NDS, DS, DS Lite, DSi

I purchased a new Nintendo DSi and I have been playing with it for the past few days. It is nice and definitely an improvement over the classic DS, but I discovered (which I expected) is that my M3 DS Real will not work with it- so no more consolidated ROMs on one cartridge. I have several DS games but I hate to carry them around as I often misplace stuff- and a $40 postage stamp sized ROMs is not something that I want to lose.

imageTo resolve this, I have pre-ordered a AceKard 2i from ConsoleSource (due to ship on April 14th). I looked into ordering the card from DealExtreme for about 1/2 the price, but they are located in Hong Kong and they only accept PayPal- and PayPal is horrible to try to deal with if your account becomes ‘compromised’. I also wanted to try out the PayPal Plug-In- which will generate a unique, singe-use credit card for each online transaction; no credit cards for DealExtreme meant I was headed over to ConsoleSource for my purchase.

While waiting for my AceKard, I decided to revisit the good ‘ole DS Lite and the M3 DS Real. I was looking for a firmware upgrade for my M3 DS Real on The M3 Wiwi and I came across info on the M3 Sakura replacement shell. Sakura is a very refined GUI similar to MoonShell but with integrated cheats, real-time saves (for GBA games) and a media player (for video, music, and images)

A video on YouTube has more info than I could convey in words:

Sakura is definitely an awesome enhancement for the GBA- perhaps something that Nintendo should consider for the new DSi and their downloadable games. Now I have finally finished New Super Mario Brothers and the ‘Moon Jump’ cheat for Super Mario 64 DS has helped me get some of the stars I could not reach with my non-l33t (i.e. mortal) gaming skills.

imageI found that some of the ‘Nintendo Classic Series’ GBA games- such as ‘The Legend of Zelda’, ‘Metroid’, etc- would not load properly with Sakura. This is not a new behavior as they would also not play on the bare M3 DS Real- giving a ‘Game Pak Error – Turn the Power off’ when starting. A little Googling turned up in info on using the GBA Tool Advance from No-Intro Preservation Society to patching the affected ROMs with an IPS file from an IPS Collection (or from the GBATemp forums). IPS patches are posted by the GBA ROM release number- which can be looked up on ROMSite.

One quick note on the DSi before I get into a real review: The online store for the DSi Shop pretty much sucks at this point. Early adopters are given 1000 ‘DSi points’ for the DSI Shop- and there are a grand total of 5 games/apps + the DSi browser availalbe for downlaod. I would think Nintendo would have planned this launch out a bit better to have at least one or two decent games available fot the intital batch. For now we are limited to:

  • Brain Age Express: Math – 800 points
  • Art Style: AQUIA – 500 points
  • WarioWare: Snapped – 500 points
  • Master of Illusion Express: Funy Face – 200 points
  • Bird & Beans – 200 points

If the last title doesn’t indicate the sad quality of the DSi Shop selections then nothing probably will…

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