Does Nintendo Switch Lite play DS games?

Does Nintendo Switch Lite play DS games?
Jul, 19 2023 Daxton Fairchild

Understanding the Nintendo Switch Lite

Before we dive into the main question, let's first understand what the Nintendo Switch Lite is. The Nintendo Switch Lite is a more affordable, compact version of the original Nintendo Switch. It's designed to be purely handheld, meaning it can't be docked and played on a TV like its predecessor. The console has integrated controls and, in contrast to the original Switch, it doesn't have detachable Joy-Con controllers. Despite these differences, the Nintendo Switch Lite boasts the capability to play the vast majority of Switch games that support handheld mode.

Introduction to DS Games

DS games, also known as Nintendo DS games, are designed for the Nintendo Dual Screen handheld gaming console. This console, launched in 2004, was innovative in its time with its double-screen setup, stylus-driven touch controls, and voice recognition capabilities. DS games are generally cartridge-based, with a wide range available across genres like action, puzzle, racing, and more.

Can Nintendo Switch Lite Play DS Games?

Now, onto the main question: Can the Nintendo Switch Lite play DS games? In short, no. The Nintendo Switch Lite cannot natively play DS games. This is because the console lacks the cartridge slot necessary to accommodate DS games, which are physically different from Switch games. Additionally, the Switch Lite does not have the dual-screen setup or the stylus support that most DS games require to function properly.

Reasons Behind the Incompatibility

The Nintendo Switch Lite's inability to play DS games is primarily due to the hardware differences between the two systems. The Switch Lite has a single screen and non-detachable controllers, differing significantly from the DS's dual-screen and stylus-based setup. Furthermore, DS games are designed to be played on a much smaller resolution than the Switch Lite's display. Consequently, even if DS games could be inserted into the Switch Lite, they would not be playable in a satisfactory manner.

Alternative Ways to Play DS Games

Although it's disappointing that the Switch Lite can't play DS games, there are still alternative ways to enjoy these games. One of the most straightforward methods is to simply use a Nintendo DS system. These consoles are relatively affordable and are frequently available on second-hand markets. Additionally, some DS games have been digitally re-released on the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS system, another handheld console from Nintendo.

Games Compatible with Nintendo Switch Lite

Despite its inability to play DS games, the Nintendo Switch Lite still has a vast library of games available for play. This includes all Nintendo Switch games that support handheld mode. Some popular titles include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and more. The eShop also offers a wide range of digital games, including indie titles and classics from older Nintendo consoles.

Digital Games on Nintendo Switch Lite

The Nintendo Switch Lite offers access to a plethora of digital games via the Nintendo eShop. This includes not only Switch games, but also a multitude of indie games and classic titles from previous Nintendo consoles, available through the Nintendo Switch Online service. However, it's important to note that these classic titles do not include DS games.

Nintendo's Stance on Backward Compatibility

Nintendo, like many gaming companies, has a mixed history when it comes to backward compatibility. Some consoles, like the Wii and the Wii U, offered extensive backward compatibility with older games. However, the Nintendo Switch and the Switch Lite have largely moved away from this trend, focusing instead on new games and select re-releases.

The Future of DS Games

Even though the Nintendo Switch Lite does not support DS games, this doesn't mean that these games are lost to time. Nintendo has a history of remastering and re-releasing popular games from their past consoles. There's a chance that some beloved DS games may someday be available on the Switch or future Nintendo consoles, either as direct ports or remastered versions.


In conclusion, the Nintendo Switch Lite cannot play DS games due to hardware differences and lack of backward compatibility. However, this doesn't detract from the Switch Lite's impressive gaming capabilities and extensive game library. For those who wish to play DS games, alternative options like the original DS console or the Nintendo 3DS remain available.