How to Play Nintendo DS Games on Modern Smartphones

Any avid retro gamer knows how tricky emulating vintage consoles on portable devices can be. Still, nothing can stop true connoisseurs of quality classic games from trying out different options and sifting through tons of emulation software in the attempt to find the best variant possible.

Nintendo has long become a legend, whose name is associated with entertainment, fun, and leisure. The company has created manifold gaming devices that were extremely popular with many generations of gamers. And the Nintendo DS was no exception. Even now that the gaming market is teeming with sophisticated titles for every taste, lots of gamers still sigh nostalgically when hearing about the Nintendo DS. And even though many of us don’t own the physical dual screen device, it doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy timeless classics on third-party systems. From today’s post, you’ll learn how to play our favorite DS games on modern smartphones and other portable devices.


If you’re not new to retro gaming, you’re well aware of the power of ROMs. These small files can take you back into a world inhabited by koopas, goombas, pocket monsters, and other creatures you had so much fun contemplating and interacting with when playing on your DS system back in the day. In essence, ROMs are digital copies of game data from read-only memory chips which could be found in the original game cartridges. So, if you download a DS ROM you can think of it as a regular DS game that has been converted to a different digital format.

Today, you can easily find Nintendo DS ROMs on the dedicated abandonware websites, which distribute classic games and different types of software for which no official support is provided. To get the best ROMs, make sure to download games only from reputable and credible sources. Otherwise, you can end up not only disappointed with your gaming experience, but also risking infecting your computer.

Emulation Software

ROMs are just one of the essential constituents of your successful retro gaming experience. You need something to run your ROM files with. In other words, you need to download and install dedicated software that will enable your smartphone or tablet to act as a good old Nintendo DS console. This type of software is called emulators. As their name suggests, emulators allow third-party devices like your smartphone to mimic the work of vintage consoles and play the DS ROMs with your favorite games as you would on a regular DS. But you cannot just download any DS emulator and expect it to run games on mobile devices. There are emulators that have been specifically designed to run on mobile platforms and let you play retro titles on the go.

Android users now have a chance to enjoy DS classics with EmuBox, NDS Emulator, nds4droid, and DraStic. They are the most popular tools that are widely used for simulating the operation of the DS console on Android devices. None of these tools can guarantee impeccable performance and smooth gaming experience. Lags, freezes, and glitches can still occur from time to time. But with proper configuration, you can get a relatively decent performance. There are also emulators that can help you turn your iOS device into a DS console. But they are less effective and powerful than their Android counterparts. That being said, you may want to try out some options. Among the most popular iOS emulation tools are iNDS and NDS4iOS.

Regardless of which emulator you’re installing, you should follow the instructions carefully and tweak settings properly. Also, make sure to put the downloaded DS ROM into a dedicated folder, which you can easily find once you’re done installing and configuring your tool. The entire process doesn’t usually take experienced retro gamers long. As for beginners, it might be wise to ask your classic gaming buddies  for help or at least watch a couple video tutorials that will walk you through the process of installing and setting up your emulator and loading your ROM games from it.

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