Sorry, this is a total noob question. I've played every Zelda console game to completion, and not a single handheld Zelda game. The reason I've played every Zelda console game to completion is that they are all, in one way or another, playable on a Wii (via VC for N64 and before, and via "stick the disc in" for GC).
I am thinking of getting a DS---my first handheld. I know Minish Cap is for the GBA. I know that some DS's have GBA slots. So here's the easy question: if I want to play Minish Cap do I have to get hold of an actual cartridge and buy a DS with a GBA slot? Or can I download it a la Wii VC somehow?
Good choice, Minish Cap is probably one of the better handheld Zelda games. However, I'm afraid you'll have to buy s DS or DS lite and the Minish Cap cartridge separately. I think the only place you can probably buy Minish cap is EBay (which will be a bit expensive no doubt) unless you find it second hand elsewhere. Unfortunately no GBA games are available for the VC. =(
I'm not a fan of emulators but I suppose you can download it somewhere for a GBA emulator on PC.
I wondered whether there was some sort of "DS version" of VC, where I could download old Gameboy or GBC or GBA games. Aah boo to that if there isn't. I'm not a big fan of handheld games---I can't imagine I could get as immersed in these games as I have done in several console Zelda games. I guess I have the same question about Link's Awakening and the Oracle of blah games. I would happily have paid a few quid to Nintendo to play these on a DS---looks like I will be emulating away...
If your still interested, you can buy the game used like I did a couple weeks ago here: http://videogames.barnesandnoble.com/Video-game/The-Legend-of-Zelda-Minish-Cap-Used/e/2000003113217/?itm=8 --- "How come when it's us, it's an abortion, and when it's a chicken, it's an omelette? Are we so much better than chickens all of a sudden? When did this happen; that we passed chickens in goodness?" -George Carlin