The Nintendo DS Series first came into game players’ lives in 2004. Since then the company has released a total of eight variants of the DS, three of which were upgrades of the original models. These were the DS Lite – an upgrade to the original Nintendo DS, the DSi XL – an upgrade to the DSi, and the 3DS XL – an upgrade to the 3DS. The Nintendo DS Series variants also included the latest 2DS model that was released in 2013. With so many choices, it is imperative for game players to know the differences between these consoles, especially if they already have a few games that they want to continue to play on their new handheld console.
The predecessor to the DS Series was the Game Boy Advance and its revision, the GBA SP. The first Nintendo handheld consoles were the Game Boy Original and the Game Boy Pocket. At that time game cartridges were only created for these two models until the release of the Game boy Color in 1998. This new handheld console was cartridge compatible but had games of its own that were incompatible with the previous console models. The Game Boy Advance and GBA SP were released in 2001, followed by the Nintendo Game Cube in 2002. They supported new games that were incompatible with the previous models. The issue with compatibility started in 2005, upon the release of the Game Boy Micro which would only play cartridge exclusive to the Game Boy Advance and the GBA SP, in a way making all other game cartridges from previous Game Boy models redundant.
With the previous Game Boy Series seemingly rendering previous games off the shelf due to new console models, a new reversed or backward compatibility strategy was created for the later DS Series. It started with the Nintendo DS followed by a slightly better aesthetic design the DS Lite. These models were compatible with all the game cartridges of the Game Boy Advance, GBA SP and Game Boy Micro handheld consoles. The release of another new model – the DSi in 2008 and its reform the DSi XL were compatible with all DS and DS Lite Games. However, they were incompatible with all Game Boy Advance games, practically putting the Game Boy Advance series into retirement.
It seemed that Nintendo was doing the same thing all over again, but of course, with newer, more expensive handheld console models. Backward compatibility came into action with the revision of the Dsi – the Nintendo 3DS with an added plug to the cartridge slot making it compatible with all games of the DS Series, still leaving the GBA Series in retirement but with the promise that, new cartridge purchases would not become virtually useless. The new Nintendo 3DS also has its own version of the DSi Shop, now called the Nintendo Eshop. Game players can purchase games and apps from the Nintendo EShop but this time, they have to pay real cash instead of using Nintendo points that the DSi system had.