By November 2, 2006

EZ Flash IV Lite vs SuperCard Lite

Thanks to my own ignorance about Nintendo DS Lite flash cart options, I wound up buying two complete sets of PassMe/Flash cart devices. Luckily I’ve made use of the second set with Lady Jaye’s newly acquired pink NDSL. I’m glad I kept the unit instead of selling it, because it’s allowed me to compare both the EZ Flash IV and the SuperCard Lite systems. My white NDSL has the SuperCard, Lady Jaye’s pink NDSL has the EZ Flash IV.

The hardware
The first difference between the EZ Flash IV and the SuperCard Lite is the fit and finish of the hardware. The SCL fits snugly and flush inside the DS Lite. There is a plastic piece that completely covers the bottom of the GBA slot.

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The EZ Flash IV doesn’t fit nearly as well into the DS. It sticks out a bit, and doesn’t completely cover the bottom of the DS.

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The other thing I dislike about the EZ Flash IV is that the slot for the microSD card is on the right side of the card. If you want to remove the microSD card to change games around you must completely remove the EZ Flash IV. The SuperCard Lite’s microSD card is located in the front. All you have to do is remove the microSD card, the larger SuperCard unit stays inside the NDSL.

The desktop software
The SuperCard software is pretty straight-forward. It’s not much to look at, and while there are options for exporting ROMs to your flash card there isn’t much documentation on what each option actually does.

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The EZ Flash IV has a long heritage behind it. For awhile, they were one of the only GameBoy Advance flash kit companies around. I have their EZ Flash II product for my GBA, and it worked pretty well. The software used to transfer games from my computer to the GBA was often a mish-mash of Chinese and English, but I made do. The EZ Flash IV software is a huge improvement. While still pretty stark visually, it is easy to use.

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DS software
The SuperCard (and required SuperKey) software works very well. Using it is simple. The DS automatically boots to the software loader. You select the game you want to play from the menu and the game starts. It’s a no brainer. I also like that the SuperKey advances past the standard health warning information on the DS.

The EZ Flash IV is a bit more complicated. The DS boots to the default system screen. The user has to select “EZ Pass 3 Boot Device” in order to launch the software loader. After that, there is a major flaw in how the EZ Flash IV is designed. If you have been playing a game previously, two dialog boxes pop up in succession. They are save dialogs, and if you touch the bottom screen or hit the “A” button, your save is cancelled. This might be the first time I’ve ever heard of a negative reinforcement dialog in a UI. It’s akin to saying, “Press here if you don’t want to save.” Why in the fuck is this even an option? People save things because they want to preserve them. Getting a confirmation of not-saving a save is … bizarro world at its finest, I guess.

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If you conquer the save game “mini-game,” then you can load a ROM file just like with the SuperCard. Game play proceeds normally.

ROM/Product Support
The one advantage the EZ Flash IV has over the SuperCard is that the EZ team puts out more updates more frequently than the SuperCard folks. If a new game comes out that requires an update, the EZ team usually has it first. It took several weeks for SuperCard to come out with the necessary software to run Lego Star Wars II, for example. The EZ team had it out in a matter of days.

Conclusion
Despite some compatibility/support issues, I strongly recommend the SuperCard over the EZ Flash IV. The differences in the software packages is a wash. The hardware of the SuperCard is easier to use and looks more “stock” than the EZ Flash. Lastly, the whole don’t-save-save-system of the EZ Flash IV makes it a clear loser. Lady Jaye lost quite a bit of time replaying the New Super Mario Brothers because of this “feature.”

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Posted in: games, review, technology

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