What is a Flashcart?

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by alex, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. alex

    alex GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Jul 1, 2008
    United States
    <div align="center"><!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->What is a <b>Flashcart</b>?<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec--></div>
    <div align="center"><i>A newbie's guide to the DS scene</i> -by alex; For GBATemp only!</div>

    In my spare time I have written a guide to flashcarts for the Nintendo DS(and Lite). It will cover all the basic information about flashcards and what the DS Scene is.

    First of all, in the meantime, <strike><a href="http://wtfisaflashcart.tk" target="_blank">http://wtfisaflashcart.tk</a></strike>(link down) should redirect to this topic. If it does not or the link is down please Personal Message(PM) me or e-mail me at the contact link at the bottom of this post. Now let's get started.

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Introduction</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    A flashcart is basically a card like a regular Nintendo DS game, but instead it has either internal storage, MicroSD slot(usually), or both. On this memory card or storage, you can store files on it, and on the many DS Homebrews(see “Homebrew”) or Applications, you could probably read some file types, such as MP3, DPG(see “Media”), image files(bmp, jpeg/jpg, png, and some more), and NDS files(see the next section).

    <b>*NOTE: Some(most) flashcarts have what is called “firmware files” that are usually placed at the root of the memory card. The root is when you go to the files in the memory card(you will need a card reader) without any sub-folders. There are some firmwares called “multibooters” because they load can load different firmwares depending on your card(see “Advanced”)</b>

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>The “.NDS” file</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    All(current) Slot-1 flashcarts support the .NDS file extension, which is mainly used for Nintendo DS applications, homebrew games(see “Homebrew”), and DS ROMs(read-only memory). Notice: The next part goes in-depth about the NDS file extension, if you don't need this information, please continue on the “Homebrew” section of this guide.

    The NDS file is just a container for the files inside of a ROM. For all God knows, we could be using .GM or .ABC or even (thank goodness it isn't) .dik. There could be any file, but since the system is the Nintendo DS(NDS for short) they picked(hackers, not Nintendo) NDS for the file type. It is simple and easy. And all flashcart makers followed it. Some .NDS files contain homebrew or applications, but some may contain DS games(see “The DS and the DS Scene”) and are illegal to distribute. Especially here on GBATemp, they don't take ROM sites nicely(even though part of the staff does pirate <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" />).

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Homebrew</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    I'll give you five seconds to think about this word. <b>HOME + BREW</b> ...1...2...3...4...5

    A homebrew is a file that can be emulated on a flashcart, and it acts like loading a game from a cartridge. Some homebrew require you to have extra files in the root of the memory card. I hope you learned that from earlier! Some homebrew are also Applications, and load different files. Moonshell is a good one, and don't ask where to get it, around here you'll be getting a lot people telling you to Google it. So I'll help you in advance, this is where I find all my information, besides news at the forum: <a href="http://google.com" target="_blank">http://google.com</a>

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>The DS and the DS Scene</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    This has been the part you've been waiting for huh? Free games, every person's dream, not having to pay for games that you want anymore. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Good thoughts eh? Well here's something about that.

    As you must know, piracy is highly illegal and Chuck Norris could come to your door and roundhouse your ass if you get caught. Well, something like that, the police can't always get Chuck to come. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":rolleyes:" border="0" alt="rolleyes.gif" /> I am not responsible(nor is anyone else) if you get caught pirating and thrown into jail. Just clearing that up for you.

    Now here's where it gets really interesting, with most flashcarts, you can play NDS roms, aka pirated games. Not having to pay, having all of the games in the world. All you have to do is know how to “unzip” with WinRAR, which can be found <a href="http://google.com" target="_blank">here</a>. They may either come in .zip or .rar files when downloaded to save space on the internet. And a good ROM site is here: <a href="http://google.com" target="_blank">AWESOME ROM SITE <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" /></a>

    But first you need the flashcart(thank you Captain Obvious).

    Now here's a bit of info on this “DS Scene:”

    The DS Scene is like the whole listing and ROM contributing, and GBATemp has a Scene Release too! It only tells you the basic info, who dumped it(copying to the computer), filename, and file size. I would tell you to Google that too, but I hope you can help yourself here. Each game gets a number and a region like the following(not an actual release).

    #0666 – Awesome Game 2000(U)

    Here, the number in front is the release number, and is usually to the thousands place(I picked that number on purpose). Then comes the name, and the region code, (U) for USA, (E) for Europe, and (J) for Japan. Some others are used like (S) for Spain/Spanish. Or some people just use USA, Europe, Japan, Italian, etc. The Wii and GBA have a list too, and so do some others. But the main talk is the DS and the Wii(WiiWare+Virtual Console). I hope that is enough to satisfy you, if you have some questions or need some clearing up, please e-mail(you don't need to Google this one, it will be at the bottom of the post).

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Media</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    With a flashcart you can run Apps such as Moonshell, that can listen to music in MP3 format. And DPG videos which are converted with BatchDPG to play on Moonshell. The Games 'n' Music by Datel plays another type that converts fast and pretty okay. But it does not play ROMs as Datel stays on Nintendo's good side(except for the Freeloader and Action Replay).

    Sounds simple enough eh? That should be all you need! Next is the Advanced section and FAQs, and of course a list of Flashcarts, and who sells them.

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Advanced</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    Multibooters- they allow you to load multiple firmware in one flashcart, one at a time, and choose which one to load. This is good for cards that may not play <b>x</b> homebrew game, but the other cart does.

    Real Time <b>X</b>- This is a term used for something such as: Real Time Save, Real Time Cheats, Real Time Guide, and etc. They usually have a button combination that activates it, bringing you to a menu(usually).

    --Real Time Save: This feature included in more and more flashcarts now, allows you to save in the game, without having to go to "Save Points" that are in certain games. This saves a lot of time so you can leave off whenever.

    --Real Time Cheats: Allows you to activate a "Cheat Menu" while in-game to turn on and activate cheats, while in game, lots of simplicity there. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

    --Real Time Guide: Opens up a guide while in the game. Simple enough? So if you don't have access to the computer, and you are stuck, take a FAQ from IGN or GameFAQs in .txt format, which is what you save as in Notepad(in Windows).

    Soft Reset- The ability to reset IN-GAME so you don't have to use one more muscle and be lazier than ever not to hit that power switch/button, and hit another button combination. It takes you to menu and you can go to another file.

    SDHC-Secure Device High Capcity(almost any SD card 4GB and higher) Not all flashcarts support them.

    That should be all you need to know, but here's some extra information for you.

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>List of Current Slot-1 Flashcarts</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    EZ-Flash V Plus

    Supercard DS-One v3 SDHC <-Willing to pay more, but great!

    iTouch DS <-Good budget card

    N5 -Clone of R4, maybe dead.

    EDGE <-Great cart still!

    Acekard 2 <-$14 at DealExtreme! That's a record low!

    M3 DS Real -Dead(I guess?)

    DS TopToy (DSTT) <- Claimed cheapest cart(price-wise) but chances of getting a fake is high

    Acekard R.P.G. <-Whopping $75(about) but Internal Storage(mostly for developers)

    Cyclo DS Evolution <- Claimed best cart, but $50

    G6 DS Real

    DS Linker 16Gbit

    Ultra Flashpass 8Gbit

    M3 DS Simply

    Supercard DS-One(original)

    EZ Flash V

    Ninja Pass X9

    R4(ugh)- Dead

    Acekard v1

    DS-Xtreme <-No team support(no firmware updates)


    Ninja DS


    NeoFlash Magic Key 2

    <!--sizeo:0--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>FAQs</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    <b>Q. Why didn't you list the Rfo-</b>
    <i>A. May God forgive you.</i>

    <b>Q. Why does you-know-what say -Dead?</b>
    <i>A. Nintendo pressed a lawsuit against them only, and they have no team support now. No updates. Dead.</i>

    <b>Q. What are “clones?”</b>
    <i>A. Clones are cards usually cards with firmwares and build structures the same to another cart.</i>

    <b>Q. What are “fakes?”</b>
    <i>A. Fakes are cards that are supposed to be like the cart, but not exactly, usually though they don't work that same/break down.</i>

    <b>Q. What's the difference[between a clone and a fake]?</b>
    <i>A. Clones are usually better than fakes, since fakes try to sell exactly like the others and make profit, even if they “brick” your DS.</i>

    <b>Q. What's a “brick” got to do anything with a DS?</b>
    <i>A. A brick is what you think, it makes your system as useful as a brick.</i>

    If you have any questions, PM me or e-mail me with the contact information below.

    <!--sizeo:0--><span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><b>Contact</b><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    PM me by clicking the link under this post that says PM.

    My e-mail is: alexh0686@gmail.com

    <b>Sites that are safe and trusted to buy from:</b>

    <a href="http://dealextreme.com" target="_blank">http://dealextreme.com</a> -Really cheap prices! Free(and slow) shipping!
    <a href="http://realhotstuff.com" target="_blank">http://realhotstuff.com</a> -Sells the CycloDS Evolution while Deal Extreme does not[anymore].
    <a href="http://dealwoot.com/" target="_blank">http://dealwoot.com/</a> -GBATemp Recommended Site
    <a href="http://ishopvideogame.com/" target="_blank">http://ishopvideogame.com/</a> -GBATemp Recommended Site
    <a href="http://kickgaming.com/" target="_blank">http://kickgaming.com/</a> -GBATemp Recommended Site
    <a href="http://consolesource.com/" target="_blank">http://consolesource.com/</a> -GBATemp Recommended Site

    Thank you for reading!

    <div align="right">-End</div>

    <b>Closing Comments/Ending Notes</b>

    EDIT Numbah 1: Added R4 to the list, changed the FAQ a bit, added -Dead to certain cards, and went into a bit more depth about Real Time stuff.

    Comment 1: I used the review section on GBATemp's Portal, so thanks for the list of flashcarts I have. And also the affiliates/trusted shops listed.
  2. Dwight

    Dwight Gawb. Gawb Bluth.

    Aug 14, 2008
    United States
    Washington State
    Great guide for anybody who isn't a regular on this site.
    I've had alot of friends ask about my Cyclo, and what it does, and I think that I'll start to refer them to this thread.
  3. JPH

    JPH Banned

    Jul 11, 2006
    United States
    Nice guide, thank you. [​IMG]
  4. Twiffles

    Twiffles танковые победы

    Sep 6, 2007
    Gambia, The
    Oh, so R4 is dead to everyone now? lol
  5. Raestloz

    Raestloz GBATemp's Lone Wolf

    Feb 7, 2008
    The World of Illusion
    Nintendo pressed lawsuit against "You-Know-What" like devices, which means flashcarts, which means, all slot-1 flashcarts listed up there is in danger of extinction

    That's all, Real Time terms are obvious, but some info won't hurt, doesn't it?
  6. gizmo_gal

    gizmo_gal QWEEN of the RadioActive Force!!!

    Apr 10, 2008
    United States
    1st dimension, Earth
    This is great, very dandy for newbies I'm sure. Thanks for taking the time to do it. [​IMG]
  7. Law

    Law rip ninjacat that zarcon made me

    Aug 14, 2007
    Yeah, you should fix that (or perhaps be less biased).


    Warning: Spoilers inside!
  8. Wabsta

    Wabsta you fight like a dairy farmer

    Apr 25, 2008
    SCUMM Bar
    Nice guide!
    Now I can give a link to this one to all my friends/parents(yes, even parent of my friends ask me about it).
    So I won't have to explain everything a thousand times!
  9. alex

    alex GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Jul 1, 2008
    United States
    Thanks people. [​IMG] I've updated it with some of your suggestions.

    I wrote this up for my friends too who want to know about that strange "white game" I have in my DS. [​IMG]
  10. Dark

    Dark GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jul 6, 2008
    United States
    The M3 real isn't dead they release an update this month.
  11. Diablo1123

    Diablo1123 Newcomer

    Mar 9, 2008
    United States
    Best rom site ever there !

    Slot-2s (Supercard lite, etc) are considered flashcarts aren't they?
    mention those are outdated too. =D
  12. haringtonl

    haringtonl GBAtemp Regular

    Aug 15, 2008
    United States
    I wouldn't call m3 ds real dead if they just got RTS like a week or so ago.
  13. Minox

    Minox Thanks for the fish

    Former Staff
    Aug 27, 2007
    Some slot 2 flashcarts are still updated, and they can't be considered outdated if they receive updates, right? [​IMG]
  14. Another World

    Another World Emulate the Planet!

    Former Staff
    Jan 3, 2008
    From Where???
    as long as i pre-patch my roms for save type when required, my flash2advance from 7yrs ago will play any gba i throw at it. it is no longer update, produced or sold and i do not consider it outdated. the m3 lite no longer has firmware releases, the team's official stance is that they will release one when needed. a large number of roms do not work on it without hacks or patches, and still no updates have been released. however, even though they do not release firmware for it i do not consider it to be outdated. my r4 is lacking many features of the current flash linkers, the company has stopped producing the kits, and it will never be updated again. compared to other kits in its class i do consider it to be outdate.

    my point being that my views are from my perspective. a guide like this one should be for everyone and not contain biased opinions be there fact to back them up or not. unless we can all agree on what outdated means it remains a matter of opinion and should not be used in the review of flash kits.

    specifics instead like r4 - no longer produced, m3 lite - no updates for the past year, etc would be better suited here.

    -another world
  15. themuddaload

    themuddaload Creepin' hardcore.

    May 4, 2008
    United States
    West of the equator Sex: sure
    m3 real is definately not dead, sakura and the normal m3 firmware got big updates like a week ago.
  16. tiger1807

    tiger1807 Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    United States
    Soul Society

    My friends will enjoy (forget enjoy, they MUST) reading this article. thanks for this good "what's a flascard" forum, which i have no use of [​IMG]


    got 8 pc gamepads and ongoing heheheheh...
  17. Exbaddude

    Exbaddude The Prince.

    Jul 3, 2008
    Sweet Guide.

    Now I know What REAL TIME IS! Ooooo
  18. PettingZoo

    PettingZoo yesss

    Oct 5, 2008
    in the trap
    What is a flashcart? Why a flashcart is most certainly an R4. FFFFFFFUUU, seriously at school and stuff if some people seeing me playing on my M3 they say "OH IS DAT AN R4?!?!". Good thread anyway, keep up the good work [​IMG]
  19. DeltaBurnt

    DeltaBurnt I'm bored

    Feb 21, 2009
    United States
    Where intellect matters
    Uhh thanks for the like 7 month bump guys...

    Anyways why the heck did you say the M3 DS Real was dead!? It's one of the top carts thanks to M3 Sakura...but this guide was made in October...before the official English release...
  20. triassic911

    triassic911 Burst Mode

    May 9, 2007
    United States
    NYC, USA
    You should add what carts have what loader(s) and alternate firmware for those dead carts, like how the R4 has to use YSMenu to get anywhere now.