Ask Joystiq Nintendo: All DS Edition

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Ask Joystiq Nintendo: All DS Edition
In this week's Ask Joystiq Nintendo, in anticipation of the North American DSi launch (and also because we got a bunch of DS questions) we address some of the most worrisome issues related to the DS! Most notably the nagging issue of the DSi's regional limitations, but we also discuss flashcart compatibility and the ever-present threat of fake cartridges from eBay.

Do you have a question about the Wii, DS, or anything else related to Nintendo? Send us an email at asknintendo AT joystiq DOT com!
Kim Won Jin asks:

I'm going to be in Japan when the 358/2 Days limited edition hits stores, and plan on buying it. will my Japanese DSi work with America's DSi store? Hope to hear from you soon.

Don't buy a Japanese DSi expecting to use the American DSi Shop! This is one of the most confusing issues around the DSi. When people talk about the system being region-locked, even if they don't know which aspect their referring to, it's this one. You can play DS carts from any region, but each region has its own shop. There's a faint hope that some genius will figure out a homebrew method for accessing cross-region shops, but don't spend money assuming that will happen.

Jamie asks:

Does anyone have any idea whether or not a later firmware update will/could tank the current DSi flashcards? I need homebrew for music creation!

It would be hard to imagine Nintendo including upgradeable firmware for any other reason! The good news is that the DSi firmware has been updated since the release of the system, and the few DSi flash carts still work just fine. There's a bit of a Russian roulette element to using your DSi for homebrew -- Nintendo could go off at any time and disable it. Although that's ameliorated a bit by the fact that you can just not update.

Lord Bowser asks:

How can you spot whether your DS game is a fake? It's not as obvious as with the old GBA games. Your help would be well appreciated, thanks.

The best guide I've found for spotting a pirated DS cart is this one from 4cr. It's a bit vintage, and I actually haven't run across any bootlegs in a while, so I'm not sure if the crafty fakers have improved their methods. This video shows that the contacts seem to be the same color now (an old method of checking for a fake) but the black text stamped under the patent-pending notice is missing.

If your cartridge came with a box, generally the cover will be a crummy photocopy. Sometimes the text is replaced with random stuff about the game pulled off of the internet!

ProTip: if you end up with a DS game for which the text somewhere in the package has been replaced with something I wrote, it's even better than buying a retail copy.
Every week, we'll answer reader questions about the Wii, the DS, or any other Nintendo-related topic in Ask Joystiq Nintendo. If you have a question, e-mail it to asknintendo AT joystiq DOT com! You need your questions answered, and we need content for this column. It's a symbiotic relationship!
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