Difference between revisions of "Nintendo DS emulators"

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The '''[[gametech:Nintendo DS|Nintendo DS]]''' (NDS) is a handheld console produced by Nintendo on November 21, 2004 and had 2 ARM CPUs with 4MB of RAM. The main selling point was the use of dual screens for gameplay, with one being a touchscreen. It is the only console to have come close to the [[PlayStation 2 emulators|PlayStation 2]] in lifetime sales (154.02 million units), as a result of attracting a large amount of casual players, and even non-gamers, into the gaming community.
+
The '''[[gametech:Nintendo DS|Nintendo DS]]''' (NDS) is a handheld console produced by Nintendo on November 21, 2004 and had 2 ARM CPUs (ARM9 and ARM7) with 4MB of RAM. The main selling point was the use of dual screens for gameplay, with one being a touchscreen. It is the only console to have come close to the [[PlayStation 2 emulators|PlayStation 2]] in lifetime sales (154.02 million units), as a result of attracting a large amount of casual players, and even non-gamers, into the gaming community.
  
 
==Emulators==
 
==Emulators==
 
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center;"
 
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center;"
|-
 
 
! scope="col"|Name
 
! scope="col"|Name
! scope="col"|Operating System(s)
+
! scope="col"|Platform(s)
 
! scope="col"|Latest Version
 
! scope="col"|Latest Version
 
! scope="col"|GBA
 
! scope="col"|GBA
Line 26: Line 25:
 
! scope="col"|[[Recommended Emulators|Recommended]]
 
! scope="col"|[[Recommended Emulators|Recommended]]
 
|-
 
|-
!colspan="9"|PC
+
!colspan="9"|PC / x86
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[DeSmuME]]
 
|[[DeSmuME]]
|Multi-platform
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS|FreeBSD}}
 
|[https://ci.appveyor.com/project/zeromus/desmume {{DeSmuMEVer}}]
 
|[https://ci.appveyor.com/project/zeromus/desmume {{DeSmuMEVer}}]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[melonDS]]
 
|[[melonDS]]
|Windows, Linux
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
|[http://melonds.kuribo64.net/downloads.php {{MelonDSVer}}]
+
|[http://melonds.kuribo64.net/downloads.php {{MelonDSVer}}] [https://github.com/Arisotura/melonDS/actions <br/>Git CI Builds]
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{~}} <small>(WIP)</small>
+
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{~}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{}} <small>(WIP)</small>
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[DeSmuME#Graphical_Enhancement|DeSmuME X432R]]
 
|[[DeSmuME#Graphical_Enhancement|DeSmuME X432R]]
|Multi-platform
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS|FreeBSD}}
|[http://shikaver01.webcrow.jp/desmume_x432r/index.html 2015-04-19]
+
|[http://web.archive.org/web/20150920170430im_/http://shikaver01.webcrow.jp/desmume_x432r/index.html 2015-04-19]
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{~}}
+
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[GBE+]]
 
|[[GBE+]]
|Windows, Linux
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS}}
|[https://github.com/shonumi/gbe-plus/releases 1.2]
+
|[https://github.com/shonumi/gbe-plus/releases {{GBEVer}}]
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} <small>(WIP)</small>
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} <small>(WIP)</small>
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[mGBA#medusa|medusa]]
 
|[[mGBA#medusa|medusa]]
|Windows, Linux
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 
|[https://mgba.io/downloads.html alpha 2]
 
|[https://mgba.io/downloads.html alpha 2]
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} || {{✗}}<ref name="medusa suspended"/>||{{✗}} <small>(WIP)</small>
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} || {{✗}}<ref name="medusa suspended"/>||{{✗}} <small>(WIP)</small>
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[https://corgids.wordpress.com/ CorgiDS]
 
|[https://corgids.wordpress.com/ CorgiDS]
|Windows, Linux
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 
|[https://github.com/PSI-Rockin/CorgiDS/releases 0.1]<br />[http://www.emucr.com/search/label/CorgiDS SVN]
 
|[https://github.com/PSI-Rockin/CorgiDS/releases 0.1]<br />[http://www.emucr.com/search/label/CorgiDS SVN]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}<ref>https://corgids.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/extended-break/</ref> ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}<ref>https://corgids.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/extended-break/</ref> ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|ndsemu
 
|ndsemu
|Windows
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows}}
 
|[https://github.com/rasky/ndsemu Git]
 
|[https://github.com/rasky/ndsemu Git]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[No$|No$GBA]]
 
|[[No$|No$GBA]]
|Windows, DOS
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|DOS}}
 
|[http://problemkaputt.de/gba.htm {{No$GBAVer}}]
 
|[http://problemkaputt.de/gba.htm {{No$GBAVer}}]
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[https://web.archive.org/web/20110225190819/http://neonds.com/ NeonDS]
 
|[https://web.archive.org/web/20110225190819/http://neonds.com/ NeonDS]
|Windows
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows}}
 
|[https://web.archive.org/web/20100925152735/http://neonds.com/system/files/NeonDS_0.2.1.zip 0.2.1]
 
|[https://web.archive.org/web/20100925152735/http://neonds.com/system/files/NeonDS_0.2.1.zip 0.2.1]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|dasShiny
 
|dasShiny
|Windows, Linux
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 
|[https://github.com/Cydrak/dasShiny Git]
 
|[https://github.com/Cydrak/dasShiny Git]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[http://ds-duos.blogspot.com/ DuoS]
 
|[http://ds-duos.blogspot.com/ DuoS]
|Windows
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows}}
 
|[http://www.emulator-zone.com/download.php/emulators/nds/duos/DuoS.zip 8/25/2012 Beta]
 
|[http://www.emulator-zone.com/download.php/emulators/nds/duos/DuoS.zip 8/25/2012 Beta]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[Ensata]]
 
|[[Ensata]]
|Windows
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows}}
 
|[http://www.mediafire.com/file/x0odmalrndt9m7a/Ensata+v1.4d.rar 1.4d]
 
|[http://www.mediafire.com/file/x0odmalrndt9m7a/Ensata+v1.4d.rar 1.4d]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[https://web.archive.org/web/20111130005614/http://ideasemu.biz/ iDeaS]
 
|[https://web.archive.org/web/20111130005614/http://ideasemu.biz/ iDeaS]
|Windows, Linux
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 
|[http://www.emulator-zone.com/files/emulators/nds/ideas/ideas1040.7z 1.0.4.0]
 
|[http://www.emulator-zone.com/files/emulators/nds/ideas/ideas1040.7z 1.0.4.0]
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
!colspan="9"|Console
+
|[https://github.com/Hydr8gon/NooDS NooDS]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS}}
 +
|[https://github.com/Hydr8gon/NooDS Git]
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}}
 
|-
 
|-
|[[Virtual Console]]
+
!colspan="9"|Mobile / ARM
|Wii U
 
|
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}}
 
|-
 
!colspan="9"|Mobile
 
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[DraStic]]
 
|[[DraStic]]
|[[Android emulators|Android]], Pandora,<br />Linux <small>(Raspberry Pi)</small>
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Android|Pandora}}
|[https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dsemu.drastic 2.5.1.2a]
+
|[https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dsemu.drastic {{DraSticVer}}]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}}
 +
|-
 +
|[[melonDS]]<small> (unofficial)</small>
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Android}}
 +
|[https://github.com/rafaelvcaetano/melonDS-android Git]
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{~}} (WIP)
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[https://inds.nerd.net/ iNDS]<br/><small>(nds4ios derived)</small><br/><small>(DeSmuME based)</small>
 
|[https://inds.nerd.net/ iNDS]<br/><small>(nds4ios derived)</small><br/><small>(DeSmuME based)</small>
|[[iOS emulators|iOS]]
+
|align=left|{{Icon|iOS}}
 
|[https://github.com/iNDS-Team/iNDS/releases Git]
 
|[https://github.com/iNDS-Team/iNDS/releases Git]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|nds4ios
 
|nds4ios
|[[iOS emulators|iOS]]
+
|align=left|{{Icon|iOS}}
 
|[http://nds4ios.angelxwind.net/i/?page/downloads SVN]
 
|[http://nds4ios.angelxwind.net/i/?page/downloads SVN]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}}
|-
 
|Dsoid
 
|[[Android emulators|Android]]
 
|[http://www.emucr.com/search/label/Dsoid?&max-results=12 SVN]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[http://jeffq.com/blog/nds4droid/ nds4droid]<br/><small>(DeSmuME based)</small>
 
|[http://jeffq.com/blog/nds4droid/ nds4droid]<br/><small>(DeSmuME based)</small>
|[[Android emulators|Android]]
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Android}}
 
|[https://github.com/jquesnelle/nds4droid Git]
 
|[https://github.com/jquesnelle/nds4droid Git]
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 +
|-
 +
!colspan="9"|Console
 +
|-
 +
|[[Virtual Console]]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|WiiU}}
 +
|
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}}
 +
|-
 +
|[[melonDS]]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Switch}}
 +
|[https://gbatemp.net/threads/melonds-for-switch.518300/page-62#post-9077251 Latest Build]<br/>[https://github.com/RSDuck/melonDS/tree/switch Git]
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}}
 +
|-
 +
|[https://github.com/Hydr8gon/NooDS NooDS]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Switch}}
 +
|[https://github.com/Hydr8gon/NooDS Git]
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}}
 
|}
 
|}
  
 
===Comparisons===
 
===Comparisons===
;[[DeSmuME]]: One of the most developed emulators for regular DS games. DeSmuME has had significant improvements since 2018, including lower CPU/GPU Usage, updated to use VS2015, and potentially reopen wi-fi/multiplayer capabilities.  Unfortunately, these features are still in development and are only available through either nightly/dev builds, meaning there's a <i>slight</i> chance of problems. This emulator aims for accuracy over speed. (see [[Common Problems and Solutions]] for tips)
+
;[[DeSmuME]]: One of the most developed emulators for regular DS games. DeSmuME has had significant improvements since 2018, though new features are still in development and are only available through either nightly/dev builds. It now uses less CPU/GPU resources, and Wi-Fi is also underway. If you're worried about stability, then stick to the latest stable release. Otherwise, the latest dev builds will have more to offer. (See [[Common Problems and Solutions]] for tips.)
;[[DraStic]]: A payware, closed-source emulator for [[Android emulators|Android]] devices that can run games at a decent speed even on potato phones. Some unsubstantiated rumours have spread around that the developers deliberately put in issues to mess with pirated copies, though at the very least, don't expect any support from exophase and company if you get your hands on a pirated copy. It's on par or better than DeSmuME, and emulating it through BlueStacks on PC may actually be a viable and fast alternative aside from a slight input delay. Available for free on Raspberry Pi and Odroid via RetroPie.
+
;[[DraStic]]: A payware, closed-source emulator for [[Android emulators|Android]] devices that can run games at a decent speed even on potato phones. It's on par with (or in some cases better than) DeSmuME, and emulating it through BlueStacks on PC may actually be a viable and fast alternative aside from a slight input delay. Some rumors have spread around that the developers deliberately put in issues to mess with pirated copies, though this is considered unsubstantiated. At the very least, you shouldn't expect any support from Exophase and company if you use a pirated copy, though it is available for free on the Raspberry Pi and Odroid via RetroPie.
 +
;[[melonDS]]: Arisotura's goal is to make an emulator that's better optimized and includes features that others lack, either intentionally or not. While the developers of No$GBA had documented the Wi-Fi capabilities first, melonDS is the first and only emulator that's gotten as far as it has and it has been found to work reasonably well with a handful of games.  There's also been progress made in emulating the DSi<ref name="melonDSi">http://melonds.kuribo64.net/comments.php?id=94</ref><ref name="progress on DSi">http://melonds.kuribo64.net/comments.php?id=99&p</ref>, so far it's been able to boot into the firmware and is being developed in a separate branch of the main project. It could surpass DeSmuME when it covers more features.
 
;[[No$|No$GBA]]: Focuses on speed, and has major compatibility issues and glitches as a result. But because it was originally a GBA emulator, the DS's 3D features are still very poorly handled. However, it might be an option for a very low-end machine but don't expect a lot of games to run perfectly, or at all. A fan program, No$Zoomer, was released for version 2.6 which increases compatibility and options, as well as the titular zooming abilities. The biggest addition is noise cancellation which clears up static that No$GBA makes with its 3D rendering. No$Zoomer hasn't rebased yet but does add options for window resizing. There haven't been any noticeable changes with regards to accuracy, however. As of v2.8, No$GBA supports DSi games and is currently the first and only emulator that does. Only use No$GBA in the cases of DSi games, debugging (if you've taken up romhacking for DS games), if you value speed above everything, or just as a last resort.
 
;[[No$|No$GBA]]: Focuses on speed, and has major compatibility issues and glitches as a result. But because it was originally a GBA emulator, the DS's 3D features are still very poorly handled. However, it might be an option for a very low-end machine but don't expect a lot of games to run perfectly, or at all. A fan program, No$Zoomer, was released for version 2.6 which increases compatibility and options, as well as the titular zooming abilities. The biggest addition is noise cancellation which clears up static that No$GBA makes with its 3D rendering. No$Zoomer hasn't rebased yet but does add options for window resizing. There haven't been any noticeable changes with regards to accuracy, however. As of v2.8, No$GBA supports DSi games and is currently the first and only emulator that does. Only use No$GBA in the cases of DSi games, debugging (if you've taken up romhacking for DS games), if you value speed above everything, or just as a last resort.
;[[melonDS]]: Arisotura's goal is to make an emulator that's better optimized and includes features that others lack, either intentionally or not. While the developers of No$GBA had documented the Wi-Fi capabilities first, melonDS is the first and only emulator that's gotten as far as it has and it has been found to work reasonably well with a handful of games. There's also hope that melonDS will implement DSi emulation in the future<ref name="next direction for melonDS">http://melonds.kuribo64.net/comments.php?id=47&b=15</ref>, though not much has been mentioned since and probably won't be added in until much later in development if ever. It could surpass DeSmuME when it covers more features and supports more games.
 
 
;[[mGBA#medusa|medusa]]: [[mGBA]] developer endrift is also creating a DS emulator, but it's very much a work-in-progress and isn't nearly as far as melonDS in terms of the capabilities it's covered. As of March 2018, medusa's development is "suspended until further notice".<ref name="medusa suspended">https://mgba.io/2018/03/09/holy-grail-bugs-revisited/#postscript-a-several-month-late-explanation</ref>
 
;[[mGBA#medusa|medusa]]: [[mGBA]] developer endrift is also creating a DS emulator, but it's very much a work-in-progress and isn't nearly as far as melonDS in terms of the capabilities it's covered. As of March 2018, medusa's development is "suspended until further notice".<ref name="medusa suspended">https://mgba.io/2018/03/09/holy-grail-bugs-revisited/#postscript-a-several-month-late-explanation</ref>
 
;iDeaS: An abandoned and experimental DS emulator that uses a plug-in system, it's very slow and buggy but has partially gotten some features working like the camera and slide accessories.
 
;iDeaS: An abandoned and experimental DS emulator that uses a plug-in system, it's very slow and buggy but has partially gotten some features working like the camera and slide accessories.
 
;[[Ensata]]: Nintendo's official DS emulator that was leaked to the public. It's not very usable or compatible but it can run a few games.
 
;[[Ensata]]: Nintendo's official DS emulator that was leaked to the public. It's not very usable or compatible but it can run a few games.
  
'''List of recommended Nintendo DS emulators for Android:'''
+
'''Comparisons of several Nintendo DS emulators:'''
* [https://www.androidauthority.com/best-nintendo-ds-emulator-for-android-368440/ 5 best Nintendo DS emulators for Android] (SEPTEMBER 1, 2018. Includes some emulators not found in above charts. Reviews may be subjective.)
+
* [https://emucross.com/the-next-generation-of-ds-emulators/ Looking Toward the Next Generation of DS Emulators] (By [[Dolphin]] tester, [https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/authors/JMC47/ JMC47], AKA Justin M. Chadwick. 5 June 2017. Tested emulators: melonDS (0.2 and 0.3), medusa (Alpha 2) & GBE+ (1.1) compared to the mature DeSmuME.)
  
 
===High Resolution===
 
===High Resolution===
;DeSmuME X432R:A fork of DeSmuME, that has many more graphical enhancement such as an option to increase internal resolution and use MSAA, the devs of DeSmuME have included an option for increased internal resolution and X432R is outdated. See the [[DeSmuME]] page for more details.
+
;melonDS: Has added support for OpenGL renderer and upscaling as of version 0.8.<ref name="melondsopengl">http://melonds.kuribo64.net/comments.php?id=90</ref> The renderer is much faster than DeSmuME's and supports increasing the internal resolution up to 8x native resolution. More features such as texture filtering are planned.
 +
;DeSmuME X432R:A fork of DeSmuME, that has many more graphical enhancement such as an option to increase internal resolution and use MSAA. The devs of DeSmuME have now included an option for increased internal resolution (see below), making X432R outdated. See the [[DeSmuME]] page for more details.
 
;DeSmuME <small>([[libretro]])</small>:Also has an option to increase internal resolution since [https://github.com/libretro/desmume/commit/5e430dfbc22f9d54c77f291304a38352ee1e5a63 August 8, 2015 git commit]. It requires a very high-end CPU to run at a reasonable framerate.
 
;DeSmuME <small>([[libretro]])</small>:Also has an option to increase internal resolution since [https://github.com/libretro/desmume/commit/5e430dfbc22f9d54c77f291304a38352ee1e5a63 August 8, 2015 git commit]. It requires a very high-end CPU to run at a reasonable framerate.
 
;DraStic:Has released a beta version supporting double the original resolution.
 
;DraStic:Has released a beta version supporting double the original resolution.
Line 147: Line 162:
  
 
==Connectivity==
 
==Connectivity==
===Local Multiplayer, Wi-Fi Connection, and Wii/DS Connection===
 
* Local Multiplayer is not supported by any emulator. No$GBA can emulate it but the connection fails somewhere during establishing the actual connection (despite the names from the other DS showing just fine).
 
* Download Play isn't supported by any emulator so far, though NDS-bootstrap homebrew on the Nintendo 3DS can boot some of them.
 
* Nintendo WFC (Online Multiplayer) was successfully emulated with third-party DeSmuME forks but has quite a bit of requirement (Ethernet cable, though this can be circumvented with external software). After service shutdown, there was a version compatible with the fan servers (restoring all DLC data but sadly most multiplayer games had their content lost forever).
 
* DS/Wii connection isn't emulated in any capacity. ''Pokémon Battle Revolution'' playability is very limited this way.
 
  
These features are not supported by the mainline DeSmuME project in particular due to timing inaccuracies and ''creative differences'', and it's highly unlikely they will ever be included in the future. If you're interested in these features, follow other projects and refrain from contacting the developers about them as per their wishes in their "official stance" on Wi-Fi features in general.
+
The DS offers five types of connections:
 +
* '''Local Wireless Communications''' - ''(Multiple Cartridges)''
 +
* '''DS Download Play''' - ''(Single Cartridge)''
 +
* '''Wi-Fi Connection''' - ''(Online Multiplayer)''
 +
* '''DS/Wii Connectivity'''
 +
* '''GBA/DS Connectivity'''
  
===GBA/DS Connectivity===
+
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center;"
Inserting GBA cartridges in Slot-2 of the Nintendo DS while a game is running can unlock various gameplay features in some DS games. It's unknown if NO$GBA supports this, but it can be done in DeSmuME by going to Config > Slot 2 (GBA Slot) and selecting GBA Cartridge. Select the GBA ROM file, and make sure its <code>.sav</code> file is in the same folder. You may need to reset the game for it to take effect. However, DeSmuME does not support features like the solar sensor from GBA Boktai cartridges used in Boktai DS (Lunar Knight).
+
|-
 +
! scope="col"|Name
 +
! scope="col"|Platform(s)
 +
! scope="col"|Latest Version
 +
! scope="col"|Local
 +
! scope="col"|Download Play
 +
! scope="col"|Wi-Fi
 +
! scope="col"|GBA/DS
 +
|-
 +
|[[melonDS|melonDS]]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 +
|{{MelonDSVer}}
 +
|{{~}} ||{{~}} ||{{~}} ||{{✓}}<small>(Git)</small>
 +
|-
 +
|[[DeSmuME]]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS|FreeBSD}}
 +
|{{DeSmuMEVer}}
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{~}} ||{{✓}}
 +
|-
 +
|[[No$|No$GBA]]
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|DOS}}
 +
|[http://problemkaputt.de/gba.htm {{No$GBAVer}}]
 +
|{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}} ||{{✗}}
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
The major challenge with emulating multiplayer functionalities is timing inaccuracies, which have made many projects, such as DeSmuME, not want to implement them. So far, the only emulator to actually make any progress is melonDS, but even that is still under development.  
  
==DSi==
+
===Local Wireless Communication===
Nintendo released the DSi on April 5, 2009, doing away with Slot-2 (used by GBA cartridges and Guitar Hero games) but also adding new lighting effects, a camera, more RAM, and downloadable titles called DSiWare though those were capped to 16MB because they were installed to the very small internal NAND memory. DSiWare releases were also region locked, and the system language couldn't be changed. The Nintendo 3DS is also compatible with those games and offers a way to back them up to an SD card.
+
Players who have a copy of the same game can link together using the DS' wireless signals (given that the game offers this feature).
  
===Game Formats===
+
melonDS supports wireless communication with several games, including ''New Super Mario Bros.'' and ''Pokemon'', but you need to have either multiple instances opened, which can slow down overall performance, or connect multiple computers via LAN. No$GBA is able to connect, but fails before the actual connection is finished.
There are three types of games using DSi hardware enhancements:
 
  
;DSi-enhanced retail cartridges: Regular DS retail cartridges compatible with the older DS models, but unlocking more RAM and features when used on the DSi, similar to some late GBC games on the GBA. A couple of dozen games from Japan and US/EUR relied on this method. Those games will still boot on DS emulators but without the DSi enhancements.
+
===DS Download Play===
;DSi-exclusive retail cartridges: Retail cartridges relying heavily on the DSi hardware features. A boot-up error screen will show when attempting to load those on regular DS models (and by extension, emulators for those). Only five games were released this way, either launch games or because they were too big to fit in 16MB.
+
Players who both have a DS but only one copy of a game can use "Download Play" to play together without everyone needing a copy of the game. The player with the physical cartridge will host the game while the other players connects using a "downloaded" version received from the host. Normally they are either simple mini-games, stripped down demos of the main game, or a limited version of multiplayer. In most cases it's better to use multi-cart instead, however there are some games, like ''Mario Party DS'', that requires Download Play in order to use its multiplayer.
;DSiWare: Downloadable titles downloaded only through the DSi eShop (discontinued), or the Nintendo 3DS eShop (though it uses a different file packaging format). They have a 16MB size limitation and there are lots of interesting exclusives for the system released that way.
 
  
All three formats can be converted to *.nds format. Compared to regular DS games, DSi games had some additional header information that wasn't even correctly dumped in the earlier broken dumps. The 2017 set has updated many of those, though it's still severely lacking in DSiWare exclusives. DSiWare dumps exist in both NDS format or CIA format (for the ones who want to boot it on their 3DS).
+
Download Play is supported by melonDS. Like with local multiplayer, it is very hit and miss but unlocking the framerate helps. melonDS will often fail during the download process, but some games actually go as far as booting and sometimes in-game as well.
  
On the old DS or DS Lite models, as well as most Nintendo DS emulators, the first type will load in regular DS mode without any DSi enhancements, the second will show an error message, and the third will crash on boot-up due to missing encryption abilities and DSi hardware support.
+
===Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection===
 +
Nintendo's online service that was available for the Wii and DS and was free to use.  It was shutdown on May 20, 2014 due to the company GameSpy, the ones who were managing these servers, shutting down its multiplayer services after being bought out. A popular game that used this feature was ''Mario Kart DS''.
  
On the DSi/3DS family of handhelds, the first two formats can be played on some select DSi-compatible flashcarts like the (discontinued and now expensive) CycloDS iEvolution flashcard (which won't work on a stock 3DS not with custom firmware to whitelist it). As for the third type, it's available for digital purchase at their respective stores (DSi Shop for DSi, eShop for the 3DS) and installed as apps to the limited TWL NAND. In the 3DS' case, they can also be installed as custom titles in .cia format (like all 3DS applications, but here it's also a container for a <code>.nds</code> rom in this case, and converting back and forth is possible).
+
There was a third-party DeSmuME forks that successfully emulated WFC but has quite a bit of requirement (Ethernet cable, though this can be circumvented with external software). After the service shutdown, there was a version compatible with the fan servers (restoring all DLC data but sadly most multiplayer games had their content lost forever). melonDS is one of the only emulators to offer Wi-Fi capabilities. It's still a work-in-progress, but it works relatively well.
  
===Emulation===
+
===DS/Wii Connectivity===
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center;"
+
Uses the wireless communication on the DS to connect to the Wii.  The idea is parallel to the GBA Link Cable for the GameCube, and just like the Link Cable, only a handful of games actually have this feature. Some notable examples are ''Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time'' which is essentially the same as the DS port but can connect with other DS' with the game, ''Pokemon Battle Revolution'' in which players could transfer their Pokemon to the game and use the DS as a controller, ''Animal Crossing: City Folk'' in which data could be transferred between the DS version ''Animal Crossing: Wild World'', and the ''Nintendo Channel'' on the Wii where players could download demos of DS games to their console using Download Play (basically the same idea as the Download Station kiosk).
|-
 
! scope="col"|Name
 
! scope="col"|Operating System(s)
 
! scope="col"|Latest Version
 
! scope="col"|DSi (enhanced)
 
! scope="col"|DSi (exclusive)
 
! scope="col"|DSi (digital)
 
! scope="col"|[[Recommended Emulators|Recommended]]
 
|-
 
|[[No$|No$GBA]]
 
|Windows, [[Intel CPUs|DOS]]
 
|[http://problemkaputt.de/gba.htm 2.9b]
 
|{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✓}} ||{{✗}}
 
|}
 
  
No$GBA added support for DSi games of all three formats starting with version 2.8, although some games won't boot and others have graphical glitches. You'll need to enable "16MB DSi/retail" under the settings. Emulation is very iffy due to a so-so DS emulation foundation in No$GBA, and the camera is just spoofed as a static image but just causes an emulator crash whenever used, meaning games that use it may boot but it won't be very playable.  
+
So far, no emulator has been able to emulate this feature, nor have attempted to, and considering that the GBA/GCN connectivity on Dolphin has yet to achieve full functionality (and a lack of interesting titles that uses it), hints that this feature won't be emulated for a while.  If this was ever going to be emulated, it would require work on both ends.
  
DSi used an encryption system for the game dumps that went on to be enhanced and used for the 3DS. This encryption is checked at start-up, hence why Nintendo DS emulators don't even manage to boot DSiWare dumps. It's very unlikely DSi-mode emulation is ever going to be implemented in DeSmuME in particular due to various ''creative differences'' unique to that project.
+
===GBA/DS Connectivity===
 +
Inserting a GBA cartridge in the Slot-2 of the Nintendo DS while a game is running can unlock various gameplay features for [https://nintendo.fandom.com/wiki/List_of_Nintendo_DS_games_with_GBA_connectivity several DS games].  
  
===BIOS Files===
+
It's unknown if No$GBA supports this, but it can be done in DeSmuME by going to Config > Slot 2 (GBA Slot) and selecting GBA Cartridge. Select the GBA ROM file, make sure its <code>.sav</code> file is in the same folder. You may need to reset the game for it to take effect.
DSi emulation requires a copy of the lower 32K-halves of the ARM7/ARM9 BIOSes (BIOSDSI7.ROM and BIOSDSI9.ROM), which are different from the regular DS BIOS files and needed for the decryption. All the needed files are bios7i.bin, bios9i.bin, BIOSDSI7.ROM, BIOSDSI9.ROM, BIOSNDS7.ROM, and BIOSNDS9.ROM. These unicorns can be found [http://archive.org/details/DSiFirmwareFiles here].
+
The latest git of melonDS added support for GBA connectivity and even added support for the solar sensor on GBA Boktai cartridges used in Boktai DS (Lunar Knight), something DeSmuME has yet to support. Either drag-and-drop the GBA ROM onto the program before starting or open the file before loading the NDS file.
  
It's also advised (but still completely '''optional''') to use a NAND dump as well to increase compatibility (though adding games is more complex, and a soft-modding solution to dump it is still being worked on). Rename it to "DSi-1.mmc" (should be about 250MB). Change "Reset/Startup Entrypoint to "GBA/NDS BIOS" to now boot the emulator and games in DSi mode. Hex editing required to "install" new DSiWare titles, though loading retail games in DSi mode from the menu is still possible easily. This fixes lots of glitches and crashes related to languages and use of the internal DSi font.
+
==Nintendo DSi==
 +
{{Main|Nintendo DSi emulators}}
  
 
==Special Hardware==
 
==Special Hardware==
Line 209: Line 236:
 
;Pokémon Keyboard: Bundled with the Pokémon Typing game (JP/UK/FR). The game refuses to boot without a keyboard, but it can be run on emulators with an anti-piracy fix and another DeSmuME-specific save bug fix. There is also [http://pokemonlog.com/pokemon-fuligin-download-rom/ a pre-patched ROM.] While it's playable using the on-screen keyboard on the lower screen, the keyboard isn't actually emulated. There is [https://github.com/AnimeCommander/Learn.With.Pokemon-Typing-Adventure.lua/blob/master/Pok%C3%A9mon%20Typing%20DS%20Keyboard%20Script.lua a Lua script] that permits using the actual keyboard by mapping presses of the actual keyboard to taps of the virtual Touch Screen. However, you are going to need to blank out all the control/hotkey bindings of DeSmuME if you are going to play this game because some of the keyboard keys also activate some controls; otherwise, pressing the Q key would also pause the game, given one example. A recommendation would be to have a separate copy of 32-bit DeSMuMe which purpose is playing *only* the Pokémon typing games. In that copy, place the patched ROM, the Lua script, and a 32-bit version of [https://sourceforge.net/projects/luabinaries/files/5.1.5/Windows%20Libraries/Dynamic/ lua51.dll.] (The platform used in building the <code>.dll</code> should not matter.) Even then, not only is the emulated workaround a little slow, but saving is still broken. Use savestates, instead.
 
;Pokémon Keyboard: Bundled with the Pokémon Typing game (JP/UK/FR). The game refuses to boot without a keyboard, but it can be run on emulators with an anti-piracy fix and another DeSmuME-specific save bug fix. There is also [http://pokemonlog.com/pokemon-fuligin-download-rom/ a pre-patched ROM.] While it's playable using the on-screen keyboard on the lower screen, the keyboard isn't actually emulated. There is [https://github.com/AnimeCommander/Learn.With.Pokemon-Typing-Adventure.lua/blob/master/Pok%C3%A9mon%20Typing%20DS%20Keyboard%20Script.lua a Lua script] that permits using the actual keyboard by mapping presses of the actual keyboard to taps of the virtual Touch Screen. However, you are going to need to blank out all the control/hotkey bindings of DeSmuME if you are going to play this game because some of the keyboard keys also activate some controls; otherwise, pressing the Q key would also pause the game, given one example. A recommendation would be to have a separate copy of 32-bit DeSMuMe which purpose is playing *only* the Pokémon typing games. In that copy, place the patched ROM, the Lua script, and a 32-bit version of [https://sourceforge.net/projects/luabinaries/files/5.1.5/Windows%20Libraries/Dynamic/ lua51.dll.] (The platform used in building the <code>.dll</code> should not matter.) Even then, not only is the emulated workaround a little slow, but saving is still broken. Use savestates, instead.
 
;DS Camera: Accessory bundled with the Japan-only Face Training (a European localization for Christmas 2007 was canceled, and it was released as a retail DSi game in 2010 using the internal camera rather than the original accessory). Not to be confused with the built-in DSi camera. No emulators exist for it at all.
 
;DS Camera: Accessory bundled with the Japan-only Face Training (a European localization for Christmas 2007 was canceled, and it was released as a retail DSi game in 2010 using the internal camera rather than the original accessory). Not to be confused with the built-in DSi camera. No emulators exist for it at all.
;Bayer DIDGIT: A glucose meter for children with a game entitled ''Knock 'Em Downs: World's Fair'' that rewards them for checking their blood sugar levels regularly. The game has been dumped but no support for the glucose meter peripheral exists as of the time of this writing; it may, however, be possible to add reward points through Action Replay codes, not to mention that the game will still function without the glucose meter attachment anyway (albeit with reduced functionality, of course).
+
;Bayer DIDGIT: A glucose meter for diabetic children with a game called ''Knock 'Em Downs: World's Fair'' that rewards them for checking their blood sugar levels regularly. The game has been dumped but no support for the glucose meter peripheral exists as of the time of this writing; it may, however, be possible to add reward points through Action Replay codes, not to mention that the game will still function without the glucose meter attachment anyway (albeit with reduced functionality, of course).
  
 
===iQue DS Region Lock===
 
===iQue DS Region Lock===
 
iQue is Nintendo's Chinese subsidiary (previously a partnership between them and Wei Yen until 2013), so when they released the DS with a few localized games, their ROMs had special flags set in them to check if the hardware that ran the cartridge was iQue's or Nintendo's as a sort of region lock. Nintendo's own hardware would fail this check, throwing an "Only for iQue DS" error in white text on a black background. No other DS games have this mechanism; not even for Korean releases. This region lock is bypassed by the 3DS for these DS games, even though 3DS games have their own region lock. It's weird.
 
iQue is Nintendo's Chinese subsidiary (previously a partnership between them and Wei Yen until 2013), so when they released the DS with a few localized games, their ROMs had special flags set in them to check if the hardware that ran the cartridge was iQue's or Nintendo's as a sort of region lock. Nintendo's own hardware would fail this check, throwing an "Only for iQue DS" error in white text on a black background. No other DS games have this mechanism; not even for Korean releases. This region lock is bypassed by the 3DS for these DS games, even though 3DS games have their own region lock. It's weird.
  
Emulators differ in their behavior to this region lock. No$GBA crashes. DeSmuME is accurate to non-iQue hardware and will replicate the failure.
+
Emulators differ in their behavior to this region lock. No$GBA crashes. DeSmuME & MelonDS is accurate to non-iQue hardware and will replicate the failure.
  
 
The only way the ROM will accept other hardware (and thus emulators) is with a hack, involving a simple byte change. Use a hex editor to change the byte located at <code>0x1D</code> from value <code>80</code> to <code>00</code>.
 
The only way the ROM will accept other hardware (and thus emulators) is with a hack, involving a simple byte change. Use a hex editor to change the byte located at <code>0x1D</code> from value <code>80</code> to <code>00</code>.

Latest revision as of 16:58, 1 July 2020

Nintendo DS
DSlitewhite.png
Developer Nintendo
Type Handheld game console
Generation Seventh generation
Release date 2004
Discontinued 2013
Predecessor Game Boy Advance
Successor Nintendo 3DS
Emulated

The Nintendo DS (NDS) is a handheld console produced by Nintendo on November 21, 2004 and had 2 ARM CPUs (ARM9 and ARM7) with 4MB of RAM. The main selling point was the use of dual screens for gameplay, with one being a touchscreen. It is the only console to have come close to the PlayStation 2 in lifetime sales (154.02 million units), as a result of attracting a large amount of casual players, and even non-gamers, into the gaming community.

Emulators[edit]

Name Platform(s) Latest Version GBA NDS DSi Libretro Core Active Recommended
PC / x86
DeSmuME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.9.12 Dev Builds
melonDS Windows Linux 0.8.3
Git CI Builds
~ (WIP)
DeSmuME X432R Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 2015-04-19
GBE+ Windows Linux macOS 1.4 (WIP)
medusa Windows Linux alpha 2 [1] (WIP)
CorgiDS Windows Linux 0.1
SVN
[2]
ndsemu Windows Git
No$GBA Windows MS-DOS 3.02
NeonDS Windows 0.2.1
dasShiny Windows Linux Git
DuoS Windows 8/25/2012 Beta
Ensata Windows 1.4d
iDeaS Windows Linux 1.0.4.0
NooDS Windows Linux macOS Git
Mobile / ARM
DraStic Android Pandora r2.5.2.2a
melonDS (unofficial) Android Git ~ (WIP)
iNDS
(nds4ios derived)
(DeSmuME based)
iOS Git
nds4ios iOS SVN
nds4droid
(DeSmuME based)
Android Git
Console
Virtual Console Wii U
melonDS Switch Latest Build
Git
NooDS Switch Git

Comparisons[edit]

DeSmuME
One of the most developed emulators for regular DS games. DeSmuME has had significant improvements since 2018, though new features are still in development and are only available through either nightly/dev builds. It now uses less CPU/GPU resources, and Wi-Fi is also underway. If you're worried about stability, then stick to the latest stable release. Otherwise, the latest dev builds will have more to offer. (See Common Problems and Solutions for tips.)
DraStic
A payware, closed-source emulator for Android devices that can run games at a decent speed even on potato phones. It's on par with (or in some cases better than) DeSmuME, and emulating it through BlueStacks on PC may actually be a viable and fast alternative aside from a slight input delay. Some rumors have spread around that the developers deliberately put in issues to mess with pirated copies, though this is considered unsubstantiated. At the very least, you shouldn't expect any support from Exophase and company if you use a pirated copy, though it is available for free on the Raspberry Pi and Odroid via RetroPie.
melonDS
Arisotura's goal is to make an emulator that's better optimized and includes features that others lack, either intentionally or not. While the developers of No$GBA had documented the Wi-Fi capabilities first, melonDS is the first and only emulator that's gotten as far as it has and it has been found to work reasonably well with a handful of games. There's also been progress made in emulating the DSi[3][4], so far it's been able to boot into the firmware and is being developed in a separate branch of the main project. It could surpass DeSmuME when it covers more features.
No$GBA
Focuses on speed, and has major compatibility issues and glitches as a result. But because it was originally a GBA emulator, the DS's 3D features are still very poorly handled. However, it might be an option for a very low-end machine but don't expect a lot of games to run perfectly, or at all. A fan program, No$Zoomer, was released for version 2.6 which increases compatibility and options, as well as the titular zooming abilities. The biggest addition is noise cancellation which clears up static that No$GBA makes with its 3D rendering. No$Zoomer hasn't rebased yet but does add options for window resizing. There haven't been any noticeable changes with regards to accuracy, however. As of v2.8, No$GBA supports DSi games and is currently the first and only emulator that does. Only use No$GBA in the cases of DSi games, debugging (if you've taken up romhacking for DS games), if you value speed above everything, or just as a last resort.
medusa
mGBA developer endrift is also creating a DS emulator, but it's very much a work-in-progress and isn't nearly as far as melonDS in terms of the capabilities it's covered. As of March 2018, medusa's development is "suspended until further notice".[1]
iDeaS
An abandoned and experimental DS emulator that uses a plug-in system, it's very slow and buggy but has partially gotten some features working like the camera and slide accessories.
Ensata
Nintendo's official DS emulator that was leaked to the public. It's not very usable or compatible but it can run a few games.

Comparisons of several Nintendo DS emulators:

High Resolution[edit]

melonDS
Has added support for OpenGL renderer and upscaling as of version 0.8.[5] The renderer is much faster than DeSmuME's and supports increasing the internal resolution up to 8x native resolution. More features such as texture filtering are planned.
DeSmuME X432R
A fork of DeSmuME, that has many more graphical enhancement such as an option to increase internal resolution and use MSAA. The devs of DeSmuME have now included an option for increased internal resolution (see below), making X432R outdated. See the DeSmuME page for more details.
DeSmuME (libretro)
Also has an option to increase internal resolution since August 8, 2015 git commit. It requires a very high-end CPU to run at a reasonable framerate.
DraStic
Has released a beta version supporting double the original resolution.
Virtual Console (Wii U)
Has a configuration file with support for x2 internal resolution without any significant performance hit (as well as a brightness setting). However, there's no legit way to enable it without a homebrew-enabled console.

Connectivity[edit]

The DS offers five types of connections:

  • Local Wireless Communications - (Multiple Cartridges)
  • DS Download Play - (Single Cartridge)
  • Wi-Fi Connection - (Online Multiplayer)
  • DS/Wii Connectivity
  • GBA/DS Connectivity
Name Platform(s) Latest Version Local Download Play Wi-Fi GBA/DS
melonDS Windows Linux 0.8.3 ~ ~ ~ (Git)
DeSmuME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.9.12 Dev Builds ~
No$GBA Windows MS-DOS 3.02

The major challenge with emulating multiplayer functionalities is timing inaccuracies, which have made many projects, such as DeSmuME, not want to implement them. So far, the only emulator to actually make any progress is melonDS, but even that is still under development.

Local Wireless Communication[edit]

Players who have a copy of the same game can link together using the DS' wireless signals (given that the game offers this feature).

melonDS supports wireless communication with several games, including New Super Mario Bros. and Pokemon, but you need to have either multiple instances opened, which can slow down overall performance, or connect multiple computers via LAN. No$GBA is able to connect, but fails before the actual connection is finished.

DS Download Play[edit]

Players who both have a DS but only one copy of a game can use "Download Play" to play together without everyone needing a copy of the game. The player with the physical cartridge will host the game while the other players connects using a "downloaded" version received from the host. Normally they are either simple mini-games, stripped down demos of the main game, or a limited version of multiplayer. In most cases it's better to use multi-cart instead, however there are some games, like Mario Party DS, that requires Download Play in order to use its multiplayer.

Download Play is supported by melonDS. Like with local multiplayer, it is very hit and miss but unlocking the framerate helps. melonDS will often fail during the download process, but some games actually go as far as booting and sometimes in-game as well.

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection[edit]

Nintendo's online service that was available for the Wii and DS and was free to use. It was shutdown on May 20, 2014 due to the company GameSpy, the ones who were managing these servers, shutting down its multiplayer services after being bought out. A popular game that used this feature was Mario Kart DS.

There was a third-party DeSmuME forks that successfully emulated WFC but has quite a bit of requirement (Ethernet cable, though this can be circumvented with external software). After the service shutdown, there was a version compatible with the fan servers (restoring all DLC data but sadly most multiplayer games had their content lost forever). melonDS is one of the only emulators to offer Wi-Fi capabilities. It's still a work-in-progress, but it works relatively well.

DS/Wii Connectivity[edit]

Uses the wireless communication on the DS to connect to the Wii. The idea is parallel to the GBA Link Cable for the GameCube, and just like the Link Cable, only a handful of games actually have this feature. Some notable examples are Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time which is essentially the same as the DS port but can connect with other DS' with the game, Pokemon Battle Revolution in which players could transfer their Pokemon to the game and use the DS as a controller, Animal Crossing: City Folk in which data could be transferred between the DS version Animal Crossing: Wild World, and the Nintendo Channel on the Wii where players could download demos of DS games to their console using Download Play (basically the same idea as the Download Station kiosk).

So far, no emulator has been able to emulate this feature, nor have attempted to, and considering that the GBA/GCN connectivity on Dolphin has yet to achieve full functionality (and a lack of interesting titles that uses it), hints that this feature won't be emulated for a while. If this was ever going to be emulated, it would require work on both ends.

GBA/DS Connectivity[edit]

Inserting a GBA cartridge in the Slot-2 of the Nintendo DS while a game is running can unlock various gameplay features for several DS games.

It's unknown if No$GBA supports this, but it can be done in DeSmuME by going to Config > Slot 2 (GBA Slot) and selecting GBA Cartridge. Select the GBA ROM file, make sure its .sav file is in the same folder. You may need to reset the game for it to take effect. The latest git of melonDS added support for GBA connectivity and even added support for the solar sensor on GBA Boktai cartridges used in Boktai DS (Lunar Knight), something DeSmuME has yet to support. Either drag-and-drop the GBA ROM onto the program before starting or open the file before loading the NDS file.

Nintendo DSi[edit]

Main article: Nintendo DSi emulators

Special Hardware[edit]

Guitar Hero Pad
Used in the "Guitar Hero: On Tour" series (required) and Band Hero DS. Supported by DeSmuME (Slot 2).
Piano for Easy Piano
Supported by DeSmuME (Slot 2).
Taito Paddle Controller
Compatible with Arkanoid, Space Invaders Extreme, Space Invaders Extreme 2 and Space Bust-a-Move. Supported by DeSmuME (Slot 2).
Tilt Sensor
Used in "Tony Hawk's Motion/Hue's Pixel Painter." No emulators support this add-on yet. (Slot 2)
Rumble Pack
Supported by DeSmuME (Slot 2). Requires compatible Joystick.
Slide Controller
Required by "Slide Adventure Mag Kid". Yasu made a shoddy plug-in for iDeaS (recommended version was 1.0.2.9.) to try to emulate it. No emulators support this add-on at the moment.
Pokémon Keyboard
Bundled with the Pokémon Typing game (JP/UK/FR). The game refuses to boot without a keyboard, but it can be run on emulators with an anti-piracy fix and another DeSmuME-specific save bug fix. There is also a pre-patched ROM. While it's playable using the on-screen keyboard on the lower screen, the keyboard isn't actually emulated. There is a Lua script that permits using the actual keyboard by mapping presses of the actual keyboard to taps of the virtual Touch Screen. However, you are going to need to blank out all the control/hotkey bindings of DeSmuME if you are going to play this game because some of the keyboard keys also activate some controls; otherwise, pressing the Q key would also pause the game, given one example. A recommendation would be to have a separate copy of 32-bit DeSMuMe which purpose is playing *only* the Pokémon typing games. In that copy, place the patched ROM, the Lua script, and a 32-bit version of lua51.dll. (The platform used in building the .dll should not matter.) Even then, not only is the emulated workaround a little slow, but saving is still broken. Use savestates, instead.
DS Camera
Accessory bundled with the Japan-only Face Training (a European localization for Christmas 2007 was canceled, and it was released as a retail DSi game in 2010 using the internal camera rather than the original accessory). Not to be confused with the built-in DSi camera. No emulators exist for it at all.
Bayer DIDGIT
A glucose meter for diabetic children with a game called Knock 'Em Downs: World's Fair that rewards them for checking their blood sugar levels regularly. The game has been dumped but no support for the glucose meter peripheral exists as of the time of this writing; it may, however, be possible to add reward points through Action Replay codes, not to mention that the game will still function without the glucose meter attachment anyway (albeit with reduced functionality, of course).

iQue DS Region Lock[edit]

iQue is Nintendo's Chinese subsidiary (previously a partnership between them and Wei Yen until 2013), so when they released the DS with a few localized games, their ROMs had special flags set in them to check if the hardware that ran the cartridge was iQue's or Nintendo's as a sort of region lock. Nintendo's own hardware would fail this check, throwing an "Only for iQue DS" error in white text on a black background. No other DS games have this mechanism; not even for Korean releases. This region lock is bypassed by the 3DS for these DS games, even though 3DS games have their own region lock. It's weird.

Emulators differ in their behavior to this region lock. No$GBA crashes. DeSmuME & MelonDS is accurate to non-iQue hardware and will replicate the failure.

The only way the ROM will accept other hardware (and thus emulators) is with a hack, involving a simple byte change. Use a hex editor to change the byte located at 0x1D from value 80 to 00.

Other issues[edit]

Certain games, such as American Girl titles (e.g. Julie Finds a Way and Kit Mystery Challenge) suffer from severe flickering issues which keep those games from being playable on most emulators. DraStic was the first emulator able to run the two games properly, and while DeSmuME r5043 had an initial fix that worked around the glitch, it was removed in later revisions as it broke compatibility with Pokemon SoulSilver among others; this has since been patched on r5531 once the true nature of the bug was better understood. The fix would be later incorporated in other emulators. Ultimate Mortal Kombat suffers from flickering and slowdown due to the way it loads sprites, though it isn't as serious in DraStic. Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Jedi Alliance is an even more egregious example, crashing due to timing differences between actual hardware and an emulated system.

References[edit]


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