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Joystiq presents

The homebrew cookbook: Recipes and recommendations for 2007

When we think about DS homebrew, we imagine a bunch of talented people with their laptops hooked up to their bathtubs, using all sorts of magic and blood rituals to produce the things that they do. It's one thing for paid developers to make games, what with their fancy-schmancy development kits and other perks. Homebrewers, on the other hand, don't get as many helpful tools, or recognition, or rewards for their labor. That's why we're completely in awe of the homebrew community.

Because of that, we compiled a list of some of our favorite homebrew creations of this year, with our best guesses on how they were made.*

*Note: DS Fanboy strongly recommends that you don't try these recipes at home.

1. DScratch

  • 1/2 cup music
  • 1 DJ, fresh from the freezer
  • 2 turntables
  • 2 cans of whoop ass
Directions: Mix all ingredients in blender. Ignore screaming.

Why it's worth it: Perfect for DJing on the go, DScratch is a much needed app for music lovers and creators alike. The program lets you scratch, warp, and use other neat effects on .wav files or recorded audio samples. Even if you don't know the first thing about mixing music, DScratch is fun to play around with. Think Jam Sessions, only it's free and focused on audio manipulation rather than guitar simulation.

Where to download: Here.

2. Colors!


  • 3/4 can of paint
  • 5 rainbows
  • 1 lock of hair from Vincent van Gogh
  • 1 essence of Andy Warhol
  • Optional: 1 robot pirate is recommended for extra seasoning
Directions: Shake and bake.

Why it's worth it: Perhaps even better than some licensed painting games we've seen, Colors! provides DS owners with a rich digital drawing experience. The program is easy to use and has a worthwhile playback feature, which allows you to watch the process you went through while making your creation. Effectively turning the DS into a portable sketchbook, Colors! is, without a doubt, one of the best homebrew applications available for the handheld.

Where to download:

3. Pocket Physics


  • 1 red crayon
  • 1 blue crayon
  • 4 sets of dominoes
  • 7 seesaws
  • 1 child's imagination
Directions: Take all items and throw them into the air. Results may vary.

Why it's worth it:
Based on the game Color Physics Deluxe, Pocket Physics allows you to utilize the DS's stylus controls and your imagination to the fullest. The concept is relatively simple, but that's part of its charm. Also, there's something inherently relaxing about this no-pressure "game," during which you create different paths and obstacles for your ball to interact with. Even though it has a tendency to crash (this first build of Pocket Physics was only recently released), the program is definitely worth checking out if you have the materials to do so.

Where to download: Here.

4. Rose and Camellia


  • 2 dueling gloves
  • 120 pounds of certified bitch
Directions: Knead items together, then tenderize with a mallet.

Why it's worth it:
We're cheating here, since this game isn't actually available on the DS yet. Still, when we heard that French homebrewer Mia was planning to bring this instant classic to our favorite portable, we got all kinds of excited. Nothing relieves stress like slapping people in the face, and since this practice isn't socially acceptable in public (yet), this game is the next best thing. Let's hope this homebrew becomes a reality soon, so that we can meet our slapping quota in 2008.

Where to download: N/A ... but you can play it on your computer here.

5. SvSIP

  • 1 iPhone
  • 1 DS
  • 1 raspberry
Directions: Take iPhone, smash it into pieces, then give it the raspberry.

Why it's worth it:
Why waste money on a lame old iPhone when you can make and receive calls with your DS? This homebrew is a voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) software that uses the DS's microphone, sound, and Wi-Fi capabilities to turn it into a usable phone. It might not be as convenient as a cell phone (since you need a wireless signal for it to work), but it's still a nice feature to add to the repertoire of your DS.

Where to download: Here.

6. Wardive


  • 1 to unlimited amount of hotspots
Directions: Put hotspots on pan in an arrangement of your choosing. Let them set.

Why it's worth it:
In all honesty, Wardive isn't too fun to play. Why, then, did we put it on this list? One word: innovation. While the game might not be worth playing, the concept itself is impressive enough for us to bring it to your attention. Wardive is a homebrew that takes full advantage of the Wi-Fi capabilities of the DS, as the game changes and adapts based on the WLANs in the area. Different locations and environments, therefore, will give you different playing experiences. We're in love with this idea, and hope to see it implemented in more games in the future.

Where to download: Here.

7. Quake DS

  • GUNS
Directions: YEAH.

Why it's worth it:
On the opposite side of the spectrum from Wardive, Quake lacks innovation (it is, after all, just a port) but prevails in gameplay. Since the DS doesn't have too many good FPS games, it's nice to have the option of playing this classic on our handhelds. This year brought a lot of polish to the homebrew version, with enhanced graphics, faster rendering, and other goodies. It's also worth noting that the game utilizes touchscreen controls. If you enjoy bringing old-school titles onto your DS, you might also want to check out Lemmings DS and Warcraft: Tower Defense.

Where to download: Here.

8. Okiwi


  • 1 delicious kiwi (note: please use the fruit -- not the bird or New Zealander -- for best results)
  • Al Gore
Directions: Place kiwi in Al Gore's mouth. Watch as internet is invented.

Why it's worth it:
It may not be worth it yet (the program is only in its alpha stage at the moment), but we have high hopes that it will be. Okiwi is a free homebrew web browser for the DS, meaning that it's $30 cheaper than Nintendo's official browser. That alone is enough to warrant our interest, even if this app still needs some polish. In any case, we're very excited about this project, and can't wait to see what the future holds for Okiwi.

Where to download: Here.

Conclusion: Our experiences on the DS wouldn't be half as complete without adding some homebrew to the mix. It's been a great year for the homebrew community, and we've thoroughly enjoyed reaping the fruits of their labor. If we missed any of your favorites (before screaming about Moon Shell or DS Organize -- yes we know about them, and no, they didn't come out this year) be sure to share them in the comments!

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