Storage device or ‘game copier?’
The R4 and similar devices are primarily used as storage devices. They store various different files, including video files, music files and the ever-controversial game ROMs. Since these devices can hold and help the DS brand of consoles execute game ROMs, they’ve been branded with the moniker, ‘illegal game copier.’
According to several industry sources, most savvy gamers do use flashcarts to play game ROMs. People who search for flashcarts will see search results more or less implicating the ‘true use’ of flashcarts right out in the open. But, despite the ‘elephant in the room,’ flashcarts do have a legitimate use.
Nintendo, naturally, has noticed the popularity of these devices and have responded accordingly. Besides taking legal action against some of the manufacturers of these devices, they’ve also made movements in stopping these flashcarts from being used in conjunction with the Nintendo 3DS. Now, gamers can expect their Nintendo 3DSs to block the function of most flashcarts.
But, it doesn’t mean that they don’t work with the portable game console anymore.
The flourishing homebrew scene
Homebrew. Homebrew constitutes any program or application made to use on any proprietary device. Homebrew games exist on defunct consoles like the Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast and Microsoft’s original Xbox. The Nintendo Wii also has an active homebrew scene.
Flashcarts, however, allow developers to create homebrew applications and games for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS consoles. While the GBA homebrew scene was relatively ‘inaccessible’ by most users for years, the presence of R4-like flashcarts for the DS have exposed them to the world of DS-related homebrew.
That’s one big reasons why many industry observers think that calling flashcarts ‘illegal game copiers’ might be inaccurate.
Even though people do use flashcarts for ‘gaming,’ they’re still necessary for accessing various types of homebrew applications and, yes, games.
Where to go with flashcarts
Flashcarts aren’t perfect devices. They certainly aren’t use for ‘ethical’ means. However, they do have a lot of use when it comes to the homebrew scene. When you think about it, the homebrew scene alone can support the use of flashcarts for gaming.
However, since most people do use flashcarts for ROMs, most trusted gaming resources can’t recommend the use of flashcarts in most situations. Therefore, it’s up to the user to use flashcarts in an ethical way.