Are the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL Backwards Compatible?

Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo 3DS. Image © Nintendo

Answer: The Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL are backwards compatible, meaning both systems can play Nintendo DS games. All you need to do is plug your Nintendo DS game into the 3DS cartridge slot and pick the game from the 3DS’s main menu.

Be aware that the Nintendo 3DS and XL automatically stretch lower-resolution DS games to fit on the larger 3DS screen, making some games look a little blurry as a result.

For more information on how to boot your DS games in their original resolution on your 3DS or 3DS XL, read Can I Play Nintendo DS Games on my Nintendo 3DS?

You can play downloadable Nintendo DSiWare games on your 3DS, too. Look at How to Transfer Data From Your Nintendo DSi to Your Nintendo 3DS to learn how to transfer games from your Nintendo DSi to your 3DS/3DS XL.