Homebrew on the DS isn't all emulation and old movies. Clever programmers have been able to write programs to make the DS do ... well, things that seem beyond the ability of a game system. Nintendo definitely never had some of the extended uses of the DS in mind when they designed the system.
In terms of DS-extending software, DSOrganize stands alone in its class. It plays music, it runs files, it (of course) functions as an organizer. It has a web browser and can download demos. It even has a voice recorder. But it's not the whole world of applications designed to make your DS do amazing things.
We've rounded up some apps that make your DS into more than a DS. Ever wanted to use your DS to find networks? Or to play PC games? Read on and find out how you can do those things, and more! Well, we'll just tell you right now how to do it, in general: by downloading stuff and running it on your DS. But read on for specifics.
DS2Win Fusion uses the DS's Wi-Fi capabilities to connect to your PC, at which point you can connect to your desktop remotely. The top screen shows your full desktop, and the bottom screen is a configurable zoomed view. You can do all your normal PC stuff, using the DS as your mouse and keyboard (and gamepad, and of course monitor).
DS2Key is a suite of two programs -- one for PC, and one for DS -- which turn your DS into a wireless PC controller. Like Joy2Key, which maps key presses to gamepad buttons, DS2Key allows you to set a DS button to a particular key. But DS2Key also allows you to use the DS "natively" as a gamepad -- as in, not a gamepad pretending to be a keyboard. In gamepad mode, you can use the touch screen as an analog joystick!
Cooking Timer is a simple program, but it really doesn't need to be any more complex: it plays the music file of your choice when a counter elapses. It's certainly cooler than any kitchen timer we've had. If you want the same thing as an alarm clock (and of course you do!), there's Morning Timer.
DS2DS allows two DS systems running the software to share files on the DS card. It's a simple idea, but quite useful. It's the promise of the Zune's social features, but not crippled. Or, to use a more Nintendo-appropriate analogy, it's like trading Pokémon, but interesting. It's originally in French, but an English translation patch here.
DSFTP turns your DS into an FTP server, allowing you to transfer files to and from your computer to your DS without removing your SD card. Of course, it also allows you to transfer files to and from other people's computers. Even more impressively, you can run things straight from the FTP prompt, so you don't even have to copy them! It's only officially designed for the SuperCard CF, but it seems to work well on other cards.
Sniff_Jazzbox isn't just a Wi-Fi network finder, though that in itself would be pretty cool and potentially useful. It's a bizarre musical instrument of sorts that translates the names of wireless networks it finds into tones. It gets more cacophonous (or melodious!) in the presence of more networks. Wardive, from the same developer, turns Wi-Fi signals into elements in an action game, in which you attempt to protect a crystal from the invading networks by tapping them.
SvSIP allows you to use your DS to communicate over voice-over-IP networks. You need an account with a voice-chat site that uses the open SIP protocol (the program's website has a list of such sites, including Freephonie and Wengo), but once you've overcome that minor hurdle, and configured the extremely fiddly connection settings, you can totally call people's phones. From your DS. May we suggest a headset?
Rickroll DS puts a powerful Rick Astley-based weapon in your pocket. Unable to Rickroll your friends at their computers? It can be pretty difficult, now that everybody expects a Rickroll. But on the DS, it's still novel -- still a surprise. Plus you can spring a Rickroll on someone at pretty much any time, even when there's no computer around. You'll be a Rickrolling machine!
Some of this stuff is actually useful, some is theoretically useful, and some is pretty much for novelty value only. But all of them make clever use of the DS hardware to extend its abilities beyond what would normally be expected of a handheld gaming system. And, of course, they may help defeat the argument that homebrew is just used for piracy.
Whether you love DS homebrew or just want to get into it, this week is for you -- we've got more homebrew excitement on the way. If you'd like to try this stuff but still have questions, we'll have you covered with an introductory guide to DS homebrew.
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)
5-19-2008 @ 1:27PM
Since when did DSOrganize play video?
5-19-2008 @ 1:39PM
JC Fletcher said...
Wow, yeah, sorry. I overestimated the abilities of the amazing program. Sometimes I forget that it can't do everything ever.
5-19-2008 @ 1:28PM
I use the cooking timer on a VERY frequent basis! It's really helped me out.
You guys should feature Phidias, it's actually quite a powerful painting application.
5-19-2008 @ 2:12PM
I took a trip this weekend, and read a couple books on the plane with the ebook reader DSLibris. It's a simple program, and you need to format your books in xhtml, but it was just what I needed. (There's another called DSReader that does text files). The painting program Colors! will be mentioned in this comment thread to be sure, as it is one of the most impressive pieces of homebrew. Those two programs + the zoomable/scannable subway maps available for the DS make my DS the most used piece of tech when I travel.
5-19-2008 @ 2:14PM
I have always had a big problem with DSOrganize - I have an R4 and i can not seem to ever patch it so i can run games through it and get online with it. It looks awesome but just never worked for me!
5-19-2008 @ 3:48PM
Go to Configuration, and tap the folder icon. Under default boot method, make sure it's Chishm.
That might help.
5-19-2008 @ 3:55PM
will do. THANKS
5-19-2008 @ 4:20PM
Wow, this stuff sounds awesome!
Can someone point me to instructions for getting homebrew stuff working on my DS? Most of the things I've found are very vague and/or complicated due to trying to cover all possible options.
I want whatever is the least expensive and most safe.
5-19-2008 @ 4:37PM
Alisha Karabinus said...
We'll have something for you this week!
5-20-2008 @ 7:15AM
I don't followed the latest utility but the only unsafe stuff was the things for the GBA-slot back when you also needed to flash the DS, then came the passcards/passme/flashme/... devices and you could boot DS apps from the GBA slot without flashing the DS == completely safe. And now most solutions are for the NDS slot only so you just need one item and eventually a memory card.
There are probably newer things out now but you could for instance get the R4 for your slot1 to boot homebrew (and NDS roms), and then the ezflash 3-in-1 in your GBA slots for rumble pack, Opera and Quake 2 memory expansion and GBA roms. With a package like that you have it all covered.
I have the M3 lite and haven't used my DS for like a half year+, it should really get some love, anyway I looked at the Quake 2 homebrew just a day or two back and noticed it required 16MB of ram from the expansion :/
So there you have two more homebrew apps, Quake and Quake 2.
5-19-2008 @ 5:01PM
Moonshell plays video and audio (mp3s I think?). Also there's SCUMMVMDS which lets you play old Lucas Arts and some EGA Sierra games on your DS (as long as you supply the required game files).
Also, this post rules. There's so much useful (or at least fun) stuff here that I hadn't known about. Thanks!
5-19-2008 @ 7:13PM
I'm surprised they didn't mention SCUMMVMDS. It's one of the great things made...
I'm just a little sad that my copy of Loom lost the mp3/audio files in it. It would be hard to play without the audio. I wonder if anyone has a working copy.
I'm going to refer to this article if ever I plan on checking up on homebrew stuff. Thanks guys!
5-19-2008 @ 5:08PM
Don't you think you should mention that homebrew users should only download the Birthday Edition of DSOrganize? Everyone I know in the homebrew scene complains that the latest version of DSOrganize is riddled with bugs and can corrupt your data on your SD card.
Also, it has IRC! I think that's a noteworthy feature. We can use it to access DSFanboy's Game Night on Thursdays. :-)
5-20-2008 @ 10:43AM
Word. I installed the lastest DSOrganize version and its web browser is unusable. It stops rendering in the middle of a page, links aren't clickable, etc., etc., etc.
5-20-2008 @ 12:34AM
thanks for sharing,
that was really cool
it's nice to know you're keeping us all up to speed with the scene (i'd hate to miss some unknown gem of homebrew no one knows about!!)