The Nintendo DS, which is shorthand for Nintendo Dual Screen, is a portable game system designed by Nintendo. The Nintendo DS Line is currently Nintendo’s only handheld line of gaming consoles, serving as the successor to the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance line of handheld consoles. When the original Nintendo DS first launched in 2010, it was backwards compatible with the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance. Since then Nintendo DS systems have usually been backwards compatible with whatever system immediately predated them.
Like its competitor, the Sony PlayStation Portable, the Nintendo DS had the ability to connect handheld systems together across a wireless network to allow for multiplayer functionality. One of the DS’s screens was LCD; the other was a touch screen complete with a stylus. It also featured a built in microphone for voice commands. As of December, 2013, Nintendo DS systems have sold over 150 million units. That score marks Nintendo DS as the single greatest selling handheld console of all time, as well as the second greatest selling video game console, after the Sony PlayStation 2.
Two years after the Nintendo R4 DS’s launch advances in software technology allowed Nintendo to compact the components in the Nintendo DS and release the DS Lite, a thinner, lighter weight version of the same console with identical features but some redesign elements. The DS Lite was popular, but demand for larger screens led Nintendo to release another redesign in 2009. This version of the Nintendo DS was labeled the DSi, with the i intended to stand for both the singular pronoun and the noun eye, the former being a reference to the console’s primarily single player nature, and the latter being a reference to its dual cameras. The DSi was slim and lightweight like the DS Lite but lacked a Gameboy compatibility slot.
The Nintendo 3DS line followed that of the Nintendo DS. The 3DS went on sale June 2010, six years after the DS went on sale in 2004. The 3DS’s name was a play on words, as it still featured dual screens but also had a new signature feature: stereoscopic 3D. The Nintendo 3DS’s 3D capabilities are special in that they do not require extra hardware such as 3D glasses. The 3D capabilities are built directly into the console’s screen. The 3DS had all of the features of the 2DS with the addition of many others. The 3DS has seen two redesigns since its launch. The 3DS XL is a larger version of the basic console. The 2DS is a stripped down cheaper version of the console with 3D removed, and lacking the ability to open and close.