game data or cause any permanent damage to the system, which can be reset with a long press of the power button. It's an embarrassing first update for the company's flagship hand-held, however - and isn't going to help push early adoption of the money-making 3DS eStore.

Nintendo has confirmed that it is planning a second update, due sometime in mid-June, which will fix the bug - hopefully without introducing another.

The flawed eShop update is due for release some time tomorrow in the UK.