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Nintendo DS vs 3DS

Nintendo DS vs 3DS: Which Is Better?

Are you looking to buy a new Nintendo game console but are confused about which one to get between the Nintendo DS or 3DS? We understand your situation, and we are here to fix it. The market is filled with Nintendo products, and it can be quite tricky when someone new gets into retro gaming. Are people only thinking about more recent games when buying a new Nintendo console? That might not be the case.

In this guide, we will put Nintendo DS vs. Nintendo 3DS and see:

  • A little about their History
  • Technological and Hardware Changes
  • Game Library and Backward Compatibility 
  • and then finally, we’ll answer some FAQs

Let’s get into it.

Nintendo DS vs 3DS – A Little About their History

The Nintendo DS has been around for ages as a handheld gaming console. It was developed, manufactured, released, and marketed by Nintendo and was initially a part of an experiment where the company wanted to test out a new platform for gaming. 

Nintendo had never expected to receive such a tremendous amount of success and popularity in such a short period. It has, by now, produced some of the most successful and popular consoles in the video game industry.

Nintendo DS

The arrival of the Nintendo DS took over the market by storm and quickly replaced its predecessor, the Gameboy, as Nintendo’s flagship handheld device. It was introduced to the market in 2004 and became a sensation for retro gaming lovers. The thing that separated the DS from the others was its “clamshell” form-factor, along with the two screens. The lower screen acted as a touch screen for inputs and came with a stylus pen. 

Besides this, it could provide both local and internet communications with other DS consoles using the now-discontinued Nintendo Wi-Fi services. 

This incredible line of DS consoles ended in 2011 and was replaced by a much-advanced version, but it still holds significant meaning to the people who regarded it as the best gaming console of their childhood.

Must read: Top 10 Pokemon games to play on Nintendo DS

Nintendo 3DS

After the immense success of the Nintendo DS, its successor, the Nintendo 3DS soon followed its footsteps and made its way to the top. The 3DS was introduced as an eighth-gen console and directly competed with Sony’s PlayStation Vita. It was first announced in March 2010 and later unveiled during the E3 of 2010.

The Nintendo 3DS packed a punch containing some of the unique features in the market. It could display stereoscopic 3D effects without using additional accessories or 3D glasses. Besides this, StreetPass and SpotPass using the Nintendo Network; augmented reality also made it a talking point among the avid gamers back in the day.

Nintendo DS vs 3DS – New Technology and Hardware Changes

The Nintendo family has adapted to modern times regarding technological and hardware changes. The 3DS came equipped with the modern-day technology which the DS was lacking and made itself shine even more as Nintendo’s flagship console back in time. Let’s compare both categorically.


The 3DS outperforms the DS consoles in the technology sector, with some of the significant upgrades that included:

  • An improved ARM11 Processor which is far superior in performance compared to DS’s ARM;
  • An in-built GPU which was missing in the DS version;
  • A giant leap memory-wise, with about256MB RAM; meanwhile, the DS version had 4MBs.


The 3DS also introduced improvements in the display as it contains an LED screen compared to the DS console’s primary display. The LED screen allowed the 3DS to have better colors, screen resolutions, and aspect ratio. The screen size also slightly increased, making it more extensive than the old DS display.


The Nintendo 3DS introduced a second back camera in the handheld consoles to take and record media. Besides this, the users could also utilize both back cameras simultaneously to take 3D photos and videos.   


Although the change is small, the 3DS did make the newer console more compact compared to the old generations. They have made it a little more portable and easy to carry. 


The storage on the 3DS is significantly greater than the DS. It packs storage of 1GB with additional 2GB memory card support, which is more than enough to store all of your games and media.


The 3DS won this battle as well, as it came with many new features that the DS model was missing. These include:

  • Gaming Accessories
  • 3D support
  • Gyroscope
  • Motion Sensor
  • Accelerometer 

Nintendo DS vs 3DS – Game Library and Backward Compatibility

Let’s talk about the game libraries for both these consoles.

The Great Range of 3DS Titles

The new 3DS came with an extensive range of titles that included 1,313 games. Besides this, the console also has backward compatibility. It lets it access the entire DS catalog, which has 1,973 games to date. It brings a grand total of 3,307 games that can all be played on the 3DS. 

Some of the most popular and best-selling titles of the Nintendo 3DS include:

Nintendo DS

On the other hand, the Original DS came with access to the same 1973 games; what makes it different from the first is that the original Nintendo DS can be equipped with a Game boy advance card slot that lets you play all the games from the Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and OG Game Boy. This brings the grand total of playable titles on Nintendo DS to 5,644..

Some of the most popular and best-selling titles of the Nintendo DS include:

Both consoles have a vast number of games that are ready to be played. But the decision rests on your shoulders. If you go with the 3DS you get new 1,334 3DS game titles that aren’t on DS consoles. But if you go with the DS  you get access to all the original Game Boy titles. All in all, backward compatibility is something worth considering when you are making a decision based on the libraries of each console.    

FAQs about Nintendo DS vs 3DS

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions now.

Which is better, Nintendo DS, or 3DS?

It all boils down to personal preference; if you are looking for a newer console with better specs, you should undoubtedly go for the 3DS. But if your goal is to play all the old Game Boy games, you should pick the Nintendo DS.

Is the Nintendo DS the same as the 3DS?

The 3DS is the successor of the old Nintendo DS family. It came and replaced the DS consoles in E3 of 2010 and has now become a crucial part of the Nintendo family.

Is the 3DS good for DS games?

Yes, if your goal is to enjoy the 3DS and DS games on a single console, then Nintendo 3DS is your best choice. It comes with backward compatibility that lets you enjoy the complete collection of the DS titles in one place.

What’s the difference between Nintendo DS and 3DS?

The main difference between the DS and 3DS is better hardware, technological advancement, and backward compatibility. The 3DS lets you play newer titles with better graphics and performance. You can also play all of the DS game titles on it.

Are Nintendo DS and 3DS games the same?

No, the Nintendo 3DS comes with 1313 new game titles that can readily be played on it. They make the experience of handheld consoles even better by utilizing the new features and technological advancement of the 3DS. 


Now, If you go for the Nintendo DS, you get to enjoy all the console-specific retro games along with the vast collection of games that the previous Game Boy had in its prime days. But if you go for the Nintendo 3DS, you can enjoy all the new exclusive titles along with modern features and backward compatibility that lets you enjoy all the Nintendo DS games.

We have now laid down all the aspects of Nintendo DS vs. Nintendo 3DS. Whichever console you go with, Retro vGames has your back with an amazing collection of games. Check out our store for more!

Up next:

7 best Nintendo DS games for kids.

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