Can You Play 3DS Games on DS Lite?

By John Adebimitan

The Nintendo DS is an amazing piece of work, the 3DS even more so. However, those that want to own both devices might wonder what similarities the two devices have since the 3DS was released after the DS console. 

One nagging question that we have continued to see is, can you play 3DS games on DS lite? Well, this article should address that and proffer solutions on how to get a vast selection of classic games on your gaming devices.                                   

Can You Play 3DS Games on DS Lite?

No, you cannot play 3DS games on DS Lite. This is because a small tab on the right side of the 3DS cartridges prevents them from fitting into the DS console. Simply put, even though the 3DS was an upgrade to the DS Lite, the manufacturer designed the DS console so that it won’t be able to read the 3DS games.

In some scenarios, people have filed off the small tab in the 3DS cartridges to make it fit into the DS Lite game player. Well, that solution does not work either, as you would only end up defacing your precious cartridges. However, on the other hand, you can play DS games on 3DS consoles without any hassle. So basically, it’s a one-way street that favors 3DS gamers.   

Can You Play 3DS Games on DS Lite?

What Kind of DS Games Can You Play On 3DS?

Typically, only the 3DS software can be displayed in 3D on its console. The DSI and the DS will be played two-dimensionally on a Nintendo 3DS system. Still, you should be able to play most of your DS games on the 3DS. Only a few will prove difficult because they need GBA (Game Boy Advance) slots to function.

In addition, there’s also the issue of PAL regions (UK, Australia, Europe (France excluded), New Zealand, and some countries of South America). Some DS games purchased outside the region may not work on 3DS systems bought within it.

How to Play DS On PC

To play the Nintendo DS on a PC, you need to follow the steps below; 

  1. Download the Nintendo DS emulator (DeSmuME) here.
  2. After downloading the emulator, Open it.
  3. Then go ahead to download games. You can see the selection by checking the categories available.
  4. The games will be in a zip format. Extract them into another folder and go back to the simulator 
  5. Click on File >> Open ROM. Next, find the folder to which you extracted the zip file and tap on it. After a short waiting time, the game should open.

To set your preferred controls, go to Config >> Control Con             

How to Install Nintendo DS on 3DS 

To do this, you will need the following:

  1. A Nintendo 3DS Family system with Custom Firmware.
  2. At least one retail Nintendo DS Cartridge.
  3. Twilight Menu++
  4. An SD/MicroSD Card with at least 32GB of space.


  1. Insert the DS Cartridge into the system. (If the system is on, turn it off.) 
  2. Turn on the system while holding Start to boot up GodMode9, then choose HOME and select Scripts
  3. Select GM9Megascript and then Miscellaneous. From there, select Cartridge Options and Dump Cart to nds. Select A and wait.
  4. After that’s done insert the SD/MicroSD Card into your PC and move the game’s files from 0:/gm9/out to Twilight Menu’s/nds/ folder, which is in the /roms/ folder. 
  5. Next, put the SD/MicroSD Card back in the 3DS and load Twilight Menu++; navigate into roms and then nds and select your game.

Read also: Can You Play 3DS Games on Nintendo Switch?


Although, you might be disappointed that the answer to “can you play 3DS games on DS lite?” is no. The DS has a collection of games that can tide you over until you can upgrade. Another option you can try out is also using emulators to have access to 3DS games. 

Finally, take good care of your consoles if you want them to last. Be it the 3DS, its cartridges, or the DS. Clean out dust from the slots, handle it with care, and you’ll get to enjoy your games for an unbelievable amount of time. 

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