Sunday, October 08, 2006

To Brew or Not to Brew?

After my recent addition to the family, I've been flogged with writing papers, doing research and trying to emerge as the Prime Minister of Uptime at work (and failing). But I've also been in the midst of a life-affirming decision: to hack my new DS or not to hack it?

Allowing execution of unchecked code isn't as heinous as it was initially - evidentally gone are the days of reflashing one's DS in order to skip the cartridge validation. Now all you needs is one cartridge that passes itself off as "verified" and then allows arbitrary file execution from another source, a second GBA cartridge to act as a flash memory reader, some type of removable flash memory such as MicroSD, and a flash memory interface for one's PC to upload applications to said removable flash device. No more toothpicks wrapped in tinfoil, no more hoping your DS doesn't get bricked. If you're willing to spend yet another $150 you can have a DS that runs homebrew software.

While there are some compelling reasons to run homebrew, I've decided against it. Doubling the price of my DS Lite just isn't worth it, even though the idea of writing software that would run on my DS does give my spine a-tingle. I could argue I'd rather not support cheaters who mod ROM's or warez thieves who distribute them... but that's not necessarily it either. I have this major hangup, where adding too much hardware or doing too many work-arounds because a splinter in my mind. When you have to re-engineer so many things, it becomes too inelegant to be pallatable in my mind.

Now I've seen the DS Lite flash drives, and how they seamlessly merge with the base unit. Truly, a modded DS can be indistinguishable from an unmodded one. But the fact that someone would have to pay double the price for a modded DS is just too much.

That doesn't mean, however, I'd absolutely love to find a way to author my own DS cartridge. If I could find a way to produce a standalone DS cart and upload software to it, I'd be all over that in minutes.

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