Original Post

Hi, I am working on making a DS game I hope to one day release and was just wondering since some people here have the ability to put Virtual Boy games on to cartridges, if anyone has the ability to put DS games on to cartridges. Let me know.

12 Replies

i have yet to see a single project that created a reproduction ds cart. i’ve been following the ds scene since it started. here are your issues: the first is that the ds constantly updates to block flash kits. all the dsi/3ds flash kits contain a portion of a copyrighted rom file, its icon, and a bit of garbage data the ds queries from the cart. so to start out your “homebrew” cart would be considered illegal to sell, because it would have to contain the required bootloader and spoofing information. lets say you got around that (like the ievo which required the end-user to flash the bootloader using a provided dongle) and you had it working, now comes the issue of updating. almost every dsi/3ds firmware update offered nothing more than “background” fixes. these simply blocked flash kits. dsi updates seem to have been left behind but the 3ds is always being updated. you could release your game tomorrow and the next day nintendo blocks its exploit, rendering your reproduction cart not bootable.

the only cart which as not required a hardware update has been the supercard ds2. their on-board cpu has allowed them to spoof the required information and has not limited them to the dwindling pool of exploitable ds rom files. the ds2 sells for around $40, and the shell clearly has a msd slot. i think the only way to really go about this would be to get a ds2 and put it in an aftermarket shell. there are a few people who make them. however, now comes the next issues, micro sd cards. all ds flash kits (except for a few older kits that had on-board nand — acekard rpg, ds-x) rely on micro sd cards. these cards tend to corrupt with all the read/writes we toss at them. so if you went with an existing flash kit design you would need a way to open the shell in the event that the user had to reformat the msd card. with that, you would have to release your homebrew somewhere so they could replace it.

now, this is what i know about the hobby. i’m sure it would be possible to build a different type of solution for a truly 1:1 reproduction experience. if you find anyone who can do it, i know many homebrew devs who would be interested in actual ds homebrew cart releases.

hackmii.com had a great article on how the dsi action replay cart worked. it explained how the exploits work and are able to boot a 3rd party cart. might be worth a read via the way back machine: http://hackmii.com/2010/02/lawsuit-coming-in-3-2-1/

I have the early model DS I got near launch day. Has this been updating every day without my knowledge? I’m quite disappointed to hear my homebrew game would be illegal to sell. Perhaps I can just give them away? lol. Anyway, if you do find someone who wants to release a homebrew DS game, tell me. The site you linked to didn’t load. It was taking too long.

the original ds phat (1st model) and the ds lite do not have upgradable firmwares. so if you released a game on a flash kit those two systems would always be able to boot it. the problem is that few people still use them, a great majority moved on to the dsi and then the 3ds.

your homebrew itself would not be illegal, but having it on a modern flash kit would make selling the cart illegal. unless the flash kit shipped blank and with hardware that allowed the user to flash the initial bootloader. the cyclods ievo shipped this way. you had to find 2 roms files, drop them on a msd card, and then attach this dongle to the flash kit that was used to flash the bootloaders. acekard came up with a software method that works on the original 2 ds systems, as they were the only two that supported hot-swapping. with the acekard softare you run the update file from 1 flash kit, eject it, and then insert the blank/corrupted/non-updated acekard.

the link i posted seems to be dead. you’ll need to use the internet way back machine. http://archive.org/web/

Well, I would like to play the DS game I’m making on my DS. What would I need to do this? I was looking at DS flash cart pages and they’re all Greek to me, so I don’t know what to ask for for Christmas. How does this look?


You own the original DS or the DS lite? Do you ever have plans of upgrading to a DSi, DSi XL, 3DS, or 3DS XL?

Lets start with those questions before I make some recommendations.

As for shops, I can recommend two shops, but that isn’t to say that other shops aren’t legit. GBAtemp.net is sponsored by http://nds-card.com/. They are very legit. I’ve not read about any problems with them. I can also recommend http://www.realhotstuff.com/. They are based in NJ and ship Priority mail. They also have a sister site, that sometimes has cheaper prices, but they ship from Hong Kong. http://www.realhotstuff.hk/

  • This reply was modified 10 years, 1 month ago by Lester Knight.

I own an original DS I got right near launch time. I don’t plan on upgrading to a newer DS model since I have a 3DS.

DS-Mode Flash kits run in DS-Mode on the DS, DSi, and 3DS. Do you want a kit that will work on both your original DS and your 3DS?

Would 3DS compatibility cost more?

Only a little.

Right now there are only 3 Flash Kits that can be recommended. As there are really only 2 teams left supporting their cards on the next generation of Nintendo firmwares.

The first is the R4i Gold from the .cn team. There are a lot of clones of this R4 card, some are based on its hardware, while others simply use the name. If the Flash Kit sticker says “http://r4ids.cn” then it is probably the real thing. This card cost between $12-18. It runs the Wood kernel, which is a fork an older Acekard kernel. It has rather high Homebrew compatibility. It is your basic, run-of-the-mill, DS Flash Kit. It will get your gaming and developing, but won’t offer much else.

The second card I can recommend is the R4iDSN from the same team as the R4i Gold. It costs around the same, offers similar features, and supports the same kernel.

The SuperCard DS2 (SCDS2) is the 3rd card that can be recommended. It cost around $45 but offers things the others can’t. For example, it has an on-board CPU and RAM. This is used for things like in-game guides, a fuzzy cheat editor, slow-motion, and real time saving. Homebrew devs greatly expanded the SCDS2 SDK a few years ago and from that came exclusive emulator ports. There are GBA, SNES, DOS, MAME4ALL, Atari 7800, and more, ports. There is also a port of Dingux, the Dingoo Digital Handheld open-source O/S, which brings with it a ton of interesting emulation possibilities.

The most important factor when deciding what card to get should be compatibility and the ability to update. The SCDS2 is the only Flash Kit on the market that has never required a hardware upgrade to circumvent Nintendo’s anti-piracy measures. So far this card has been future proof. The R4i Gold/R4iDSN cards continue to function on the 3DS but at one point required hardware updates. However, their team was the first to get a Flash Kit working on the 3DS.

If you are just looking for a Flash Kit for your original DS then I would strongly recommend you search and track down an older Acekard 2.1 (Not the 2 or 2i). The 2.1 was one of the better 2nd generation Flash Kits to be developed. It runs the AKAIO kernel. I worked closely with its devs and made sure every Homebrew released was working on it (I can actually only recall one we never got fixed). If DS Homebrew experimentation is your thing (and I’m not talking about developing, just enjoying Homebrew and emulation), then this would be the best choice. However, the 2.1 will not work on the DSi or 3DS, and it can not be made to do so.

If you want to check out DS Homebrew, navigate on over to Filetrip.net. I spent a great deal of time mirroring DS Homebrew files there.


Thanks for all the info. What I’m really looking for is a way to test my DS creations on real hardware. So would an Acekard 2.1 be the best route for this?

If all you want to do is test your projects on actual hardware, go the cheapest and most readily available route. This would be the R4i gold (http://www.r4ids.cn). http://nds-card.com/ProShow.asp?ProID=149

I feel the need for something similar to what that guy wants, but its a few flash games I have in mind id like the data taken off the net of and put onto an NDS cart, and I don’t know how to do that, but im willing to pay for the project. its a couple games that haven’t been iso’d yet, so.. please? ;j


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