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Experience enormous variety with the expansive library of Nintendo DS games

In the mid-00’s Nintendo and its then-president Satoru Iwata revolutionized the handheld gaming industry with the introduction of the first dual-screen console, the Nintendo DS. Breaking away from its current “Gameboy” line of handhelds, the Nintendo DS would ultimately become a massive success—largely in part to the vast library of amazing games that would be released for the console. From new entries to the huge Pokemon, Zelda, and Mario franchises to new innovations such as Brain Age and Nintendogs, Nintendo would once again deliver fresh experiences to players of all ages and skill level.

Genres of Nintendo DS games

The Nintendo DS offers enormous variety in genres popular in handheld gaming. Here are a few of the most popular categories.


More recent platformers and arcade titles often build on the side-scrolling action of earlier video games with new and modern mechanics. These are often the bread and butter of Nintendo’s library, as they pioneered the genre in many ways. Some titles of note for the Nintendo DS include New Super Mario Bros., Kirby Super Star Ultra, and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.


Strategy/Puzzle games are best suited for players who enjoy problem solving and analytical thinking. These titles truly helped define the massive scope and reach of the Nintendo DS, in particular with the hugely popular Brain Age series of puzzle games. The Brain Age series closed the gap between serious gamers and casual players, as many of the latter jumped on board with the Nintendo DS for its addictive puzzles and brain-teasers.

Other hit strategy and puzzle titles for the Nintendo DS include Scribblenauts, Picross 3D, and Tetris DS.

Adventure/Role-playing games (RPGs)

Role-playing games are another genre that really encapsulates some of the Nintendo DS’s biggest successes. Its library includes entries to huge franchises such as Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing, and Pokemon. Not to mention popular text-based story driven games such as those in the Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright series’.

On the more adventurous side, the DS includes 2 entries for Nintendo’s other tent pole franchise in The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. And don’t forget multiple entries to the Mario & Luigi series of RPG’s, or the hit Japanese RPG The World Ends With You.

Competitive Sports/Racing/Board games

Despite the limitations of a handheld console, the Nintendo DS still offers a number of popular sports, racing, and other types of competitive games. Naturally Mario Kart DS tops the list for racing titles on the DS. The DS library also includes some great board/minigame competitive titles, most notably Mario Party DS and Wario Ware D.I.Y.

Nintendo DS Game compatibility

One of the great things about the impressive library of Nintendo DS games is that they are still compatible with Nintendo’s most recent dedicated handheld consoles. In addition to multiple iterations of the Nintendo DS, these games are also playable on the entire family of Nintendo 3DS consoles—including the Nintendo 2DS and the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Nintendo DS games however are not compatible with the hybrid portable/home Nintendo Switch console.

Games for the whole family

Nintendo is already arguably the most family-friendly gaming hardware manufacturer out there, so it goes without saying that the Nintendo DS library includes games for kids and adults alike. Nearly every game mentioned above is not only appropriate, but specifically geared toward children of all ages. From titans of gaming like Super Mario and Kirby to the educational spelling puzzles of Scribblenauts to the adorable pet simulator Nintendogs, the youngest and newest gamers out there should easily be at home in the Nintendo DS family of games.