NINTENDO DS

Quantity of Kits: 4

  • Can only be checked out by Interactive Game and Development (ITGM) Students enrolled in Montgomery Hall classes with permission from the ITGM Department Chair.
  • 5 hour check-out limit

(1) DS Handheld
---(1) Stylus
(1) AC Adapter
(1) Strap*
(1) Screen Cloth*
(1) Health and Safety Instructions*
(1) Pictochat Instructions*
(1) Manual*

*May not include

The Nintendo DS, sometimes abbreviated to DS or NDS) is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in 2004 in Canada, the United States, and Japan. 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.

Hardware

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 Diamond and Pearl), and minigames that require the player to blow or shout into the microphone (The World Ends With You).

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. It currently supports cards up to 256 MB in size (with ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat being the first DS game to use a 2 gigabit card). The cards usually have a small amount of flash memory or an EEPROM to save user data such as game progress or high scores but there are a small amount of games that have no save memory such as Electroplankton. The game cards are 33.0 mm × 35.0 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.

The system's code-name was "Nitro", resulting in the letters "NTR" appearing in model numbers printed on compatible game cards, accessories, and the original console itself.

Software

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 are now available.

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 (temporarily) to their DS.

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 megapixels) 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. The DSi does not contain a GBA slot.