How to Play ROMS on a Nintendo DS

By Elvis Michael

Updated September 22, 2017

Computer card adapter, containing SD and MicroSD slots.
i multi card reader image by jimcox40 from

The Nintendo DS is home to commercial video games of all genres. Moreover, it provides extensive support for homebrew ROMs, which are open-source, free games designed by independent developers. However, the Nintendo DS does not possess a built-in method for accessing such ROM files. Thankfully, you can use one of many third-party accessories to play such ROMs successfully.

Acquire a flash media card. These cards allow you to play multiple file types, including videos, music and homebrew ROMs. The R4 and M3 flash cards are popular choices for such purposes. Typically, they are equipped with an external MicroSD chip and a computer card adapter. Otherwise, purchase these two items separately from your local retail store.

Insert the MicroSD chip into the computer card adapter, then connect it to a computer USB port.

Obtain the flash media card’s device drivers from its respective source. Also known as the card’s firmware, it allows homebrew ROMs and other files to be recognized by the flash card.

Launch “My Computer” from the Windows “Start” menu. Click the entry named “Removable Disk,” which represents the MicroSD chip.

Move the downloaded device drivers into the chip’s top level. Optionally, click the “File” menu, select “New Folder” and create a directory to store your ROM files. Otherwise, move all ROMs to the top level of the storage unit as well. Note that you can use the Windows standard copy-and-paste procedure.

Place the MicroSD chip into the media flash card’s built-in memory slot. Insert the flash card into your Nintendo DS. Initialize the console and select the “Games” section from the flash card’s main menu. Select the ROM of choice and press “Start” to launch it.