Homebrew Browser

Ok for you Wii homebrew ignorant the way you run homebrew is by taking advantage of one of the many exploits to run a tiny little but of unsigned code that will in turn launch a full blown homebrew app. Back in the real olden days pretty much all you could do was use the Twilight Princess exploit to launch a port of tetris. What happened really quickly though was that installable homebrew launchers where made like the homebrew channel and a few others like it that I dont think absolutely anybody uses. Once you had the homebrew channel installed you would never need to use another game save exploit again and you could use it to way more easily brows multiple apps stored on your SD card which majorly streamlined the whole process of running homebrew which in turn streamlined the process of developing it (I dunno how other people work but I tend to recompile and retest things a lot even when I’m confidant that what I’m doing wont cause problems). For the end user though its still a bit of a hassle going about using new homebrew. To find out about and get apps that you dont have yet requires motivation which in my opinion somewhat clashes with the laziness that plagues gaming. That is where the Homebrew Browser comes into the equation. Its a homebrew app which you can conveniently launch from your homebrew channel and what it does is provide you with a constantly updatting list of all homebrew games, emulators, media players, demos and everything else and lets you download them with your Wii directly to your SD card so there ready to be played as soon as you back out to your homebrew launcher.

I’ve always known about it but I never actually tried the Homebrew Browser but I have now so let me tell you about it: its so very cool in concept and just a little flawed in execution.

It starts up with a simple white text on black background screen as it reads out what its doing well loading up and connecting to the server and downloading updates and images. Once its done the screen seizures and briefly sits at some random garbage image. It doesn’t take too long for the app to get ready for use but even so that start up doesn’t scream quality presentation and that first time it does have a considerable wait time well it downloads the thumbnail title images for games. The fact that it failed extract all of the images from the rar file that first time also didn’t fill me with confidence about the apps quality. Once you get started there are other problems and shortcomings. Scrolling through the lists using the d-pad painfully slow and well you can hold down the b button and tilt the wiimote to scroll I would still think that its speed for even that method should be ramped up. Switching from category to category (especially with once with a lot of entries like games to emulators and vise versa) causes it to freeze up for a little bit well it presumably loads up the list and associated images. There are lots of little things like that. It also completely crashed and gave me a code dump well I was using it the first time.

But the thing is that once you get past those little gripes it really is an amazing app. That start up may look weak but the visual presentation of the actual app is great. It has a really nice GUI. Aside from the very short pause when loading up a different category to browse it runs increasingly smoothly and is generally just very responsive. You cant comment on homebrew but you can give em a 1-5 star rating and you can also see how many times its been downloaded. You continue browsing well something is download or extracting/installing in the background which I really was expecting to be able to do and it even continues to run really smoothly even then.

Its got room for improvement as any program does but overall its just great quality and lives up to its concept which despite its obviousness I dont think any one else has tried to do on Wii. I downloaded a bunch of games with it to try out which I wouldn’t have bothered to do if I had to involve my computer in the process so that alone justifies downloading.

The real reason I ended up getting around to trying it though is that The person/people (presumably the apps author teknecal) are crazy dedicated and fast when it comes to adding newly released homebrew. Since I finished up the Wii port of Pineapple Apocalypse yesterday and posted it here I decided to make an account over at WiiBrew (aka the god of all Wii homebrew wikis) and after writing up my user page I created a page about my game and stuck a link to it in another page in the wiki with all the other role playing homebrew games. This morning I went back to the wiki and checked the list of recent changes to see if anything I posted had in any way caused people to rage (I’m addicted to reading wikipedia and wiibrew but aside from reporting my results with wiigators backup loader over at the gbatemp’s wiki back when the loader had more compatibility issues I’ve never actually contributed anything to a wiki so I dunno if I’m doing any thing wrong) and what I noticed was that along with awesome helpful people fixing the way a link as done in my user page and adding spaces between the words in the title of the game what else had happened was that it had been added to the Homebrew Browser. I didn’t tell anybody about it on the forum or request that it be added to the browser or do anything like that but it still got added within 24 hours of my posting it on the wiki. That some serious dedication.

Anyways check it out:
http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_Browser

And be sure to download and rate Pineapple Apocalypse and all my future stuff with it once you’ve got it 🙂