My hope is to make this THE hub to go to for reviews and information about some of the best homebrew video games for the Nintendo DS, DSi and the new Nintendo 3DS system. There are quite literally close to a thousand freeware games for the Nintendo hand held system, bu most people have never even heard about them. These are not games you buy in a store, after all. They don't come on cartridges, but they are free to download and play, so long as you have a Nintendo R4 card and access to the internet - which you must, since you're here ;-)
What these R4 cards let you do is download these games from the internet, and put them on a little flash memory card, a micro SD card to be exact. Once you have your games on there you just have to put the memory card in the nintendo r4 and you will be all ready to go. It will load and play any DS games of course, any game you want to play, it'll load up. But I am not going to focus in on that. Instead, I am going to review the freeware games, that you can legitimately download and play.
What does an R4 look like?
It looks exactly like a regular DS game, except the sticker on it says R4 instead of a game name. The R stands for revolution. It's fitting... not every day do we have a way to actually load games on our Nintendo DS or 3DS system, without having to be a developer.
How does the Nintendo R4 load the games?
To be honest, I'm not technical enough to answer this question. All I CAN say about it is that once you put it into your Nintendo DS system and power up, you will see the R4 menu, and from there, it will list all of the games (or movies / music / book) you had copied over to your micro SD card, and you can just select the game you want to play and it will load up in about 2 - 4 seconds.
What does HomeBrew Mean? Isn't that making your own Beer?
Well I suppose it does. But we're not talking about a cold one here. Homebrew games, much like home brewing your own beer can be taken as games made by people at home. Often they are amateur programmers, and they spend their time honing their skills and getting better and better at making games. Sometimes you have professional developers, that like to tinker with some new ideas at home. These all end up being released to the public, so long as you have the Nintendo R4 card, you can load them and play them on your Nintendo DS i XL. A good resource for a whole lot of home brew or freeware games is www.ndshb.com - it's the DS Homebrew Hive, and it lists and categorized new free game releases.
That should clear up the how and why it works. Now lets get to the good stuff, the free games you can download.
The Different Versions Of The Nintendo R4 Cards