about

The Nintendo DS / DS Lite is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and released by Nintendo. The device went on sale in North America on November 21, 2004. The DS, short for "Developers' System" or "Dual Screen", introduced distinctive new features to handheld gaming: two LCD screens working in tandem (the bottom one featuring a touchscreen), a built-in microphone, and support for wireless connectivity. Both screens are encompassed within a clamshell design similar to the Game Boy Advance SP. The Nintendo DS also features the ability for multiple DS consoles to directly interact with each other over Wi-Fi within a short range without the need to connect to an existing wireless network. Alternatively, they can interact online using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

Prior to its release, the Nintendo DS was marketed as a "third pillar" in Nintendo's console lineup, meant to complement the Game Boy Advance and GameCube. However, backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance titles and strong sales ultimately established the new handheld console as the successor to the Game Boy series. On March 2, 2006, Nintendo launched the Nintendo DS Lite, a slimmer and lighter redesign of the original Nintendo DS with brighter screens. As of September 30, 2014, all Nintendo DS models combined have sold 154.01 million units, making it the best selling handheld game console to date, and the second best selling video game console of all time.

Development
On November 13, 2003, Nintendo announced that they would be releasing a new game product in 2004. The company didn't provide many details, but stated it would not succeed the Game Boy Advance or GameCube. On January 20, 2004, the console was announced under the codename "Nintendo DS". Nintendo released only a few details at that time, saying that the console would have two separate, 3-inch TFT LCD display panels, separate processors, and up to 1 gigabit (128 Megabytes) of semiconductor memory. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said, "We have developed Nintendo DS based upon a completely different concept from existing game devices in order to provide players with a unique entertainment experience for the 21st century." He also expressed optimism that the DS would help put Nintendo back at the forefront of innovation and move away from the conservative image that has been described about the company in years past. In March 2004, the codename was changed to "Nitro" and a document containing most of the console's technical specifications was leaked. In May 2004, the codename was changed back to "Nintendo DS" and the console was shown in prototype form at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). All the features of the console were revealed by Nintendo at E3. On July 28, 2004, Nintendo revealed a new design, one that was described as "sleeker and more elegant" than the one shown at E3. Also, the codename "Nintendo DS" became the official name of the console that day.

Games
The Nintendo DS is backward compatible with Game Boy Advance (GBA) cartridges. The smaller Nintendo DS game cards fit into a slot on the top of the system, while Game Boy Advance games fit into a slot on the bottom of the system. The Nintendo DS is not backward compatible with games for the Game Boy Color and the original Game Boy. The Sharp Z80 compatible processor used in the older systems is still included, and indeed necessary for some GBA games that use the older sound hardware.

The handheld does not have a port for the Game Boy Advance Link Cable, so multiplayer or GameCube-Game Boy Advance link-up modes are not available in Game Boy Advance titles. Only single player mode is supported on the Nintendo DS.

The Nintendo DS only uses one screen when playing Game Boy Advance games. The user can configure the system to use either the top or bottom screen by default. The games are displayed within a black border on the screen, due to the slightly different screen resolution between the two systems (256 192 px for the Nintendo DS, and 240 160 px for the Game Boy Advance).

Nintendo DS games inserted into the top slot are able to detect the presence of specific Game Boy Advance games in the bottom slot. In many such games, either stated in the game during gameplay or mostly explained in the games' instruction manuals, extra content can be unlocked or added by starting the Nintendo DS game with the appropriate Game Boy Advance game inserted. Among those games were the popular Pokemon Diamond and Pearl or Pokemon Platinum, that allowed the player to find more/exclusive Pokemon in the wild if a suitable Game Boy Advance cartridge was inserted. Some of the content can stay permanently, even when the GBA game has been removed after content has been added.

Additionally, GBA slot can be used to house expansion paks, such as the Rumble Pak, the Nintendo DS Memory Expansion Pak, and the Guitar Grip for the Guitar Hero: On Tour series.

Hardware
The Nintendo DS design resembles that of the multi-screen games from the Game & Watch line, such as Donkey Kong and Zelda, which was also made by Nintendo.

The lower display of the Nintendo DS is overlaid with a touchscreen designed to accept input from the included stylus, the user's fingers, or a curved plastic tab attached to the optional wrist strap. The touchscreen lets users interact with in-game elements more directly than by pressing buttons; for example, in the included chatting software, PictoChat, the stylus is used to write messages or to draw.

The handheld features four lettered buttons (X, Y, A, B), a directional pad, and Start, Select, and Power buttons. On the top of the device are two shoulder buttons, a game card slot, a stylus holder and a power cable input. The bottom features the Game Boy Advance game card slot. The overall button layout resembles that of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller. When using backward compatibility mode on the DS, buttons X and Y and the touchscreen are not used as the Game Boy Advance line of systems do not feature these controls.

It also has stereo speakers providing virtual surround sound (depending on the software) located on either side of the upper display screen. This is a first for a Nintendo handheld, as the Game Boy line of systems has only supported stereo sound through the use of headphones or external speakers. A built-in microphone is located below the left side of the bottom screen. It has been used for a variety of purposes, including speech recognition, chatting online between and during gameplay sessions, and minigames that require the player to blow or shout into the microphone.

Models
The Nintendo DS Lite is the first redesign of the Nintendo DS. While retaining the original model's basic characteristics, it features a sleeker appearance, and brighter screens. Nintendo considered a larger model of the Nintendo DS Lite for release, but decided against it as sales of the original redesign were still strong. As of March 31, 2014, shipments of the DS Lite have reached 93.86 million units worldwide, according to Nintendo.

Technical Specifications
The system's 3D hardware performs transform and lighting, texture-coordinate transformation, texture mapping, alpha blending, cel shading, and z-buffering; however, it uses point (nearest neighbor) texture filtering, leading to some titles having a blocky appearance. Unlike most 3D hardware, it has a set limit on the number of triangles it can render as part of a single scene; the maximum amount is about 6144 vertices, or 2048 triangles per frame. The 3D hardware is designed to render to a single screen at a time, so rendering 3D to both screens is difficult and decreases performance significantly. The DS is generally more limited by its polygon budget than by its pixel fill rate. There are also 512 kilobytes of texture memory, and the maximum texture size is 1024 1024 pixels.

The system has 656 kilobytes of video memory and two 2D engines (one per screen). These are similar to (but more powerful than) the Game Boy Advance's single 2D engine; however, the cores are divided into the main core and sub core. Only the main core is capable of vertex 3D rendering.

The Nintendo DS has compatibility with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 (legacy mode)). Wi-Fi is used for accessing the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, compete with other users playing the same Wi-Fi compatible game, PictoChat or with a special cartridge and RAM extension, browse the internet.

Nintendo claims the battery lasts a maximum of 10 hours under ideal conditions on a full four-hour charge. Battery life is affected by multiple factors including speaker volume, use of one or both screens, use of wireless connectivity, and use of backlight, which can be turned on or off in selected games such as Super Mario 64 DS. The battery is user-replaceable using only a Phillips-head screwdriver. After about 500 charges the battery life starts dropping.

Users can close the Nintendo DS system to trigger its 'sleep' mode, which pauses the game that is being played and saves battery life by turning off the screens, speakers, the wireless communications; however, closing the system while playing a Game Boy Advance game will not put the Nintendo DS into sleep mode, and the game will continue to run normally. Certain DS games (such as Animal Crossing: Wild World) also will not pause but the backlight, screens, and speakers will turn off. Additionally, when saving the game in certain games, the DS will not go into sleep mode. Some games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass even use the closing motion needed to enter sleep mode as an unorthodox way of solving puzzles.

Source: Wikipedia