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ipodgames On the move, however nerdy it might sound, it’s always practical to have a gaming device at hand. You never know when you’re going to end up in line, stuck in traffic, or locked in an elevator for three days in a row.

However, before I switched Windows Mobile, getting some decent games on my pre-historic cellphone was pretty much impossible, and one doesn’t string a PSP around his neck all day and expect to be popular with the ladies. So, imagine my joy when I discovered that there are free games for iPod that I can download!

These games, which were mainly meant to be downloaded from the iTunes store, could help you kill that little time that was still moving, and although gaming sounds highly impractical with a scroll-click-weel and a center button, they’re great fun.

However, paying for these games gets old quick. Especially because you’re paying 5 bucks (or 5 Euros  – people really don’t seem to know how to convert prices) for games you’ve played in your browser a few years ago, like Tetris and music quizzes.

The problem with the iPod’s freeware games market is Apple’s overprotectiveness. It’s not easy to put games on your iPod that weren’t bought in iTunes. But today, we’re going to show you how it’s done.

Note that the iPods supported by this tutorial are the iPod Video 5G and 5.5G (pictured above). Trying this with iPod Nano’s, iPod Classics, or any of the newer models will be bound to result in failure (and there is no other alternative but installing Linux on your device).

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Either way, everything described in this tutorial, you do on your own risk. MakeUseOf is not responsible for any potential problems, or damage to your iPod.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Prepping your iPod for free games

The process consists of three parts. First, we’re going to make sure iTunes won’t undo all our hard work with the next synchronisation. Then, we’ll need to copy the necessary files and folders to our iPod, and finally, we’re going to patch our firmware.

Configuring iTunes

First of all, let’s fire up iTunes and disable a few options. In Devices – iPod – Options in the Summary tab, make sure that Enable disk use is checked.

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Also, go to the Games tab and disable the Sync games box.

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Now, close up iTunes and make sure your iPod is mounted. If not, remove it and plug it in again.

Moving the files

Next, configure Windows Explorer to display hidden files and folders. If you’re using XP, go to Tools – Folder Options. On Vista, this option can be found in Organize – Folder and Search Options.

In the View tab, make sure Show hidden files and folders is enabled.

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Open your mounted iPod in Windows Explorer and navigate to iPod_ControlGames_RO and extract the hex folder of your downloaded games. Read more about where to get these games at the bottom of the article.

Patching your iPod

For this one, you’ll need to download iPodWizard (v1.3) and the right firmware file – 5G or 5.5G. If you don’t know for certain which you need, the 5.5G iPod is the one with search function.

Fire up iPodWizard and make sure the edit mode is set to Firmware File. Then, browse to the correct firmware. Finally, press Write to iPod and follow the directions on your screen.

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Congratulations, you should now be able to find your games on your iPod under extras. Have fun!

Download Free iPod Games

If you do a quick Google search, a few sites will pop up where you can find free games for your iPod that you can download, one of those sites is Emobilez. This site offers a wide variety of free mobile/portable software, and has a healthy arsenal of games as well.

Although I’ve got my doubts with some of them (e.g. Lost and Zuma), all games are believed to be in the public domain.

How do you find gaming on your iPod? What are your favorite iPod games? Let it all out in the comments!

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