Sunday, December 12, 2004 11:25 AM

Showing Nintendo's Cards

I was watching the excellent Justice League Unlimited episode "Dark Heart" written by the incomparable Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan , Planetary) when I saw a commercial for a toy which uses some small media cards that strongly resembles the DS media. The Mattel Megaman PET with it's "battle chips" apparently uses these cards in a sort of digital trading card game mechanic.

Some mention has been made of the similarity between DS cards and the media for one of Mattel's other gizmos - a $60 personal media player called the JuiceBox. And why shouldn't there be - both cards are made by the same company: Matrix Semiconductor. Add the Megaman PET and we have a nice little selection of potential media for DS hacking.

Straight off - let me say that these cards are not directly interchangeable.

However, that having been said - it may be possible to convert or adapt either the Mattel Juiceware or the Mattel Megaman PET to a DS-readable form factor because they share the same underlying technology.

What makes these media more desireable for hacking than just cracking open an existing DS card? (Assuming that you're the kind of monster that would willingly destroy a working DS game card.) Firstly, they're cheaper and easier to find. Secondly... product already exists which bridges the troublesome gap between PC and card. This JuiceBox Juicebox MP3 starter kit includes a blank 32MB card, software, Flash card adaptor and USB card reader/writer.

I have not examined this product, but varying sources claim that the media is SD. I doubt this, but don't have any trouble seeing how that rumor would get started. Any of these media would fail "The Grandma Test." IE: circle a picture in the Sears catalog of a "Mario 64 DS" and expect to see Juiceware's 30 minute episodes of "Ed, Edd and Eddie" under the tree...



At 7:20 PM, Anonymous said...

yeah the battle chips look promising but the juice chips don't. plus the juice chips do use SD you can see it in the bottom picture. - Delo

At 10:30 PM, Brett said...

How do we know it is an SD and not this second propriatary format that the same company makes? Supposedly it comes in 16, 32 and 64 meg flavors. SD cards come in much higher so... why would they specify these sizes? I'm stuck. I gotta get that firsthand confirmation. Did you actually see one of these?

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous said...

I own one of these nifty little boxes and i'm currently in the process of hacking a adapter for the cards.

The memory is SD supporting sd/mmc cards up to 512mb.
the 16 32 and 64mb cards are only mentioned because these are the only sizes you can buy movie cards in right now.

[email protected]

At 10:54 PM, Anonymous said...

Any luck on making the adapter for the Juicebox? I'd like to be able to take personal videos and play them on the juicebox...

At 1:08 AM, homeworld-defense said...

Does anyone know what the video format is for Juice Box and if you can use your own videos? Most information suggests that you can not use your own videos.

Wal-Mart has clearanced them out to approximately half price or lower.

I know the video format is 240 x 160-pixel at 10fps but have not been able to find out what format.

At 6:19 AM, Anonymous said...

Seems to be running uClinux!

Here's some info on the video format used on the box from the company that made it:

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous said...

a proprietary codec is used to play videos. if someone could find the codec you could possibly convert home videos to sd cards. perhaps some initialization file exists to tell the juicebox whether it's got a video card or mp3/photocard. i've copied video files to the sd card and it treats it on the menu like an mp3. when you try to play it you just get garbage on the screen. someone has reported working on trying to adapt an SD card reader to read juiceware cards so if they can do that you can see if there is any kind of initialization file. however, without the codec this mission seems dead in the water.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous said...

1: You can do a self test by holding down the REW and Play button on startup w/ or without a cartridge. This is due to the fact that the sample cartridge is just an empty shell.

2. The self test is basically LCD, Memory, Key test, Batt Voltage, etc. It also gives you the firmware version. On the LCD test it gives you a full character set page that indicates the resolution on the LCD is probably 240x160 or so.

BAD THINGS: Two big ol' globs of Epoxy. Yep. I know it sucks, but here's the thing: one of the globs is probably the rom for the included content that is not on the card. The second appears to be sitting in an area alloted for the S3C44B0X, so im guessing instead of soldering the chip, the just epoxied the core instead of the the dip package. so this is really no big deal unless you wanted to get your hands on a cheap ARM processor. (maybe Im wrong?)

At 7:09 AM, Anonymous said...

this is a 424 page manual to the processor in the juice box. it's all greek to me but maybe someone can make use of it .


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