Nintendo DS upcoming to the now popular handheld Switch



Zakery Foard, Journalist

Nintendo’s handheld consoles have always been fun devices that you can play on the go. The DS series was Nintendo’s biggest and

Game And Watch (GAW)

most popular line of handheld devices. How did the DS originate, and is it still around after the creation of the Switch? The Game And Watch (GAW) series was the first series of handheld devices released by Nintendo, being released between 1980 and 1981. Each GAW device had a single game on it. 60 GAW games were released in total. The GAW stopped being produced in the 90’s.¹


The Gameboy was the second handheld device made by Nintendo. It was released in 1989. Despite their being many technologically superior handheld devices, the Gameboy did extremely well.³ In between the Gameboy and DS, the Pokemon Mini was released. It was released in 2001, and had 10 Pokemon-themed games made for it. Unfortunately, it only lasted for about 18 months.⁴

The Nintendo DS was released in 2004. DS stands for two things, being “Developer’s System” and “Dual screen”.


The DS wasn’t actually the first device to have two screens or a touch screen, but it was the first to combine both ideas. On top of that, the DS also had a microphone, wireless connectivity, and an additional cartridge slot for Gameboy Advance games. It also had one crucial feature that most other devices did not: backwards connectivity! This meant that the DS could connect to the Gameboy Advance. All of these factors made the DS an extremely popular device. Due to the huge success of the DS, Nintendo also released the DS Lite in 2006, which was mostly a cosmetic upgrade to the DS. It was lighter and slimmer than the original DS, and also had larger and brighter screens. After the DS Lite came the DSi in 2009 (2008 for Japan). The DSi had even larger screens while being even slimmer than the DS Lite. It also had a slot for SD cards to increase its


storage capacity. However, Nintendo had to remove the Gameboy Advance cartridge slot to support all of this. The DSi also featured two cameras, one on the front and one on the back. There was some criticism about the removal of the cartridge slot, but the DSi still did very well. An XL version of the DSi was also released, which was simply a much larger version of the DSi, therefore having larger screens.⁵


Next in the DS series came the 3DS. The 3DS was released in 2011, and has backwards compatibility with all the other DSs. As the name would suggest, the 3DS has 3D capabilities! The 3DS has a slider on the side that can make the top screen look more 3D. Augmented Reality was also experimented with on the 3DS. Two good examples of this are Face Raiders and AR Games, which are software you can download for free on your 3DS. Of course, an XL version was made, and 59 million 3DSs were sold worldwide. Next in line was the 2DS, which was a more basic device than the 3DS. The 2DS completely removes one of the fundamental features of the DS series, and doesn’t have the ability to be folded shut, and even though it is part of the 3DS era, it doesn’t even have any 3D features! It received criticism for this, but the 2DS was meant to be a simpler, cheaper device and was never meant to supersede the 3DS. In 2014-2015, the current DSs were released – the New 3DS! The New 3DS is similar to the 3DS, but with a few notable upgrades. It has a better processor and memory, two more shoulder buttons, a C-stick, face detection, and an SD slot for microSD cards. An XL version was made, and the New 3DS was discontinued in 2020.⁶

Wii Switch

The Nintendo Switch was released in 2017. It is a hybrid console, meaning it can be played as a home console, or a handheld! The controllers can be detached and reattached to other molds to form different controllers. Nintendo also released a Switch Lite, which is a more affordable version of the switch that cannot detach the controllers. The Switch Lite is purely a handheld device. The Switches were intended to supersede the 3DS line and the Wii U.⁷

Despite the fact that the switch was meant to be the next generation for both consoles and handhelds, many people still have and enjoy the 3DS. Many people from the previous generation also loved the older handheld devices and still remember them fondly. The Switch may be the star of the show today, but all the handheld devices still hold a place in many of our hearts.