From time to time, would you like to play games you bought for your Nintendo DS but don't feel like turning the attic upside down to find the console? No problem, you can play it on the PC.
Yes, you read that right! By installing a NDS emulator on your computer you can play almost any Nintendo DS game on your computer, be it a Windows PC, a Mac or a computer equipped with Linux. The emulators in question are all free, simple to use and have hardware requirements within everyone's reach: they can be installed on any mid-range computer without the slightest problem. As for the games, well, those obviously aren't included in the emulator and you have to get them by yourself by searching online. Be careful though, you can only download games for which you have the original cartridges.
As you probably already know, downloading games of which you don't have an original copy is tantamount to committing a crime. Therefore I want to emphasize that this tutorial was written for illustrative purposes only. I have no intention of promoting piracy and take no responsibility for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. All clear? Well, then let's not waste any more time and let's get to work immediately!
NDS Emulator for Windows
If you use a Windows PC, I recommend you use DeSmuME which according to many is the best NDS emulator for Windows. To tell the truth, it is also available for macOS and Linux, but on those platforms there are emulators that are able to guarantee better performance.
To download DeSmuME on your PC, connect to its official website and click on the link Windows 64-bit (x86-64) if you are using a 64-bit operating system or on the link Windows 32-bit (x86) if you are using a 32-bit operating system. If you don't know what kind of operating system you have installed on your PC, download the 32-bit version of the emulator.
A download complete, apri il ZIP package you just downloaded from the Internet and extract the contents to any folder. Then start the program DeSmuME_xx.exe, select the voice Open ROM from the menu Fillet located at the top left (in the window that opened) and select the game you want to play. The game can be in compressed format (ZIP, RAR or 7Z) or in uncompressed .NDS format. If you can't load a ROM in compressed format, try extracting it to a folder of your choice and use the .NDS file obtained in DeSmuME.
You can interact with the secondary screen of the emulated Nintendo DS using both the keyboard and the mouse. To view (and modify if necessary) the DeSmuME commands select the item Control config from the menu Config.
If DeSmuME does not meet your needs, you can contact No $ gba, another free emulator for Nintendo DS, DSi and Game Boy Advance. To download it to your PC, connect to The Emulator Zone website and click on the item No $ gba xx which is at the bottom left.
A download complete, apri il zip package you just downloaded to your PC and extract the contents to any folder. Then start the executable NO $ GBA.exe, select the voice Cartridge menu (FileName) from the menu Fillet of No $ gba and select the ROM to play.
NDS Emulator for Mac
Do you use a Mac? There's a NDS emulator even for your computer. Indeed, to be more precise you can download an extraordinary universal emulator, free and open source, able to play not only video games for Nintendo DS but also those for Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Sega Mega Drive , arcade and other platforms. Its name is OpenEmu and you can download it easily by connecting to its official website and clicking on the button Download now located in the center of the page.
A download complete, apri il dmg package which contains OpenEmu and drag the emulator icon into the folder Applications of macOS. Then right click on the icon OpenEmu and select the item apri from the menu that appears to start the application (this is necessary only at the first start to bypass the verification of the developer signature by macOS).
Once OpenEmu has started, click on forward twice in a row and then on vai and wait a few seconds for the software to download the database for game recognition from the Internet (thanks to which you will see the covers and other useful information on the games you are going to import into the emulator).
When OpenEmu is ready, select the item Nintendo DS (or that All the games) from the left sidebar and drag the ZIP or NDS file of the game to be played in the software window (7z files are not good, so they must first be extracted in order to obtain the ROMs in NDS format). If the direct dragging of the ROMs does not work, select the item Add to library from the menu Fillet which is located in the upper left, is the same thing.
At this point, wait a few seconds for the game to be imported into OpenEmu, double click on its cover image and start having fun!
To view or change the controls, go to the menu OpenEmu> Preferences, select the scheda Controls and set the item Nintendo DS in the drop-down menu for selecting the game platform.
NDS Emulator for Android
You can install a NDS emulator even on your smartphone or on your Android smartphone, did you know? The one I recommend is called DraStic and allows you to perfectly reproduce almost all the games produced for the historic Japanese portable console. It is paid, costs 4,49 euros, but is also available in a free demo version that allows you to play for 30 minutes.
Using DraStic is really a breeze. All you have to do is download it to your smartphone or tablet, start it and press on the voice load new game. Then select the game you want to start (which can be downloaded in the Download folder of the device or on an external memory card) and have fun. Both NDS and compressed ROMs are supported.
If you don't feel like spending money on an emulator, you can try AseDS which is completely free. But I warn you, its performances are not even remotely comparable to those of DraStic. In my tests, the framerate was very low, bordering on tolerability, but obviously the performances can vary from title to title.
If you want to try AseDS, all you have to do is download it from the Google Play Store, start it and select the title to play. The application automatically scans the contents of the phone (or tablet) memory and loads the ROMs in compressed and uncompressed format.
If you have one iPhone, you can use some Nintendo DS emulators, but with some risk. The first way you can take to install emulators, in fact, is to unlock the device by jailbreak (a procedure that is now cheap due to the few advantages it gives compared to the greater security risks to which the device exposes). Alternatively, there are emulators like iNDS that can be installed on iPhone and iPad by visiting their respective websites from iOS, accepting the installation of a custom profile and then authorizing the app to run from the menu Settings> General> Device Management.
Personally, I do not recommend using these solutions, as they represent a potential risk for the security of the system: not coming from the App Store, in fact, the emulator apps are not controlled and therefore could also contain malicious code. In any case, you have to decide.