A Guide to Running NES Games on Your Nintendo DS

HomebrewAs promised earlier, this is the guide on how to run NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) games on the Nintendo DS using the R4DS.

In order to get started, you’ll need several prerequisites, the homebrew NES emulator for the Nintendo DS known as nesDS and a flashcart. In my case, I’m using a R4DS.


  1. First up, you’ll need to download a piece of Nintendo DS homebrew-ed software known as the nesDS. The download page is rather sparse, but just click and download the file over at this website. It should be a single file called nesDS.
  2. Copy over nesDS over to the root directory of your flashcart’s memory card (usually a MicroSD).
  3. Once this is done, create a folder called NES in the root directory of MicroSD card, to store all your NES roms inside. This step is not necessary but it’s good for proper file housekeeping.
  4. Put in some NES roms into the NES folder.
  5. Fire up the Nintendo DS with your flashcart and MicroSD card inserted.
  6. Run the nesDS file and it should be able to list down all your NES games. Simply select one and enjoy!

This should work with other Slot-1 solutions as well.


On the case of the legality of SNES and NES ROMs, I’ve come across several sites whereby they have taken down download links for ROMs of ESA protected games. What’s ESA? Well it stands for Entertainment Software Association.

From what I can see, they have the jurisdiction to ask sites to cease and desist any piracy activity involving ESA protected intellectual property.


So, where does this leave all the other ROMs? We are talking about ancient games which most people can’t and won’t play because the NES and the SNES are almost certainly extinct and playing these games has moved on to the realm of the old-school/retro enthusiast.

Do we classify them as abandonware, or have the publishers left them to public domain?

This is a grey area that needs to be addressed, but in the mean time, don’t let it stop you from enjoying these old classics but If they are ESA protected, leave them be. It’s pretty hard to find those titles anyways.

Get a Wii:

Or as an alternative, get a Nintendo Wii. I hear some of these games are on the Virtual Console. Imagine playing Super Mario Bros. on a 40-inch LCD TV. It’s mind-boggling.

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