Homebrew compatibility and a USB port, on a DS Lite: pure heaven. Photo: Gizmodo.com “grope”. (Lucky bastards.)

Homebrewed software is the key to making the Nintendo DS a platform for electronic musicians and not just mainstream gamers. The challenge, though, is getting homebrew software to work; unfortunately, piracy concerns have made the hardware somewhat less than open. We’ve covered homebrew DS development efforts, including the banner homebrew app, NitroTracker, a stylus-savvy app for oldskool tracker-style music construction, and some of the tricky bits to making this work. This week, the gang at Gizmodo gets their hands on a solution that’s very powerful and offers lots of plug-and-play features, without the usual work. Travis Hudson has a great hands-on with photos:

First Grope: DS-Xtreme Nintendo DS Media Enhancer [Gizmodo.com]

DS-Xtreme Product Page

I asked Tobias Weyend, creator of NitroTracker, what this might mean for homebrew DS musicians:

Yeah, I find the DS-X pretty sweet myself. If they keep their promises, it will be the simplest (although not the cheapest) homebrew solution for the DS so far. The company behind it also seems to be very homebrew-friendly. For example, they announced they will be sending free unit to homebrewers with interesting projects. So, I also applied for one.

As mentioned on their blog, the device supports FAT-enabled homebrew. That means that NT probably already works with it, and if not then it is a matter of minutes to compile it with another FAT library such that it works.

One particularly sweet thing about the DS-X is the USB port. If they release a library for use in homebrew applications for accessing the USB port, it might be possible to use the DS as a regular USB MIDI device!

Whoa, that last line got my attention! The DS-X is indeed pricey, at a whopping US$124.99 for a 512M unit, though if you can round some friends together you could bulk buy them. Even at that price, though, these features could potentially be worth it.