Well, is it worth a try at fooling around with this? I don't mind the effort, I just don't want to mess up anything.
Worth fooling around? No.
If you are unaware of a recovery mode for your camera, any attempt forceably install a firmware not supported by Nikon (even if said firmware has a good chance of working) is very risky.
A place to start, if you are interested, is to look into how other devices get modified.
What comes to mind first is the Sandisk Sansa E200. Sandisk had a published recovery procedure for borked _legitimate_ firmware upgrades. Knowing there was a fallback procedure insures that failed experimentation can be recovered from. I am not aware of such a published procedure from Nikon - but you could look for one.
Elsewise recovery either relies on knowledge Nikon keeps close to their chest (an unpublished easy recovery method) OR writing a new firmware directly to the device through JTAG or similar.