So the wrapping paper has been torn off, everything has been opened, but you didn’t get that Nintendo DS you were looking for. But there is no need for you to hang your head in misery. There’s good news; judging by the fact that you are reading this via your computer, you have the next best thing on your desktop as opposed to in the palm of your hand.
First off, you need the game system. Since you didn’t get it from Santa and you don’t have the $129.00 to shell out for a new one, you’d think you were out of luck. Lucky for you, some alternative programmers, sometimes known as hackers, have developed programs called emulators. Often times, these programs are free, with the exception of the multitude of pop-up windows their parent sites open in order to pay their bills. By downloading an emulator such as YopYop DS, you can simulate the game play of the Nintendo DS on your home computer, allowing you to play the game for free.
After you’ve downloaded the emulator, the next step is finding the ROMS to play on it. A ROM is basically a ripped copy of the game you are looking for. Finding the right site for ROMS takes some work. You can start by using Google to search for Nintendo DS Roms, and click through the various links that appear. For the sake of our discussion, I found NINPOWER.com as my test subject. This particular site isn’t tremendously easy to navigate, but it serves its purpose. There are many others out there, most requiring a free registration, but are much easier to navigate, such as nintendo-ds-roms.com. Due to the file size, the file will come over as a .rar file, so you will need to extract with WINZIP or another compression tool. Once you have extracted the file, you will want to save the directory in a customer folder that is easily remembered for when you wish to open up the files. Once the file is extracted and in a safe place, you can now play it on your emulator by clicking File, followed by Open and Execute.
While the emulator gives you the benefit of being able to play the game as you would if you had your own DS, you lose some of the comforts of the device. First and foremost, you lose the ability to save your game, which makes the emulator an all or nothing sort of venture, probably better for fighting or sports games where there is no real need to save. Secondly, you lose the ability to get a Wi-Fi connection with other players, meaning that even if you only dedicated your time to playing fighting or sports games, you lose the ability to have head-to-head match-ups against anyone other than the system.
Long and short, emulators can be great fun and a great way to remember game-playing days gone by. However, at the end of the day, you can’t replace the playing experience you get from the real device. Use it as a stop gap while you wear Mom and Dad down or while you scrounge your allowance and paper route money together for the real thing.