Nintendo DS Homebrew

How to Play DS Homebrew

With an Emulator

You can play Nintendo DS games and Homebrew games on your computer using a program called an emulator. The screens of the DS will appear in a window on your computer monitor and the buttons will be mapped to keys on your keyboard.


  1. Install an emulator. There are several emulators for the DS. My favorite is DeSmuME. On the DeSmuME download page, choose the first download if you are using Windows, and the second if you are using a Mac. On Windows, you will get a .zip file. Extract the zip and keep the files together in a folder. It doesn't matter where you put the folder, but I would recommend C:\Program Files\ or C:\Program Files (x86)\.
  2. Download games. The games that you download for your emulator are called ROMs. Nintendo DS ROMs are files that end with the extension .nds. There are many websites where you can download Homebrew ROMs, including this one. Homebrew games are made by hobbyists from home. You can also find ROMs for commercial DS games but downloading these is piracy and it is illegal so I will not discuss how to do it.
  3. Run the games in DeSmuME. Once you have your .nds files that you would like to play, open DeSmuME. Click "File" > "Open ROM" and browse for your .nds files. Open one and play it!
  4. (Optional) Remap the buttons. In DeSmuME you can remap the buttons by clicking "Config" > "Control Config" and pressing the keyboard keys that you want to map to the DS buttons.

With a Flash Card on a Real DS 

You can play Nintendo DS ROMs on a real DS console using a device called a flash card. A flash card is a game card that you can put your own ROMs on and play them in a real DS.


  1. Pick a flash card. There are hundreds of flash cards to choose from. Most of them are cheap clones of good cards. You do not want to buy a cheap clone as it may stop working or just not work altogether. Some good cards are the Supercard DS TWO and the Acekard 2i. Almost all cards will work on an original DS or DS Lite but some of them will not work on a DSi or 3DS. Do research and be careful when choosing a flash card.
  2. Download games. This is the same as downloading games for an emulator. See point number 2 in the instructions above.
  3. Put the games on the card. Most DS flash cards use a Micro SD card for storing games and system files. When you set up the card, you will need to go the card manufacturer's website and download the system files that the card uses. Put those files on the Micros SD card as instructed on the manufacturer's website. Then, create a folder on the Micro SD card called "Games" or "Homebrew" or something to effect and put your .nds files in there.
  4. Play the games. Put the Micro SD card in the flash card and the flash card in your Nintendo DS. Start up the flash card like you would any other DS game. If all goes well, you should see the flash card's menu. There should be some option called "Games" or something similar. Choose that and you should see all the folders on the Micro SD card including your "Games/Homebrew" folder that you created. Open that folder to find your ROMs. Select a ROM and press A to start it up!

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