Nintendo DS (ニンテンドーDS Nintendō DS) often shortened to NDS and DS (short for "Developers' System" or "Dual Screen"), is a Nintendo handheld video game system. The Nintendo DS features a clamshell design, similar to the dual screen Game & Watch games and the Game Boy Advance SP. The handheld is noted for having two screens, the lower one being a touch screen. In addition to the touch screen functionality, the DS also includes a built in microphone and, a first for a Nintendo handheld, wi-fi capabilities. A stylus comes packaged with every Nintendo DS system that can be placed into a slot when not in use. Four iterations of the Nintendo DS have been released including the original piece of hardware, the Nintendo DS Lite, the Nintendo DSi, and the Nintendo DSi XL. The successor to the Nintendo DS line is the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld similar in appearance that can produce 3D graphics without the need for glasses.

The Nintendo DS was the first system by Nintendo to use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. With Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, people can play with gamers all around the world, and can register them as a friend via the Friend Code system. Several games made use of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, including the fourth and fifth generation Pokémon games, Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing: Wild World.

With over 150 million units sold worldwide, the Nintendo DS is the best selling Nintendo game system, and the second best-selling game system only behind the PlayStation 2. This includes all of the redesigns, but not the Nintendo 3DS. It has also sold over 943 million units of software.



The Nintendo DS is a bulky clamshell handheld. The design of the Nintendo DS was greatly influenced by the dual screen Game & Watch games like Donkey Kong. The lower portion of the Nintendo DS features a touch screen that can be used via the stylus. There are four face buttons including A, B, X, and Y, all to the right of the touch screen. The D-pad is to the left of it. Above the d-pad is the power button, which is used to turn the system on and off. Above the four face buttons are start and select. When open, the shoulder buttons, L and R, are behind the top portion of the system but are placed at the top of the bottom half of the clamshell. The button control is very identical to the controller of the SNES. The top portion includes the top screen and two stereo speakers.

The microphone is placed below the touch screen on the Nintendo DS, though its placement on the four different iterations of the Nintendo DS differs depending on the handheld. The microphone can detect sounds and blowing. Some game software can recognize certain words that the player says, such as in Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!.

Technical specifications

Size (closed) 5.85" wide (14.625 cm) / 3.33" (8.325 cm) long / 1.13" (2.825 cm) high.
Upper screen Backlit, 3-inch (7.5 centimeter), semi-transparent reflective TFT color LCD with 256x192 pixel resolution and 0.24mm dot pitch.
Touch screen Same as the top screen, but with touch sensors.
Color It is capable of displaying up to 260,000 colors.
Wireless communication IEEE 802.11 and Nintendo's proprietary format; wireless range is 30 to 100 feet (9.15 to 30.5 meters), depending on circumstances; multiple users can play multiplayer games using just one Nintendo DS game card (select games only).
Controls Touch screen, built-in microphone for voice use, A/B/X/Y face buttons, plus control pad(d-pad), L/R shoulder buttons, Start and Select buttons.
Input/Output Ports for both Nintendo DS game cards and Game Boy Advance Game Paks, slots for stereo headphones and microphone.
Other features Built-in PictoChat software that allows up to 16 users to chat at once through wireless connection; built-in real-time clock; date, time and alarm; touch-screen calibration.
CPUs One ARM9 and one ARM7.
Sound Stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound, depending on the software you're using.
Battery Lithium ion battery delivering 6 to 10 hours of play on a four-hour charge, depending on use; power-saving sleep mode; AC adapter included with system for charging.
Languages English, Japanese, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.



The menu displayed on a DS Lite. (The menu looks the same on the DS Phat)

The menu on the DS is the first Nintendo handheld to have a menu, but the DS menu is very basic. The top screen contains an analog clock and calendar along with a bar at the top. The bar contains your username, a 24-hour digital clock and calendar, and how charged the battery is (green for charged, red for running out of charged, and blinking red for about to die). On the bottom screen, there are several icons. These icons are the programs on the DS. The top icon starts the DS game inserted (attempting to switch the game out while the DS is on will cause the DS to freeze), the icon on the left is for PictoChat, on the right is for DS Download Play, and the one on the bottom starts the GBA game inserted. There is also three other icons on the bottom; the sun icon toggles the backlight (on the DS Lite, this changes how bright the screen is). The second icon with the picture of a DS is the system settings. The third icon is a picture of an alarm clock. It opens the alarm clock.

Top Ten Best Selling Games


  • It should be noted that, since the Nintendo DS, all of Nintendo's systems have featured a way to play with more than 4 local players.
  • The Nintendo DS and the 3DS allow up to 16 players, the Wii allows 8 players with 4 Wii Remotes and 4 GameCube controllers (though only few games went up to 5), and the Wii U allows 5 players with 4 Wii Remotes and a GamePad. The Wii U also supports up to 8 players using combinations of the GamePad, GameCube controller (via adapter), Wii Remote and Wii U Pro controllers but only one game supports 8 players.
  • The Nintendo DS was the first video game console to be played on Mt. Everest in June 2005. In fact, it was one of the only pieces of electrical equipment that did not fail once during the climb. The game played was Madden DS.
  • The Nintendo DS was the first system to have a game from the now popular Cooking Mama franchise.

See also

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