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My Week and a Half with the 3DS

How DS Games Look on 3DS

by Neal Ronaghan - March 26, 2011, 7:24 pm PDT
Total comments: 8

Short answer: They kind of looked stretched out and weird, or very tiny.

We've known for a long time that the 3DS was going to be backwards compatible with the DS, and now that the system is nearly out, we know the extent of the backwards compatibility. First off, obviously games that used the Game Boy Advance slot, such as the Guitar Hero games, won't work with it. Also, the Circle Pad can be used with every game, and while it doesn't change anything about the game, it makes some games, chiefly Super Mario 64 DS and other 3D games, easier to control. That's good that it works with DS games, too, because the tiny D-pad isn't ideal.

Other than that, the key aspect that needs to be known about DS games on the 3DS is that the aspect ratio of the bottom screen is different, so the games are stretched out to fit the bottom screen. Since the top screen of the 3DS is wider, it only fills up the same amount of space as the bottom. This change makes games look just a little off in the same manner that Game Boy games looked weird stretched out on the Game Boy Advance, though not nearly as bad. Everything's functional, though, including touch screen-heavy games such as Elite Beat Agents.

You can, if you wish, hold the Start and Select buttons while selecting the game from the 3DS menu to have it display in the correct aspect ratio. However, it's so tiny that it just feels weird. Also, because of the small display, using the touch screen is weird, as nearly half of it isn't used.

If you're a purist, You might as well just stick with your old DS system to play those games. However, for most people, the stretched out DS games shouldn't be that much of an issue.



KITT 10KMarch 26, 2011

This won't bother me too much as for the fact that when I watch a wide screen movie I adjust the ratio on the tv. I can see why some people may be bothered by it, but I've just learned to ignore it. Either way, I have no doubt that I'm gonna love the Nintendo 3DS when I pick it up today, (in a little over 9 hours from the time I post this).

DiscostewMarch 27, 2011

The aspect ratio of the 3DS's bottom screen is the same as the DS/DSi's screens, being 4:3. The resolution is larger (from 256x192 to 320x240), but still the same aspect ratio.

OblivionMarch 27, 2011

They may be the same, but with the high resolution, the DS game screens on the 3DS will be smaller even than the DS screens.

VelociraptorBillMarch 27, 2011

How does Pokemon look?  White Version is probably the only DS game (besides Radiant Historia) that I will be spending large amounts of time with.  But I'll probably play it on the 3DS regardless of how it looks because I only have a DS Lite, so I can't use WPA2 connections for Wi-Fi Connection.

OblivionMarch 27, 2011

It looks like sh!t. Seriously, use your DS Lite.

It really doesn't look that bad. All I've played is Pokemon White, and only for a few minutes to check out how it looked, but it doesn't seem all that different from my DSi. Certainly not enough to make me want to switch back to my DSi to play DS games. What I will say, though, is I wish I could set the brightness for DS games independently of that for 3DS games, because the setting that works best for me for 3DS games is brighter than I need for DS games, and you can't switch it mid-game in DS games.

DiscostewMarch 27, 2011

You can tell that it is somewhat blurred, but it isn't anywhere near as bad as people make it out to be. Color may look a little different, but I found that with lowering the brightness from 5 (max) to about 3-4 helps with that, as well as helps with battery life. That's imo anyways.

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorMarch 28, 2011

I really like the fact you can play them in native res on the higher res screens.  I will probably opt for that start/select trick, though I still haven't seen it in person.

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