DS Emulation Terms
What is required to run DS Roms
A GBA flashcart (see: Hardware;Flashcarts) and a Passme/Passcard device are required to run DS roms on your Nintendo DS. There is currently no rewritable NDS cart on the market. [EDIT] There are now DS flashcart which run solely from the DS slot that require no passme or special firmware to run. [EDIT] Flashcart with built-in passme/passcard is now out of print. Productions has stopped.
A Passme device allows DS code and roms to be booted from the GBA slot of the DS. In other words with a Passme inserted you can boot up DS roms that you store on a GBA flashcart. It is inserted into the DS slot and has a DS slot built into the Passme device itself where an original DS game MUST be inserted. The passme device uses the original DS game for authentication purposes only, to bypass the DS encryption. A passme device looks like this:
They come in a variety of styles, names and brands, some include: Passkey, Superpass and EZpass
Later on in the DS emulation scene the Passme2 was released. Nintendo changed a few things to DS’s made after August 2005 that made the original Passme no longer work. The updated Passme2 works on all DS’s and DS Lite’s. However with the Passme2 you are required to use a specific original game card with it that you chose from a list, the specifics of getting a Passme2 to work vary with manufacturers.
Passcard / NoPass
A Passcard does what a Passme does (allow DS code and roms to boot from the GBA slot) except that it does not require an original DS game inserted. The best feature of a Passcard is that it is exactly the same size as an original DS game. They were created after the Passme2 as the DS’s encryption was successfully broken. Just pop it in and in combination with any flashcart you can run DS roms. The passcard is often known as a Passme 3. Some popular passcard devices include: Passcard3, Datel Media Launcher, Superkey and EZpass3.
Flashme is a hacked firmware replacement for both the DS and DS Lite. It looks and acts exactly the same as the original DS firmware except for the fact you will not need a Passme or Passcard to boot DS roms anymore. However you will need a Passme/Passcard to install Flashme in the first place. The standard version of Flashme also removes the DS intro screen (including the Warning screen) when booting up. If you install the ‘stealth’ version of Flashme it will keep the intro and warning screens intact. For a full guide to installing FlashMe view GBAtemp’s official guide.
Non-commercial game/program development. These games/programs are free to download and use.
Rom stands for ‘Read Only Memory’. A video game Rom, is a file that is a dump of the video game. Downloading & sharing rom files for commercially available games is illegal. Owning rom files for commercially available games is illegal when you don't own the game cartridge.
Quite often people are confused between bits and bytes (or Mbits and MBytes). All you need to know: 1 byte is made of 8 bits. (if you want to know why there are 8 bits in 1 byte, search google for articles like this one) Therefore, there are 8 Mega Bits in one Mega Byte. Mega Bit is annotated with a lower case ‘b’ (Mb, mb, mbit) while Mega Byte is upper case (MB, MByte). DS and GBA Roms sizes are talked about in Bits not Bytes. 256mbit Roms are 32MB in size, 512mbit Roms are 64MB etc etc…
For example, the new G6 Lite 4 Gbits lets you store 4 Gbits of data. Which means: 4 Gbits / 8 = 0,5 GByte.
A program that will run a Rom file. For example there are NES/SNES emulators for the DS, so you can run NES/SNES roms on a GBA flashcart.
The official DS emulator for PC made by Intelligent Systems for Nintendo. Unlicensed copies of this emulator are illegal. The 1.3c version of this emulator was leaked on the internet, it ran some DS roms however not at any playable speed. (There is no other version of this emulator available on the internet, so don't bother asking.)
A program released by the release group known as WRG. Loadme patches a DS Rom to work on any generic GBA flashcart. It is not needed on DS specific carts like M3/G6/EZ-Flash/Supercard as they have their own patching methods.
Like Loadme, but not as good. NDS Patcher was the first DS rom patching tool ever released.
A cheat program which can be applied to a Rom like a patch to allow for cheats to be used. DS Trainers are distributed in BSDiff format.
A program that allows Flashcarts to run various different files including Mp3s and DPG encoded videos. Moonshell homepage
A rewritable cartridge for homebrew or illegal Rom use. Currently Flashcarts for the DS are only available as a GBA sized cartridge however on the horizon are ‘real’ DS sized flashcarts.
The most popular GBA flashcarts on the market at the moment include (in no particular order): -R4 -N5 -DS Linker
These flashcarts will also play GBA roms not just DS. The R4 and N5 are flashcarts that use removable media (i.e. take CF/SD/SD mini/SD micro cards). The DS Linker is self contained and uses it's own onboard memory with upto 4Gbit of space (512MB).
“avoid like the plague”. A later version of the flashcart came out known as ‘Neomax’. If you see a product with ‘Neo’ or ‘XG’ in the title it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a Neoflash/XG-Flash product (they are made by the same company). Avoid these products as they are made from inferior parts and have appalling software support. They were originally made for developers, this is why compatibility with commercial games is very low. Don't say we didn't warn you!
A non functioning unit. A DS/GBA/PSP that has been corrupted and will no longer work; resulting in it being a heavy unusable paperweight, i.e. brick. The most common way of bricking Nintendo DS consoles is when an error occurs during the installation of flashme. Replacing the operating system is a risky operation, so proceed carefully.