Can the Nintendo 3DS Play DS Games?

The 3DS runs higher resolution games than the DS.

If you just upgraded and bought a Nintendo 3DS to replace your DS, you'll be happy to hear the 3DS is backward compatible with almost all the games in your DS library. Simply plug your Nintendo DS game into the 3DS cartridge slot, tap the game cartridge icon from the 3DS bottom menu, and away you go.

Screen Resolution Fix

Keep in mind that the Nintendo 3DS utilizes a higher screen resolution than the Nintendo DS. As a result, any Nintendo DS game that you play on the 3DS might look a bit stretched out and blurry.

However, it's possible to boot your Nintendo DS games in their original resolution:

  1. Before selecting your Nintendo DS game from the bottom menu, hold either the Start or Select button.
  2. Then tap the icon for the game cartridge.
  3. Keep holding the Start or Select button.
  4. If the game boots at a lower resolution than normal for 3DS games, you've done it correctly.

Now you can play your Nintendo DS games as you remember them: crisp and clean.

Caveats for Playing DS Games on 3DS Systems

  • Your DS games won't display in 3D.
  • You can't access the Home menu while playing Nintendo DS games on the 3DS.
  • Your 3DS cannot access features or use accessories that accessed slot 2 on the DS.
  • DS games are not compatible with SpotPass or StreetPass.

Note: A few DS games required the use of the AGB slot. Those games are not compatible with the 3DS.