How to Play Nintendo DS Games on Your Windows PC

Suddenly felt nostalgic, and wanted to replay one your favourite DS games? Fear not, because there's an emulator that will let you play DS games on PC!

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It is July 1, 2005, it’s on fire outside, and you can’t sleep during the night since everything is burning because of the heat. You feel lonely, so you grab your DS in the middle of the night, but you forgot that your volume is set on high. Your mom hears it, her footsteps are slowly becoming clear the more she approaches. You can sense that she’s trying to listen to what you are doing, but jokes on her, you act like you’re sleeping.

Remembering those memories, makes you wish they created a time machine, but you don’t need that. Because you can play your favorite Nintendo DS games on your PC without having to relive the terrors of your mom appearing out of nowhere while screaming ” SHUT IT DOWN ”. Well, enough of my cackling. Today we will be taking a look at the best DS emulator for PC which will allow you to play any of your favorite games pretty easily. The name of the emulator is DeSmuME.

1. What’s DeSmuME and how to get it?

DeSmuME is open-source Nintendo Ds Emulator which started development around June 24th, 2009 and was released to the public back on November 27th, 2009.  The aforementioned is now considered as the most accurate Nintendo DS emulator which is capable of running a handful of DS games on a computer. The last DeSmuME version is 0.9.11 which was released in 2015. This version introduced several changes such as the ability to play your games on a higher resolution, bug fixes and other useful things.

But how do you get this emulator? It’s simple, head over to the download page, and get it from there. Note that you need to download the version that matches with your OS. For example, if you’re using an x64bit os, you should get an x64 bit build and vice versa.

2. How to set up the emulator

Setting up DeSmuME is extremely easy.  Just like the situation with the Sega Dreamcast emulator, this one is the same as it doesn’t require a brainer to install it.  DeSmuMe is a standalone program that doesn’t have an install wizard which means the installation is simple, just extract the emulator from the Zip file and you are ready to ride.

Fun fact, the emulator mustn’t be placed on your main C/drive as it may lead to certain conflicts. That is why it’s recommended to either place inside your user folder or a D/drive.

3. How to get Nintendo DS games?

” Where can I get ROMs for the DS? ”. That’s one question that has been repeated for the millionth time already, and it still does. A quick search on the internet can lead you to thousands of sites that provide what you need. These sites not only include a handful of DS American and European games, but also Japanese imports which are forever buried in the land of samurai.

4. Full emulator config:

I. Configure controls:

DeSmuME supports both keyboard and a gamepad of any kind, be it DirectInput or Xinput. To set up the controls, simply open the emulator> Config> Control Config, and then you’ll end up with the picture above. As you can see, the controls are set to keyboard buttons on default, to change them, simply click on the button you want to change until you notice the green colour shown above.

II.Loading the game:

Before you load the game, DeSmuME has a specific folder named ”Roms ”. I highly recommend throwing all of your Roms right there. Unlike PCSX2, sometimes you don’t need to extract the Rar files containing the Rom. Anyway, to load a game, click on file> Open Rom> then chose the game you have downloaded. Once you press the game, it will launch immediately.

III.Full screen:

In order to enable full-screen mode, press Alt+Enter, and press it again if you want to go back. Note that you can’t use the top screen once you’re in screen mode.

IV.3D Enhancements:

Looking back at the original DS handheld resolution, it sure looks awful to stare at, right? But what if I tell you that DeSmuME has the ability to enhance 3D graphics drastically to the point where you think you are playing an actual 3DS game. However, you can’t do this with a regular DeSmuME emulator.

Simply google ”DeSmuME X432R” This is a modified version of the emulator that renders 3D graphics in a higher resolution.  To enable high 3D resolution simply do this:

Go to View > Window Size and select either 2x, 3x, or 4x – as shown below.

Next, go to Config > High-Resolution 3D Renderer and select either X2, X3, or X4 – as shown below. For example, if you selected a 3x Window Size then you should select the X3 renderer.

Note that enabling these high-res 3D graphics may cause some unusual lag as this will be demanding for both your GPU and CPU. Luckily, you can always decrease the renderer from X4 to X3 or even lower to stop slowdowns.

V. Saving your progress:

With DeSmuME, you can save your progress at any time, and anywhere. You can use the feature by manually going into the file menu, save states, and then pick up the states you want to save your progress to. If you want to load your game, just do the same thing.

In case if you are someone who uses keyboard shortcuts, to save, simply press Shift+F1. To load, press F1. The game will load at the exact moment where you saved the game.

If you want to avoid all of this, you can simply save in-game and load at the same time whenever you desire.

5.Alternative Emulator

I.MelonDS

There’s one alternative to DeSmuME, and that is MelonDS.  The emulator is considered by many to be the #1 Nintendo DS emulator. It has native support for enhanced 3D graphics (3D upscaling). It also offers several features such as Various display position/sizing/rotation modes , (WIP) Wifi: local multiplayer, online connectivity, OpenGL renderer, 3D upscaling and other features that are coming with every new build. The emulator is still in progress, and you can download anytime you want.

While I recommend DeSmuME, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at this alternative as well so that you can take a look at what it can offer. Although it does have WI-FI feature which DeSmuME lacks, but the latter is still superior at the moment.

II.NO$GBA

This is another emulator that is capable of running a handful of DS games, but sadly, I haven’t got the time to try it out yet. For the purpose of discovery, I wanted to include it on this articles so that people who are interested can give it a try.

That’s it for the guide, thank you for reading.

FreeckyCake
FreeckyCake
Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but still open to any game in the industry if you ask me! My favourite game is Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams and nothing comes close to it to this very day imo. I highly recommend you to play it!

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