Can You Play 3DS Games on DS? [Games That You Can Play]

The Nintendo DS is an amazing piece of work, the 3DS even more so. However, those that want to own both devices might wonder what similarities the two devices have since the 3DS was released after the DS console. 

One nagging question that we have continued to see is, can you play 3DS games on DS? Well, this article should address that and proffer solutions on how to get a vast selection of classic games on your gaming devices.                                   

Can You Play 3DS Games on DS?

No, you cannot play 3DS games on DS. This is because a small tab on the right side of the 3DS cartridges prevents them from fitting into the DS console. Simply put, even though the 3DS was an upgrade to the DS, the manufacturer designed the DS console so that it won’t be able to read the 3DS games.

In some scenarios, people have filed off the small tab in the 3DS cartridges to make it fit into the DS game player. Well, that solution does not work either, as you would only end up defacing your precious cartridges. However, on the other hand, you can play DS games on 3DS consoles without any hassle. So basically, it’s a one-way street that favors 3DS gamers.   

What Kind of DS Games Can You Play On 3DS?

Typically, only the 3DS software can be displayed in 3D on its console. The DSI and the DS will be played two-dimensionally on a Nintendo 3DS system. Still, you should be able to play most of your DS games on the 3DS. Only a few will prove difficult because they need GBA (Game Boy Advance) slots to function.

In addition, there’s also the issue of PAL regions (UK, Australia, Europe (France excluded), New Zealand, and some countries of South America). Some DS games purchased outside the region may not work on 3DS systems bought within it.       

How Can You Play 3DS Games on The Nintendo DS Lite? 

No, you cannot play 3DS games on Nintendo DS Lite. The reason for that is still the same as it was for the DS. The DS series is the problem here, so don’t feel bad.

The answer remains a ‘no,’ though. You can’t play your 3ds games on the DS lite either. This is because the cartridges have a notch on their right side, and as we discussed in the first part of this article, this feature will cause it not to fit into the DS lite.

How to Play Flash Games After Adobe Flash Died

After flash was discovered to have various security problems, it was discontinued in December 2020. The company, Adobe, strongly insisted that all users uninstall flash player immediately. So, they pulled the plug on everything. 

But thanks to flash game enthusiasts, you can still get to access some of your favorite games despite this development. You just need to download a few things to make it work. Here are some of them.


This runs the flash games via a well-designed launcher and Blue Maxima’s refined software. As a result, it is safer, and files can be used only on demand. 

How to Use Flashpoint:

  • Visit their official website.
  • Pick the version of flashpoint you want and download it
  • Install and then launch it.
  • Select any game of your choice. If you choose flashpoint infinity, you’ll need extra patience for the game to load.
  • Close the game, and it will run faster. Then you can play offline.


This one is also a great emulator for flash games, but it’s still in the early stages of development. Ruffle could be a standalone program, a browser extension, or software active on a website by adding a line of HTML code.

How to Use Ruffle

  • Visit their official website.
  • Download and install the standalone version
  • Open the app on your PC.
  • It will require you to download a shockwave flash game file. You can download them from other sites.
  • Once opened, you can play your flash games offline.
  • It’s also totally free.           

How to Play Nintendo 3DS on TV 

 You need some items for you to play Nintendo 3DS on TV. They are:

  • Your TV screen. It could be a monitor or regular TV that has an HDMI port.
  • 3DS HDMI cable.
  • 3DS to TV adapter.
  • A Nintendo 3DS.

Steps to Follow

  • Connect the end of your 3DS capture cable to your laptop, monitor, or TV.
  • Wait a few minutes. The display 3DS on TV prompt would appear. 
  • Turn ON your 3DS console. A loading prompt would show on its screen and your TV.
  • After some time, the main menu will be displayed, and you can start playing your preferred games.

How to Play DS On PC

To play the Nintendo DS on a PC, you need to follow the steps below; 

  1. Download the Nintendo DS emulator (DeSmuME) here.
  2. After downloading the emulator, Open it.
  3. Then go ahead to download games. You can see the selection by checking the categories available.
  4. The games will be in a zip format. Extract them into another folder and go back to the simulator 
  5. Click on File >> Open ROM. Next, find the folder to which you extracted the zip file and tap on it. After a short waiting time, the game should open.

To set your preferred controls, go to Config >> Control Con 

How Long Do Carts Last Before They Go Bad?

The estimated life of cartridges is 50 years, which happens when the cartridges are kept in proper storage conditions. Most times, the fault of these cartridges are the batteries used to save gameplay files. However, if these batteries can be replaced, the cartridge will play just fine.                       

How to Install Nintendo DS on 3DS 

To do this, you will need the following:

  1. A Nintendo 3DS Family system with Custom Firmware.
  2. At least one retail Nintendo DS Cartridge.
  3. Twilight Menu++
  4. An SD/MicroSD Card with at least 32GB of space.


  1. Insert the DS Cartridge into the system. (If the system is on, turn it off.) 
  2. Turn on the system while holding Start to boot up GodMode9, then choose HOME and select Scripts
  3. Select GM9Megascript and then Miscellaneous. From there, select Cartridge Options and Dump Cart to nds. Select A and wait.
  4. After that’s done insert the SD/MicroSD Card into your PC and move the game’s files from 0:/gm9/out to Twilight Menu’s/nds/ folder, which is in the /roms/ folder. 
  5. Next, put the SD/MicroSD Card back in the 3DS and load Twilight Menu++; navigate into roms and then nds and select your game.

How to Make DS Emulators Run Faster

Your chosen emulators might cause your computer or gaming device to lag. So, it’s no lie that some of them are faster than others while others work better on Android than PCs. Either way, let’s see how to make these emulators run faster.

First, the DeSmuME emulator; 

  • Try not to use a BIOS image. It slows the emulator down.
  • However, enable the “patchdelayloop SWI” if you have to use a BIOS image. 
  • Click in settings and swap between OpenGL renderer and software rasterizer. 
  • Click A on Config and go to Emulation settings, then unclick the check mark next to ‘Enable Bus Level Timing.’ Getting rid of sound altogether may help
  • Apply DeSmuME builds that are available on the official website. Unofficial builds are not compatible and will be slow. 

NB: You could get a faster device to increase your RAM speed by purchasing upgraded RAM cards

Second, the No$GBA (pronounced No cash game boy advance) emulator; 

  • Download and install no$Zoomer. It provides extra settings and automatically improves performance. You can get it on this website. 
  • Access the ‘options‘ menu and select ‘No$GBA Settings’ 
  • Pick ‘Digital mono’ and ‘Low (10khz)‘ from the Sound output mode and finally, ‘sound desired sample rate,’ respectively. 
  • Select ‘no cash’ from the list of options under ‘3D Renderer’ and the ’15-bit color’ from the Video output menu.

Lastly, the OpenEmu emulator. There are others, but we would stop here. 

  • After you install it on your preferred device. Look for ‘edit game control’ on the control page
  • Navigate to the ‘Special keys’ section.
  • Click on the fast forward option 
  • Choose any keyboard you wish (preferably one you’re not already using) 

Other emulators that you can increase their speed settings are RetroArch, DraStic, and melonDs, amongst others. Many of them have loopholes and side tricks to aid faster performance.

Read also: Can You Play 3DS Games on Nintendo Switch?

How to Remove Region Lock-On 3DS 

If you want to remove the region lock on 3DS. Follow these instructions:

  • First, download Launcher.dat from the repository. You can also compile it yourself on this website. 
  • In the root folder of your SD card, copy Launcher.dat. 
  • Enter the game you want to run into your 3DS and power it up.
  • Download Play” application
  • Hit the home menu button, but do not exit the Download Play application (keep it running in the background)
  • Open the Web Browser applet and use this link. 
  • Wait a few seconds. The screen should turn black, and your game should boot up after a few seconds.

The Best 3DS Games You Could Play 

Although you can’t play 3DS games on DS, there are a couple of 3DS games we recommend you try out. On this list are some worth checking out:

  • Legend of Zelda: Link between worlds
  • Legend of Zelda: ocarina of time 
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening
  • Super Mario 3D land 
  • Pokemon ultra sun and ultra-moon 
  • Monster Hunter 4: ultimate 
  • Matroid: Samus returns 
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf.


Although, you might be disappointed that the answer to “can you play 3DS games on DS?” is no. The DS has a collection of games that can tide you over until you can upgrade. Another option you can try out is also using emulators to have access to 3DS games. 

Finally, take good care of your consoles if you want them to last. Be it the 3DS, its cartridges, or the DS. Clean out dust from the slots, handle it with care, and you’ll get to enjoy your games for an unbelievable amount of time.