"We are keeping a close eye on the products and studying them. But we cannot smash all of them," a Nintendo spokesperson tells Times Online. The R4 chip, found in a Chinese-made device being sold in Japan, essentially plugs into the Nintendo DS and allows illegally downloaded games to be played from a removable flash memory cart. Though homebrew and other applications are made possible through its use, Nintendo is primarily concerned by its facilitation of easily pirated games -- and we know Nintendo doesn't like those in the slightest.

Smashing all the devices would likely be a tempting prospect, was it not for the fact that it's entirely legal for stores to sell them. Times Online notes that they're available throughout Tokyo's chief electronics district, Akihabara, with retailers shouting its availability from the rooftops, if not its exact function. "New R4 shipment has finally arrived! You know what it does! Absolutely no questions will be answered concerning this product . . ." is how one sign skirts around the issue.

As it's suggested that the R4 (hardly the first or last of its kind) might take a noticeable byte bite out of Nintendo's profits, perhaps the manufacturer should simply purchase all the chips in the district and then smash them back at the office. Perhaps not the most effective method of attack, but it's sure to bring some release to those frustrated Smash Bros. Brawl programmers.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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