The Nintendo DS (called DS for short and also called DS Phat) is a handheld gaming console developed by Nintendo, it is the first of the DS series of Nintendo handhelds, succeeding the Game Boy Advance and was succeeded by the Nintendo 3DS in early 2011 and was discontinued in late 2014. It competed with the PlayStation Portable throughout its lifetime.
Why It Rocks
- The system has two screens which are used simultaneously during gameplay, while it may sound awkward having to track two screens at once, it works very well as most games in the system take good advantage of it.
- The bottom screen is a touchscreen which offers the possibility of more interactivity in games.
- It is the first handheld that can consistently do full 3D games.
- Over 2,000 games to choose from.
- Lots of good games from Nintendo were made, including:
- It was the first handheld to introduce a Wi-Fi service, making it possible to play online.
- Closing down the top screen puts the system in rest mode and opening it resumes the game.
- Early models had backwards compatibility with Game Boy Advance games. Some DS games took advantage of the GBA port for bonus features, such as the first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games.
- The DSi model had a front facing camera, and was able to connect to the DSi Shop and offered digital games.
- A DS can connect wirelessly to another DS nearby to send messages to each other.
- It has a small microphone used for some games and features.
- Every model has an extremely good battery life compared to its competitor.
- A major feature called Download Play allowed other DS users to do some multiplayer gaming with only one game card, provided that they were within range.
- Like its Game Boy predecessor, physical DS games are region-free.
- You need a stylus to use the touchscreen since it doesn't react well to your fingers, unlike with smartphones and tablets.
- The console only has a D-Pad, which makes precise movement in 3D games harder.
- Like the Nintendo Wii with its motion controls, the Nintendo DS's focus on the touchscreen and lower hardware specs made it a very easy target for shovelware, especially from Destination Software.
- The Nintendo DS's Wi-Fi support along with the Wii's was discontinued when GameSpy shut down their servers on May 20, 2014, so the only way to play multiplayer nowadays is either locally or using Wiimmfi.
- While the original and Lite models are backwards compatible with GBA games, they don't support multiplayer and, like the Game Boy Micro, also can't play games made for the original Game Boy or the Game Boy Color.
- The large size of the system makes it rather bulky.
- The power button is located above the D-Pad, making it easy to accidentally to turn on/off the system if your thumb slips off the D-Pad.
- The screen has a very low brightness that can make it very hard to see near the light. Luckily, the later models have fixed this issue.
- The stylus is very small. The later models make the size bigger.
- The power switch was arguably made worse, where it was moved to the right side and if you moved your index finger too closely, it would also move the power slider.
- It isn't as durable as past Nintendo systems. Similar to the 3DS XL, over time, the hinge will get loose and eventually break.
- GBA cartridges partially stick out of the slot.
- It removed the GBA game slot, which was not only used for playing GBA games, but also for some other accessories such as the Rumble Pak and DS games like Guitar Hero.
- Licenses for downloadable games are bought for the system rather than an account, meaning that you would need to buy all the games again if the console broke.
- Data from the standard-sized model can't be transferred to the XL model.
- Most of the online services, such as the DSi shop, have been discontinued since 2017.
Selling over 154 million units, the Nintendo DS is the second best-selling game system of all time behind the PlayStation 2. It's also Nintendo's best-selling video game console to date as well as the best-selling handheld.
- Contrary to popular belief, the Nintendo DS was not the first game console to use a touchscreen with a stylus; the heavily panned Game.com was.
- The reason that it is called the DS is the fact that it uses two screens (Dual Screen). For developers of the system, it is also sometimes referred to as the Developers' System.
- A Nintendo DS was taken to Mt. Everest during an expedition. Various electronic equipment, including a Dell laptop, broke down from the intense cold. However, the DS remained fully functional after the trip, showing the system is extremely durable.