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Nintendo game card

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Title: Nintendo game card  
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Subject: Comparison of Nintendo portable consoles, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Channel, 1 vs. 100 (2008 video game)
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Nintendo game card

Nintendo game card
Media type ROM Cartridge
Capacity DS/DSi: 8-512 MB
3DS: 128 MB-8 GB
Developed by Nintendo
Dimensions 35.0 mm × 33.0 mm × 3.8 mm
Weight 3.5 g (1/8 oz)
Usage Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS Lite
Nintendo DSi
Nintendo DSi XL
Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo 3DS XL
Nintendo 2DS

Nintendo game cards, trademarked as Game Card, are the media format used to physically distribute video games for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS systems. The game cards resemble smaller, thinner versions of the Game Pak cartridges for previous portable gaming consoles released by Nintendo, such as the Game Boy or Game Boy Advance.[1] The mask ROM chips are manufactured by Macronix and have an access speed of 150 ns.[2]

Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS Game Card

Cards for the Nintendo DS ranged from 64 megabits to 4 gigabits (8–512 MB) in capacity (although the maximum capacity is unknown)[3][4] The cards usually have a small amount of flash memory or an EEPROM to save user data such as game progress or high scores. However, there are a small number of games that have no save memory such as Electroplankton. The game cards are 35.0 mm × 33.0 mm × 3.8 mm (about half the breadth and depth as Game Boy Advance cartridges) and weigh around 3.5 grams (1/8 oz.).

Based on an IGN blog by the developer of MechAssault: Phantom War, larger (such as 128 MB) cards have a 25% slower data transfer rate than the more common smaller (such as 64 MB) cards; however, the specific base rate was not mentioned.[5]

Nintendo DSi Game Card

In 2009, the Nintendo DSi was launched. The console offered various hardware improvements and additional functions over previous Nintendo DS iterations, such as the inclusion of cameras. While many Nintendo DS titles released afterwards included features that enhanced gameplay when played on the Nintendo DSi console, most of these games retained compatibility with the original DS iterations sans enhanced features. However, a select few retail game titles were released that worked exclusively for the Nintendo DSi consoles for reasons such as requiring camera functions, and these titles have game cards with white-colored casings. Examples of such game cards include Picture Perfect Hair Salon. While these white game cards can be physically inserted into original Nintendo DS consoles, their software did not function due to the missing hardware features. These DSi-exclusive game cards are fully forward-compatible with the Nintendo 3DS family.

Prior to the release of the Nintendo DSi, Nintendo encouraged developers to release DSi-exclusive games as DSiWare downloadables instead of retail game cards that would not function on older Nintendo DS consoles.[6]

Infrared support

Despite all iterations of the Nintendo DS family lacking native infrared support, certain titles made use of this type of communication function using game cards with their own infrared transceivers. These game cards are generally glossier and darker than common Nintendo DS game cards, and reveal their translucency when exposed to light. Examples of such game cards include Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, which connect to the included Pokéwalker accessory, and Pokémon Black and White and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, which connect to other games.

Albeit all iterations of the Nintendo 3DS family support native infrared functions, Nintendo DS games still use the infrared-enabled game cards themselves when played on a 3DS system, reserving the native infrared for Nintendo 3DS-specific software.

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS Game Card

Game cards for the Nintendo 3DS are 1 to 8 gigabytes in size,[7] with 2 GiB of game data at launch.[8] They look very similar to DS Game Cards, but are incompatible and have a small tab jutting out on one side to prevent them from being inserted into a DS.[9]


  1. ^ Vuijk, Rafael (2006-10-11). "First Nintendo DS cartridge information". Dark Fader (Rafael Vuijk). Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  2. ^ "Nintendo: NDS Disassembly". GainGame's Blog. 2010-01-31. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Adam Riley (2007-07-15). "E3 2007 News - Archaic Sealed Heat (Nintendo DS) RPG Details".  
  5. ^ Sara Guinness (2006-06-16). "MechAssault DS Developer Diary". IGN. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 
  6. ^ Craig Harris (2009-03-25). "GDC 09: DSi Hybrid, Exclusive Carts Soon". IGN. Fox Interactive Media. Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  7. ^ Yeung, Karlie (December 17, 2010). "3DS Cartridges Could Store Up to 8GB". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2012-01-31. The memory size for Nintendo 3DS cartridges will range from one to eight gigabytes, reports major Taiwanese newspaper China Times. 
  8. ^ Pereira, Chris (June 21, 2010). "A Look at the New Nintendo 3DS Game Cards".  
  9. ^ "Nintendo 3DS Game Cards Look Like This". Siliconera. June 18, 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
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