Do you think there is any real advantage to a homebrew-enabled console over a PC?

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by leafeon34, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. leafeon34
    OP

    leafeon34 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Sep 30, 2014
    Greece
    Elysium
    All this talk about Switch homebrew and firmware versions lately has gotten me thinking.

    In the Wii era the general attitude towards piracy on GBAtemp was a lot more condoning than it is now. 13 year old kids were somehow rich enough to buy every single Wii game and wanted to protect their collection from younger siblings using USB backup loaders.

    Nowadays most members on what began as a ROM site do not condone piracy.

    Now that most GBAtemp members don't give a fuck about backup loading is there any reason to bother with homebrew? Many Switch owners have updated their systems to play newer games. Others have bought two Switches; one for gaming and the other for homebrew.

    I have BS9 installed on my 3DS but have never actually used homebrew on it. All I did was waste time installing it. If it weren't for my super-long backlog of games to play I'd update my Switch.
     
  2. th3joker

    th3joker GBAtemp Regular

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    Dec 30, 2015
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    i bought my 3ds in december 2014 right after the first ninjax was out. i bought a handfull of games. beat most of them and then the novelty wore off. it wasnt till a few months ago i b9sed my 3ds and filled it with games id never go out and buy but now have had the chance to enjoy. as a developer id rather my art reach as many people than worry how much money can be made. i mod every console i own. psp ps3 psvita 3ds and even have a spare 1.75 fw ps4 for future hacks that arent just for backups and linux. by teaching myself how to mod it forced me to learn alot about pc and computers in general. there is a best of both worlds when it comes to modded cfw jailbroken home consoles. exvlusives and multiplatform emulation compatability. i just like ps3-ps4 controllers for retro games
     
  3. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Tom BombaDadlo

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    Tom Bombadildo is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

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    I forgot
    For portable consoles, yes, homebrew is useful. Laptops are nice and all, and you can do more with them, but portable consoles like the Vita or 3DS, and eventually the Switch, are much better for portable gaming than a laptop is for multiple reasons. Ease of use, better portability and form factor, integrated controllers, the battery lasts a little longer than most laptops when used for gaming (except for the Switch and it's garbage 2 hour battery life >.<), etc etc.

    Home consoles though, at this point, don't really benefit much from homebrew anymore. With the way indie development and publishing platforms have evolved, we no longer see your usual homebrew games since there are platforms where they can be released no problem, and home consoles these days already have media features that were usually added in by homebrew. Emulators still get released, by teams like Libretro and such, but otherwise we never usually see standalone emulators anymore beyond a couple ports, but PC emulators are usually much better anyways (though, IMO, the PS4/Xbone would probably be just "as good" as most PC emulators if we had full homebrew access since they're basically bog standard PCs anyways). All that leaves home consoles with is the occasional random dev tool or neat PoC and piracy/cheat related stuff.
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Nov 21, 2005
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    I dare say we would reach different conclusions here. Speculating I dare say you a) believe some of the vocal peeps and b) assume the vocal peeps represent things.

    Otherwise Tom Bombadildo said it. Back on the original xbox a computer I could easily hook into my TV was something. Today for the last nearly 5 years (got to wait for those 512 meg RAM models) I have a raspberry pi which does most things I would want here and emulation is still in a bit of a rut.

    They were kind of nice for the simplicity of it all (I never got into mame or the frontends as they all seem to have a bit of a perverse thing for the ROM library where my mighty powers of being able to read and press load on a ROM does what I want) and many had the 10-foot user interface better than PCs.

    The rise of IOS killed DS homebrew stone dead. Now android has taken over there so yeah. I was never really about the platform which gave me cool code that nobody doing commercial dev would bother with but the cool code itself. It is a bit annoying with device makers thinking minimal buttons, much less those in joypad design, is cool and third parties there seem to be stuck in the same post 16 bit rut (I played with truly good controllers during the 16 bit era, after that... not so much). To that end I would also agree portable consoles have some minor utility.
    On the other hand everybody has a device capable of doing things so being able to bring one somewhere is not that special and I look out the window on a bus/train, or read a book. If then I am outside I don't have a phone precisely because I want to be outside and don't care for the notion of walking around bumping into things (it's even more funny than watching people talk to themselves when hands free kits were popular).

    ROM hacking still holds appeal.
     
  5. Futurdreamz

    Futurdreamz GBAtemp Addict

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    Jun 15, 2014
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    I'd say homebrew often has a nicer interface and experience. You're always using a controller with homebrew, and the interface for launching and playing the games is somewhat consistent and intuitive. On a PC you'd be spending a lot of time getting your emulator running as good as possible, while something with a Raspberry pi is an ungodly mess of Linux dark arts just barely held together by a useable UI.
     
  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Do people really have trouble with raspberry pi installs? I have certainly had the odd specialist distro that forced me to debug its install but all the multimedia and game related ones, and indeed most of the bigger ones that most people should be sticking to anyway, were doable enough should you follow what it says on screen.
    Even without that you have things like http://www.berryterminal.com/doku.php/berryboot

    Also what PC emulators are you playing with? I will give that the PS1 and N64 are that and kind of always have been. Most other PC emulators are sorted right after you config the controls to your taste.

    UI wise. For the original xbox then absolutely. Everything else... not so much which is a pity.
     
  7. Futurdreamz

    Futurdreamz GBAtemp Addict

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    Setting up RetroPi is simple enough. Problem is it looks like shit, and useful features are hidden behind console commands. I can give a NES classic with a bunch of games loaded on it to my grandparents and they can immediately start playing it with my mom and dad, but I would have to walk them through using a Pi in excruciating detail.
     
  8. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Dec 26, 2007
    Yorkshire, UK
    Back when console homebrew scenes really thrived in the early 2000's with the Xbox, then later the PSP, homebrew really opened up many new possibilities.

    In the case of the Xbox Classic you could play back just about any media file on your TV, all from a nice interface. You could also emulate more consoles than I can list, again all from a nice interface on your TV. Before the Xbox with was a lot more cumbersome with other hacked consoles. DVD players which could play Divx / Xvid or any other type of media files were very expensive compared to an Xbox, which did a lot more.

    The PSP did the same, however for handheld devices on the go.

    These days the world is very different, a hacked console is probably not the best choice for emulators and such when we have very cheaply accessible devices such as the Raspberry Pi. Smart phones have then redefined what is possible on the go.

    I do still like console homebrew, for example backing up saves and other useful things, however given how tech has changed over the years its not as exciting as it once was i dont think.
     
  9. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Jul 26, 2006
    Funny you say that because I ended up setting up a RetroPI for my mom and she's had issues with Kodi but AFAIK no problem with the interface for games. I ended up using Kiosk mode in EmulationStation, if that matters at all. I did have to get her a quick little walk through and a few times deal with kodi stuff (Kodi without internet is weird). Having said that, yea, I imagine an NES classic is even easier to use. It's hard to imagine it'd be a massive difference, though.

    Now, on to the main topic, I'd say there's four main advantages to homebrew-enabled console over a PC. One, you have consistent hardware specs, so you know that any homebrew available will definitely fit with whatever information you find for that console and know that developers are targeting for it to work well within those constraints; with a PC you have to push for some vague high point and cross your fingers. Two, the general cost of running games on a console is cheaper than a PC; it's also generally cheaper than some random android/handheld device that exists, mostly because of mass production. This doesn't apply overall if you're getting a beefy PC anyways for PC games since a console is just an additional cost. However...

    Three, a lot of the times you can get either native support or simply more consistent support on a console as there's nothing running in the background. I'm no speedrunner and for a long time I didn't really care, but it's gotten to the point that I'm frequently annoyed with the microstutters or the audio crackling or whatever that comes from having a whole OS and various tasks in the background running. I'm using to dealing with it and with PC games it's just something you accept, but if you repeatedly switch back and forth between dedicated hardware and emulation on a PC, you'll find it jarring and uncomfortable. Sometimes you'll even prefer the emulation (fast forward), so either way you'll probably want to chose one or the other exclusively. Of course, it might be emulation either way, but it still might be more consistent on the console. Four, probably the biggest one to me is simply that my console can be very static. I can set it up how I want and never update it, connect it to the internet, etc. With my PC I have to worry about updating, the updates themselves causing inconsistency, and of course security concerns (malware and viruses, mostly). Having dedicated hardware for a task that just works and will be around 10 years from now is comforting. I can't say the same for my PC, even if most the data will in some form probably be moved onto the next PC or the one after that.
     
    Yoni Arousement likes this.
  10. RyanAnayaMc

    RyanAnayaMc The ACE

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    Oct 5, 2015
    United States
    I think there is an advantage. Definitely portable consoles, as I can run many emulators and stuff on the go, and I'm anxious to see what will be possible with Switch homebrew. However, a big thing in my opinion is price. You could buy a Wii U, homebrew it, and play game mods and whatnot. On a PC, you'll need a fairly beefy rig to play the same games with mods. Of course, there is multiplayer. I don't think you can play Wii U games online with Cemu, and I heard of problems trying to do so with Dolphin on Wiimfi. Your only option would be netplay, which isn't great unless you and your friend(s) you're playing with have a solid internet connection. Even then, there is the risk of a random desync.
     
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