The technology surrounding the Nintendo DS is developing rapidly – and for newcomers to the DS, some of the terminology can be confusing.
If you are a non-techie, follow this simple glossary of R4 terms to help understand R4 technology and R4 upgrades:
DS – DS stands for both ‘dual screen’ and ‘developer’s system’ – according to Nintendo: dual screen to users of the DS, and developer’s system to developers.
Firmware – Firmware is a hidden resource on an electronic device which comprises memory chips, program code and any data to make the device work or carry out a specific task. Users cannot normally access firmware – it comes into operation when a certain instruction is given to a device by the user, such as Shut Down or Reboot.
Flash – Adobe Flash is a software program which enables videos and animations to be played online or on a DS player or other portable media device with a screen. (Animated or video adverts online use Flash to function and without the program all you would see is an empty box where the ad or animation should have been.)
Flash card/Flash cart – A flash card/cart is the hardware device such as an R4 card which has the Adobe Flash program stored on it to enable it to run videos and animations like games (flash cards can also be referred to as cards or carts, as in ‘R4 cart’).
Homebrew – Media files like games (also called Roms – see further down glossary), mp3 music files, video files and eBooks downloaded to a DS console via R4 card.
Kernel – The basic component or components of an operating system (OS) on a computer or other device, which make all the other parts work and is the first part of the OS loaded during start up. (When a PC or DS user inputs a command, the exterior part of the kernel – known as the shell – carries out the command to make the PC or device work.)
Moonshell – a multimedia player for the Nintendo DS, which plays media like mp3 music files or videos.
NDS – Nintendo DS, as in NDS cards
Operating System – the central software program on a computer or electronic device, which make the whole system work.
R4 – Revolution 4 was the original name of R4 cards.
R4i – Next generation R4 card for the Nintendo DSi and DSi XL console
R4 3DS – R4 card which runs on the Nintendo 3DS player and runs 3D games and image files.
Roms – The name given to copies of games saved from elsewhere on a Micro SD memory card for download to a DS player via the R4 card eg GBA Rom or Game Boy Advance Rom. ROM stands for read-only memory.
Wood – The name given to R4 kernel upgrades eg Wood R4 V4.14 upgrade. Generally, DS or R4 upgrades might be referred to as Wood firmware ugrades.
Buying an R4 card from an established supplier with online support is a good idea, whether you are a novice DS gamer or at the top of your DS game.
Remember that R4 cards have to be ugraded when Nintendo releases new updates, so choose a supplier with sound online support – most suppliers will only be too pleased to advise on the best R4 card for your DS console, so avoid cheap deals or you could end up suffering in silence (literally) when your R4 card fails to work through lack of an available upgrade.