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Nintendo DS emulation: Wikis


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Nintendo DS emulation is the act of emulating the Nintendo DS on non-native hardware.



"NDS emu" was released before the Nintendo DS itself in November 2004. The purported emulator was packaged with a demo file, as no commercial games had been made available. [1] When commercial games were released, NDS emu was unable to emulate them. "Dualis" was released on March 5, 2005. It could not run commercial games, but could run homebrew games.[2][3] "NO$GBA" was released with Nintendo DS support on January 22, 2006. An update of the emulator released on August 4, 2006, was stated by the creators to be the first emulator supporting commercial Nintendo DS games.[4][5]




DeSmuME is a open source emulator for the Nintendo DS created by YopYop156 licensed under GPL. The original DeSmuME is written in C++ for Linux, Mac OS and Windows. It can play Nintendo DS homebrew and commercial roms. Later versions are multiplatform and contain multiple user interfaces. It has been ported to other systems such as the PlayStation Portable. It was called pointless due to the PSP not having a touchscreen, and running slow, but some praised it saying its running Nintendo DS software on a PSP.[6][7]

The original emulator was in French, but had user translations to other languages. It supported many homebrew Nintendo DS demos and some Wireless Multiboot demos. YopYop stopped development on DeSmuME due to a change of laws regarding emulation in France. However, the source code has been released and other programmers have continued developing DeSmuME.


Dualis is a plugin-based emulator for Windows. It is written in x86 assembly and C++. The emulator also has the capability to record videos using the VFW encoding system, outputting in AVI containers. Official website for Dualis


Ensata is an official emulator provided to developers in Nintendo DS development kits. It emulates the ARM7 and ARM9 dual screen processor at 100% with some software exceptions. The touch screen is fully emulated with a cursor and works with a keyboard. Ensata is a cycle accurate emulator, and is designed for testing games which are in development, and not for general gameplay. Ensata version 1.3c was leaked to the emulation community by an unknown source and cracked by the "SMT" group to operate without a Nintendo developer account. Version 1.4d was leaked and cracked by the "EXPERiENCE" group. Official website for Ensata


iDeaS is an emulator that runs a few commercial games on a Windows PC with OpenGL. iDeaS has emulated the ARM7 GameBoy Advance processor at 100%, and the ARM9 dual screen processor at 99%; enabling it to run many commercial ROMs, including Super Mario 64 DS and Pokémon Diamond & Pearl (with a few graphical errors). The touch screen is fully emulated with a cursor instead of a hand, and a keyboard can be used to emulate the Nintendo DS buttons. iDeaS uses a plugin system that originally came from the UltraHLE Nintendo 64 emulator so that further support can achieved without looking at the source code of the emulator. Plugins are available to download on the homepage. Official website for iDeaS


NO$GBA is a freeware Nintendo DS emulator capable of running commercial and homebrew Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS games. The latest version is able to run Pokemon Diamond at full speed with no graphical glitches. NO$GBA stays freeware up to version 2.6, if the user cares to obtain version 2.6a he has to make a donation of $2.50. It is considered by many to be the first Nintendo DS emulator running commercial ROMs,[4] though others state that's already been countered by reports of successful emulation elsewhere.[5]

A development tool for testing and debugging of Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS software has been created by Martin Korth, supporting source level debugging, the tool is designed for programmers, it is useless for gamers. The application is not freeware, those who want to obtain it will have to make a payment according to the version of the debugger they want.[8]


NeonDS is a Windows-based emulator. The emulator lacks touch-screen and sound support, but preliminary tests show that its emulation is fairly advanced and produces reasonable speeds.


Nintendo DS ROMs are usually spread by individuals through peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent or by direct download from numerous websites. Since the distribution of many of these ROMs is illegal (as they are often copyrighted works), associations such as the Entertainment Software Association often attempt to shut these sites down.[9]


See also


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