Home Brew on your Handheld…

MAX Media Player opens the door on a wealth of free-to-download games, created by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts!

From simple games to fill a spare five minutes to home-coded epics that are as good as many commercial releases, the Nintendo DS’s thriving home brew scene has something for everyone.

Home-brew games are created by non-professional programmers, purely for the satisfaction and fun of programming a game and sharing it with other gamers. Many hours go into building a title they can be proud of, and when ready, they share their efforts with the rest of the DS home brew scene by uploading it to the internet. After receiving comments and bug reports from fellow enthusiasts, they often return to their game and make improvements.

As home brew games are amateur productions, their programmers usually lack the resources to check every game with every configuration of utilities required to play them on a DS. Luckily, MAX Media Player has taken the DS home brew scene by storm – many programmers and programming teams are currently optimising their games specifically to run well using Datel’s devious devices, so compatibility is increasing all the time. So if the game you’ve downloaded runs poorly or not at all on your DS with MAX Media Player, return to the downloads site in a few weeks and see if an updated version is available.

Remember, though, none of the home brew listed here are programmed or supported by Datel. Please direct any questions you might have about them to their programmers.

Our Top Home Brew Games

Now here’s a game. With a little spit and polish, developer Tinman could have a real winner on his hands, but even as things stand, it’s a fun blast...

You splatter the on-screen bugs with the stylus, tapping the touchscreen to squash them flat. Some bugs demand you tip them on their backs before you can squash them. Beat the time limit and it’s on to the next of the game’s three levels.

Although fun to play, SquashDS has a few flaws. The skills curve is too steep for starters. Instead of just three levels, why not make it three groups of three levels, allowing for a more gradual increase in difficulty? The bugs can move too far from the centre of the screen too, sometimes almost leaving the playing area – frustrating if you’re running out of time and only have a couple more to beat. With any luck, future versions will correct these flaws. Download it here.

Mario Touch

This interesting piece of home brew features everyone’s favourite plumber, Mario...

A sideways-scroller, Mario Touch is played with the stylus. Instead of having direct control over Mario himself, you must beat down the cacti before he runs into them, tapping the bottom segment to get rid of the pile a piece at a time. Later in the game, you must tap every segment on the cactus individually.

Mario Touch boasts great graphics, with scenery that changes as you progress. Can you beat the developer’s top score of 717? Download it here and find out.

Hoover Maneuver

Now here’s a weird one. It’s a multiplayer game where two players compete on one NDS...

Opposing Hoovers race to be the first to collect 50 items of rubbish, bouncing off each other and walls. They rotate automatically and move forward on the press of the ‘Left’ button for one Hoover, and the ‘A’ button for the other. While moving forwards, rotations stops. If you’ve played the vacuum cleaner level in Wario Ware on the GBA, you know exactly what to expect.

Hoover Maneuver is a fun little game, and with WiFi connectivity promised for a later release, it’s going to get even better. Download it here..

TettaDS v1.1

This is definitely one of the best home brew games we’ve yet seen on the Nintendo DS...

A simple puzzle affair (which, despite the title, is not based on Tetris), you get rid of an ever-rising stack of squares by lining up three or more identical units, horizontally or vertically. This is achieved by swapping adjacent pieces. You don’t have to make a line every time you swap two pieces, so you can plan ahead for the big scores. It’s nicely paced and set to some great music.

Unlike many home brew games, there’s a multiplayer mode which you can even play over the internet. In multiplayer, by making lines of greater than three squares, or creating further lines with falling pieces, you cause disruptive blocks to appear on your opponents’ playing area. Up to four players can compete in internet tournaments.

DS Doom

DSDoom for MMP is a special version of DSDoom, which in turn is a NDS port of PrBoom, a project to get Doom up and running on modern platforms.

It provides a program to play Doom levels, but doesn't include data for the levels, sounds sprites, and graphics that make up the Doom environment. To play DSDoom, you need the original game from id Software, or at least the shareware release. Full details on how to get it up and running are included in the download.

DSDoom can be tricky to get up and running – don’t expect drag and drop functionality. However, it’s worth the effort. Doom was, is, and always will be, a classic game.

Sudoku DS

Sudoku is this year’s pencil-and-paper puzzle phenomenon, and guess what? There’s a Sudoku game for the DS! Lovingly created by Zapf_Bandit, the game currently contains 150 puzzles, and more are sure to be added in time.

A Touch of War

A Touch of War is already shaping up to be a stellar real-time strategy opus. Just look at the screenshot – it’s almost commercial quality!

Gorilla, Nibbles and Tetris

Now this one’s a must-download. Three games in one bubbling bundle, all of which were coded for the NeoFlash competition in 2005. Nibbles is a tribute to the Snakes game we all have on our mobile phones, Gorilla is a version of the old Tanks game and finally is Tetris, a game which needs no introduction!


Somebody doesn’t like Sega! Sensei’s neat little number displays Mario and Sonic pics on the touchscreen. The aim of the game is to take out the blue hedgehog by tapping him with your stylus, but hitting Mario costs you points.

3D Ping Pong DS

This is a 3D table tennis game for the DS. You control the floating bat at the foot of the screen, and must send the ball flying back to your opponent. It’s currently a little primitive but with any luck, future releases will build on this theme and turn 3D Ping Pong into a neat little game.

The Collection

A collection of four games in a single download. There’s a simple sliding squares puzzle, which unfortunately uses numbered pieces instead of a picture. Tiles is a simple puzzle affair which calls for a steady hand, and Flip is an interesting outing which makes you concentrate on what you’re doing. The Invasion is a shoot-‘em-up where you aim with the stylus and blast with the shoulder buttons.

Dance ‘n’ Shoot

A Dance, Dance Revolution-style game where you blast the aliens by tapping the buttons in a given sequence. It keeps you on your toes with great music and exciting gameplay. Keep your wits about you – you’re trying to save the Earth…

No Place to Hide

Another mini-games collection, in each game you must avoid letting your player get touched by any of the baddies. And they increase in both speed and numbers as the game goes on, so stay on your toes! The graphics are great, and look out for the tribute to the old arcade classics and home computer raves!

Earth Invaders

An interesting concept, Earth Invaders is a little like Galaxian in that you blast away at aliens occupying the top of the screen, while being restricted to left/right movements yourself, but the twist here is you aim your shots with the stylus…

Our Top 5 Home Brew Sites

Nintendo DS Emulation News

It’s one of the best DS home brew sites on the net! At DS Emulation, you can check out all the latest public domain games, applications and emulators, as well as reading about the latest DS news. And as well as the apps, games, emulators and more stored on the site, it also offers links to plenty more home brew programs elsewhere on the net.

GBA Emulation

As well as being the ultimate DS home brew solution, MAX Media Player is perfect for running GBA programs. GBA Emulation is a News and downloads site for the Nintendo GBA Micro & Game Boy Advance.

GPF Development Site

Troy Davis is one of the top home brew developers on the DS. Known as GPF online, GPF Development is his own site, where he shares his wares on the Dreamcast as well as Nintendo’s happening handheld.

MAX Console

MAX Console is one of the best games enthusiasts’ sites on the net, and they've a great download section – just follow the link on the home page.

NDS Home Brew

NDS Home Brew is exclusively dedicated to bringing you Nintendo DS home brew – it’s as simple as that. Not the jazziest site on the net, but it’s packed with quality downloads and is easy to navigate.

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