Hacking Nintendo hardware

2007-12-24

in Geek stuff, Internet matters

If you want proof that allowing people to tinker around with commercial hardware can produce cool results, take a look at this video. It shows a Wiimote mod done by Johnny Chung Lee that allows head tracking for the simulation of a three dimensional environment on a flat screen.

I wonder when we will see the first game that uses this approach. It could probably have some more serious applications, as well.

The sheer hackability of Ninendo hardware is making me seriously consider getting a DS. My brother has a card that lets you store dozens of games on a micro-SD card, as well as run homebrew applications.

[Update: 5 January 2008] I finally managed to track down a DS. I have put in an order for a device that will allow it to play ROMs from a micro-SD card, as well as run a web browser and other goodies.

[Update: 9 January 2008] For a very long time, I thought no Zelda game could top A Link to the Past. While it is too soon to know for sure, I can say that The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is in the running. Playing with just the touch screen works surprisingly well. The DS is the most entertaining system I have used since the original Playstation.

[Update: 11 January 2009] I received an M3 DS Real Nintendo DS storage device in the mail today from EchoStore.com. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been properly manufactured and only functions intermittently. A number of web forums discuss making them a bit thicker by taping on pieces of paper. While this does seem to improve the success rate, it isn’t perfect and I would prefer one that works properly. As such, it seems destined to be returned to the manufacturer for exchange.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan December 25, 2007 at 5:26 pm

More hacks are on Johnny Chung Lee’s website. It seems that he works on human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon.

Milan December 25, 2007 at 5:29 pm

The mod card for the DS is called an R4.

R.K. December 25, 2007 at 9:43 pm

That video looks pretty neat. It would be amazing to try with a really massive screen.

R.K. December 25, 2007 at 9:58 pm

Regarding the photo: are those your brothers?

Sasha December 29, 2007 at 11:14 pm

Wow, that is a very cool concept. Amazing what one can do with Nintendo technology.

. January 9, 2008 at 11:55 am

One DS homebrew to try: DSQuake

Quake, for the DS.

. July 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Game copiers for Nintendo DS ruled illegal in UK

A High Court has ruled that devices that allow gamers to play pirated video games are illegal in the UK.

The ruling specifically targets a range of popular devices which can be used to store and play copied games on the Nintedo DS handheld console.

The ruling says “game copiers” are illegal to import, advertise and sell in the UK.

The defendants – Playables Limited and Wai Dat Chan – had argued that they allow gamers to play home-made games.

“The mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence,” read the ruling by Justice Floyd.

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