____________________________________________ | | | # # | | |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| | | || || | | || ---------------------- || | | || NDS_Master || | | || PRESENTS || | | ...... || ---------------------- || ...... | | ...... || || ...... | | ...... |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ...... | | o ________________________ o | |_________| |---------|--------| | |_________| _________|_|_________|________|_|_|_________ | ___ \ ________________________ /__ __ | | |___| | ||__| |__|| | | Nintendo DS FAQ | | | _ | | | | _| |_ | Version 1.1 | (X) | | |_ _| | | (Y) (A) | | |_| | Copyright 2006 | (B) | | | NDS_Master | | | |________________________| | |________/ NintendDS \________| | |MIC.  | |____________________________________________| ________________________________________ | ________________________ | | | | | | | | | | ... | DS Lite | ... | | ... | Released in NA on | ... | | | 6-11-06 | | | | | | | |________________________| | |____ ____| |____|______________|Mic____________|_||_| | ________________________ | | _ | | | | _| |_ | 30% Smaller | (X) | ||_ _|| 20% Lighter |(Y) (A)| | |_| | 4 Brightness Settings | (B) | | | 1 Awesome Redesign | | | | |OStart | | | |OSelect| | |________________________| | |________________________________________| ================================== 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. NintendoWifi.com 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 Dimensions 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 Screens 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 Memory 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 Wireless Communication: IEEE 802.11 along with Nintendo's proprietary format. Sound Sound: 16 Channel ADPCM/PCM surround sound provided by stereo speakers Input/Output Input: Port for DS game cards, separate port for Game Boy Advance cartridges 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 Battery: Lithium Ion Battery charged using an AC adapter; lasts 6-10 hours during regular game play and lasts several hundred hours on sleep mode 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. ____________________________________________ | | | # # | | |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| | | || || | | || || | | d. || a. Dual Screens || | |Speakers|| || | | ...... || || ...... | | ...... || || ...... | | ...... |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ...... | | o __e. Clamshell Design___ o | |_________| |---------|--------| | |_________| _________|_|_________|________|_|_|_________ | ___ \ _____f. DS Card Slot____/__ __ | | |___| | ||__| |__|| | | | | | _ | | | | _| |_ | b. Touch Screen | (X) | | |_ _| | | (Y) (A) | | |_| | | (B) | | | | | | |________________________| | |________/ NintendDS \________| | |MIC.  | |______c. Microphone_________________________| | | 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 screens. 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 go. 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 innovation. 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 here. Case $9.99 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 two. Case $17.99 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. Charger $5.99 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 Jersey. Stylus Pack $7.99 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. Play-yan $49.99 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 --------------- Nickname 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 PictoChat). 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 screen. 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 out. 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.