Nintendo DS Review And Essential Information You Should Know

Nintendo DS

For many years now, the Nintendo DS family of portable gaming machines have been thrilling gamers of all ages with a slew of incredible devices and addictive titles.

The latest member of the family is the Nintendo 3DS XL.

It brings all of these great games together and presents them in all of their three-dimensional glory. In truth, Nintendo has always been at the forefront of family gaming entertainment with the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and Wii platforms. However, it is their portable options that set them apart.

Nintendo DS is Born

The portable empire all started with the introduction of the original Nintendo Gameboy back in 1989. People loved that they could take their favorite video games with them wherever they went.

When Nintendo released the Gameboy Color in 1998, people went crazy for it. They were finally able to play the latest Gameboy games in vibrant color. Nintendo knew they were really onto something and the Nintendo DS was born.

Original DS

Looking to create the next big thing in mobile gaming the company released the Nintendo DS in 2004. The DS in the name stands for “Dual Screen” because of the two screens. One for gaming, the other a touchscreen for options and game controls.

The system also featured a built-in microphone, support for wireless connectivity, and a stylus for easy navigation. The wireless connectivity allowed players to play against each other without having to connect the Nintendo DS systems physically.

Along with the release of the system came a slew of now-famous games including New Super Mario Bros., Animal Crossing: Wild World, and Pokémon Diamond & Pearl and more. The original system sold like hotcakes with over 154 million units sold.

Nintendo DS Lite, DSi, and Dsi XL

Always looking to make their devices bigger and better, Nintendo soon released other variations of the original Nintendo DS. The first was the Nintendo DS Lite. This model played the same games as the original. However, it had some cosmetic differences including a lighter weight and a slimmer feel. The screen size is also three inches larger.

Next came the Nintendo DSi. The DSi had an even more streamlined design than its predecessor. More innovative, however, was the introduction of two cameras. One of the cameras is forward facing, and the other is not. The 32 GB of content storage is also fantastic.

Finally, Nintendo boosted the size of the system with the Nintendo DSi XL. The downside is that it was almost 50 percent heavier than the previous Nintendo DS systems. However, it also boasted a screen size more than 90 percent bigger than the standard DSi. Understandably, playing the adored game selection on a much bigger screen made this model a dignified hit.

Nintendo 3DS

In 2010, the gaming giant truly changed the industry with the introduction of the Nintendo 3DS. As the name implies, the Nintendo 3DS allowed users to play games with stereoscopic 3D effects without the need for 3D glasses.

Truly revolutionary for its time, the Stereoscopic 3D images were created by projecting a slightly offset image to the left and right eyes. Since every person’s eyes are different, adjustments of the screen and a 3D depth slider allows each user to see lifelike versions of their favorite video game characters.

The device also includes a front-facing 3D camera. That camera gave the appearance that characters have come out of the screen and appear in the real world. The Nintendo 3DS flew off of shelves with over 72 million units sold. Games made popular by the 3DS include Resident Evil, Assassins Creed, Metal Gear Solid, and Pokemon, among many others.

Nintendo 2DS

After the creation of the industry reviving Nintendo 3DS, came a new gaming device. Nintendo learned that some people were not interested in playing games in 3D, so the Nintendo 2DS was introduced. There were two variations of the Nintendo 2DS.

The first, original Nintendo 2DS had the same screen size and same general processing power as the Nintendo 3DS. Besides the lack of 3D, the Nintendo 2DS was also made in the form of a slate design. That means it is not foldable like all previous models. 

The system also comes at about half the price of the 3DS. A second variation of the Nintendo 2DS was created later on in the form of the Nintendo 2DS XL. This model brought the same features as the original Nintendo DS but with a larger screen and a thinner look and feel.

Newest Nintendo DS: The 3DS XL

The newest incarnation in the Nintendo DS family is the Nintendo 3DS XL. While it is similar to the first-generation 3DS, this version presents a larger screen, a slightly thinner design, and a slew of entertaining and addictive games.

Nintendo hit the mark with their 3DS family, and the 3DS XL uses a lot of the same features that made the 3DS work with a few enhancements. The 3DS XL comes with two screens. The top, primary screen is used for a majority of the gaming.

That is where the XL comes in, offering a vivid resolution display that is 4.88 inches across diagonally. The second, bottom screen is 4.18 inches across diagonally and is used more often for menu selection and informational purposes.

The sound options are what you would expect from a handheld device. The speakers are smaller but serve their purpose. The device comes with volume controls and a headphone jack connection.

Control options

There is an excellent library of games that comes with the Nintendo 3DS XL, and the device gives you plenty of control options to help you get the best movement out of all of your favorite characters.

For jumping and attacking, the device incorporates the familiar A/B/X/Y buttons from the previous Nintendo DS, 2DS, and 3DS models. For movement, users have the option of using the typical four-direction control pad or the circle pad. On top of the model, the 3DS XL doubles up the functionality with the standard R and L buttons in addition to new XL and XR buttons that provide additional control in select games.

There is also a new C Stick controller which gives you finesse when more subtle movements are needed. And of course, there is the touchscreen functionality that DS users have come accustomed to with previous models.

3D features

Of course, like its recent Nintendo DS predecessors, what makes the 3DS XL stand out is the ability to utilize the novel three-dimensional features. The primary use of this 3D is to play the library of 3D-compatible games. 

The 3D effects are created using the screens and the high-tech infrared LED which helps its partner, the inner camera track the users head to keep the 3D viewing as clear and crisp as possible. On the side of the device, a 3D depth slider lets the user adjust the intensity of the 3D characters and settings. 

The 3D functionality isn’t only for Mario and Luigi, either. Users can use the same built-in cameras to make their own, personalized 3D videos and photos that they can share with their friends and family. 

Finally, included AR cards partner with the cameras to give the appearance of the characters jumping from their fantasy world into your living room. 

It is worth noting that the 3DS XL does not enhance the 3D viewability of its smaller predecessor. However, with a larger screen, you get to see your favorite characters on a slightly larger scale.


One of the perks of the Nintendo 3DS XL is that it is an all-in-one entertainment machine with available apps that start the fun right out of the box. Built-in device software includes an internet browser, the Nintendo eShop, a digital log where you can track your gameplay and physical activity, a sound app that allows you to record and play music, and themes that allow you to change the look of your Nintendo DS. 

There are even games included with the device. The first of the two games is AR Games. It involves using the AR cards included with your purchase to create customized levels that you can play on the spot.

The other pre-installed game is Face Raiders. This game uses the embedded device sensor to take a photo of your face. The image is placed on shooting targets which you aim for using your body instead of the buttons.

Available games

While there is plenty to discuss regarding the plethora of specs and controls on the Nintendo 3DS XL, let’s not forget about the games! You can play all of your 2DS and 3DS games on the Nintendo 3DS XL.

One of the biggest draws of this device is the vast library of titles. FThese games run the gamut from epic RPGs to learning games for the kiddos. There are plenty of fan favorites great for all ages including New Super Mario Bros 2Donkey Kong Country Returns 3DSuper Smash Bros., and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. 

Some of the most highly recommended games for the youngsters include Disney Magic WorldCooking Mama: Sweet ShopDetective PikachuAnimal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, and many, many more.


The Nintendo 3DS XL has an MSRP of $$$

How It Compares to Previous Models

When it comes to deciding which Nintendo DS system to purchase, it is necessary to think about what matters to you in a portable gaming system. If you are looking for the largest screen, then choose the 3DS XL. It has the regular 3DS beat out with a larger 4.88 inches compared to the 4.18 inches on the regular 3DS. The 3DS XL is also slightly thinner than the regular 3DS. 

The next most significant Nintendo DS system is the Nintendo 2DS XL. When comparing the 3DS XL with the 2DS XL, both come with the same size LCD screen and are equal in their color depth. Of course, the most significant difference is that the 2DS does not include 3D functionality. Thar means that you can play the same games, they will appear in standard 2D. 

If the Nintendo 3DS XL is the first Nintendo DS system you are buying, then you are in luck. A great perk of this system is that enables you to play all existing DS and 3DS titles. This attribute prevents you from having to buy older systems to play older games

Nintendo New 2DS XL


  • ​Nintendo New 2DS XL


  • Low-res screen looks ancient 





Pros and Cons

While the Nintendo 3DS XL has been a welcomed part of the Nintendo DS family, there are pros and cons. Consider these facts before making your final decision.


  • Outstanding 3D graphics
  • Multiple control option
  • Dependable processing power
  • Great built-in apps
  • Large screens


  • No update in battery life
  • Screen resolution matches older versions
  • Too large to fit in a pocket

Our Rating of the Nintendo 3DS XL

All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons, making the Nintendo 3DS XL is a worthwhile purchase. The larger screen, 3D graphics, and library of games make it an excellent choice for the gamer on the go. 

Overall rating of the Nintendo 3DS XL:

The Future of Nintendo DS

Though there has not been a new Nintendo DS system released since the XL versions of 3DS and 2DS, new games are still being manufactured for the systems, making it a worthwhile investment. 

While there have not been any successors mentioned by name, the folks over at Nintendo have hinted that there may be new systems coming out in the far future. However, there is nothing set in stone. 

In the meantime, Nintendo fans also have the Nintendo Switch which is a hybrid system that can be used for gaming on your television or brought with you as a portable option.

Try Them All

No matter which DS or other Nintendo system you chose, you are in for a great gaming experience. Whether it is the Nintendo DS family that continues to grow or a brand new system, this famous gaming company has you covered. 

The new Nintendo 3DS XL is an especially good choice. It has a lot of great games, and it is fairly affordable. If you are a gamer or just want some entertainment, a device in the DS family would be great for you.

Last update on 2021-10-28 at 13:57 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here