The Nintendo DS (short for Dual Screen), sometimes abbreviated NDS or DS, was a family of handheld game consoles developed and manufactured by Nintendo, initially to complement the earlier Game Boy Advance. This family of systems is notable for hosting the first officially localized release of Final Fantasy III, albeit as a complete remake.
First released in 2004, DS units had a clamshell design akin to the Game Boy Advance SP; and enclosed within each unit were two separate LCD screens that give the handheld its name, the lower of which was a touchscreen that used a stylus for control and input. Early models were backward-compatible with Game Boy Advance games (though multiplayer is not supported), but not earlier Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, like the Game Boy Micro.
The Nintendo DS Lite, released in 2006, was a smaller, brighter, slimmer, more lightweight redesign of the earlier Nintendo DS model with a backlit screen; aesthetically sleeker to complement Nintendo's Wii, and to appeal to broader commercial audiences.
The Nintendo DSi, released in 2008, was an even slimmer and brighter model than the DS Lite. This third iteration featured two interactive digital cameras, an SD card slot, internal memory, and an online store as well as an internet browser built-in. However, unlike the previous DS models, the DSi did not have a Game Boy Advance slot. DS games that require the use of the GBA slot would also not play.
A larger version of the DSi called the Nintendo DSi XL (called Nintendo DSi LL in Japan) was released in 2009. It had the same capabilities of a normal Nintendo DSi, but with a much larger screen, thus making the screen almost as large as the PlayStation Portable's screen. It is the heaviest, longest, and brightest of the four models. Like the DSi, GBA backwards compatibility was dropped.
In all models, direct online connectivity for games was supported by the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service on a per-title basis. This service was decommissioned in late May 2014 as Nintendo shifted resources toward the infrastructure of then-current hardware. Thus, for example, the Mognet messaging service in the remake of Final Fantasy III is limited to direct local communication only, making some objectives harder to reach.
The Nintendo DS family had sold over 150 million units worldwide as of March 2016. It is the predecessor for the Nintendo 3DS line, released in 2011.
Final Fantasy titles for Nintendo DS
- Final Fantasy III (2006)
- Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (2006)
- Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (2007)
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (2007)
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (2007)
- Final Fantasy IV (2007)
- Shido to Chokobo no Fushigi na Danjon Toki Wasure no Meikyū DS+ (2008) (Japan only)
- Chocobo to Mahou no Ehon: Majo to Shoujo to Go-nin no Yuusha (2008) (Japan only)
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (2009)
- Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (2009)
Related titles for the DS
- Blood of Bahamut (2009) (Japan only)
- SaGa 2 Hihō Densetsu: Goddess of Destiny (2009) (Japan only)
- SaGa 3 Jikū no Hasha: Shadow or Light (2011) (Japan only)
- Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen
- Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
- Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
- Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
Special editions of the console have been released along the games' respective releases in Japan.