Homebrew is a particular type of unofficial software available for consoles and handhelds that has recieved a fair amount of attention from the media in countries like Japan. This attention is because to run Homebrew on some devices, you need to crack your console or buy a flashcart for a handheld. These two things are often linked with piracy as both allow you to play downloaded games. Homebrew has also recieved a small amount of positive media attention, being praised for turning consoles and handhelds into mutlimedia devices rather than just gaming tools. The most popular devices for Homebrew are: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and the GameCube.
Types of Homebrew
Without a big publisher or help from Nintendo, making a Nintendo DS or Wii indie game was impossible as the copyright protection on the Wii would stop you from using burned discs. This limit has now been removed, and indie games are coming out for all consoles in the form of homebrew games. The games are often small in size and don't recieve much attention, but are often used in portfolios when applying for game development jobs.
The main type of Homebrew is applications, people download these to give their consoles and handhelds some of the functonality of desktop PC's. Media players and word processors are the main applications that are made, but there has also been a PDF Reader, Comic Book Reader, IRC clients, and a full port of Linux to DS.