Nintendo DS: Map


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The is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in 2004 in Canadamarker, the United Statesmarker, and Japanmarker. The console features a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP, with two LCD screens inside—with the bottom one being a touchscreen. The Nintendo DS also features a built-in microphone and supports wireless IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards, allowing players to interact with each other within short range (10–30 m, depending on conditions) or online with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, which launched later in the console's lifespan. This was the first Nintendo console to be released in North America prior to Japan.

The system's code name was Nitro, and this can be seen in the model number that appear on the unit (NTR-001). The console's name officially refers to "Developers' System", in reference to developers of new game designs the system was meant to inspire, and "Dual Screen", the system's most obvious and distinct feature.

On March 2, 2006, Nintendo released the Nintendo DS Lite, a redesign of the Nintendo DS, in Japan. It was later released in North America, Europe, and Australia in June 2006. The DS Lite is a slimmer and lighter version of the Nintendo DS and has brighter screens. Nintendo of America refers to the older model as the "original style" Nintendo DS. It is often affectionately referred to by fans as the "DS Phat." On October 2, 2008, Nintendo announced the Nintendo DSi, another redesign of the Nintendo DS, at the Nintendo Fall Media Summit. It was released in Japan on November 1, 2008. It was later released in North America, Europe and Australia in April 2009. The DSi's codename has been changed to "TWL" due to it being a substantial hardware upgrade including a faster CPU and more RAM, and requiring new development kits.

Development and launch

On November 13, 2003, Nintendo announced that it would be creating a new console for release in 2004. Nintendo stated that it would not be the successor to either the Nintendo GameCube or the Game Boy Advance, but rather it would be considered a "third pillar" alongside the other two consoles. On January 20, 2004, the console was announced under the codename "Nintendo DS" (Which stands for Developer's System.). Nintendo released a few details at that time, only saying that the console would have two separate 3-inch TFT LCD display panels, separate processors, and up to 1 gigabit of semiconductor memory. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said, "We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century." In March, the codename was changed to "Nitro" and a document containing most of the console's technical specifications was leaked. In May, the codename was changed back to "Nintendo DS" and the console was shown in prototype form at E3. All of the features of the console were released by Nintendo at E3. On July 28, 2004, Nintendo revealed a new design, one that was described as "sleeker and more elegant" than the one shown at E3. Also, the codename "Nintendo DS" became the official name of the console that day.

The Nintendo DS bears a striking resemblance to the company's first handheld, the Game & Watch, specifically the multi-screen versions such as Donkey Kong.

On September 20, 2004, Nintendo announced that the Nintendo DS would be released in North America on November 21, 2004 for US$149.99. It was set to release on December 2, 2004 in Japan (¥15000); on February 24, 2005 in Australia ($199.95); and on March 11, 2005 in Europe (£99.99/€149.99). The console was released in North America with a midnight launch event at Universal CityWalk EB Games in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. The console was launched quietly in Japan compared to the North America launch; one source cites the cold weather as the reason. In January 2005, the Australia release date of February 24, 2005 and the Europe release date of March 11, 2005 were announced. Regarding the European launch, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said:
Europe is an extremely important market for Nintendo, and we are pleased we can offer such a short period of time between the US and European launch.
We believe that the Nintendo DS will change the way people play video games and our mission remains to expand the game play experience.
Nintendo DS caters for the needs of all gamers whether for more dedicated gamers who want the real challenge they expect, or the more casual gamers who want quick, pick up and play fun.


Input and output

The lower display of the Nintendo DS is overlaid with a touchscreen, designed to accept input from the included stylus, the user's fingers, or a curved plastic tab attached to the optional wrist strap. The touchscreen allows users to interact with in-game elements more directly than by pressing buttons; for example, in the included chatting software, PictoChat, the stylus is used to write messages or draw.

Traditional controls are located on either side of the touchscreen. To the left is a D-pad, with a narrow Power button above it, and to the right are the A, B, X, and Y buttons, with narrow Select and Start buttons above them. Shoulder buttons L and R are located on the upper corners of the lower half of the system. The overall button layout is similar to the controller of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super Famicom in Japan). When playing a GBA game on the DS, buttons X and Y are never used (because the GBA itself only had buttons A and B).

The Nintendo DS features stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound (depending on the software) located on either side of the upper display screen. This is a first for a Nintendo handheld, as the Game Boy line of systems has only supported stereo sound through the use of headphones or external speakers.

A built-in microphone is located below the left side of the bottom screen. It has been used for a variety of purposes, including speech recognition (Nintendogs, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!), chatting online between and during gameplay sessions (Pokémon Pearl, Diamond, and Platinum), and minigames that require the player to blow or shout into the microphone (including WarioWare: Touched!, for example).

Technical specifications

  • Weight: 300 grams (9.7 oz.)
  • Physical dimensions: 148.7 mm x 84.7 mm x 28.9 mm (5.85 in. x 3.33 in. x 1.13 in.)
  • Screens: Two 3-inch TFT LCD, 18-bit depth (262,144 colors), resolution of 256 x 192 pixels, dimensions of 62 mm x 46 mm and 77 mm diagonal, and a dot pitch of 0.24 mm. The gap between the screens is approximately 21 mm, equivalent to about 92 "hidden" lines. The lowermost display of the Nintendo DS is overlaid with a resistive touchscreen, which registers pressure from one point on the screen at a time, averaging multiple points of contact if necessary.
  • CPUs: Two ARM processors, an ARM946E-S main CPU and ARM7TDMI coprocessor at clock speeds of 67 MHz and 33 MHz respectively. The ARM946E-S CPU processes gameplay mechanisms and video rendering while the ARM7TDMI processes sound output, Wi-Fi support and additionally, when in Game Boy Advance mode, processes what the other processor used to do.
  • RAM: 4 MB of mobile RAM, expandable via the Game Boy Advance slot (The expanded memory is officially only used by the Opera web browser.)
  • Voltage: 1.65 volts required.
  • Storage: 256 kB of serial flash memory.
  • Wireless: Built-in 802.11 Wireless Network Connection (802.11b compatible with WEP encryption support only).

The system's 3D hardware performs transform and lighting, texture-coordinate transformation, texture mapping, alpha blending, cel shading, and z-buffering; however, it uses point (nearest neighbor) texture filtering, leading to some titles having a blocky appearance. Unlike most 3D hardware, it has a set limit on the number of triangles it can render as part of a single scene; the maximum amount is about 6144 vertices, or 2048 triangles per frame. The 3D hardware is designed to render to a single screen at a time, so rendering 3D to both screens is difficult and decreases performance significantly. The DS is generally more limited by its polygon budget than by its pixel fill rate. There are also 512 kilobytes of texture memory, and the maximum texture size is 1024x1024 pixels.

The system has 656 kilobytes of video memory and two 2D engines (one per screen). These are similar to (but more powerful than) the Game Boy Advance's single 2D engine; however, the cores are divided into the main core and sub core. Only the main core is capable of vertex 3D rendering.

The Nintendo DS has compatibility with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b). Wi-Fi is used for accessing the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, compete with other users playing the same Wi-Fi compatible game, Pictochat or with a special cartridge and RAM extension, browse the internet.

Media specifications

Nintendo DS games use a proprietary solid state ROM "game card" format resembling the memory cards used in other portable electronic devices such as digital cameras. Cards currently range from 64 megabits to 4 gigabits (8–512 megabytes) in size (although the maximum capacity is unknown) The cards usually have a small amount of flash memory or an EEPROM to save user data such as game progress or high scores. However, there are a small number of games that have no save memory such as Electroplankton. The game cards are 35.0 mm × 33.0 mm × 3.8 mm (about half the breadth and depth as Game Boy Advance cartridges) and weigh around 3.5 grams (1/8 oz.).

Based on an IGN blog by the developer of MechAssault: Phantom War, larger (such as 128 MB) cards have a slower data transfer rate than the more common smaller (such as 64 MB) cards; however, the specific rates were not mentioned.


Nintendo's own custom firmware boots the system. A health and safety warning is displayed first, then the main menu is loaded, similar to the Wii console. The main menu presents the player with four main options to select: play a DS game, use PictoChat, initiate DS Download Play, or play a Game Boy Advance game.

The firmware also features an alarm clock, several options for customization (such as boot priority for when games are inserted and GBA screen preference), and the ability to input user information and preferences (such as name, birthday, favorite color, etc.) that can be used in games.

Battery life

The Nintendo DS contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 850 mAh. On a full four-hour charge, the factory 850 mAh battery lasts about 10 hours. Battery life is affected by multiple factors including speaker volume, use of one or both screens, back lighting, and use of wireless connectivity. The biggest effect on battery life is caused by using the backlight, which can be turned off in the main menu screen, or in selected games (such as Super Mario 64 DS). The battery is designed to be removed only when it expires.

To sustain battery life in the midst of a game, users can close the Nintendo DS system, putting the DS in sleep mode that also pauses the game that is being played; however, closing the system while playing a Game Boy Advance game will not put the Nintendo DS into sleep mode; the game will continue to run normally, including the back light. Certain DS games (such as Animal Crossing: Wild World) also will not pause but the backlight, screens, and speakers will turn off. When saving the game in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, Zoo Tycoon DS, SimCity DS, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Mega Man Battle Network 5, or The Legendary Starfy, the DS will not go into sleep mode.


Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is a free online game service run by Nintendo. Players with a compatible Nintendo DS game can connect to the service via a Wi-Fi network using a Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector or a wireless router. The service was launched in North America on November 14, 2005 with the release of Mario Kart DS. Various online games and a web browser (see below) are now available.

Download Play

With Download Play it is possible for users to play multiplayer games with other Nintendo DS systems using only one game card. Players must have their systems within wireless range (up to approximately 60 feet) of each other and the guest system to download the necessary data from the host system.

Some Nintendo DS retailers feature DS Download Stations that allow users to download demos of upcoming and currently available DS games; however, due to memory limitations, the downloads are erased once the system is powered off. The Download Station is made up of 1 to 8 standard retail DS units, with a standard DS card containing the demo data. On May 7, 2008, Nintendo released the Nintendo Channel for download on the Wii. The Nintendo Channel uses Nintendo's WiiConnect24 to download Nintendo DS demos through the Nintendo Channel. From there, a user can select the game demo he/she wishes to play and, similar to the Nintendo DS Download Stations at retail outlets, download the demo (until the user turns off the console) to their DS' 4MB RAM.

In collaboration with fast food restaurant chain McDonald's, a service called "Nintendo Zone" will start in the Kanto, Chūkyō and Kansaimarker regions of Japan. It is an extension of the DS Download Station that offers exclusive content to each area and demos of upcoming and currently available DS games. The DSi has the necessary software built-in to detect and use these zones, while previous versions require downloading the "Nintendo Zone Viewer."


PictoChat allows users to communicate with other Nintendo DS users within local wireless range. Users can enter text (via a small on screen keyboard), handwrite messages or draw pictures (via the stylus and touchscreen). There are four chatrooms (A, B, C, D) in which people can go to chat. Up to sixteen people can connect in any one room.


The Nintendo DS is backwards compatible with Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges. The smaller Nintendo DS game cards fit into Slot 1 on the top of the system, while Game Boy Advance games fit into Slot 2 on the bottom of the system. The Nintendo DS is not compatible with games for the Game Boy Color and the original Game Boy, due to a slightly different form factor, voltage requirements, and the absence of the compatibility mode. The Sharp Z80 compatible processor used in the older systems is still included, and indeed necessary for some GBA games that use the older sound hardware.

The handheld does not have a port for the Game Boy Advance Link Cable, so multiplayer or GameCube-Game Boy Advance link-up modes are not available in Game Boy Advance titles. Only single player mode is supported on the Nintendo DS.

The Nintendo DS only uses one screen when playing Game Boy Advance games. The user can configure the system to use either the top or bottom screen by default. The games are displayed within a black border on the screen, due to the slightly different screen resolution between the two systems (256 × 192 px (approx. 0.05 megapixel) for the Nintendo DS, and 240 × 160 px (approx. 0.04 megapixels) for the Game Boy Advance).

Nintendo DS games inserted into Slot 1 are able to detect the presence of specific Game Boy Advance games in Slot 2. In many such games, either stated in the game during gameplay or mostly explained in the games' instruction manuals, extra content can be unlocked or added by starting the Nintendo DS game with the appropriate Game Boy Advance game inserted. Some of the content can stay permanently, even when the GBA game has been removed after content has been added.

Additionally, Slot 2 can be used to house expansion paks, such as the Rumble Pak, the Nintendo DS Memory Expansion Pak, and the Guitar Grip for the Guitar Hero: On Tour series.

Regional division

The Nintendo DS is region free in the sense that any console will run a Nintendo DS game purchased anywhere in the world; however, the Chinese version games can only be played on the Chinese iQue DS, whose larger firmware chip contains the required Chinese character glyph images. Although the Nintendo DS of other regions cannot play the Chinese games, the iQue DS can play games of other regions. Also, as with Game Boy games, some games that require both players to have a Nintendo DS game card for multiplayer play will not necessarily work together if the games are from different regions (e.g. a Japanese Nintendo DS game may not work with a North American Nintendo DS game, even though some titles, such as Mario Kart DS and Pokémon Diamond and Pearl versions are mutually compatible). With the addition of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, certain games can be played over the Internet with users of a different region game.

Some Wi-Fi enabled games (e.g. Mario Kart DS) allow the selection of opponents by region. The options are "Regional" ("Continent" in Europe) and "Worldwide", as well as two non-location specific settings. This allows the player to limit competitors to only those opponents based in the same geographical area. This is based on the region code of the game in use.

The Nintendo DSi, however, will have region block for the DSiWare downloadable games, and perhaps DSi-specific cartridges. It still will run older DS games of any region.


Although the secondary port on the Nintendo DS does accept and support Game Boy Advance cartridges (but not Game Boy or Game Boy Color cartridges), Nintendo has emphasized that its main intention for its inclusion was to allow a wide variety of accessories to be released for the system, the Game Boy Advance compatibility titles being a logical extension.

Nintendo announced at E3 2005 that it would launch "headset accessories" for voice over IP (VoIP) enabled games. (This will plug into the VoIP plug next to the Ear Phone jack, not the Game Boy Advance slot.)

Rumble Pak

The Rumble Pak was the first official expansion slot accessory. In the form of a Game Boy Advance cartridge, the Rumble Pak vibrates to reflect the action in compatible games, such as when the player bumps into an obstacle or loses a life. It was released in North America and Japan in 2005, as a separate accessory and bundled with Metroid Prime Pinball. It is not compatible with the DSi, due to the lack of GBA slot.

In Europe, the Rumble Pak was first available with the game Actionloop, and later Metroid Prime Pinball. The Rumble Pak was also released separately.


The Nintendo DS Headset is the official headset for the Nintendo DS. It plugs into the headset port (which is a combination of a standard 3.5mm(1/8-inch) headphone connector and a proprietary microphone connector) on the bottom of the system. It features one earphone and a microphone, and is compatible with all games that use the internal microphone. It was released in Japan on September 14, 2006. The headset was released in North America on April 22, 2007, alongside Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, two games that have built-in voice chat. Other communication headsets not made by Nintendo will also work as the mic. It was released in Australia on June 21, 2007, also alongside Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.


On February 15, 2006, Nintendo announced a version of the cross-platform web browser Opera for the DS system. The browser can use one screen as an overview, a zoomed portion of which appears on the other screen, or both screens together to present a single tall view of the page. The browser went on sale in Japan and Europe in 2006, and in North America on June 4, 2007. Browser operation requires that an included memory expansion pak is inserted into the GBA slot. As a result, it is not compatible with the DSi. However, the DSi has an internet browser available for download from the DSiWare shop for free.

Wi-Fi USB Connector

This USB-flash-disk-sized accessory plugs into a PC's USB port and creates a miniature hotspot/wireless access point, allowing a Wii and up to five Nintendo DS units to access the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service through the host computer's Internet connection. When tried under Linux, it acts as a regular wireless adapter, connecting to wireless networks, an LED blinks when there is data being transferred. There is also a hacked driver for Windows XP/Vista to make it function the same way. The Wi-Fi USB Connector has been discontinued from retail stores.

MP3 Player

The Nintendo MP3 Player (a modified version of the device known as the Play-Yan in Japan) was released on December 8, 2006 by Nintendo of Europe at a retail price of £29.99/€30. The add-on uses removable SD cards to store MP3 audio files, and can be used in any device that features support for Game Boy Advance cartridges; however, due to this, it is limited in terms of its user-interface and functionality, as it does not support using both screens of the DS simultaneously, nor does it make use of its touch-screen capability. It is not compatible with the DSi, due to the lack of the GBA slot, but the DSi includes a music player via SD card. Although it stated on the box that it is only compatible with the Gameboy Micro, DS and DS Lite it is also compatible with the GBASP and GBA.

Guitar grip controller

The "Guitar Grip" fits into the GBA slot on the Nintendo DS Lite to simulate the guitar controller.
The Guitar grip controller comes packaged with the game Guitar Hero: On Tour and is plugged into the GBA game slot. It features four colored buttons just like the ones that can be found on regular Guitar Hero guitar controllers for the stationary consoles, though it lacks the fifth orange button found on the guitar controllers. The DS Guitar Hero controller comes with a small "pick-stylus" (which is shaped like a guitar pick, as the name suggests) that can be put away into a small slot on the controller. It also features a hand strap. The game works with both the DS Lite and the original Nintendo DS as it comes with an adapter for the original DS. It is not compatible with the DSi, due to the lack of GBA slot. The Guitar Grip also works with its sequels, Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades and Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits.

Hacking and homebrew

Since the release of the Nintendo DS, a great deal of hacking has occurred involving the DS's fully rewritable firmware, Wi-Fi connection, game cards that allow SD storage, and software use. There are now many different emulators for the DS such as NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Neo-Geo Pocket, Neo-Geo (arcade), as well as many other older consoles like Game Boy Color.

There are a number of cards which either have built-in flash memory, or a slot which can accept an SD, or MicroSD (like the DSTT and R4) cards. There are several versions of the R4 card in existence, leading to the coining of the term "fake" card. These cards allow the user to play music, movies, and load homebrew and commercial games. Skins can also be changed although this process appears to be different for different cards, such as the EDGE DS.

In South Korea, many video game consumers exploit illegal copies of video games, including for the Nintendo DS. In 2007, 500,000 copies of DS games were sold, while the sales of the DS hardware units was 800,000. Many users, however, use their DS cards for legitimate and homebrew purposes, which is not illegal in most countries.


See also: Nintendo DS emulation

Marketing and sales


The system's promotional slogans revolve around the word "Touch" in almost all countries, with the US slogan being "Touching is good." The Nintendo DS is currently seen by many analysts to be in the same market as Sony's PlayStation Portable, although representatives from both companies have said that each system targets a different audience. At the time of its release in the United States, the Nintendo DS retailed for US $149.99. The price dropped to US$129.99 on August 21, 2005, one day before the anticipated North American releases of Nintendogs and Advance Wars: Dual Strike. At one point, Time magazine awarded the DS with a Gadget of the Week award.Nine official colors of the Nintendo DS were available through standard retailers. Titanium (silver and black) were available worldwide, Electric Blue was exclusive to North and Latin America. There was also a red version of the DS which was bundled with the game Mario Kart DS. Graphite Black, Pure White, Turquoise Blue, and Candy Pink were available in Japan. Mystic Pink and Cosmic Blue were available in Australia and New Zealand. Japan's Candy Pink and Australia's Cosmic Blue were also available in Europe and North America through a Nintendogs bundle, although the colors are just referred to as pink and blue; however, these colors were only available for the original style Nintendo DS; a different and more-limited set of colors have been used for the Nintendo DS Lite.


units shipped]] (DS and DS Lite combined), millions
Date Japan Americas Other Worldwide
2004-12-31 1.45 1.36 0.03 2.84
2005-03-31 2.12 2.19 0.95 5.27
2005-06-30 ? ? ? 6.65
2005-09-30 3.63 2.87 2.34 8.83
2005-12-31 5.70 4.63 4.10 14.43
2006-03-31 6.91 5.11 4.71 16.73
2006-06-30 9.24 5.90 6.13 21.27
2006-09-30 11.52 7.51 7.79 26.82
2006-12-31 14.43 10.18 11.00 35.61
2007-03-31 16.02 11.74 12.52 40.29
2007-06-30 18.11 14.14 15.03 47.27
2007-09-30 19.71 16.06 17.88 53.64
2007-12-31 21.66 20.18 22.94 64.79
2008-03-31 22.38 22.39 25.82 70.60
2008-06-30 22.97 25.11 29.47 77.54
2008-09-30 23.71 27.63 32.99 84.33
2008-12-31 25.67 31.93 38.62 96.22
2009-03-31 26.39 34.46 40.93 101.78
2009-06-30 27.00 36.97 43.78 107.75
2009-09-30 28.12 39.35 46.01 113.48

  • On October 3, 2006 Nintendo announced a 20.5% raise in net profit forecast partially attributed to strong DS sales. The company also raised its estimated DS sales forecast by 18%.
  • On July 25, 2007 Nintendo announced in its first quarter financial report that it had increased DS hardware shipments from 22 million to 26 million. Nintendo also raised its DS software sales projection from 130 million units to 140 million. On October 26, 2007, Nintendo announced an increase in DS hardware shipments to 28 million and software to 165 million.
  • As of September 26, 2007, the Nintendo DS had sold over 50 million units and is therefore the fastest-selling handheld game console of all time. On October 30, 2007, Chart-Track reported DS sales of over 4 million in the United Kingdom. In November 2007, Media Create reported DS sales of 20 million in Japan.
  • During the week of November 18 to November 24, Nintendo of America set a new Nintendo sales record by selling over 653,000 DS units in one week, breaking the previous record held by the Game Boy Advance, which sold 600,000 units.
  • On November 27, 2007, Nintendo announced that the DS had set a new weekly hardware sales record in the UK, with over 191,000 units sold, according to Chart-Track; breaking the previous record held by the PSP, which sold 185,000 units in its first week of availability in the UK.
  • As of December 27, 2007, the DS had sold over 1 million units in South Korea, according to Nintendo of Korea.
  • In 2007, the DS was the best-selling game console in the US and Japan with 8.5 million and 7,143,702 units sold respectively, according to the NPD Group and Enterbrain. In Europe, the DS sold 6.4 million units in 2006 and 8.7 million in 2007, according to estimates by Electronic Arts. In 2008, the DS was the best-selling game console in Japan with 4,029,804 units sold, according to Enterbrain.
  • On January 24, 2008, Nintendo Europe revealed that the DS had sold over 20 million units in Europe. Months later in June 2008, The Nintendo DS had sold over 20 million units in the United Statesmarker, according to NPD Group.
  • In Japan, the original style DS had sold 6,449,206 units as of October 1, 2008, according to Famitsu/Enterbrain. As of December 22, 2008, the DS Lite and DSi had sold 17,348,252 and 1,062,416 units in Japan, respectively, according to Enterbrain. As of December 28, 2008, the DS, DS Lite, and DSi combined to sell 25,135,276 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.
  • In the United Kingdom, the Nintendo DS had sold 8.8 million units as of January 3, 2009, according to GfK Chart-Track.
  • According to the NPD Group, 3 million Nintendo DS Lites have been sold in the United States for the month of December 2008, breaking the record for the most video game hardware sold in a single month. This record was previously held by the PlayStation 2, which sold 2.7 million units in December 2002.
  • In Australia, sales have been strong. On January 30, 2008, Nintendo Australia announced that the DS had sold over 1 million units in Australia. Over a year later on 28 May 2009, Nintendo Australia announced that DS sales in Australia have reached 2 million in a record of 221 weeks, and is the best selling gaming console for the three past years.
  • On March 6, 2009, Nintendo announced that it had shipped its 100-millionth Nintendo DS system.

Special editions and promotional packages

Many special editions and promotional packages have been available for the Nintendo DS, starting with the first Nintendo DS bundle of a Metroid Prime Hunters demo version, which was included in the first lineup of US shipments. Other adjustments have been made to the DS/DS Lite including color and laser engravings made for promotional events. For example, during the release of Mario Kart DS in North America, a "Red Hot DS Bundle" was available, which was a red Nintendo DS, with the game Mario Kart DS packaged along with it.

The first Nintendo DS Lite promotional package was released in a very limited run as a promotional item at the world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on May 23, 2007. This package included a DS console with pirate graphics on the case, and the game pack of the same name. The first Nintendo DS Lite retail bundle became available in North America on August 21, 2007; it included Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day!, a DS Lite carrying case, and an exclusive color DS Lite. The DS Lite has a crimson top outer casing, and the rest of the DS is matte black.


Nintendo DS Lite

The Nintendo DS Lite is a slimmer, lighter redesign of the original Nintendo DS model. It was announced on January 26, 2006, more than a month before its first territorial launch in Japan on March 2, 2006.

The features and capabilities are the same as the original style DS, but the DS Lite has four levels of LCD screen brightness; however, the four levels do not include a level where the backlight is off. Despite having four brightness levels, even the lowest brightness setting on the Nintendo DS lite is in fact brighter than the Nintendo DS's original screen, which had one brightness setting and an off setting. Unlike the casing of the original style DS, the DS Lite has a shiny glossy semi-transparent outside casing. The LED battery and charging light indicators have been moved to the upper right-hand corner of the unit, making it viewable regardless of whether the system is open or closed. The "start" and "select" buttons have been moved to the lower right-hand side of the touchscreen, the microphone has been moved to the direct center of the opened device, and the A, B, X, Y, and D-Pad seem to have been designed to match the Wii and Game Boy Micro. The power button above the D-pad was removed and replaced with a switch placed on the right side of the unit. Another improvement is the greater stylus, significantly reducing the amount of hand cramps as its users use it extensively throughout game play; the stylus holster was moved from the top of the unit to the right side. Although a loop for a wrist strap was retained on the top of the unit, the DS Lite does not ship with a wrist strap. Along with the other advancements, the Game Boy port of the DS Lite is shallower than the original style DS's port. When inserted, the Game Boy Advance cartridge protrudes out approximately 1 cm from under the unit. Also, the charger connector is smaller, so a different charger must be used. Although the connector is similar in form factor to the Game Boy Micro, their AC adapters are not cross compatible. It also comes with a dust-protector for the GBA slot which also provides a seamless surface.

Nintendo DSi

The DSi is thinner, has larger screens than the DS Lite, with the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot replaced by an SD card slot, AAC playback capability, and two cameras, one embedded in the interior hinge, and one on the exterior shell (both 0.3 megapixels, or VGA resolution). Included with the cameras is photo editing software. It also features a "DSi Shop" (similar to the Wii Shop Channel) where customers can purchase DSi-exclusive games and applications, and a web browser. The audio playback and recording software is built in to the device, but AAC music must be stored on an SD card.

The console now boasts an ARM9E CPU at 133 MHz (in place of the original ARM9 at 67 MHz) and has 16 MB of RAM—four times as much as previous models. The unit has an internal storage capacity of 256 MB flash memory for DSiWare downloaded to the system. The updated Wi-Fi also supports WPA/2.

Nintendo DSi XL

A larger version of the DSi with bigger screens, known as the DSi XL (DSi LL in Japan), was announced on October 29, 2009 and was released in Japan on November 21, 2009 and in North America and Europe in the first quarter 2010.

Software development

To be accepted into Nintendo's official developer support program, companies must have a game development team and adequate experience in certain areas. Additional information is available from the Nintendo Software Development Support Group.

Alternatively, anyone can use publicly available knowledge from sites such as NDSTech, and tools to create their own programs. A popular SDK and compiler toolchain for creating DS software, known as DevKitPro, can be used for DS software development on many platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Mac. When writing software, there are two routes to being able to run your creations on actual DS hardware. One requires a method for running Nintendo DS programs from the Game Boy Advance port. At least six methods are available for this option: PassMe, PassMe2, WiFiMe, FlashMe, NoPass, and the use of a Storage device (also called a flashcard, which is simply a microSD adapter for the Nintendo DS).

See also


  1. Nintendo DS ni-fi protocol information
  2. Ni no Kuni: The Another World is the first DS game to use a 4-gigabit card
  6. Nintendo » Blog Archive » 2009 - The 2 Millionth Nintendo DS is sold in Australia
  7. Nintendo Announces Big Screen DSi

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