News Article

High Court Outlaws Flash Carts in UK

Posted by Patrick Elliot

Piracy? But that's not all they R4!

The R4 flash cart has been the bane of Nintendo's handheld existence for years now, with the device widely being used to play illegally downloaded DS ROMs. Rampant piracy has made it especially difficult for third-party developers to reach projected sales marks, and is also the reason non-Japanese-speaking gamers never get to experience great, albeit niche, games like Retro Game Challenge 2 – there's just no money in localising them.

Yet while many gamers do indeed use the device for illegal reasons, many in the homebrew community argue that the carts have legitimate uses as well. Flash carts can be used to run homebrew software that turns the DS into a PDA, a movie player and even a telephone. All these arguments have become a moot point for UK homebrewers, however, as the High Court in England recently deemed all flash carts to be illegal.

The ban comes from (appropriately named) Judge Justice Flood, levied in a case against a firm called Playables, which had over 160,000 of the devices seized from them. Nintendo filed suit, and the judge ruled in their favour, essentially making all sales, imports or advertising of flash carts illegal in the UK.

When given the homebrew argument by Playables lawyers, the judge argued that "the mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence."

In reaction, Nintendo said the move shows their support for developers, who routinely get their attempts to make quirky and innovative games for the platform circumvented by gamers refusing to pay for them.

Nintendo promotes and fosters game development and creativity, and strongly supports the game developers who legitimately create new and innovative applications.

Nintendo, along with the rest of the industry, isn't joking around either. The company has seized over 100,000 flash carts since 2009 in the UK alone, and earlier this year a man was handed a 12-month prison sentence for importing R4 cards to the UK.

[via mcvuk.com, develop-online.net]

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User Comments (109)

Marioman64

#3

Marioman64 said:

instead of banning the R4's, ban the .nds files, then there's no piracy and people can homebrew in peace

shake_zula

#6

shake_zula said:

@Marioman64 It's impossible to police filesharing efficiently at the moment. This is why music and film piracy thrives even though it has been illegal for decades.

edit: oh yeah, the tag line is brilliant

Xkhaoz

#9

Xkhaoz said:

/me looks at pun BWAHAHAHAHAHH BWAHAH!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! llolololololol rolf lamo /me dies of laughter

Kokstra

#13

Kokstra said:

even though it's already too late for the DS, this is still great news for Nintendo and future 3DS flash carts

HipsterDashie

#14

HipsterDashie said:

@Koto

Well I think this covers all flash cards, since they were collectively referred to as "game copiers".

Sorry homebrewers, but I totally support this move, and have little sympathy for you.

/dons flame-proof clothes

edhe

#16

edhe said:

I've seen some of these in a Pawn shop (one of those cash converter style shops) in my local city.

If I dob them in, will I win a prize?

(addendum: I actually asked a clerk (knowingly) what they're used for and they said "copying games."!)

metakirbyknight

#18

metakirbyknight said:

Wow, why don't we all ban hard drives or flash drives? I can store pirated music and movies on them. Heck, lets ban computers and the internet, because I could download a song with them.

I have two flash carts, the Acekard 2, Acekard 2i, and am planning on buying a SuperCard DSTWO. The SuperCard DSTWO adds GBA emulation to the DSi. Amazing, these things add functionality that Nintendo didn't put in. I don't need the DSi Virtual Console, I already have it. I have owned one for about as long as I have had a DS. I have never illegally downloaded a game. I have gone through the fun of setting up an FTP server and backing up my games from carts one by one. I'm amazed at the ignorance of people about these things. I love mine.

And if I can't use one with the console, I won't buy the console. I won't buy an iPod touch or iPad unless it can be jailbroken, I won't buy an Android or webOS device unless it can be rooted, I won't buy ANY device if I can't program on it, and I WILL NEVER buy a device that cannot have non-signed applications on **cough**AT&T phones**cough**.
This is ridiculous, and stifles innovation. I'm surprised the EFF hasn't already made a huge stink about it, and look forward to their lawsuit.

These things aren't about piracy, nor is phone modification (which was deemed legal in the US recently), it's about freedom to control what goes on our devices. What if you bought an ASUS eeePC and you could only install applications from Intel's AppUp store that are sanctioned by Intel and ASUS, everybody would decry the evils of ASUS. I bet most of you would be angry if you bought it, but on hand held devices it's "Oh okay, its for my security, I get it now, you may control my device Nintendo." This is the same thing as the ASUS scenario.

But if you want to sell out your freedom to save Nintendo a buck on the people that do pirate, go ahead. I'll keep my flash cart and I'll move to what country/state/area that doesn't have these laws, even if I don't use the product.

BTW- Love the tagline

Ashen_Iris

#19

Ashen_Iris said:

While it's nice to watch movies on your DS, all around I prefer to see it done this way.

KaiserGX

#21

KaiserGX said:

So metakirbyknight, you're admitting you use GBA roms? I have a friend with one of those R4 carts, wouldn't believe how many games he has. I don't buy him stuff anymore. Last time he asked me to get him a burger, I said why don't you use that R4 to pirate it?

mjc0961

#22

mjc0961 said:

There's a special place in hell for people who make horrible puns like these.

CanisWolfred

#23

CanisWolfred said:

Oh crap, UK outlawed something! I better get one of these before the American courts decide to copy them!O_O

metakirbyknight

#24

metakirbyknight said:

@KraiserGX
Yeah, I use GBA ROMs, all backed up with GBA Backup Tool for DS (use my lite) from my original carts. Mostly my Pokemon games, I love ROM hacks. It's no illegal and have no idea why it's frowned upon.

Plus, it's nice to not have to find those little carts. Now they just sit in boxes on a shelf.

@Mickeymac
It is weird how US courts sometimes use UK law as precedent.

LordJumpMad

#25

LordJumpMad said:

ROMs are Bad, no one should use them,
But what they don't know won't hurt them Right?, oh well back to playing EarthBound

theblackdragonAdmin

#26

theblackdragon said:

@Kaiser: He stated in his post that he's never downloaded a ROM, that he dumps his own games. Backup copies made in this manner and only for personal use (never shared with anyone) are legal.

I know this is a hot-button subject for many, but please, let's try to remain calm here on NL. Don't make things personal, guys. :3

Klapaucius

#27

Klapaucius said:

@metakirbyknight
Why is it weird for US courts to use UK law as precedent? If something is clearly wrong and should be illegal, it shouldn't matter which country thought of acting against it first.

Fmkz

#29

Fmkz said:

@KraiserGX
You do that to your friend just because he pirates <.<? That's kind of messed up...although i do understand if he doesn't pay you back.

I admit piracy is wrong but when it's so easy a caveman can do it <.< what do you expect?

KaiserGX

#30

KaiserGX said:

Jigglypufff icon dude: Ok, then... but I'm watching you... >_>

I was just kidding about the burger thing. Trying to get a mean lul. He does have pirated games though.

ASDFGHJKL

#31

ASDFGHJKL said:

I highly doubt the US will outlaw it. Its like a gun, sure a lot of people use it illegally. But thats not the only use for it. You can do something illegal with any object, that doesnt mean the object itself is illegal.

ASDFGHJKL

#34

ASDFGHJKL said:

No, Im afraid Im not nearly as sexy in real life.

Ok, I am, I just dot like to brag. :p

But that isnt me.

maka

#37

maka said:

Sad day for Freedom in the UK today :(

This was quoted from one of the sites that published the news: "Defendant Wai Dat Chan and Playables Limited argued that the R4 is legal as it allows the use of homebrew applications. The Court, however, ruled that the R4 must first must circumvent Nintendo’s security systems before it can work, therefore making it illegal."

First, it seems to me this ban only applies to the R4.

Second, to circumvent a protection in order to add functionality to a device is not illegal, otherwise every company making consoles or computers would have a monopoly. It's funny everyone scorns Microsoft for their monopoly practices and now they're all happy Nintendo is allowed to act this way.

I will keep buying Nintendo's games just because they make some of the finest games around and their designers and design philosophy is great, but I hate their behavior towards homebrew.

And make no mistake: The only reason they don't want hombrew around (because that's what they're fighting but won't admit) is because of money. They want to charge you for every app/game that you could play for free like the endless sudoku clones, flashlight apps, notebook apps, etc... They've got no shame.

BTW: I agree with all Metakirbyknight said.

maka

#41

maka said:

BTW, whoever ruled this should read this:

http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/07/26

"The first of EFF's three successful requests clarifies the legality of cell phone "jailbreaking" — software modifications that liberate iPhones and other handsets to run applications from sources other than those approved by the phone maker. More than a million iPhone owners are said to have "jailbroken" their handsets in order to change wireless providers or use applications obtained from sources other than Apple's own iTunes "App Store," and many more have expressed a desire to do so. But the threat of DMCA liability had previously endangered these customers and alternate applications stores."

iphys

#42

iphys said:

That's ridiculous. The flashcard companies maybe have it coming by specifically marketing their cards to play nds roms rather than just homebrew, but since it's legal to make backups of your games it's not clear to me that they've done anything wrong. Maybe the problem is the devices don't actually allow you to make backups directly from your games, so they assume they will only be used with illegal downloads, but they have no way of knowing that for sure. I wonder if the iPlayer might be the only legal homebrew option in the UK now since it specifically won't play nds roms.

maka

#43

maka said:

"I wonder if the iPlayer might be the only legal homebrew option in the UK now since it specifically won't play nds roms."

According to the judge, it is illegal because it breaks the device's security, not because it allows you to play pirated games.

Which I find amazing: Once I buy a console it is no longer Nintendo's. It is MINE. If I decide to break its security I'm breaking my device's security, not Nintendo's. Then I can play legally downloaded games and apps on my device.

They think they can say the console is theirs and license the usage to its buyers? They're crazy!

Stuffgamer1

#44

Stuffgamer1 said:

America continues, as of last week, to support the existance of such devices simply because they have legal uses. Honestly, though, I think this entire situation is a LOT more complicated than most people seem to think.

Maka is right, for example: Nintendo DEFINITELY wants to avoid free apps being widely available when they could simply charge for them instead. It's been that way in the software business as a whole ever since Microsoft took over the computer world. It would be in Nintendo's best interest to open things up a bit like Microsoft's Indie Games, Sony's Minis, or even barf Apple's Apps, though. Those things DO get charged for, but still allow easier programming and community access, which is all homebrewers really want anyway, right?

But it's not fair to say that piracy isn't a factor, because it DEFINITELY is. It disgusts and infuriates me to think that the article's mention of Retro Game Challenge 2 could be true, and piracy was a legitimate factor in our not getting it.

maka

#45

maka said:

"But it's not fair to say that piracy isn't a factor, because it DEFINITELY is. It disgusts and infuriates me to think that the article's mention of Retro Game Challenge 2 could be true, and piracy was a legitimate factor in our not getting it."

I think the main problem is not really piracy, but the fact that the game is a niche game which caters to a very specific gamer... I bought the original (had to import it since it wasn't released in Europe) and loved it and hope someday we'll see the second one too...

The other complains like third parties complaining they don't sell enough seems to me like a case of blaming piracy for their own mistakes. Make a crappy game and it won't sell. That's that... I can count with the fingers of one hand the third party games which have the polish that any Nintendo game has..

HipsterDashie

#46

HipsterDashie said:

This is like comparing apples to oranges. Computers and DSes are completely different when it comes to the software that is permitted to run on them. Computers are open ended enough that anyone with the skill can develop for them and then distribute the application, and some OSes (like Linux) even encourage the changing of the OS code itself. The DS on the other hand is a specific system designed to play specific games. When you buy a DS, you accept the fact that the system will only be able to legally run whatever Nintendo permits to be released. This is one of the implications of console gaming that I accept, and I suppose that I even take for granted. Whilst there are many missing features, such as a Virtual Console of some sort or the ability to copy all my games to one cart or the system itself, it’s a compromise that I have little problems with in exchange for having the ability to play the fantastic software available for the system, and I am more than willing to hand over my hard earned cash to the deserving developer for his/her work.

It winds me up when the homebrew community kick up a fuss about these sort of acts “stifling innovation” because the DS isn’t designed as a hobby tool to develop for. I’m not saying that homebrewers are criminals, but piracy prevention often has to hit hombrewers as well because both groups often use the same exploits to get stuff running on the system, regardless of whether the intent is harmful or not. At the end of the day, Nintendo is a business, and will want to protect its assets from piracy which could (and has) cause massive monetary losses in the industry. People need to realise that Nintendo’s priorities lies with protecting the industry from the damage caused by pirates, not making sure that little Timmy can continue to tinker with his R4 at the expense of millions of dollars worth of losses to the games industry. That’s business, and it suck; man up.

And returning to the point about “stifling innovation”, have you ever heard of a DS game called “Maestro: Jump in Music”? It never really was released in large quantities in Europe, and it appears piracy had some sort of role in that. Here’s a quote from a news article on their site:

“The consequences are simple, we are forced to keep making games for others, Baby games, teddy bear and pony games to survive, and we won’t be able to create new and original games for players to enjoy.”

The article does make for an interesting read, as the consequences of piracy comes right from the developer’s mouth. The article can be found here:

http://www.maestrojumpinmusic.com/blog/en/nota-bene/piratage-4454-tel-est-le-chiffre

Sorry homebrewers, but measures such as these make perfect and logical sense to me. Please do continue to discuss, since I do enjoy bouncing these ideas around. But here’s my initial opinion anyway.

@theblackdragon

Nah, ROM dumps like this are illegal. Here:

“Game copiers that are used to copy video game software without authorization onto any type of memory device or the hard drive of a personal computer are illegal.”

So even if they are simply used for the purpose of backing up an original game, it’s still an unauthorised copy, hence illegal.

@Maka

I think the ban applies to “game copiers” in general, not just the R4.

Again, computers are designed to have added functionality incorporated by programs. The problem here is that, whilst people will have good intentions and say “oh, I can add this, this and that” people will mainly use R4-esque units for the purpose of playing pirated games. Sat on the bus not too long ago, I saw a small girl of only about 5 playing on her DS and, lo and behold, a flashcart was nestled in the card slot. Your average mum and dad who are probably not too hot with computers beyond word processing and internet browsing, so if they can pirate ROMS with just a quick google search, then Nintendo have a massive problem on their hands; they could easily lose large chunks of the market they themselves have converted to gaming. It’s this they need to protect against, and homebrewers are the casualties.

It continues to annoy me how they act all-hard-done-by though, since at the end of the day the DS is not designed with homebrew development in mind. You’re complaining about losing something that was never supposed to happen in the first place. It’s like if you find a wallet full of cash; you shouldn’t have it, but when someone tries to take it away you kick up a fuss. What did you expect?

And the solution to the availability of poor apps? Spend your money on real games and apps without pirating them, and then it shows what people want.

Stuffgamer1

#47

Stuffgamer1 said:

@maka: When the publisher said they only needed to reach 100,000 total sales to justify localizing the sequel and the lack of a European release resulted in so many imported copies, I find it difficult to believe that the niche wasn't large enough to meet the quota without piracy getting in the way. Given the niche status of the game, I wouldn't blame marketing...anyone who was likely to be interested in it is geeky enough to have heard of it (it did get some ads in some game magazines, as I recall, which is better than a lot of random games at that). One could argue that the box art did a pretty terrible job of conveying what the game was about: http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/0/1614/846059-retro_game_challenge_ds_us_large.jpg Wow, I never noticed that ship was on the box, and I BOUGHT the game!:O

I do definitely agree with your last paragraph; there are companies that blame piracy for their own crappiness. But there ARE games that should've sold better than they did, like RGC and Henry Hatsworth.

Objection

#48

Objection said:

You know what would be better than all this fuss?

If Nintendo made the Wii region-free. And kept all future hardware region-free. I swear that this will keep piracy down, especially amongst people who would buy a legit copy if they had the chance.

I know the issue here is about the DS, which is in fact, region-free, but I'm raising a point here about how Nintendo likes to take total control (understandable) but if they do too much, it will only hurt themselves. I myself import games when I have to, but if I want an import game and my system won't let me, I would find a way, whether they like it or not. (Note that I haven't done so at this point.)

CanisWolfred

#49

CanisWolfred said:

Piracy is a factor on any platform. The problem is pirates are like viruses, always adapting to whatever cure they try to inject. Even when they outlaw the R4, somebody will come up with some other way to pirate DS games. Perhaps they'll finally perfect the DS emulators they've been working on? Or maybe they'll find a way to make homemade Flash carts? Just you wait, it's only a matter of time before the community comes up with something, and then all their efforts will have been in vain.

...But, chances are that by the time they do come up with something, nobody will be making DS games anymore, and then those higher-ups won't care enough to stop them, since they won't have any effect on current sales figures.

Stuffgamer1

#50

Stuffgamer1 said:

@SoulSilver IV: Many good points made. It's true that homebrewers are acting put-upon for being punished for breaking Nintendo's rules...the rules they technically agreed to upon purchasing the system. Sure, they CAN find work-arounds, but they can't expect any help from Nintendo if things go wrong.

Having downloaded and enjoyed the one piece of Maestro: Jump in Music that's currently on DSiWare, I agree with the developer: It's total BS that their sales were hurt by piracy. If everyone who downloaded the ROM and liked it then proceeded to buy the game, it'd be okay (like I would do for VC games), but a lot of them didn't, hence the problem.

Nintendo actually made progress with the release of the DSi alone. I had a customer at GameStop, a little girl who willingly gave up her ROM card to gain the DSi features upon trade-up from the DS Lite. Now she's stuck with real games only, and definitely has a LOT fewer games as a result. I'm sure most people didn't do that, but I found it quite interesting.

Stuffgamer1

#51

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Objection_Blaster: Same here...I've been tempted to hack a Wii to play certain European games cough*NPC Pikmin 2*cough*Trace Memory 2*cough, but I haven't actually done so, leaving me woefully unable to play those games. IMO, region locking is a more grevious assault on customer rights than attacking flash carts, simply because importing real games would earn them money just as much as buying them locally, and all we want to do is play these games legally in the first damn place! HUZZAH FOR REGION-FREE PS3!:D

@Mickeymac: At the end of the day, that's the only real goal here. As long as they keep the problem relatively at bay while it actually impacts current sales, they're doing well enough. Just like how they don't really seem to care about all the console clones, mainly because those old systems are out of production anyway.

maka

#52

maka said:

"When you buy a DS, you accept the fact that the system will only be able to legally run whatever Nintendo permits to be released."

No. When I buy a DS I can do whatever I want with it. Heck, I can even use it to keep a door open if I want :D What I mean is, once the hardware is on the hands of consumers, they can't (and shouldn't) control what consumers do with it.

There is a demand for these devices and there's a demand from indy developers that want to make games for the DS. If Nintendo doesn't want to meet that demand they're free to do so, but they shouldn't be able to control what consumers do to their devices. I payed for my DS and I will play homebrew if I want to, whether Nintendo likes it or not.

"I saw a small girl of only about 5 playing on her DS and, lo and behold, a flashcart was nestled in the card slot. Your average mum and dad who are probably not too hot with computers beyond word processing and internet browsing, so if they can pirate ROMS with just a quick google search,"

How do you know that they hadn't bought the games before putting them into the cart? Many people want the comfort of not having to drag carts around and believe me, when a small kid is involved, it's actually a great measure. If I had bought my son a cart and put all the games I've bought to him inside it, then some of the games which he has ended up losing would still be safe and available. If he loses the flashcart, then it's no big deal...and anyway, if the flashcart stays inside the DS and he doesn't have to carry any other carts around, chances of losing it are pretty slim...

"And returning to the point about “stifling innovation”, have you ever heard of a DS game called “Maestro: Jump in Music”? It never really was released in large quantities in Europe, and it appears piracy had some sort of role in that. Here’s a quote from a news article on their site:"

Never heard of it. Maybe that's why people didn't buy it... if you don't market the game, people won't know about it...

maka

#53

maka said:

BTW, I read the article and comments about that Maestro game. From what I see their distributor is more to blame than piracy. The game was impossible to find anywhere...

noname

#56

noname said:

does this also count for iplayer flashcards since you can't play pirated games on them

komicturtle

#57

komicturtle said:

I really want a homebrew channel on my DSi so I can play those GB games I love oh-so-much. I use the Hombebrew channel on Wii primarily for some texture and music hacks in Brawl. Yes, I do have those emulators but I really don't use them AS much. They have games that I already own- so I don't really feel.. How you say.. Dirty. I could pirate Wii games but alas I don't want to.

I really don't know how these people feel 'good' in stealing games as well as bragging about what they did and how they have the game a few days before everyone else. I feel like a game has no value unless I spent money on it. It just doesn't feel right. And I'm appalled at how people have the AUDACITY to say "well, blame the developers for making a crappy game", in which I don't understand- why the hell did you download the game (and brag about having it early)? Some even say "Pirates [eventually] purchase the games they pirated". Yeah, when pigs fly.

It's a shame that Pirates cannot admit in what they're doing is wrong. Shameful act. Eventually the 3DS will come out with pretty much everything you could want in a handheld- or the ones that count such as Video, Music Player (if it's on DSi, then it's going to be on 3DS) and thensome. Firmware updates too (if Nintendo pushes their online infrastructure). Basically, the R43DS (if that comes) will soon be ignored for some who wanted certain features on the 3DS. Some will get the R43DS or the equivalent to emulate their favorite games of the past- but some will be broke-asses and pirate 3DS games.. And brag.

Hope Nintendo pushes THIS further.

HipsterDashie

#58

HipsterDashie said:

Well, obviously there’s a certain scope of stuff you can do within reason. I mean, go ahead and use your DS as a doorstop if you want (I recommend the old brick DS :D).

What I mean is that there are limits as to what you can legally and morally use your console for before you start getting into grey territory. For example, just because you bought yourself a shiny new camcorder doesn’t mean you can go and record your favourite movie down at your local cinema. Just because you bought a pack of cigarettes on a plane doesn’t mean you can smoke them straight away. Being the owner of something doesn’t give you the instant right to use it however you want. There are laws and morals that direct you to use it correctly.

Unfortunately, unless you can afford the ~$3000 dev kit for a DS, it’s not really a unit for indie development. That sort of role is filled by the iPod. The DS is more of a dedicated console. You’ve purchased a Nintendo device primarily to play Nintendo content. Therefore, Nintendo will ultimately control what happens with that content, whether you like it or not. Me? I think it’s fair enough.

And with regards to the 5 year old girl, why would you even begin to think she bought all of her games? In today’s economic climate, mum and dad would find it easier and cheaper to just download x number of games onto a memory card. Mum and dad save money, small girl gets to play lots of games. Win win for them.

maka

#59

maka said:

I should have added this quote from the EFF article above. I believe it applies also to Nintendo. Fortunately for people in the US it means Flashcarts shouldn't be outlawed there any soon:

"In its reasoning in favor of EFF's jailbreaking exemption, the Copyright Office rejected Apple's claim that copyright law prevents people from installing unapproved programs on iPhones: "When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses."

"Copyright law has long held that making programs interoperable is fair use," confirmed Corynne McSherry, EFF's Senior Staff Attorney. "It's gratifying that the Copyright Office acknowledges this right and agrees that the anticircumvention laws should not interfere with interoperability.""

And about the 5yo girl. I'd rather not make assumptions about people i don't know. There's no way you can know they pirated those games. I don't care how likely it is. You just don't know.

RaylaxStaff

#60

Raylax said:

Good. I agree entirely that they should be banned. I don't buy the "BUT I USE MINE FOR LEGITIMATE CAUSES ONLY" line. They can be used for piracy, they are widely used for piracy, they should be banned.
I mean, on the "no piracy on mine" logic, they could make owning a gun completely legal just so long as you promise not to shoot anyone with it. The world doesn't work like that.
Sorry to the homebrew crowd, but frankly, the DS was never intended for you to arse around on in the first place. As for the whole "homebrew = innovation" thing, innovation is only useful if it catches on. It's kind of the whole point of innovating, to create something new that others will benefit from or at least enjoy. Which doesn't happen when your core audience are the tiny percentage who bought an R4 for legitimate causes and actually give a stuff about your project. I mean realistically speaking the most people you're likely to get downloading your app are the 30 on your forum and a couple hundred via google if you're lucky. Maybe up to 1000 if it becomes popular. It's not exactly multi-millions.
Got a great idea and want it to be big? Stick to coding on a PC. Need the DS's features for it? Tough luck. I'd like to carve rude words onto the moon but I can't do that either.
And finally, the DS/DSi Virtual Console crowd. 5 words. Get the hell over it. Dig out your SNES or your PC emulators or use the Wii's Virtual Console. Amazingly enough, life isn't designed to make every tiny little thing as easy for you as possible. Again, that's not how it works. Sometimes you have to put up with not being able to do whatever you feel like. Sometimes you have to cope with the fact that things have limitations outside of your control. This is a fact of life. Trouble with the internet is it offers a miriad of ways around these things to make things as effortless as possible. But then people become complacent. Little niggling pointless details over whether it's possible to have your technology exactly tailored to you become the decision over whether or not you buy it. Why not just buy the tech and get used to it how it is? It won't kill you.
I mean, there's people on this site that complained that you need to WALK ALL THE WAY TO THE WII to put a disk in to use Netflix. Now, I've made a fair few trips between the sofa and the Wii over the last few years. I'm pretty certain that on none of the trips have I collapsed from fatigue, nor found that several incredibly important hours of my life had suddenly evaporated. Nor have I contracted ebola. I don't understand why this even registered as a 'thing,' let alone an actual problem for some of you guys.
I'm going a little off-topic here, but this is just what I'm trying to say: R4s first an foremost promote piracy. This is a perfectly legitimate and long overdue reason for them to be banned. For all the reasons supporting them? Put up and shut up. That's life. Life does that sometimes. And compared to pretty well everything else in life, not being able to play Super Mario World on your DSi is not even slightly a big deal. Get over it.

WaveBoy

#61

WaveBoy said:

I hate piracy. I know somebody who has this. The problem is he has so many games on it, that he's completely overwhelmed and never finishes ANY of them. Doesn't even make it halfway through each game. And you obviously don't get anything in actual form. No case, no cartridge and no Booklet.

God I hate piracy. Although I admit, half way into the PSOne's life cycle I did pirate alot of games for it, the same goes for the dreamcast :p

metakirbyknight

#62

metakirbyknight said:

The following was a pain to write, for me (and probably SoulSilver), and I know several of you are going to skip it. Please don't. It contains a lot of good points on my side (I hope) as well as on his side (in my opinion).

@SoulSilver IV
"This is like comparing apples to oranges. Computers and DSes are completely different when it comes to the software that is permitted to run on them. Computers are open ended enough that anyone with the skill can develop for them and then distribute the application, and some OSes (like Linux) even encourage the changing of the OS code itself."

A DS is a computer. I used a PC (also a computer) in my example.

"computer- a device, usually electronic, that processes data according to a set of instructions. The digital computer stores data in discrete units and performs arithmetical and logical operations at very high speed. The analog computer has no memory and is slower than the digital computer but has a continuous rather than a discrete input. The hybrid computer combines some of the advantages of digital and analog computers"

Yep, the DS is electronic, the DS processes data according to instructions, the DS does store data in discrete units, and the DS does preform arithmetical and logical operations at very high speed. Therefore, the DS is a digital computer.

"The DS on the other hand is a specific system designed to play specific games. When you buy a DS, you accept the fact that the system will only be able to legally run whatever Nintendo permits to be released. This is one of the implications of console gaming that I accept, and I suppose that I even take for granted. Whilst there are many missing features, such as a Virtual Console of some sort or the ability to copy all my games to one cart or the system itself, it’s a compromise that I have little problems with in exchange for having the ability to play the fantastic software available for the system,"

The iPhone is a system designed to not play apps or games at all. iPhone OS 1.0 had no App Store. So the hackers and homebrewers hacked into the system and created Installer. And then because Apple didn't want people to install non-sanctioned software "for their own good", they created their own. They had no intention of doing such until people wanted it enough to hack for it. And I never agreed to not run this software, I don't remember clicking Agree or signing an EULA (which don't stand up in court anyway).

"and I am more than willing to hand over my hard earned cash to the deserving developer for his/her work."

As am I.

One problem with what you said there. You mentioned the individual. If you want to publish on the DS, and it is an innovative platform with a lot of unique features, you have to go through a publisher. And publishers (as well as the ESRB) may as well be part of the MAFIA (*M*usic *a*nd *F*ilm *I*ndustries of *A*merica). The publishers pay the developer little if anything per sale. And for WiiWare (and possibly DSiWare) Nintendo has a rule that says the developer has to sell so many copies before seeing a dime.

Recognize that my job is developing applications for mobile phones.

Piracy deeply affects my income. Piracy affects me (probably) much more than it affects you.

"It winds me up when the homebrew community kick up a fuss about these sort of acts “stifling innovation” because the DS isn’t designed as a hobby tool to develop for. I’m not saying that homebrewers are criminals, but piracy prevention often has to hit hombrewers as well because both groups often use the same exploits to get stuff running on the system, regardless of whether the intent is harmful or not. At the end of the day, Nintendo is a business, and will want to protect its assets from piracy which could (and has) cause massive monetary losses in the industry. People need to realise that Nintendo’s priorities lies with protecting the industry from the damage caused by pirates, not making sure that little Timmy can continue to tinker with his R4 at the expense of millions of dollars worth of losses to the games industry. That’s business, and it suck; man up."

Time to link to my favorite article that all hacker haters need to read-
http://hackmii.com/2010/05/of_homebrew_and_antipiracy/

Read that and come back.

Look at the lengths bushing, a Wii hacker, went to. Just to prevent piracy and even advocating Nintendo in their fight. He kept a system exploit secret. He called Nintendo about it, and they disrespect him.
They called his work. He requested that they do not call him, they tracked down his work number. Nintendo is at fault all the way through this. They could have fixed the exploit and Wii piracy would have been delayed. That's not to say it wouldn't happen, but one exploit the pirates could use was gone, while homebrew could live through another.

"And returning to the point about "stifling innovation”, have you ever heard of a DS game called “Maestro: Jump in Music”? It never really was released in large quantities in Europe, and it appears piracy had some sort of role in that. Here’s a quote from a news article on their site:

“The consequences are simple, we are forced to keep making games for others, Baby games, teddy bear and pony games to survive, and we won’t be able to create new and original games for players to enjoy.”

The article does make for an interesting read, as the consequences of piracy comes right from the developer’s mouth. The article can be found here:

http://www.maestrojumpinmusic.com/blog/en/nota-bene/piratage-4454-tel-est-le-chiffre

Sorry homebrewers, but measures such as these make perfect and logical sense to me. Please do continue to discuss, since I do enjoy bouncing these ideas around. But here’s my initial opinion anyway."

That really is sad.

My answer for this is really simple, if we remove all of the homebrew devices, people emulate. If we remove all of emulators, people use carts. If we remove the ROM sites, it all ends, and homebrew lives on. Nintendo should go after these sites.

Or have a sanctioned method, like Sony's Other OS.

No attempts to pirate on the PS3 until they remove this option.

Back to stifling innovation and the iPhone. If homebrew never existed, neither would the App Store, and look where it's led.

"@theblackdragon

Nah, ROM dumps like this are illegal. Here:

“Game copiers that are used to copy video game software without authorization onto any type of memory device or the hard drive of a personal computer are illegal.”

So even if they are simply used for the purpose of backing up an original game, it’s still an unauthorised copy, hence illegal."

In the US, the DMCA was changed recently to make such copies legal.

And did you get that from the inside of a Nintendo instruction book, because what those say is not the law.

"Well, obviously there’s a certain scope of stuff you can do within reason. I mean, go ahead and use your DS as a doorstop if you want (I recommend the old brick DS :D)."

Then what is fair use?

Under the DMCA, homebrew and backups are fair use.

"What I mean is that there are limits as to what you can legally and morally use your console for before you start getting into grey territory. For example, just because you bought yourself a shiny new camcorder doesn’t mean you can go and record your favourite movie down at your local cinema. Just because you bought a pack of cigarettes on a plane doesn’t mean you can smoke them straight away. Being the owner of something doesn’t give you the instant right to use it however you want. There are laws and morals that direct you to use it correctly."

You're right. I can't record that movie, because then I begin to steal from the movie maker, as watching the move there is sort of rental. I can't smoke on a plane, because the plane is not my property and the owner told me not to, and by smoking I endanger lives.

But I own these games. I own my console. I don't own the movie or the plane. But owning something does give me the right to use it within fair use.

So, basically if I don't cause harm to someone or steal from them, I'm fine.

"Unfortunately, unless you can afford the ~$3000 dev kit for a DS, it’s not really a unit for indie development. That sort of role is filled by the iPod. The DS is more of a dedicated console. You’ve purchased a Nintendo device primarily to play Nintendo content. Therefore, Nintendo will ultimately control what happens with that content, whether you like it or not. Me? I think it’s fair enough."

I don't care if it's not for indie development. Neither was the iPhone. My netbook is more of a dedicated web browser, but I can still install content from any source on it. And the iPod is more of a dedicated MID, can still install software from any source (Cydia).

I purchased an HDTV primarily to watch DirecTV content, that doesn't mean it's the only thing I can do with it.

Nintendo will control their content. They will not control my device.

"And with regards to the 5 year old girl, why would you even begin to think she bought all of her games? In today’s economic climate, mum and dad would find it easier and cheaper to just download x number of games onto a memory card. Mum and dad save money, small girl gets to play lots of games. Win win for them."

She probably did pirate them, but don't judge. This reminds me of a story-

A man gets on a bus from New York back to where he lives. He tries to go to sleep but there is a man with two really loud and obnoxious children. He can't keep them under control. Eventually the man trying to sleep goes to talk to the man about his children. He starts the conversation by asking him why he was going to where he was going. The man with the children told him that his wife had died and they were coming home from the funeral and the children were very upset.

Don't judge until you walk a mile in their shoes.

That story is fairly accurate, however I was told that story several years ago, but the message stands.

theblackdragonAdmin

#64

theblackdragon said:

@Soulsilver IV: Backing up a game you personally own by dumping it to your hard drive yourself is no different than ripping a CD you personally own. In both cases, you are not giving that ROM or those MP3s away to anyone else; it/they is/are a part of your own personal library and will never leave your possession. What is illegal is uploading that copy to the internet for anyone else to download, or (if it were possible) giving a friend of yours a copy of that game that you made for them.

Spoony

#66

Spoony said:

I had a real moral dilemma with this topic. On one hand, getting DS games for free sounds awesome. Just being honest. To me, that sounds pretty rad. But on the other hand I love me some Nintendo. In the end I can't justify having these R4 cards. Can we all agree that these are mostly used for piracy? Yes, yes we can.

I am all for hacking into products though and doing what you want with them i.e. iPhones, iPods, computers, cell phones in general, blah blah blah.
It's neat.
It's a pretty cool thing to be able to do.
It should never be illegal to do that.

So in the end here, stealing from Nintendo = Not cool, so R4 cards = Mostly not cool. But unlocking electronics = nifty so R4 cards = not so bad. If you multiply that by the fact that this is really going nowhere that =

...whatever.

CanisWolfred

#67

CanisWolfred said:

Flash Carts cost money. If I'm gonna steal something, I'm going to do so to obtain something for free. If I have to pay to obtain something for free, it's not really free, I'm just giving money to some company so I can steal something from someone else. If I'm gonna spend money, I might as well give it to the most deserving party, i.e. the people who distribute the great games made by great people, who ultimately get paid based on how well their products sell. So I am not gonna get a Flash Cart to pirate games.

That's my logic, at least.

moosa

#68

moosa said:

@maka
"No. When I buy a DS I can do whatever I want with it. Heck, I can even use it to keep a door open if I want What I mean is, once the hardware is on the hands of consumers, they can't (and shouldn't) control what consumers do with it."

You can't perform illegal acts with a product just because you own that product.

BulbasaurusRex

#69

BulbasaurusRex said:

I completely agree with this ruling. What people don't realize is that freeware console game development can still be done for PC emulators of those consoles. Just develop your freeware console game as a ROM on your PC then distribute it over the Internet. I personally have one for GBA.

True, you can't do it for consoles with non-traditional controls (Wii, DS+), but you could always try to self-publish for WiiWare and DSiWare or develop/download freeware for the Homebrew Channel (which I guess is legal), plus everyone already has other methods to do stuff like playing music (and the 3DS will take care of some of that stuff, anyway).

Yes, you still can't make or download freeware DS+ games (although WarioWare D.I.Y. allows you to make/download basic ones), put all your games on the same card, or play the freeware ROMs on your TV or handheld, but those are small prices to pay for the big dent in piracy that results from banning these flashcards.

Alphack3r

#70

Alphack3r said:

Lol, great discussion guys.
I would say something about Microsoft's preferred way of solving these sorts of problems, but it's not really worth saying...lol

Anyway, I totally support homebrew & innovation & awesome stuff like that, but the truth is, people will be people, & whether the device is used solely for homebrew or not, if unsigned code can be executed in any way, the whole security of the system is breached.

And now that I've rehashed what everyone said/already knows I bring the real question to the surface: Is it really the responsibility of the (British*) government to be enacting such a narrow law when it seems like such greater problems exist? At least they could broaden this law to include more than just one platform...

I just stop & laugh when I consider the situation. Banning such devices means /nothing/ to someone who has no regard for legality anyway, because the same people who are going to pirate/download/infringe upon intellectual rights (whatever lol), will smuggle flash cards in without even blinking an eye!
Oy vey...I guess something is better than nothing!

*or ANY!

lol this article totally defies the community rules about piracy etc. XD

IanUniacke

#71

IanUniacke said:

I think this is a great result for Nintendo, the larger software industry, and also indirectly consumers.

The homebrew argument is lame for several reasons, some of which are noted by others above:

1) There is nothing stopping you using other devices for your indie game
2) Breaking the system for homebrew or otherwise is an illegal act
3) The vast majority of users will not be using the device for homebrew and of those that are a significant portion of them will also use the device for piracy.

Also remember, the ruling does not stop you from hacking your own ds. You can still pull it apart and rewire it at your will. What it does stop is the mass market creation and distribution of devices that anyone can use to bypass the security of the system.

@Alphack3r: (just because you were one of the last commenters in a long line of comments)

No, it will not stop everyone from pirating. However it "does" stop big companies exploiting the ds market and selling them a turnkey solution to stealing games. This "will" stop the vast majority of piracy on the ds. I'm talking your mom and pop family who pirate every game that their child wants for the ds. If, as people like to fantasize, the majority of piracy comes from "hardcore" gamers than why was the biggest line of games hit by piracy the "Imagine" series from Ubisoft? (eg Imagine Babies) This is proof in positive (imho) that the vast majority of people pirating games are your casual market moms, dads and children.

@Mickeymac: You are right on the money. This is not about stopping people from legitimately using the products they bought. It is about stopping companies like those that make the R4, from exploiting the market and taking legitimate money from legitimate customers that should have gone to legitimate software developers. If an average family has 3 to 4 ds's than the amount of money that the R4 manufacturers are making from that family is the equivalent of about 8 to 10 games. This is a massive cost to developers.

Also as someone else mentioned above, if the game is a crappy game not worth the money than why are you downloading it?

Well anyway that's enough ranting from me.

Stuffgamer1

#72

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Mickeymac: I agree that it makes more sense to pay the makers of the game than some random company. The only time I DIDN'T do that was when I was forced to buy a GBA flash cart in order to play the Mother 3 fan translation on original hardware. That's Nintendo's own damn fault, as I would've been more than happy to give them my money for the game, so I refuse to feel guilty about it. Other than that, I have no experience with flash carts and I don't intend to.

Somebody (I lost track in this mess, and it may have been more than one person anyway) mentioned how the PS3 remained piracy-free for so long. One could argue that it was just the most secure system ever, but I'm convinced that a generally percieved lack of a REASON to hack it is what kept it so long. Like people said, Linux was already installable, so they didn't need to hack for that. Therefore, the solution to hacking issues is obvious: Make a legit way to do what people want to do available! Duh.

Big_A2

#73

Big_A2 said:

You could have just played Mother 3 on a PC emulator. You weren't "forced" to buy a flash cart in oder to play it.

maka

#75

maka said:

"2) Breaking the system for homebrew or otherwise is an illegal act"

Haven't you read the links I posted above? At least in the US that's not illegal at all!!

TKOWL

#76

TKOWL said:

My friend loaned me one of these. I know that the people who use them are going to hate this news, but I understand it's one more battle won in the War Against Piracy.

Chris720

#77

Chris720 said:

I don't understand this at all... Nintendo are stopping people from ENHANCING their consoles... Why? Nintendo obviously don't understand yet, that when you sell your product, that product is NO LONGER yours but belongs to the person who BOUGHT it. Therefore the buyer has permission to do WHATEVER they like with that product, the creator/seller of that product has no say for what they do with it, its no longer theirs.

But Nintendo obviously don't like people upgrading/enhancing their consoles... And who cares if they download games without paying for them, its not the end of the world.

LordJumpMad

#78

LordJumpMad said:

I guess they shouldn't make ROMs so easy to get, that a 5 years old can get them with no Prob.

Just saying if, Something happens to your Wii, and you can't Get your VC back, but you really want to play those old games.Or you want to try a game before you buy it on VC, to see if you like it.

For me, I don't use ROMs unless its a Game I really want to play. like "EarthBound" but other then that, I don't find it fun to play on a Keyboad for SNES games, and game don't play as well on the computer then thay do on VC.

Stuffgamer1

#79

Stuffgamer1 said:

@Big A2: There are a variety of reasons to not go that route. Screen resolution, comfort of use, and quality of playback come to mind. The people who put out the translation recommended using a flash cart as it would circumvent emulator difficulty with the rhythem-based battle system. The fact remains, at any rate, that I was forced to buy a flash cart if I wanted to play the game on original hardware, which I did.

@xDemon720x: "And who cares if they download games without paying for them, its not the end of the world."

The end of the world? No. In the worst-case scenario, it COULD be the end of a company that made a game that didn't sell, though. To suggest it doesn't matter if people download ROMs of games currently on the market is folly.

metakirbyknight

#80

metakirbyknight said:

I'm having serious second thoughts about buying the 3DS and Wii2. The only way I plan on buying them is hackable and second hand. The only way for this to stop is to stop buying these products. Buying them used, Nintendo gets no profit, I get to enjoy the games, and I can hack it at will without supporting them :).

Oh and NintendoLife, keep posting these articles. I love debating this issue. We need a forum thread.

@SUPERZELDAMAN
My comment had 1784 words and 9889 characters. The article had 325 words and 1984 characters. So the article had about 82% less words than my comment and about 80% less characters. Oh and my long comments are a pain to type in the little box (Could we type the original comment in the big edit box, please).

@moosa
"@maka
"No. When I buy a DS I can do whatever I want with it. Heck, I can even use it to keep a door open if I want What I mean is, once the hardware is on the hands of consumers, they can't (and shouldn't) control what consumers do with it."

You can't perform illegal acts with a product just because you own that product."

Yes you can. You can do whatever you want with the hardware. You can put anything you want on it, including ROMs. You however cannot download those ROMs. You may back them up as I do.

@IanUniacke
"I think this is a great result for Nintendo, the larger software industry, and also indirectly consumers.

The homebrew argument is lame for several reasons, some of which are noted by others above:

1) There is nothing stopping you using other devices for your indie game
2) Breaking the system for homebrew or otherwise is an illegal act
3) The vast majority of users will not be using the device for homebrew and of those that are a significant portion of them will also use the device for piracy.

Also remember, the ruling does not stop you from hacking your own ds. You can still pull it apart and rewire it at your will. What it does stop is the mass market creation and distribution of devices that anyone can use to bypass the security of the system."

My response to your three reasons my argument is "lame"-
1) There is nothing stopping me from using my iMac and the internet to browse porn or download movies. Have we banned computers and the internet. Actually, I'd be willing to bet at least 50% of internet users do either pirate or browse porn.
2) No it's not. At least in the US as of Monday it's not.
3) The vast majority of people who jailbreak their iPhone will pirate. Jailbreaking or rooting is not illegal.

Except the DS has no internal memory. The only way to bypass the security is with a cart. There is no other way, save for the DSi and DSi XL, but why crack those, we have carts.

"@Alphack3r: (just because you were one of the last commenters in a long line of comments)

No, it will not stop everyone from pirating. However it "does" stop big companies exploiting the ds market and selling them a turnkey solution to stealing games. This "will" stop the vast majority of piracy on the ds. I'm talking your mom and pop family who pirate every game that their child wants for the ds. If, as people like to fantasize, the majority of piracy comes from "hardcore" gamers than why was the biggest line of games hit by piracy the "Imagine" series from Ubisoft? (eg Imagine Babies) This is proof in positive (imho) that the vast majority of people pirating games are your casual market moms, dads and children."

Yes it will, nobody can pirate on the DS without these carts as of now at least in the UK. But it will also stop this and this (and special mention for this).

So what if the majority of pirates on the DS are kids and parents. The majority of people browsing porn are teenagers. I don't see how this changes anything. The internet still has legit uses. The carts still have legit uses. Neither should be banned.

"@Mickeymac: You are right on the money. This is not about stopping people from legitimately using the products they bought. It is about stopping companies like those that make the R4, from exploiting the market and taking legitimate money from legitimate customers that should have gone to legitimate software developers. If an average family has 3 to 4 ds's than the amount of money that the R4 manufacturers are making from that family is the equivalent of about 8 to 10 games. This is a massive cost to developers.

Also as someone else mentioned above, if the game is a crappy game not worth the money than why are you downloading it?

Well anyway that's enough ranting from me."

You're right. It's not about stopping people from using their products in ways not intended by Nintendo. But they're going about this wrong. People will just play in the emulators. The DS is not multitouch. It can easily be emulated on the PC. Heck, with Apple's new Magic Trackpad, we may be able to perfect the emulators.

And it's not a massive cost to developers. They make so little off of a sale, little Joey who wouldn't have bought it in the first place, makes absolutely no difference. As a developer, if someone wouldn't have bought it in the first place, and they pirate it. I have not lost nor made any money on them. I'm actually glad they can enjoy and use my work.

@JumpMad
"I guess they shouldn't make ROMs so easy to get, that a 5 years old can get them with no Prob."

This is my solution. Go after the freaking sites hosting these games. They're the ones committing the crime.

maka

#81

maka said:

Don't forget that not all ROM downloading is illegal, just look at www.worldofspectrum.org Every game downoadable there is legal because they'got permission from the original rights holders and the DS is the perfect platform for emulating the ZX Spectrum (thanks to the flashcarts) as the DS has the exact same resolution as the Spectrum did.

HipsterDashie

#82

HipsterDashie said:

I'm not going to lie guys, but these are some seriously good arguments you're all coming up with here. I would type a longer comment but I'm shattered after 9 hours of farm work, so cba.

Starwolf_UK

#83

Starwolf_UK said:

What upsets me most about this whole affair is how the decision was made. Given the homebrew argument being thrown out due to having to break security it seems breaking security (allowing me to those 'terrible' homebrew things) had as much to do with it than piracy. It saddens me devices like iPlayer (not the BBC thing but a media player flash card) and Games and Music both of which won't run retail DS ROMs are tarred with the same brush as R4.

As for the homebrew shouldn't exist brigade, tuff luck. Ask me this, if Nintendo is trying to compete with the iPhone, why is DSiWare development so closed? One counter I'll say for homebrew is jEnesisDS DS. The person who wrote that emulator also did programming work for that Sonic Classics game SEGA released a few months back. Would that opportunity had come about if the coder had no way of being able to show the code working to the world? (let's just ignore the odd fact that in some capacity jEnesis DS is actually superior plus the homebrew community 'losing' any future versions of jEnesis DS)

@IanUniacke
Is there any proof about "imagine most pirated"? To me it seems like Ubisoft did a knee-jerk reaction to the fact the Imagine series sales momentum died which of course had nothing do with the fact a new one comes out roughly every 2 weeks and the stores are saturated with the stock hence sales decline.
Still, Ubisoft seem to actually try when it comes to piracy protection, the Wii Prince of Persia had a pretty neat way of detecting piracy (but too easy to break) and all their DS games are DSi-enhanced because it makes the ROM dumping process slightly trickier due to added header info or was it playing on outdated flashcards (such as R4) requiring game patches due to said header. Plus, it is true DSi-mode hasn't been broken (yet).

I noticed earlier comments about Retro Game Challenge and Maestro: Jump and Music. I'll also echo Maestro being killed by distribution as much as anything (though what irritates me the most is I hear some European retailer whose name I've forgotten is selling it for €10 to get rid of it, I'd have paid €20 at least if it appeared on Amazon.co.uk) though I'm pleased to see it find a way (somewhat) on iPhone and DSiWare.

R-L-A-George

#84

R-L-A-George said:

I could not find this article. Blush

I'm glad, Flashcarts have kind of ruined a lot for honest people....Although kind of sad that no one can really be creative anymore.

Snipes

#85

Snipes said:

lol at homebrew and backing up games being illegal. The reason anyone with integrity downloads a game is to back it up. For example, playing a game on Wii with a disc means load times and it's harder on your system. With a downloaded copy it's loading directly from your system which means it's easier to run.

On another point, outlawing these things may just very well make computer emulation hit an all time high. There are already DS emulators out there that were good enough for someone with little or no skill. This is the problem, not being able to hold as many games as you want on a cart that is portable, but being able to go and download a ds game without even owning the system? Which sounds like more of a loss to Nintendo to you?

Kurona

#87

Kurona said:

@metakirbyknight
"Yes you can. You can do whatever you want with the hardware. You can put anything you want on it, including ROMs. You however cannot download those ROMs. You may back them up as I do."

Eh? Am I missing something here? Just because you bought that product means you can do illegal things with it?
Uh.... no. At least, not in my opinion (which is probably biased). Time for an example.
If you buy a gun, does that mean you can just start shooting people (and not get arrested for it)?
And if you accuse me of comparing apple to oranges, let's use another example.
If you bought every component of your computer, and you use it to scam other people through phishing, are you breaking the law? Yes. Will you be convicted of a crime? Yes.

And as for the 'You cannot download those ROMs' bit, I'm sure you know that's what about a gazillion of people do anyways. That is dependent on the honor system, and sadly, some people out there don't follow it.

As for the complaints for the homebrewers, I think that Nintendo can form a compromise with them. How? Make the DSi shop more accessible. Make it about as open as the App store for iPhones/iTouches. That way, anybody could get their programs on for the masses to see. I'm pretty doubtful that will happen, though. :(

Stuffgamer1

#88

Stuffgamer1 said:

@metakirbyknight: Those two actual homebrew games look pretty good, I'll admit. And you sent me on a wild goose chase with that "Bob's Game" link, because I'd somehow managed to have heard of it and yet know NOTHING about it until now, and wasted a LOT of time trying to research it. I'm still extremely confused by the whole thing.:P

@Starwolf_UK: My brother has a Games and Music...I didn't realize it was literally incapable of reading ROM files, but of course we've never tried. Unfortunately, the thing doesn't read on the DSi and we don't have DS Lites anymore. Any similar product available for DSi, perchance?

moosa

#89

moosa said:

@moosa
"@maka
"No. When I buy a DS I can do whatever I want with it. Heck, I can even use it to keep a door open if I want What I mean is, once the hardware is on the hands of consumers, they can't (and shouldn't) control what consumers do with it."
You can't perform illegal acts with a product just because you own that product."
Yes you can. You can do whatever you want with the hardware. You can put anything you want on it, including ROMs. You however cannot download those ROMs. You may back them up as I do.

Allow me to clarify. Performing illegal acts with a product you own is illegal. This is painfully obvious. I don't care how much you own it, how much you've paid for it, how many of them you've bought or how clearly you wrote your name on it with permanent marker. You can purchase something that's legal and modify it illegally. Its not a ridiculous concept; it's the way things work in the real world.

This analogy sums up what half of you are arguing:
Say you purchase a hunting rifle legally, following all regulations. Then you take it home and proceed to modify it into some powerful, deadly monstrosity of a weapon. You keep it in a case and say that you're just going to use it to hunt a few deer "more creatively," despite the fact that you could easily use it to pull a bank heist where no police squad would have the firepower to stop you. You better believe that sucker is going to be illegal, no matter how much you act goodie two-shoes about what your intentions for it were.
To quote the article, "the mere fact that the device can be used for a non-infringing purpose is not a defence."

There are laws and regulations for the way things can and cannot legally be all over the place in many facets of our lives. Most commonly when it involves safety, or the potential for fostering illegal activity. You cannot argue that law can't extend to regulate your use or modification of any product you own, because it absolutely can, and with good reason.

This is why we have cars that aren't street legal, and why there are certain plants you're not allowed to grow in your garden. It doesn't matter if you're just going to take a leisurely drive to the corner store, or if they just complement your chrysanthemums so well. It's still illegal, and with good reason.

maka

#90

maka said:

Of course, performing an illegal act is illegal no matter what you use... But I wasn't talking about that. What I'm saying is: Once you buy something it is yours and you can do anything you want TO it or use it anyway you want (within the limits of the law). If I decide to open my DS and play with its internal components there's NOTHING Nintendo can do about it (except for void my warranty I guess). If I decide to modify my DS so it runs other software there's nothing Nintendo can do about it because it is my machine. I can wack it, I can break it, I can open it, paint it and do anything I want to it because I payed for it and it's mine. It's not Nintendo's anymore.

That's the key problem here: Nintendo seems to want to own our consoles and decide what we can use them for. But notice how they never say "It's illegal for you to run homebrew", no, they say "Running unlicense software might break your console" (or something similar). They don't say it's illegal because it is not!!! They just try to scare people off and that's that...

What makes this specific ruling dangerous is that the reason the R4 was outlawed in the UK is not "because it can run pirated games" but "because in order to function it breaks the DS's security". This can be applied to people that jailbreak their phones or hack any type of machine to use it for another purpose. Any type of "reverse-engineering" even if only to accomplish interoperability can be stopped with the same argument and traditionally hacking a device for interoperability was considered legal.

In fact, just look in the US: The DMCA was changed to allow for this kind of hacking (jailbreaking phones to run software that was not authorized by the maker). See: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2010/07/26

I believe this is the same as hacking the DS to run homebrew, and it's a shame that in the US things go fordward, and in the UK they go backwards in that regard.

metakirbyknight

#91

metakirbyknight said:

Somebody in the UK could probably answer this for me, but does the EFF have a presence in the UK?

@Kurona
@moosa

Gosh, I hate the gun example. For the gun example, I can shoot it however the heck I want, within certain limits. For the gun, this is having to shoot in season and only at certain animals. For the flashcart, no piracy and only for homebrew or legit backups. Note that these are not the "backups" downloaded from the internet. Those are illegal (and in my opinion, morally wrong), the backups I'm talking about are ones that you dumped from your own cart.

To the gun modification example. It's legal to modify a gun, or at least says Google, which I hope is right. If there is a law, feel free to correct me.

I can use the gun (or flashcart) as long as I don't cause physical, mental, or monetary harm to someone or some group.

And to go back to the gun comparison, I could be looking at porn or downloading movies, we haven't banned PCs, HDDs, SSDs, or the Internet yet and probably won't, even in the UK.

And in the US (which judging from your flags, you live there), it the mere fact there is a legit use is a reason to not outlaw them. Look at this.

@Stuffgamer1

Anguna is really good, while Zelda is not out. You mentioned you had a GBA flashcart, right? Anguna has a GBA version, so I'd recommend giving it a go.

And as for the replacement product, the iPlayer looks good. It can also play homebrew, and emulate a few consoles (including GBA!) as a bonus, and it works on the DSi.

Stuffgamer1

#92

Stuffgamer1 said:

@metakirbyknight: Unfortunately, it looks like the iplayer could also run ROM's, based on the fact that the site says the emulators run from the .nds format. That's my understanding of the situation, anyway...feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

As far as Anguna goes, the game's site says the DS version has bug fixes in it, so I'd rather not play the inferior edition if I can help it. I'll admit you've got me interested in the DS homebrew scene in general...I'd just prefer it if all devices for such things were incapable of running illegal ROMs. On the ROM note, a question: What would you say to a legit user downloading ROMs for games he owns only because he doesn't have the tech/knowhow to back them up himself?

armoredghor

#93

armoredghor said:

Sticking to the horrible cliche of the gun example. Guns aren't really a problem here in America (sort of). If they were only used for bank heists and murder and couldn't not be used as a preventative measure we would be in a similar situation of outlawment(if that's a word). It would take years and decades for nintendo to track down the hacker and Rom sites. This is the easiest way to work this out.

metakirbyknight

#94

metakirbyknight said:

@Stuffgamer1

The iPlayer will play ROMs, just not commercial ones. It will play Anguna, but not Zelda, or at least that's what the internet says. I don't own one, I have the Acekard 2i. Plus it has a bunch of hardware decoders for video, so I'm considering picking one up if they go on sale. All homebrew games are ROMs per say, just not illegal as these are ones put together for internet distribution.

This is a good guide. There isn't much to do, and I'd probably link them to this article. I wouldn't get all angry like some do, because to be honest the dev and publisher have already been paid, but I wouldn't want anybody to get in legal trouble.

Stuffgamer1

#95

Stuffgamer1 said:

Stop the firewalls? Yeah, right...my dad would never go for that.

That Acekard looks a lot better than the iplayer to me, simply because it does what I would want it to do at a quarter of the price without having the unnecessary video codecs (not interested in watching videos on my DSi anyway). The downside being that it appears to skirt the ROM legality issue if I'm reading this stuff right. To be honest, though, I'd kind of like a method in which I could play games that are literally impossible to find...I wouldn't pirate things I reasonably CAN buy, of course, but there are always legitimate availability issues to consider.

This whole thing started because you showed me that there's actually desirable stuff on the homebrew scene. I'd still kind of rather they used something that didn't require sneaky means to run (or that Nintendo would OFFER legit means a la App Store), but as a gamer who games to play the games, it's hard to avoid sketchy activity sometimes.:P

metakirbyknight

#96

metakirbyknight said:

Is this "person" the theoretical future you?

If you want to play commercial ROMs at all (backed up or not) the iPlayer is not the way to go. SuperCard DSTWO looks really good, and I plan to get one. This place has them for $45, and has the Acekard 2i for $20. I've used them for my Acekard 2i and they were cheap and fast. Keep in mind, you need a MicroSD card to use the device at all, and there is some setup involved, but nothing that can't be solved in less than five minutes by Google. The SuperCard DSTWO is nice because it'll let you play GBA ROMs on your DSi.

You could always go to a friends house to backup the ROMs, or turn off the firewalls and run it overnight.

There really is some nice stuff in the homebrew community, but think about what would happen if Nintendo came out with an Apple-esque SDK and had a generous revenue split, developers would come

theblackdragonAdmin

#97

theblackdragon said:

@metakirbyknight: I understand your enthusiasm in helping someone else discover the world of homebrew and backing up their own games, but please, do not directly link to sites that sell flashcarts. Stuffgamer1 is a smart lad and I'm sure he can find these things for purchase without the direct links. :3

Stuffgamer1

#98

Stuffgamer1 said:

I can, yes, but I have absolutely no idea which stores are trustworthy. Metakirbyknight, feel free to post info on my Backloggery wall. As far as I can see, they don't have rules against that.

r4idealer

#100

r4idealer said:

I think that the whole industry on bootlegs, copies, downloads and everything else they want to call this is crazy. They need to get rid of all the computer stuff then because everything is copyright infringements then. They have put into everyones vocab., the word burner and that means steel. First off to download is not illegal, posting someones stuff is if you did not get permission. So I think that the laws and where the courts go after people is wrong. Go after the bigger industry that makes the computer, ipods, mp3 players, etc... They make all the money and put in a little phrase do not make illegal copies of music, movies, etc...
So they can make all the money and so can the stores and teach the kids of the world how to burn and then call them a theft for downloading what they said they can have for free. The world is getting twisted and no one cares to punish the right people in it. Go after the small guys for what the big industries and goverments make tuns of money from. I say take them to court and take back our money they have been steeling for years. If you would like more of my information please write me. I will tell you the whole truth not just the one side that big money wants you to hear.
Thank you for reading my post and enjoy your life better not wasting your time with the bulls*&t this world is dishing out to the younger people in it.

Thanks,
Jim

r4idealer

#101

r4idealer said:

sorry for the bad spelling, I was typing fast and did not check my stuff. Steeling is Stealing, Tuns is Tons and all the rest you can figure out yourself.
Thank you again.

theblackdragonAdmin

#102

theblackdragon said:

@r4idealer: to download is illegal. You are essentially downloading someone else's backup copy, which they did not have the right to upload to the internet in the first place. You have the right to dump and play your own backup copy of a game you purchased, but not the right to download and play someone else's -- same goes for ripping CDs and DVDs to your computer. I can't believe we've been having to explain this so often in this thread.

r4idealer

#103

r4idealer said:

OH just thought of another thing for you then, e-books are now going onto the ds card readers, is that stealing also? I think not. The big money makers keep taking your money on stupid little things like e-books, pay them a fee to get what is free. Yes you can go to a store and look at the book even read it in a lot of them. Go online and read books, and all the other places pewople do it for free. How about the high dollar e-book readers that they sell for hundreds of dollars, that only really cost about 25.00 for them to make and could sell for double their money and make everyone that wanted one happy. No they just like to control and steal your money at 10 times the cost. That is illegal to sell something at such a high price. Just think if everyone in business started to just make up 10 times the price to make fast money like they are doing. Wow this world would crumble fast.
Have a great day.

theblackdragonAdmin

#104

theblackdragon said:

What are you talking about? You lost me, lol -- i have no idea what e-books being put onto flashcarts does considering you had to have had them on your computer already in the first place. Either you paid for them yourself via Amazon or another seller, downloaded the files off of Project Gutenberg or some other repository of free e-book/books in .txt form, typed the entire books into text files by hand, or you pirated them; again, the latter is illegal, but the former three methods are a-OK.

That said, are you really a 'dealer'? I'm starting to doubt it, because stuff gets marked up to 10x the price at retail all the time, if not more. You may personally disagree with it (enough to go on that little nonsensical tirade, anyway), but it's not like the world has 'crumble[d] fast' yet, lol.

r4idealer

#105

r4idealer said:

I am not just talking about the downloading of real games from nintendo. There is a ds game making program for the ds cards to make your own games, put your home movies on the ds pictures you want. You pay for music, movies and more from companies and then you can't put it on your ds system to play, listen to, or watch. Then you have to get rid of the whole computer industry. You can plat games on your computer free or pay someone, you can listen to music, play movies and more but it is not copy right infringements. See the world is twisted, if you are a person that wants things for free then you find them. So don't blame the ds cards for it, they are really ment to just give you more to do on the ds systems. I complety understand downloading but it is not illegal to downoad is what I said, free or not. Some people charge you to download and other places are free.

I just think that going after one thing in a big business of theft on every front is not the answer. Go after the people that make the stuff then not the person that finds and and uses it. I buy a gun I use it right things are great, yes they are legal but if I shoot it in public or at someone then I broke the law not the gun. The ds cards are not bad they are great, people that use them for the wrong thing make it wrong for themselfs not for the rest of us.

theblackdragonAdmin

#106

theblackdragon said:

@r4idealer: too many bad apples spoiled the bunch on this one, man, and you can't blame Nintendo for needing to plug the gaping hole in their side that is the piracy scene. they've got to protect themselves and their licensed developers from thieves somehow, and since they apparently can't go after every single person sharing a torrent (though they're doing their best), they're going after the ones enabling said users to play their ill-gotten goods. sucks to be everyone else who uses flashcarts for legit backup purposes and homebrew, but them's the breaks.

Stuffgamer1

#107

Stuffgamer1 said:

@r4idealer: Some of us agree with you, provided I understand you correctly. Basically, Nintendo is shooting itself in the foot by keeping the system locked down so hard that people WANT to hack it.

As has been said in this comment thread, Sony's success keeping the PS3 un-hacked for so long was largely based in the fact that it could already do most of the stuff people tend to hack systems for. Most piracy is done by people who use OTHER people's hacks, not having enough technical knowledge to do it themselves. Some of those hackers don't even want to pirate, but they inadvertantly open the doors to do so in their efforts to add functionality.

Metakirbyknight and I (along with a few others) agree that Nintendo offering a legitimate home programming option for their systems (along with region-free systems, preferably) would do a LOT to cut down hacking, and therefore piracy.

Stuffgamer1

#108

Stuffgamer1 said:

Nintendo claims the lockdown is to maintain quality standards, but you only have to look at the libraries on WiiWare and DSiWare to see that's ineffective to say the least. We'd be better off with an open system that includes user ratings, allowing the best stuff to be easy to find. A lot of inspired developers who are having trouble getting into the industry or just want to make games in their spare time would then have a legitimate way to share them with the system's userbase, and I'm convinced Nintendo would do better business as well.

But that won't happen, and do you know why? Nintendo is the company that pioneered security-locked consoles with licencing deals specifically to avoid a flood of trash like that which killed the Atari 2600. They don't seem to realize that the market isn't what it once was and that unregulated development would actually work now. Other companies are proving it, after all.

Until Nintendo somehow miraculously figures all that out, we're stuck going by illegitimate means.

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