Tutorial DeSmuME Setup Guide - How to play Nintendo DS games on your PC

DeSmuME lets you play commercial DS ROMs as well as homebrew games and apps.


So you want to play Nintendo DS games but don't have a DS? Don't worry, with the DeSmuME emulator you can play DS games right on your PC. DeSmuME lets you play commercial DS ROMs as well as homebrew games and apps. Setting it up is pretty straightforward but we're here to walk you through the whole process. In just a few minutes you'll be enjoying your favorite Nintendo DS games on your computer. Grab your favorite DS game ROMs and let's get started!

Downloading DeSmuME - The Nintendo DS Emulator

To start playing Nintendo DS games on your PC, you'll first need to download DeSmuME, the popular DS emulator.
  • Head to the official DeSmuME website and click the download link to get the latest version. The emulator is free and open source software, so you've got nothing to lose! Once it's downloaded, double click to install.
  • Now you need some DS BIOS files. DeSmuME can't run without these system files from an actual DS console. Search online for "Nintendo DS BIOS" and download the necessary .bin files. Place them in your DeSmuME folder after installation.
  • Next, find some DS ROM files (.nds) of games you want to play. There are many sites where you can download game ROMs, but be aware that downloading commercial ROMs is piracy, even if you own a physical copy of the game.
  • Open DeSmuME and click 'File' then 'Open ROM'. Select your game ROM and the emulator will start running it. You may need to do some configuration in the settings to get optimal performance. Play around with the options to set the screen layout, controls, and other preferences to your liking.
  • Once you've got it all set up, it's time to start playing! DeSmuME makes it possible to play hundreds of classic DS games right on your desktop. Now how's that for a blast from the past? Enjoy your trip down memory lane with DeSmuME.

Configuring DeSmuME Settings

Now that you've got DeSmuME installed, it's time to customize the settings to your liking.

First, head to Config → Emulation Settings. This is where you'll find options like enabling or disabling sound, setting the screen size, and choosing a language. I'd suggest enabling sound so you can hear the catchy Nintendo jingles, setting the screen size to 2x or 3x the original size so you can actually see what's going on, and choosing your preferred language.

Next, check out Config → Hotkey Settings. Here you can set custom keyboard shortcuts to save and load states, speed up or slow down emulation, and more. These hotkeys will save you time and make playing much more convenient.

You'll also want to explore Config → Display Settings. This section lets you toggle the display of the dual screens - you can have them side by side, one above the other, or one full screen at a time. You can also show or hide the touch screen, set the opacity of the screens, and choose a background color. Play around with these options to find what suits you best.

Finally, head to Config → Microphone Settings. If you want to use features like the microphone in certain games, you'll need to choose an input method here, like your computer's built-in mic or a USB microphone. With the mic enabled, you'll be able to fully experience all the DS has to offer.

With DeSmuME customized to your preferences, you're ready to start playing your favorite DS classics on your PC. Dive in and relive the glory days - or experience them for the first time! The dual-screen adventures await.

Obtaining Nintendo DS ROM Files

Finding ROMs

To play Nintendo DS games on your PC, you'll need to obtain the game ROM files. ROM files contain the data from an original game cartridge or disk and allow emulators like DeSmuME to run the games.

There are a few options for finding DS ROMs:
  • Download ROMs from ROM sites. Websites like Vimm's Lair, CDRomance, and The Old Computer offer large collections of DS ROM files that are free to download. However, downloading ROMs from these sites can be legally questionable, so do so at your own risk.
  • Dump your own ROM files. If you own the physical game cartridges, you can dump the ROM data from them to create your own legal backup files using a DS flashcart like an R4 card or similar device. This process requires some technical know-how but will give you ROMs that are 100% legal to use.
  • Look for ROM collections or packs. Some sites offer collections of multiple DS ROMs bundled together into a .zip or .rar file for convenience. Again, the legality of these types of downloads can be dubious, so use caution.
  • Check torrent sites. Websites like The Pirate Bay have torrent files for large collections of DS ROMs. However, downloading any copyrighted content via torrents is illegal, so I do not recommend using this option.
Once you've obtained the necessary ROM files, you're ready to load them into DeSmuME and start playing your favorite Nintendo DS games on your PC. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Loading Nintendo DS ROMs Into DeSmuME

To get started playing Nintendo DS games on your PC using DeSmuME, you'll need to obtain Nintendo DS ROM files and load them into the emulator.

Finding Nintendo DS ROMs

You have a few options for finding DS ROMs to play on DeSmuME. You can dump the ROM from an actual DS cartridge you own using a ROM dumping tool, download ROMs that others have dumped and shared online, or find ROMs that have been leaked or released for public use by the developers.
  • Dumping your own DS cartridges requires extra hardware and software but results in clean ROMs.
  • Downloading ROMs shared by others online can be convenient but the legality is questionable. Tread carefully.
  • Some ROMs have been publicly released by developers and are legal to download and play. Check reputable ROM sites for these.

Loading ROMs into DeSmuME

Once you have some DS ROMs, it's easy to get them up and running in the DeSmuME emulator.
  1. Open DeSmuME on your PC.
  2. Go to File > Load Slot 1 (or Slot 2) ROM.
  3. Browse to the location of your DS ROM file. ROM files typically have a .nds file extension.
  4. Select the ROM file and click Open.
  5. The ROM will load in the emulator. You may have to set some options like screen size for the best display.
  6. Use the emulator controls or set up a gamepad to start playing your DS game on PC!
The key to enjoying Nintendo DS games on your computer is finding a trusted source for clean ROM files and learning how to properly configure the DeSmuME emulator for the best performance. With some practice, you'll be playing through your favorite classic DS titles in no time. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Optional: Using Cheats and Tweaking Graphics

Enabling Cheat Codes

If you want to breeze through some of the trickier parts of a game or unlock extras, you can enable cheat codes in DeSmuME. Go to Config > Cheats. Click "New Cheat" to add a new code. Enter the cheat code in the "Code" field and give it a name in the "Description" field. Select "Enabled" to turn the code on. Many cheat code databases are available online with codes for most popular DS games.

Upscaling Graphics

DeSmuME allows you to upscale the graphics of DS games to make them look better on your PC screen. Go to Config > Video > Renderer Settings. Under "Display Method" select "OpenGL" or "Direct3D" for the best quality. Set the "Internal Resolution" to 2x, 3x or 4x the native DS resolution. The higher the setting, the sharper the graphics will be, but performance may decrease, especially on lower-end systems. You can also enable "Anti-Aliasing" and "Anisotropic Filtering" to smooth out jagged edges and blurry textures.

Tweaking Audio

You may need to adjust the audio settings in DeSmuME for the best experience. Go to Config > Audio. Set the "Sample Rate" to match the capabilities of your speakers or headphones. 44100 Hz works for most devices. Increase the "Buffer Size" if you notice crackling or popping sounds. You can also set DeSmuME to "Resample" the audio to a higher sample rate for better quality.

Other Options

Some other options to explore in DeSmuME include:
  • Setting a custom screen layout to match your monitor size and aspect ratio.
  • Mapping your keyboard, gamepad or other input device.
  • Adjusting emulator options like frameskip to improve performance.
  • Saving and loading save states so you can resume your gameplay whenever you want.
DeSmuME gives you full control over enhancing your Nintendo DS experience on PC. Take the time to explore all the options and customize the emulator to your liking. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying your favorite DS games again with improved graphics and sound.


So there you have it, with a few simple steps you've unlocked a whole new world of gaming options. No longer are you limited to what Nintendo has made available on their latest handheld system. The full back catalog of DS games is now at your fingertips, ready to be enjoyed on your computer. Whether you're looking to replay some nostalgic favorites from your childhood or experience classics you missed out on the first time around, DeSmuME opens up so many possibilities. And the best part is, it's all free - the only investment is your time. So grab some snacks, pick out a game, and enjoy hours of entertainment. The Nintendo DS era lives on, thanks to the magic of emulation.

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