Nintendo DS FAQ by NDS_Master

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/12/06 | Printable Version

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Nintendo DS FAQ: Table of Contents

1. Copyright
2. Introduction
3. FAQs
4. History
5. Features
6. Specifications
7. Accessories
8. Menu Screens
9. DS Lite

1. Copyright 2006 NDS_Master

This guide is property of NDS_Master and is copyrighted and 
protected by United States copyright laws and international treaties. 
Therefore, the use of this guide in any websites, publications, or any 
other public documents is illegal and strictly prohibited. This guide 
may not be posted on the Internet, or any publications, without my 
express, written permission. If you wish to use this guide you must 
contact me with your request. To contact me, PM my My Nintendo account. 
My user name is NDS_Master. Currently, there is no way for the general 
public to contact me by e-mail.

2. Introduction

NDS_Master here, unveiling my latest FAQ to be listed under the category 
of the Nintendo DS. This time it's about the Nintendo DS itself. I have 
taken a temporary break from game guides to provide in-depth information 
on the Nintendo DS hardware. This is the result.

Let me give you a little information on my personal experience with the 
DS. I first heard about the Nintendo DS about a week after E3, 2004. I 
hadn't really watched much of it, but a friend of mine had. He found 
lots of pictures and information on the DS, and he was really excited 
about it. When he showed me the information, I also got excited. For the 
next few months while I waited for it to come out, I did everything I 
could to learn all about the features of the system. During that time I 
also decided to write FAQs for it.

I started writing my first NDS FAQ for the DS in October, two months 
before the system actually came out. Since the first game was Super 
Mario 64 DS, I figured I could start writing a guide for the N64 version 
and make changes when I played the DS version. It worked well, though I 
only finished the first world before the DS came out. I bought the DS 
the day it came out and immediately went to work finishing the guide, 
which was completed the day after Christmas. Since then, I have written 
many more guides and reviews, and I hope to continue writing about the 
DS for several more years. Well, onto the FAQ!

3. FAQs

You have questions, I have answers. This section is for comments and 
questions about the Nintendo DS. Some I made up myself, others I got 
from other people. If you have a question about the DS, you will have to 
Private Message my MY Nintendo account. My user name is NDS_Master. 
You'll need an account before you can send messages. I used to have a 
public e-mail address, but some annoying person decided to sign me up to 
receive spam. Out of every thirty e-mails I would receive, only one 
would be a legitimate e-mail. Since my account had sub par blocking 
abilities, I quit having a public e-mail altogether.

Q: What colors does the DS come in?
A: Several. The DS comes in at least four colors in North America, and 
it comes in even more at Japan. Red, Electic Blue, and Titanium are just 
a few examples of the DS's many colors. The DS Lite also features a 
variety of colors in Japan (such as black), but in North America it 
currently only comes in Polar White.

Q: Does the DS have online play?
A: Yes! On November 14, 2005, Nintendo released their first ever 
Nintendo Wi-Fi game. It was Mario Kart DS, and the online play allowed 
gamers from all over the world to connect and play against each other. 
Numerous other Wi-Fi games have come out since then, including Metroid 
Prime Hunters, and many more are on the way.

Q: Will online play have a ranking system?
A: To a degree, yes. Most games keep track of scores somehow, but 
Nintendo does not have an online ranking system that allows gamers to 
compare themselves to their other competitors. does 
have some statistics, but no overarching ranking system.

Q: How do I hook up to Wi-Fi?
A: To do this, you will need a Wi-Fi enabled game. Through the game, you 
will be able to access a menu that lets you set up a connection. Simply 
go within range of a non-secure wireless router (you can access a secure 
router if you have its WEP key; however, you cannot use a router secured 
by WPA because the DS does not support it) and connect to it via the 
connection setup. Also, you can connect to the USB Connector. Once you 
have established a connection and have tested it, you will be able to go 
back to the game and start playing online.

Q: Does the DS have PDA capabilities?
A: No. Rumors have been flying for over a year about Nintendo coming out 
with something to make the DS like a PDA. It still is possible that they 
will release an add-on, but it is not official. Other companies could 
possibly be making add-ons that allow you to use the DS as an organizer, 
so we'll have to wait and see if anything happens.

Q: When are you going to write an FAQ on the Nintendo DS?
A: Well, I actually received this question back in February 2005. I told 
the person that I would write a guide for it, but that I didn't know 
when I would be able to do it. Here it is. It's a little late, but at 
least it's here.

Q: Will the DS work with the Wii?
A: Yes! Nintendo confirmed this at E3. Because of the Wii's unique 
control system, it may be possible to play DS games on the Wii. It is 
also possible that the Wii and the Nintendo DS will connect like the GBA 
and the GameCube did, though I am not sure how this would work. One 
thing that Nintendo has confirmed is that you will be able to download 
demos with the Wii, which you can then transfer wirelessly to the DS. 
Many more forms of connection will probably be available, but we will 
just have to wait.

Q: Why is there not a Super Smash Brothers DS? 
A: I'm not sure. With its enormous success on the GameCube I would have 
thought that Nintendo would create an SSB DS. Perhaps they are waiting 
until next year's E3 to announce it. Maybe they'll release it alongside 
Super Smash Brothers Brawl. I can hope, can't I?

Q: Does the DS require two game paks to play multiplayer?
A: Fortunately, no. Most of the games out for the DS use only one 
cartridge for multiplayer games, using a feature of the DS called Single 
Card Download Play. This feature allows one DS to transmit all of the 
data necessary to play a multiplayer game to another DS, which can then 
play against it. Some games even allow you to download demos onto 
another system. The demos usually don't have much on them, but they do 
allow other people to try out a game before they actually buy it. Who 
knows? Perhaps Nintendo will transmit demos via online play so that 
gamers across the world can test out games whenever they choose to.

Q: What is this I hear about a DS Lite?
A: In January of 2006, Nintendo of Japan official announced the redesign 
of the Nintendo DS. Because of the popularity of the Game Boy Advance SP 
many people had expected a redesign. The DS Lite is 2/3 the size of the 
original DS, and it 20% lighter. Along with that, the DS Lite also has 
four different brightness setting for the backlight, giving gamers more 
control over how bright their games are. It also has a thicker stylus, 
which provides for more comfort and better control.

Q: Is the DS Lite fragile?
A: While there have been some reports of cracked hinges on the DS Lite, 
overall it is a very sturdy system. Perhaps it is not quite a durable as 
the DS, but it is still strong nonetheless.

4. History

The Nintendo DS is an excellent portable gaming system that many people 
enjoy. It has two screens, a touch screen, great graphics -- everything 
that Nintendo fans could want. Of course, the Nintendo DS did not appear 
overnight and send Nintendo into the portable gaming world. Nintendo has 
fought many battles and gone through many trials to upgrade their 
portable gaming systems, and the Nintendo DS is the latest result.

Whether you know it or not, Nintendo did not start out as a video game 
company. It started out as a card company. Nintendo was originally 
founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi. For nearly one hundred years 
Nintendo remained a little known card company. When video games came 
out, however, Nintendo went beyond playing cards.

Surprisingly, Nintendo actually appeared on the video game scene with a 
portable system, not a home console. In 1980, Nintendo released Game & 
Watch portable games, which allowed die hard video game fans to satisfy 
their electronic desires no matter where they were. It wasn't until 1981 
that Nintendo actually released a non portable system, and that was the 
Donkey Kong arcade.

The portable gaming market slowed down for several years as Nintendo 
picked up speed with its new Nintendo Entertainment System. The system 
brought Nintendo world wide fame and gave it a comfortable home console 
lead for many years.

But a home console lead was not enough. Portable games had brought 
Nintendo into the market, and they would help keep Nintendo in the 
market. The Game Boy was brought on the line in 1989, exactly one 
hundred years after Nintendo began. The Game Boy remained Nintendo's 
only portable system as the NES declined, the Super NES rose and 
declined, the N64 rose, and the Virtual Boy made its failed attempt at 
semi-portable gaming.

With its massive life span, the Game Boy featured many of the best black 
and white games that ever existed. It had some competition from other 
portable systems including the Sega Game Gear, but it always came out on 
top. Nearly a decade after the Game Boy had arrived, Nintendo decided to 
go with something new. Game Boy Color was born, immersing gamers in the 
world of color.

The Game Boy Color did amazingly well, and it was the portable system 
that started Nintendo's fascination with different colored systems. Many 
different colors covered the different Game Boy Colors, so each gamer 
could get the color they liked best.

The portable era was still not done for Nintendo. In 2001, the Game Boy 
Advance hit the market with astounding success. Not only did it have a 
larger screen, it also had graphics as good as those of a Super NES. It 
was followed by the popular Game Boy Advance Special (SP), which 
showcased a clam shell design, a backlight, and a rechargeable battery.

Fans went wild over the SP, discarding their old GBAs for the newest 
thing in portable gaming. It still played Game Boy Advance games, so 
those who weren't willing to hand out $99 bucks to make the switch could 
still play the games.

The SP helped Nintendo win many battles in the portable gaming world. It 
obliterated many companies attempts at stealing the portable gaming 
market. Its price and game selection helped it win a solid victory over 
the N-Gage, which tried to appeal to gamers with a cell phone and 
wireless multiplayer. Its $299 price tag sent gamers to the SP with 
their sides aching in laughter.

With the success of the SP, Nintendo was ready to make a new jump in the 
world of portable gaming. It released its newest system, the Nintendo 
DS, on November 21, 2004. The system had (and still does have) two 
screens, a touch screen, and 3-D graphics. Nintendo fans went wild over 
the new system, buying out the system in such a frenzy that some people 
were able to resell their system on Ebay for over $200, well over the 
$150 starting price.

In 2006, Nintendo showed the first pictures of the DS Lite, which is the 
redesign of the Nintendo DS. It can still play DS and GBA games, but it 
is much sleeker and smaller.

With its sleek, new look, the DS Lite was amazingly popular in Japan, 
America, and Europe, as hundreds of thousands of gamers clamored to get 
their hands on one. It launched DS sales sky high, giving Nintendo a 
comfortable position in the portable gaming battle.

At any rate, the DS has started a new revolution for Nintendo. It has 
shown that Nintendo does not concern itself with showy graphics and dull 
game play. Nintendo is ready to move on to the world of interactive 
bliss by using innovation. How far will Nintendo go with its innovation? 
Only time will tell.

5. Specifications

Nintendo DS Specifications


Size in Inches (Closed): 5.85" wide / 3.33" long / 1.13" tall
Size in Millimeters (Closed):148.7 mm wide / 84.7 mm long / 28.9 mm tall
Weight in Ounces: 9.7 oz.
Size in Grams: 275 g

DS Lite Dimension

Size in Millimeters (Closed):133.0 mm wide / 73.9 mm long / 21.5 mm tall
Size in Grams: 218 g


Upper Screen: 3-inch, semitransparent reflective Thin Film Transmitter 
(TFT) color Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) that has 256x192 pixel 
resolution and .24 mm dot pitch, along with a built-in backlight
Lower Screen: Same capabilities as the upper screen, along with a 
transparent analog touch screen
Color: Able to display 262,144 colors

Central Processing Units

Main Processor - ARM946E-S
Runs at 67 MHz; capable of running up to 200 MHz
Cache: 8 KB Instruction Cache, 4KB Data Cache 
TCM: 8KB Instruction, 4KB Data
Sub Processor - ARM7TDMI
Runs at 33 MHz; capable of running up to 133 MHz


Main Memory: 4 MB
ARM9/ARM7 Shared - 32KB 
ARM7 Internal RAM - 64 KB 
VRAM - 656 KB
2D Graphics Engine

Background - Maximum 4 layers 
Objects - Maximum of 128

3D Graphics Engine

Maximum 4 million vertex per second geometric transformation
30 million pixels per second maximum fill rate
120,000 polygons per second maximum


Wireless Communication: IEEE 802.11 along with Nintendo's proprietary 


Sound: 16 Channel ADPCM/PCM surround sound provided by stereo speakers


Input: Port for DS game cards, separate port for Game Boy Advance 
Controls: Touch screen, A/B/X/Y Buttons, D-Pad, Start and Select 
Buttons, L and R Shoulder Buttons, Power Button, Volume Control, Built-
in Microphone
Output: Headphone Port, Microphone Port


Battery: Lithium Ion Battery charged using an AC adapter; lasts 6-10 
hours during regular game play and lasts several hundred hours on sleep 

Additional Information

Languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese
Colors: Titanium, Electric Blue
Additional Features: Stylus holder, wrist strap connector, power light, 
charge light, charging port, built-in PictoChat software, real time 
clock, touch screen calibration

6. Features

The Nintendo DS is a new portable gaming system, but it is so much more 
than that. It has so many great features that one cannot ignore. If you 
want to learn about its exact technical specifications, check out the 
specifications part of the FAQ. This section is for down-to-earth 
information about all of the features in the Nintendo DS.

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          g. Game Boy Advance Card Slot

a. Dual Screens

It's one of the best features for the Nintendo DS and by far the most 
obvious one. The Nintendo DS has dual screen (DS = Dual Screens). 
Surprisingly, this basic fact about the DS is what has most people 
confused. They simply cannot figure out why someone would need two 

The answer is simple: enhanced game play. With two screens, game play is 
actually simpler and easier than with one. One screen controls the 
action, the other controls the statistics. With a full screen devoted to 
statistics, there is no reason to clutter the top screen. It can be used 
just for the action, and you don't have to look at specific information 
unless you decide to look down (or up).

Obviously, some of the statistics still remain on the action screen, 
mainly because the developers thought that they would be useful up 
there. It's there choice. Besides being a place to shove statistics, the 
lower screen also has many other uses. It can be used as a map, allowing 
you to glance down to see exactly where you are and where you need to 

Also, game designers can put both screens together in a game, forming 
one large screen. There is a slight problem because of the small gap in 
between the screens, but it is not one that affects game play. With two 
screens working as one you can get a huge picture of the game, providing 
even more enjoyment.

b. Touch Screen

While the dual screens are the most obvious, the touch screen is the 
most advertised feature of the Nintendo DS. The lower screen is a touch 
screen, meaning you can play games by using a stylus. This opens up 
unlimited opportunities, and it is debatably the best feature of the 
Nintendo DS. Using the touch screen, you can play a variety of games 
that would normally be impossible. If you survey the DS's library, you 
will see that there are many games that rely on the touch screen for 
their control.

The possibilities with the touch screen are endless.  Many games use the 
touch screen for mini-games. These mini-games give you ultimate control 
with the touch screen, as you can interact with many aspects of the 
mini-games. The touch screen is also used as an analog stick for some 3-
D games. With the touch screen, you can move your character to the exact 
location you want at the exact speed you want. It is also used for 
general control. Nintendogs, Yoshi Touch & Go, Kirby: Canvas Curse, and 
many other games would not be possible without the full control that you 
get with the touch screen.

Because of the many possibilities, the touch screen has given DS a new 
meaning. Although it is typically considered the Nintendo Dual Screen, 
it does have another name. Since the touch screen provides so many new 
and different aspects in game play, DS has also come to mean Developer's 
System, suggesting that it is more fun for the developer than the gamer. 
After all, the developers can do virtually anything they want with it. 
Yes, the touch screen is an awesome addition.

c. Microphone

No, this isn't a microphone attachment; it's an actual microphone built 
into the system. Located just below the touch screen on the left side of 
the system is the microphone. Now, why would anyone put a microphone 
into a portable system? Nintendo put it in because of the added 
enjoyment it could bring to game play. The touch screen is a great 
innovation, and the microphone, though less popular, is also a great 

Because it can only be used in so many ways, the microphone is often 
overlooked in game design. In some games, however, the microphone is put 
to use. Yoshi Touch & Go, for instance, allowed gamers to use the 
microphone. If they happened to draw clouds that they did not desire, 
they could simply blow them away with the microphone. Nintendogs also 
used the microphone in an amazing way -- gamers could teach their dogs 
up to fifteen different voice commands! When the dogs had learned the 
command, they would obey their master whenever he or she told them what 
to do. Gamers could actually interact with their dogs by speaking. 
Although the microphone is frequently ignored, it does have plenty of 
uses and it makes a great addition to the Nintendo DS.

d. Speakers

Listen to Nintendo DS advertisements and you are bound to hear something 
about the speakers of the Nintendo DS. While previous portable gaming 
speakers have been largely ignored, the speakers on the Nintendo DS have 
been advertised over and over again.

Nintendo has a good reason for advertising its latest speakers; they are 
the best ones Nintendo has made to date. Instead of using mere speakers 
that simply make noise, the Nintendo DS using high quality surround 
sound speakers.

These speakers have really high quality, so the sound in the Nintendo DS 
is better than ever. However, that is not what is best about them. Their 
best feature is their surround sound. If a loud enemy is on the left 
side of the screen, the majority of the sound will come from the left 
speaker, making the game sound and feel realistic.

The surround sound is even better when headphones are added to mix, as 
each headphone ensures that only one ear hears the intended sounds. It's 
at its best, however, when the system is hooked to a surround sound 
stereo section. With surround sound working, the subwoofer pumping, and 
the speakers screaming, there is no better way to enjoy the awesome 
sound capabilities of the Nintendo DS and its games. Whether you're on 
the go or just relaxing at home, the Nintendo DS will have speakers 
suited perfectly for you.

e. Clamshell Design

Protection. It's what every single person wants. Whether it's in a 
secure home or a vehicle with a five star rating, protection is what 
everyone wants. Because of the high demand for protection, Nintendo 
packed the Nintendo DS full of it.

First, there's the clamshell design. When a gamer is done with the DS, 
all he needs to do is to close the system. The clamshell design allows 
the hard shell of the Nintendo DS to protect some of the weak features -
- such as the screens and buttons -- while the DS is not in use. Many DS 
systems have been dropped during the course of their life, but the 
majority of them survive the falls. My DS was also subject to a life 
threatening fall when I set it on a high shelf that I did not realize 
was secure. The shelf and the DS fell several feet, but when it was over 
the DS barely had a scratch. It still works perfectly.

This section may be about the clamshell design, but since security is 
what the design is for I though I should include some of the other 
security features of the Nintendo DS. The touch screen is one of them.

Since the touch screen is subject to so much use, Nintendo made it more 
secure than any of its previous screens. It is over three times as 
thick, so it can withstand nearly all of the intense pressure that is 
applied to. While it is not immune to scratches, it will still function 
perfectly despite their presence. Unless you are extremely abusive to 
your system, it will last many, many years.

Also, there is shock proof design. All of the functions of the DS are 
controlled by many little processors, wires, and other technical 
objects. If one of these objects became disconnected, it would cause 
severe trouble for the DS, potentially causing it to no longer work. 
Nintendo has solved this problem with shock proof design. Basically, the 
design keeps all of the parts of the DS connected during abnormal 
circumstances such as falls. As this design is completely hidden inside 
the DS, it is impossible to see. Nevertheless it is still there, making 
sure the DS is always safe.

f. DS Card Slot

The Nintendo DS is a coin operated machine. You stick a quarter in, and 
you get great game play. Not really, but it is a fairly similar 
comparison due to the minute size of the DS cartridges. They are only 
about as large as a quarter, making them exceptionally portable.

What's best about the small size is that the DS cartridges have not 
sacrificed any quality to attain the size. In fact, they are probably 
Nintendo's best cartridges ever. Each cartridges has an amazing 128 
megabytes of space. To put that into perspective, Super Mario 64 DS, 
with its 36 touch screen mini-games, its 150 stars, and its 3-D game 
play, only used up 16 megabytes of space.

The cartridges are also secure. When dealing with older cartridges, you 
quickly realize that they can easily lose saved game data. I cannot even 
recall how many times I have beaten all of the games in Super Mario All 
Stars just because the cartridge lost information. Fortunately, the DS 
cartridges are designed not to lose information.

Speed is also an attribute of the cartridges. When you select 'Start 
Game,' the game will start. Waiting is not necessary. The cartridges are 
small in size, large in space, slow in losing game information, and fast 
in loading. You could not find a better combination.

g. Game Boy Advance Card Slot

The DS game card slot is no surprise; after all, almost any person could 
figure out that a DS plays DS games. The GBA card slot, however, is a 
little different. Not only can it play every single Game Boy Advance 
game out, it can also be used in many other ways.

First, we will focus on the ability of the DS to play Game Boy Advance 
games. Every single game in the GBA library will work on the DS. This 
will provide hours of great GBA fun. Unfortunately, the DS cannot play 
Game Boy Color or regular Game Boy games. It also cannot utilize the 
mutliplayer function of any Game Boy Advance game, so you will have to 
settle with single player.

What else is the GBA slot used for? Well, it can also be used for 
accessories. When Nintendo displayed the DS, it specifically said that 
the GBA slot would be used for DS accessories. Nintendo has already 
created one accessory, called Play-yan, which can play MP3 files and 
video off a SD card. Online play, available later this fall, also 
requires an add-on which will probably fit snugly in the GBA slot.

And if you're looking for special secrets, the GBA slot is also the 
place to go. If you have a certain GBA game in the slot along with a 
certain DS game, sometimes bonus features will appear. For instance, if 
you have a Kirby GBA game in the slot when you play Kirby: Canvas Curse, 
you can unlock one of the characters long before you normally would have 
been able to. Nintendo has already used this ability for many games 
(Wario Ware Touched!, Kirby: Canvas Curse, Advance Wars Dual Strike, 
etc.), and it probably will continue to use it in the future.

h. Lithium Ion Battery

To keep game play lasting as long as possible, the Nintendo DS contains 
a lithium ion battery. The battery fits securely inside the DS, and you 
should never need to access it. If you ever do find the need to look at 
it, just unscrew the tiny screw on the right side when your DS is 
upside-down. I would not recommend that you do that, however; let a 
trained professional handle any problems that arise.

The battery is charged with the free AC Adapter that comes when you buy 
a Nintendo DS. Simply pull out the prongs on the main part of the 
adapter and plug them into the nearest power outlet. Then, insert the 
other plug into the External Extension Connector in the back of the DS 
unit, right next to the DS card slot.

Now, two lights accompany the battery to give you vital battery 
information. Each light is an LED light, and they are both located next 
to each other on the lower right side of the system, just below the 
touch screen. The light on the left will only turn on when you are 
charging your DS system. It will be orange. When your system is fully 
charged, the light will turn off. The light on the right will activate 
whenever the DS is on. It will be green most of the time, but it will 
occasionally flash red when the DS starts running low on battery power. 
At that time you will still get around 30 minutes to an hour of play 
time out of it, but you should probably charge it as soon as possible. 
The light will also flash on and off when the DS is in sleep mode, and 
it will double flash whenever the Wi-Fi is on.

The battery takes around four hours to charge, so keep that into 
consideration whenever you start charging. On a full charge, the battery 
will last approximately 6-10 hours, depending on what game you are 
playing, whether the backlight is turned on, whether Wi-Fi is on or off, 
and how loud the sound is. The average play time is around 8 hours. The 
DS also has sleep mode for DS games (it does not work with GBA games). 
Whenever you close the system, it will deactivate the screens while 
still keeping the game at the same position. Open the system and the 
game will return to the spot where you left it.

How long does sleep mode last on a full charge? I tested out sleep mode 
on a full charge to figure out how long it would last. After 120 hours 
on sleep mode, I finally gave up seeing how long sleep mode would last. 
Then I played Super Mario 64 DS with both backlights on and full sound 
for another 5 hours before the battery died. That being said, the DS 
probably lasts a good several hundred hours on sleep mode.

If you have read the instruction manual, you have probably read some of 
the information about the battery. One thing that is says is that the 
battery will probably only be at 70% of its normal capacity after you 
charge it 500 times. This may alarm some people, but it's no reason for 
alarm. Let's say that each charge lasts eight hours. That would be 4,000 
hours of game play before the battery would be 70%. That's 167 days of 
nothing but DS gaming. I highly doubt anyone will play it that much 
before the DS is well past its prime, and even then you still get 70% of 
the battery life.

7. Accessories

Nintendo didn't put their portable system into the market with a few 
games and leave it. Advertising heavily the GBA game slot, Nintendo 
informed gamers worldwide that it would have special add-ons for the DS. 
Already Nintendo has something for the GBA slot, along with regular 
accessories. Check out accessories with the Nintendo Seal of Quality 


Need protection without high costs? Nintendo's smaller case is just what 
you are looking for! It has room for the Nintendo DS to fit comfortably 
inside of it, and it also has a small pouch for games and a stylus or 


Worried about your DS? Get a case. This higher priced case by Nintendo 
has more than just a place for your DS; it has a place for your games 
and accessories as well. A zipper pocket on the side of the case 
provides a perfect resting place for your DS. The main case, when 
unzipped, holds nine DS games securely. Two additional pockets contain 
room for extra styluses, wrist protectors, games, and chargers.


Nobody's perfect. Since no one's perfect, somebody is bound to misplace 
their charger sooner or later. When they do, however, they still have 
gaming hope. Nintendo has released a charger accessory that gamers can 
buy whenever they need a new way to power up their DS. It also works 
with the GBA SP, in case they lost that charger during their trip to New 

Stylus Pack

Need an extra stylus? Or two? Or three? This pack is just what you need. 
Purchase the pack at you nearest video game dealership to receive three 
Nintendo brand styluses for use with your Nintendo DS portable video 
game system.


For now, Play-yan has only been released in Japan. It is a media player 
for the DS, and it fits in the Game Boy Advance card slot. By saving 
songs and video files onto SD cards and inserting them into Play-yan, 
gamers can listen to music and watch movies on the Nintendo DS.

8. Menu Screens

This is the "walkthrough" section of the game guide. Frequently asked 
questions aside, this is the place where you will learn how to access 
and fully utilize the many features contained in your DS system. This 
section is divided into many sub sections, so you can scroll down until 
you find exactly what you need. Let's begin.

Before you can use your DS, you first need to press the Power button to 
turn it on. The Power Button is located just above the D-Pad. When the 
system turns on, it will display health and safety information about 
using the system. A message saying: "Touch the Touch Screen to continue" 
will appear and start flashing. At this point you can press any button 
on the DS or the touch screen to continue.

Initial Startup


The first time you start up the DS, you will be asked to select the 
settings that are right for you. This section deals with those settings. 
If you want to change the settings later, just consult the Settings Menu 
later in this section.

First, you will have to choose a language. In case you couldn't guess, 
they put this at the beginning so that you could read the information 
later on. Six panels will appear with six different languages on them. 
Tap the panel with the language you want on it and select Confirm.

Next comes the background color. The DS has sixteen of them to choose 
from, so use that fresh, new stylus to select the one that is best for 
you. Confirm your choice to move onto the next screen.

Your system needs a name, so you will have to give it one after you 
choose your color. An onscreen keyboard will replace the many colors 
that were on the screen, and ten little black squares will show up just 
above the keyboard. Tap the letters that you want to go into the black 
boxes to form your user name, and choose Confirm to move on.. If you 
want to learn more about using the onscreen keyboard, scroll down to the 
User Menu.

Next its time to set the internal clock of the Nintendo DS. You'll need 
to choose both a date a time. To set the time, press the up and down 
arrows that are above the hours and minutes. Press Confirm. The date is 
set the same way, only with it you have to set the month, date, and 
year. Once the date is confirmed, you'll need to enter you birthday 
choosing the correct date a month. Upon confirming your birthday the 
system will inform you that it needs to shut down. Give it permission to 
power down, and it will do so automatically.

Touch Screen Menu Screen

The next screen will have seven different options for you to choose 
from, which are accessed by seven panels. You can either touch the panel 
you desire, or you can use the D-Pad. If you use the D-Pad, press the A 
button to select a panel

The panel at the very top of the touch screen allows you to begin 
playing the DS game that is inserted. It will display the name of the 
game and a little information about it, as well as a picture. If you 
select that panel, game play will begin immediately. Should no game 
happen to be in the DS card slot, this panel will be faded.

Just below the DS Game Play panel on the left side of the screen is the 
PictoChat panel. On the lower right corner of the PictoChat panel is a 
Wireless Communication icon. That indicates that when you enter 
PictoChat, the DS's wireless communication will activate. Tap the panel 
to access PictoChat (see my PictoChat guide for information on using 

To the right of the PictoChat panel is the DS Download Play panel. It 
also has a Wireless Communication icon. Select the panel and the DS will 
go into another screen and start to search for software to download. If 
it finds any, a panel will appear with information about the software 
that is available to download.

Under both the PictoChat and DS Download Play panels is the GBA Game 
Play panel. If a GBA game is the slot, you can select this panel to 
begin game play. You can also select it when accessories are in the GBA 
slot. When no GBA card is in the GBA slot, this panel will be faded and 
you will not be able to select it.

At the bottom left corner of the touch screen is the Backlight icon. It 
is represented by a little sun. Tap the sun (or select it with the D-Pad 
and press A) to turn both backlights on or off. Because it is difficult 
to see when the backlights are off, it is best to leave them on all the 
time. The lower right corner of the touch screen is the Alarm icon, 
which displays an alarm clock. Tap it to enter the alarm clock mode 
(more info in the Clock Menu)

The Settings panel is at the bottom middle of the touch screen. It is 
the smallest panel, and it displays a Nintendo DS system. When you tap 
the panel, the DS will take you into the Settings Menu. From there you 
can access many different menus that allow you to change many different 

Top Screen Menu Screen

Although it is only for display, the top screen features many important 
pieces of information. The top screen display remains mostly the same no 
matter what menu you are in, though it does provide essential knowledge 
about what you are doing.

At the top of the top screen there is a bar. I would name the bar's 
color, but I can't. You get to choose which color you want for your DS, 
and the top bar will be that color. On the left side of the bar you will 
see a name. That is the user name that you have chosen for you DS.

A good distance to the right of the user name on the top bar you will 
see some numbers. That is the time. Since you input the time into the 
DS, you cannot blame the Nintendo DS if you are late for classes. It 
tracks the time, even if its the wrong time. Also, the time is in 
military time. Basically, that means that instead of starting at 1 again 
after 12, it goes all the way to 24. If you see that the time is 17:34, 
it is actually 5:34 PM.

Next to the time is the date. If your language is English, the month 
will first and the date will follow. Some countries have the date first, 
so if your language is not English then the date may come before the 
month. Just a word of warning for you English speaking people who prefer 
to have a language other than English show up on your DS.

Beside the date you will see a small, rectangular shape. The shape is 
actually supposed to be a Nintendo DS system (couldn't you tell?). It 
has two screens; one is red and the other is blue. Which screen is red 
and which is blue? That is up to you. Whichever screen you choose to 
play Game Boy Advance games on, that one will be red. Should you choose 
to play GBA games on the touch screen, then the lower half of the 
rectangle will be red. It's just a quick way of seeing which screen you 
chose to play GBA games on.

To the right of the GBA Display Screen icon is a big letter. It is 
either A or M. If an A is displayed, then you have the DS set on Auto 
mode (meaning the DS will go straight to a game if a game is inserted). 
An M indicates that the DS is set on Manual mode (which does not take 
you straight to a game).

Finally, we come to the last item in the bar. Pushed to the top right 
corner of the top screen is the Power Indicator. The Power Indicator, as 
it is called in the "Official Nintendo DS Instruction Booklet," is 
actually a picture of a battery. Hopefully, yours is green. Now, you may 
be thinking that this Power Indicator is cool like the one in the PSP 
that tells you how much battery life is left. Wrong! It stays green for 
the majority of the time, and it becomes red when the battery is running 
low. It is exactly like the Power Indicator LED that is just below the 
touch screen, which turns red when the battery begins to run low. So, if 
you ever get a strong urge to take a pencil and jab the Power Indicator 
LED until it breaks, then you will find the Power Indicator icon on the 
DS useful. If not, well, it's pretty much a waste of space.

NOTE: I do not advise taking pencils and attempting to destroy the Power 
Indicator LED. Doing so will cause many negative effects to your DS 
system, including ugly graphite remains near or in the place where the 
Power Indicator LED was.

Now that the bar is done, we can move on. Underneath the bar, on the 
left side of the screen, is an analog clock. It tells the time with 
moving hands. It's what people used for telling time around four hundred 
years ago. Unless you have mastered the art of telling time with hands, 
just look at the digital time.

The calendar is the last things on the screen. It is just below the bar 
on the right side of the screen. Depending on the month and year, it 
will have between 29 and 31 little boxes in it that are number. They 
show the days of the months. At the very top of the calendar is the 
month and year, and directly below that are the abbreviated days of the 
week. They allow people to know which day it is. The current day is 
highlighted by the color you chose. So, if the 8 is highlighted and it 
is in the Th column, then you know that it is Thursday the 8th of 
whatever month it happens to be (again, different languages cause 
different abbreviations). I'll assume you can figure out the other 
abbreviations on your own.

DS Download Play Menu

When you select Download Play from the main menu, you will go to the 
Download Play menu where you can search for and choose games that you 
want to download. Upon entering the Download Play menu, a panel will 
appear on the touch screen saying: "Looking for software available for 
download..." Little orange blocks will move around next to the words in 
a triangular shape. Another panel will appear at the bottom of the 
screen saying Quit, which you can select if you want to leave Download 
Play. A panel will also appear on the lower part of the top screen 
showing two DSs and saying: "Download software via DS Download Play." 
You'll also notice that the Power Indicator LED will flash twice every 
so often to indicate that the wireless feature is activated.

If the DS finds software to download, a new panel will pop up with 
information about the download, such as the name of the game, the signal 
strength, and the person sending the download. Versus downloads also 
show the maximum amount of people per download and how many people are 
in the versus. A Select panel will also appear on the bottom of the 
touch screen. With each new software that the DS finds, a new panel will 
appear on the touch screen with information about the content. Just tap 
the panel that you desire.

After selecting the panel that you desire, a message will appear on the 
top screen giving more information about how to play the game. A message 
will also appear on the touch screen saying: "Would you like to download 
this software?" If you want to start downloading, select the Yes panel 
on the bottom of the touch screen. If not, tap the No panel. The A 
button also works for selecting yes, and the B button automatically 
selects no.

Press yes, and a new message will appear on the touch screen that reads: 
"Downloading." You can cancel the download at any time by pressing 
Cancel. The game will not start downloading until the person sending the 
download agrees to send it to you, so make sure that he sends it as soon 
as everyone is ready to download. Sometimes it takes a while to download 
a game, even if the signal strength is high, so just be patient. When 
the game totally finishes the download, you will be ready to play.

Settings Menu

This is the main part of the DS system; it is where all of the important 
things take place. When you select the Settings panel on the main menu 
screen, all of the other panels will disappear and four square panels 
will appear. (Quit and Select panels also appear on the bottom of the 
touch screen.) The first panel is purple and has a wrench on it. The 
second is blue with a clock and calendar. The third is green with a 
person, and the fourth contains a target in front of an orange 
background. Tap one of the panels to see its options.

Options Menu

Touching the wrench will bring you into the options menu. Three new 
purple panels will appear above the wrench with different pictures: a 
globe, a Game Boy Advance system, and an arrow pointing at a rectangle.

The first is the globe; this is Language menu. When you select the globe 
panel, you will enter another screen with six panels. Each panel has a 
language on it. If you tap a panel and then select Confirm, the system 
will use that language. The six languages are English, German, French, 
Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

To the right of the globe is the Game Boy Advance. Press it to go to the 
GBA Mode menu. The touch screen will display a Nintendo DS system, and 
to the right of the system will be two panels -- a Top Screen panel and 
a Touch Screen panel. This menu allows you to select which screen you 
will play Game Boy Advance games on. Tap either panel to select it, and 
then press Confirm to finalize your choice. You can also touch the 
actual screens on the DS system to make your choice (the onscreen one, 
not the real one).

At the very top is the Start-Up panel. Choose it and two large panels 
will appear. One will have Manual Mode on it, and the other will have 
Auto Mode on it. Each panel has a lengthy description of what it does, 
so just read the panels to decided which option would be best for you. 
Use Confirm to accept the new setting or Cancel to keep the old setting.

Clock Menu

Time is of the essence; and the DS can do what no other Nintendo 
portable system has done before: tell time! With its embedded real time 
clock, the Nintendo DS can tell you what time it is no matter where you 
are. Just read on to learn how to set the clock to the right time.

Above the Clock panel you will see three panels. The first one pictures 
an Alarm Clock. (You can tell its an alarm clock by the large bells on 
it. On second thought, you've probably never even seen an alarm clock 
like that in real life. You're smart: figure it out.) When you enter the 
Alarm menu, numbers will appear on the touch screen. They are the hours 
and the minutes. Each one has arrows above and below it. Tap the 
appropriate arrows to make the time increase or decrease. You can also 
adjust the time with the D-Pad; just use up and down to change the time 
and use left and right to change between hours and minutes. You can tell 
which one you have selected by which one is highlighted. After you set 
the alarm time, tap Confirm to finalize it. If you want to turn the 
alarm on, press X or tap the Turn Alarm On panel at the top of the 

When the alarm is on, both screens will have black backgrounds. The top 
screen will display the current time at the top of the screen, and it 
will have the alarm time just below that. Below the alarm time is the 
time remaining until the alarm goes off. The touch screen has an Alarm 
icon as well as instructions on how to turn the alarm off. After five 
seconds, both backlights will deactivate to save energy. You can also 
put the DS in sleep mode while the alarm is on without turning the alarm 
off. Make sure you have the volume turned all the way up and put your DS 
to sleep until its time for the alarm to sound.

The highest of the Clock menu panels is the Date panel. It makes three 
sets of number appear when you select it. One is the month, one is the 
date, and one is the year. You can adjust the date by pressing the up or 
down arrows above or below the various numbers. When you are satisfied 
with your choice, choose Confirm to make it final.

User Menu

The little green panel with the man on it is the User panel. It brings 
up three additional green panels when you select it. One has a birthday 
cake, one has a person talking, another has a name with a line pointing 
to a person, and the last one has sixteen small squares.

In the middle is the User Name panel. It's the one with the name (though 
it looks more like a solid bar) and a person. Tap the panel to enter the 
User Name menu. Inside the menu is an onscreen keyboard with ten black 
boxes above it. The black boxes are where your user name will appear as 
you type it in. Needless to say, the user name can only be ten 
characters long.

The onscreen keyboard is in the middle of the screen. Just tap a letter 
and it will appear in the black boxes. If you make a mistake, tap the 
backspace key, tap the Erase panel at the bottom left of the screen, or 
press the B button. To the left of the keyboard is a menu that lets you 
choose the keyboard style that you want. There are five boxes in the 
menu, and they let you choose from normal English letters to Japanese 
characters to pictures. Just tap a box to change the keyboard style. 
When you have finished entering in your user name, tap the Confirm panel 
directly below the onscreen keyboard. It is in a different place than it 
usually is, so take note of that.

To the right of the User Name panel is the Message panel. When you 
select the message panel, an onscreen keyboard will appear with 26 black 
boxes above it. It is just like the User Name menu, only you can have up 
to 26 characters in your message. The message will appear whenever 
someone taps your name during a PictoChat session. Since the characters 
will go onto the next line whether you want them to or not, it is best 
to finish a word before going into the second line of black boxes. If 
you want to keep all your words intact you may want to use spaces to 
push the overflowing word completely into the second line. When you are 
finished, tap the Confirm panel to save your settings.

The Birthday panel is to the left of the User Name panel. Select it to 
choose your birthday. After it is selecting, two numbers will appear on 
the screen. One is the month, the other is the day. Use the up and down 
arrows above and below the numbers to choose the month and day of your 
birthday. Whenever it is your birthday the DS will start with a special 
sound. In PictoChat on your birthday, a special message will also 
appear. Other than that, it doesn't do much. After inserting the correct 
birthday, choose Confirm to save it.

The last of the User panels is the Color panel. It is the box with 
sixteen squares in it at the top of the screen. The Color menu has 
sixteen different colors. Tap a color to preview it. Everything that 
uses your chosen color will change to the color you tap. When you have 
the color that is right for you, select Confirm. If you want to leave 
your color the way it was, choose Cancel.

Touch Screen

The last panel in the Setting menu, the orange one with the target, is 
the Touch Screen panel. It allows you to calibrate your touch screen. 
When you decide to calibrate your touch screen, everything will 
disappear from the screen. A lone box with a + in it will appear on the 
top left of the touch screen, and a message will appear near the middle 
of the touch screen with the words: "Press B to cancel." The message 
should be self explanatory. To calibrate the touch screen, tap the 
center of the + inside the box. After you tap the first box, it will 
slide down to the lower right side of the touch screen. Tap it again, 
and it will slide to the middle of the touch screen. Tap it one last 
time to finish calibrating the touch screen.

If you successfully tapped inside the box for all three taps, a new 
message will appear saying: "Calibration complete. Touch the marks to 
test the calibration." Four new boxes will appear on each corner of the 
touch screen. Slide your stylus over them to test out the calibration. 
They will turn blue when they register that the stylus is over them. If 
you are satisfied with the results, select Confirm to save the 
calibration. If you want to try again, choose the Try Again panel at the 
top right of the touch screen. The Cancel panel will return the touch 
screen calibration to the way it was before the test.

Beta Main Menu Screen

This has nothing to do with your DS system or even using your DS system, 
but I thought I'd throw it in because I found it to be interesting. In 
the instruction manual, there are actually pictures of the Nintendo DS 
Beta Main Menu. I purchased my DS system the day it came out, so they 
may have changed the pictures since then. So if your instruction booklet 
doesn't have them, then it was probably changed since the first one came 

Anyway, get your instruction booklet out and turn to page 44. It will be 
in the French section. Look at figure 18. You will see that the 
PictoChat panel is different, the Download Play panel is different, and 
the Settings panel is different. You can see the beta screen again if 
you look at figure 22 on page 47. I'm not sure why these screens are in 
the book, I just thought they were interesting so I put them in this 
FAQ. And yes, I have tried changing the language to French to see if the 
screen would change. It doesn't, even if you have exactly the same 
settings that are shown in the book.

9. DS Lite

It's finally here! People have been anticipating a DS redesign for quite 
some time now, and Nintendo has finally displayed the DS Lite, a smaller 
version of the Nintendo DS. Looking more like an Ipod than a DS, the DS 
Lite brings portability to what has been frequently classified as a 
bulky portable system.

Although it is similar to the DS in features, the DS Lite does have some 
new items on the table. First, instead of switching the backlight on and 
off by tapping the backlight button, you will be able to toggle through 
four different backlight settings to find one that is right for you (you 
cannot turn the DS Lite's backlight off).

Depending on what backlight and volume settings you use, the DS Lite's 
battery life will vary. It can last up to 19 hours with the lowest 
backlight setting, but with full power it lasts closer to 5 hours.

System Recognition

One interesting thing to note is that a game can tell if it is in the DS 
Lite or not. For example, on the starting screen of Mario Kart DS, Mario 
says "Woohoo!" when the game is on the DS. If you insert the game into a 
DS Lite, however, Mario will say "Here we go!" instead. Will Nintendo 
use this for fun like it did in Mario Kart DS, or will it use this 
feature for something more major? We will have to wait to find out.