Article from Washington Post:
Independent programmers are working on ways to listen to Internet radio and wirelessly check e-mail through the handheld Nintendo DS game device. Elsewhere, some jokers figured out how to get a playable version of Doom onto the iPod.
When one popular Tetris-like game, called Lumines, was not released for the Nintendo GameBoy, one programmer made his own knockoff version, which he called "LumineSweeper."
These are the things that happen inside the "homebrew" scene, the online place where hacker skills and video game culture overlap. For the enthusiasts in this community, figuring out how to make a Nintendo game work on a Sony device is as much fun as playing the games.
For the past year or so, a favorite device among homebrew tinkerers has been the slick PlayStation Portable, Sony's answer to the GameBoy. The PSP plays audio and video files and comes with built-in wireless technology. For the homebrew crowd, the device's capabilities — and its built-in software safeguards — are like candy.
For months, though, the PSP homebrew scene had been nearly dead, thanks to software updates from Sony designed, in part, to shut the tinkerers down. As of this past weekend, however, the game is on again.
PSP owners have to install Sony's PSP updates if they want to experience the latest off-the-shelf titles, but the updates generally offer users only a few new features or tools. Quietly, though, they close the security holes that programmers exploit to do their tricks.
So lively is the homebrew scene that some PSP fans — it's impossible to say how many — say they don't buy or play new games because they don't want to upgrade their gadgets and lose their homebrew software. There's even a circulating joke slogan: "Friends don't let friends upgrade their PSPs."
Unable to break through recent versions of the Sony software, PSP homebrewers have moved on to another trick: downgrading their PSPs to earlier versions.
Thanks to a new file recently posted on the Web, PSP owners with version 2.6 software are able to roll back their devices to the more hacker-friendly software version 1.5. And if any recent game title for the Sony device has generated as much excitement online as this underground developer's announcement, I missed it.
Programmers also have been working away at hacking Microsoft's Xbox 360, but it's unclear how successful they've been. From screen shots floating around the Internet, it looks as though some clever person may have figured out how to put a larger hard drive into the console than the one the machine comes with out of the box -- but the shots could also easily have been faked by somebody spending a few idle minutes with Photoshop.
Microsoft has made bold claims about how secure the Xbox 360 is — just the sort of comments that egg hackers on. But so far, nobody appears to have cracked the 360's security open enough to allow for the installation of free software like Xbox Media Center.
That software, developed by hobbyists, made Microsoft's original game console a more functional home entertainment system than much of what is commercially available today. The program has such a stellar reputation among techies that I've known of some folks who don't care for video games much but bought an Xbox just to use it.
Console makers dislike this sort of tinkering because it opens the door to piracy. The same tricks that make an Xbox more functional to power users are the same tricks that override the controls put into place to keep users from playing illegally copied versions of games.
For inexperienced consumers, there's a huge risk with tinkering on these gadgets. At the very least, you'll void your warranty as soon as you crack open a game-console case. And game devices that connect to the Internet can give their makers stronger ways to register their disapproval: Microsoft throws anyone that it detects as playing with a "modified" Xbox off its online service.
The worst-case scenario for this type of hobbyist is a bit scarier: Install some amateur software code the wrong way, and it can turn that console or portable gadget into a useless piece of plastic and metal. In the gamer-hacker community, this is called "bricking" — as in, that's what you just turned your $400 game console or $250 PSP into.
What are your thoughts on a mainstream sites view of our scene?
heres what i think, they are only looking on the bad sides of it, and thats all they want to reveal, they are not sayoing the good things that have came from homebrew, i have DS homebrew, and i must say Moonshell is the best possible media player for my DS, Beup! get on MSN messanger anywhere theres a hotspot! im sorry but that article has infuriated me
The bad side of things is all these people seem to care about nowadays. If the video game companies would support homebrewers they wouldn't have to worry about them hacking their systems.
Why not get hombrewers on their side to help with copy protection?
If homebrew was on the side of the companies it wouldn't be complete homebrew.
What? You mean we're finally getting some attention!?
Is this good or bad?
i think the impression they are giving is badOriginally Posted by Emeriastone
It would be if they were doing it from home, .Originally Posted by SSaxdude
I don't mean hire them on. Most homebrewers are against piracy right? Why not support homebrew and allow homebrew copy protection methods to be submitted? Seeing as how they always manage to crack the protection on current systems, they'd probably be some of the best to make it.
That probably sounded really stupid, but I'm just thinking out loud, .
The guy who wrote that most likely works for Sony on the sly - lol
It does seem like he's missing the point somewhat...
for me, homebrew is like the old C64/Speccy days never ended.
And if it wasn't for homebrew - I would have sold my Dreamcast two years ago!
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)