For those of us who already own a DS, there’s not much out this Christmas that matches the R4. Essentially, the R4 is exactly the same as any other DS cartridge, with one notable exception – the R4 boasts a spring loaded MicroSD card, giving users a massive degree of flexibility when it comes to just what you can and can’t run on your DS.
What’s particularly pleasant about the R4 isn’t just the combination of ease of use (and understand me when I say it’s very easy to use) and an unbelievable ability to run even the most recent DS games, but the fact that the R4 package includes just about everything one could possibly need to entirely replace a library of DS games with a single cartridge.
The process is as simple as possible, simply drag and drop dumped DS roms to the MicroSD (the R4 usually comes bundled with a 1GB or 2GB MicroSD, for convenience sake), turn on the DS and choose what you want to play. For anyone worried about managing the actual copying, the R4 also comes bundled with a MicroSD to USB adaptor.
While the R4 allows for the (admittedly legally dubious) practice of dumping bundles of games to a single cartridge, it also enables homebrew gaming on the DS. For anyone interested in homebrew play on the DS, there’s a Nethack clone available (called Powder) and a ScummVM emulator that really brings adventure gaming back to life (thanks in no small part to the DS’s sleep mode).
On top of everything else, an R4 cartridge costs about the same as a game, meaning you won’t have to break the bank to carry all the games you own on one cartridge, saving you from losing them, and you get the added fun of homebrew gaming thrown in… which is no small bonus.