DS Game FAQ
by Nick Grimes
The Nintendo DS handhelds are among the most popular handheld video game systems ever. An extension of Nintendo's Game Boy family of handheld game machines, the DS systems are all based around dual-screen technology and touch-screen capability. There are a number of different models of Nintendo DS available, but their similarities greatly outnumber their differences.
What Are The Different Models Of Nintendo DS?
As of December 2009, there are three different models of Nintendo DS. They are the original DS, the DS Lite, and the DSi. Nintendo DS is larger than the other models, and the screen is not backlit. The "Lite" in "Nintendo DS Lite" refers both to the system's smaller size (the screens of both models have the same dimensions) and backlit game screens, allowing for clearer visibility. Nintendo DSi is shorthand for "DS Eye", as the machine adds two small cameras, and slightly upgrades screen size to minimize eye strain.
What Games Can Be Played On Nintendo DS?
Nintendo DS supports several different types of Nintendo software. The exact types of software supported vary between machines. The original Nintendo DS supports all DS games (but not DSi games). It also incorporates a larger cartridge slot which is used to play any of the large library of games for Nintendo Game Boy Advance, the handheld game system that predated Nintendo DS. Nintendo DS Lite supports the same software as the original Nintendo DS. (Note that neither Nintendo DS nor Nintendo DS Lite support original Game Boy or Game Boy Color games, despite their similar shaped cartridge slot.) Nintendo DSi does not support Game Boy Advance games. However it supports all DS games, as well as being the only system to play DSi games. There are also downloadable games for DSi available from Nintendo's DSiWare website.
How Are Nintendo DS Games Controlled?
Nintendo DS contains a variety of input options for developers and players to experiment with. The most obvious control mechanism is the traditional four-way control pad (or "D-pad") and action buttons. Nintendo DS also incorporates left and right "Shoulder buttons" that have been standard on games consoles since the Super Nintendo. Added to these standard features are a touch-sensitive bottom screen, allowing players to use a stylus or their fingers to trace paths, move a cursor, draw pictures and many other actions that vary between games. All Nintendo DS systems also incorporate a microphone: this can be blown into to simulate playing wind instruments, spoken into for speech-recognition games, and even used for communication in games such as Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. To this array, Nintendo DSi adds two small cameras, which are used to photograph and video players and objects.
Does Nintendo DS Support Multiplayer?
Whereas earlier Nintendo handheld machines allowed players to physically link their Game Boy systems, Nintendo DS includes Wi-Fi connection hardware. Players in the same location can link their machines wirelessly to compete or cooperate on enabled games. Some games even allow players without a copy of the game cartridge to download the game code temporarily to play with a friend. Nintendo DS can also connect to Internet-enabled games via a wireless Internet connection, allowing players to play with or against others all around the world.