🎮📚 Unleash Your Japanese Skills: Nintendo DS, Your Ultimate Language Sensei!


What’s up fellow gamers! Ready to take your Japanese to the next level in a fun and exciting way? If you’re over 30 or under 20 you may have completely missed the Nintendo DS. Maybe you were only exposure to handheld games was the Nintendo Switch, which has blown away any sense of retro gaming from your mind. Or maybe like me, you grew up on the best ever retro games such as Game & watch or GameBoy Classic. But did you know that nestled somewhere in the middle was a line of awesome handhelds that could actually teach you Japanese?

🚀 Get ready to explore the Japanese language while battling monsters and saving princesses. 🎮 In this article, we’re diving deep into the world of Japanese language learning through the lens of your favorite handheld console. Did you know that playing retro games can level up your Japanese skills? Let’s power up and learn together!

What was the Nintendo DS?

The Nintendo DS (NDS) was first released back in 2004 and was one of the best selling handheld consoles that Nintendo ever made. It was the first handheld with duel color LCD screens and one of them was even touchscreen!

There were many versions of the NDS and it was hard to keep track of them but this table will help you know a little more about them.

ConsoleYear ReleasedTitles AvailablePopular TitlesHardware SpecificationsProsCons
Original DS2004Over 2000New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart DS, Brain AgeSlimmer design, brighter screens, longer battery life, improved stylus placementEnhanced portability, vibrant screens, Included GBA game slotLimited online capabilities, lacks some features of the original DS
Nintendo DS Lite2006Over 2000Animal Crossing: Wild World, Nintendogs, Pokémon Diamond/PearlSlimmer design, brighter screens, longer battery life, improved stylus placementEnhanced portability, vibrant screens, Included GBA game slotLimited online capabilities, lacks some features of the original DS
Nintendo DSi2009Over 1300Mario Kart DS, Professor Layton and the Curious VillageLarger screens, two cameras, internal storage for downloadable games, DSiWare shopIntroduction of DSiWare, improved audio qualityLoss of GBA slot, fewer backward-compatible games, initial lack of DSi-exclusive titles
Nintendo DSi XL2009Over 1300Brain Age, Dragon Quest IX, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit TracksLarger screens, improved viewing angles, enhanced stylus, pre-installed DSiWare gamesComfortable for extended use, expanded screensSame cons as DSi, bulkier design
Nintendo 3DS2011Over 1000The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Super Mario 3D Land3D capability, improved processing power, dual screens, backward compatibility with DS games, StreetPass, SpotPassAutostereoscopic 3D display, robust game library, eShop for digital downloadsEarly models had limited battery life, initial high price, 3D effect not for everyone
Nintendo 3DS XL2012Over 1000Pokémon X/Y, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Fire Emblem: AwakeningLarger screens, improved battery life, comfortable grip designEnhanced viewing experience, longer battery lifeSame cons as 3DS, larger size may be less portable
Nintendo 2DS2013Over 1000Mario Kart 7, Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire, Super Mario 3D LandNo 3D feature, more affordable, durable designAffordable entry point to 3DS library, suitable for younger playersLacks 3D functionality, less portable design
New Nintendo 3DS2015Over 1000Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, Monster Hunter 4 UltimateAdditional buttons, improved CPU, stable 3D tracking, amiibo supportEnhanced performance, customizable cover platesNot bundled with charger, limited number of exclusive titles
New Nintendo 3DS XL2015Over 1000Fire Emblem Fates, Pokémon Sun/Moon, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DLarger screens, improved CPU, stable 3D tracking, amiibo supportEnhanced viewing experience, longer battery lifeNot bundled with charger, limited number of exclusive titles
New Nintendo 2DS XL2017Over 1000Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Metroid: Samus Returns, Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiiboFolding design, affordable, large screensPortable design with clamshell form factor, extensive game libraryLacks 3D functionality, not as compact as the original 2DS

The Power of Nintendo DS in Language Learning

More Than Just Games The Nintendo DS is more than just a gaming console – it’s your portable language dojo! 🏰🇯🇵 Did you know that you can actually use it as a 電子辞書 (でんしじしょ) or electronic dictionary? Some games actually had the ability act as a Japanese to English language reference, which is actually a huge discount on an electronic dictionary because those things can go for up to $300 but a Nintendo DS lite and a Kanji game with dictionary could cost you as little as $40!

Exploring the world of Japanese Gaming Level up your language by playing in Japanese! 🌟 Unfortunately the only DS that was not region locked was the the DSi, all other consoles were locked to the region it was meant for. But, we can use that to our advantage. Japanese Nintendo DS typically are a lot cheaper than buying a used US or European console. That means not only can you buy a console that allows you to play games in Japanese but it’s probably going to cost less too!

Dive into RPG adventures like “ポケモン” (Pokémon) and life sims like “とびだせ どうぶつの森” (Animal Crossing). Embrace the language of your favorite games and let Japanese phrases become second nature. 🗝️✨ These games often have engaging story lines and will excite most RPG fans. Castlevania: Dawn Of Sorrow was one of the best RPGs ever made for handhelds.

Learning Tools Beyond the Game

Your Inexpensive Language Sensei Meet your new sensei – language-learning games like “正しい漢字書き取りくん” (Tadashii Kanji Kakitori-Kun) and “250番人の漢検プレミアム” (250 Banjin no Kanken Premium). 🎓📚 These gems offer exam practice and vocab building. Your DS is now a お手軽 (おてがう) handy study partner!

Your Personal Electronic Dictionary Never get lost in translation again! Your DS becomes your 便利 (べんり) convenient 電子辞書 (でんしじしょ), helping you read menus and signs like a pro. Games like 250番人の漢検プレミアム Actually had over 30,000 words you could look up and reference at any point. Saving you hundreds of dollars on a real electronic dictionary. Now, you’re ready to navigate Japan with confidence! 🗺️🇯🇵

The Gateway to JLPT Success

Ace the JLPT with Nintendo DS Boss battle time! 🚀 Prep for the JLPT with games that challenge your language skills. 📝 Crush grammar points, conquer kanji, and level up your Japanese proficiency. Your DS is the key to unlocking that coveted N2 level! Several of the Japanese learning games for the DS were actually meant for Japanese students. That meant that they would go way beyond the standard JLPT tests meant for foreigners. Students that used the 漢検 (かんけん) system action did significantly better on the JLPT than those who just studied using regular JLPT resources.


Gamers, it’s time to grab your DS and embark on the ultimate linguistic quest! 🎮✨ Embrace the retro charm, learn Japanese through gaming, and let the language become your power-up. Dust off that DS or snag a Japanese model, and let’s conquer the Japanese language together! 🇯🇵🔥

Feel free to let us know if there are specific Japanese words or game titles you’d like to emphasize more, and I can adjust accordingly!

As always, if you have any experiences you would like to share with the community, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.


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