The 16 Most Popular Nintendo DS Games of All Time

If you grew up in the late 90s, you would have gotten your hands on a Nintendo DS at some point. Whether you purchased the original silver handheld DS or the Nintendo DS Lite, you would have had a collection of fun games to go along with it.

If you’ve been considering going back to the nostalgic days of Nintendo, here are 16 of the most popular DS games of all time. Let’s dive in.

1. New Super Mario Bros.

Mario has been a staple in the gaming world since his first appearance. Originally in Donkey Kong as Jumpman in 1981, the first Mario-focused game didn’t debut until 1983 as an arcade game, Mario Bros.

When New Super Mario Bros. was released on the Nintendo DS, it sold a whopping 30.80 million copies, according to Nintendo Japan’s list titled “Top Selling Title Sales Units” (which we’re using for entries one to 10).

If you grew up playing these sorts of platform games, the action-packed levels are always praised for their replay value!


2. Nintendogs

As one of the first pet-simulation games to ever be released on the Nintendo DS, Nintendogs sold 23.96 million copies. This included all versions, such as Nintendogs: Chihuahua and Friends. Pre-loved for the ability to own, pet, play with, and take care of a virtual pet, the video game is timeless for being the first to really engage players with the Nintendo stylus in-game.

3. Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS replicated the original Mario Kart 64 game on the Nintendo 64 platform. For a lot of players, this introduced them to the racing genre and sold over 23.60 million copies after its 2005 release. Fan favorites to race were Mario himself, Luigi, Wario, Bowser, Princess Peach, Daisy, and Toad. What was your favorite race course?

4. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day was a Nintendo game that allowed you to keep track of the age of your brain and to improve these skills over time, but this isn’t claimed as a scientific test. Mini-games included reading aloud, calculations, number and word memory games, syllable count, headcount, and more. The puzzle game sold 19.01 million copies after its release in 2005.

5. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl rose quickly in popularity, selling 17.67 million copies due to the introduction of a new region: the world of Sinnoh. The game is known for revolutionizing the legacy of Pokémon and introducing many new players. With Chimchar, Turtwig, and Piplup to choose from as a starter, who did you pick to battle with on your journey?

6. Pokémon Black and White

Do you remember the online Dream World? When Pokémon Black and White was released in 2010, the game sold 15.64 million copies due to another region being released after Pokémon Platinum: the Unova region. Taking inspiration from New York City, a whole new series of Pokémon were available to catch. Did you choose Reshiram or Zekrom?

7. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day!

As a sequel to Brain Training, Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day helps you exercise your brain with 17 new activities such as piano, 100 Sudoko puzzles, rock paper scissors, Serial Subtraction, Symbol Match, Number Recall, Number Memory, and High Number.

Brain Age 2 sold around 14.88 million units. If you’d like to test your skills further, this is a great game to go back to.

8. Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

12.72 million copies of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver were snatched from the shelves quickly after their release, and there’s a good reason for it. Not only was it a remake of the beloved Johto region, but the game included the Kanto region as well. With double the legendary Pokémon and double the fun, what starter combination did you choose?

9. Animal Crossing: Wide World

Animal Crossing: Wide World has been one of many popular social simulation games and sold 11.75 million copies after its release in 2005. Revisit creating your own character and managing your island in a virtual world full of infinite possibilities. Animal Crossing: New Horizons may be a bestseller, but the original Nintendo game will never disappoint.

10. Super Mario 64 DS

With 11.06 million copies sold after its release in 2004, Super Mario 64 DS was popular for being a remake of the classic Nintendo 64 version. Including 15 levels and bonus levels to explore, there are multiple challenges and stars to collect along the way. If you own a 3DS and are looking to enhance your Nintendo DS gameplay, consider how to adjust the backlight for DS games on 3DS!

11. Mario Party DS

Released in 2007, Mario Party DS was always sought after due to the depth and scope of multiplayer activities available. The game sold 9.31 million copies, according to Wikipedia’s list of best-selling Nintendo DS games, which we’ll refer to for entries 11-16.

Friends and family can get involved in 72 party games, including battle mini-games, two-vs-two mini-games, four-player mini-games, and boss mini-games. Did you invite your best mates and play Book Bash?

12. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

After the introduction of the Unova region in Pokémon Black and White, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are telling a new story two years after the events of the previous game. Some changes included legendary Pokémon from other regions, drastic changes to the storyline such as starting out in a new town, improved graphics, and the Pokémon World Tournament. The game sold 8.52 million copies after it came out in 2012.

13. Pokémon Platinum

Do you remember Giratina the Sky Warrior? Pokémon Platinum was popular as it was a Diamond and Pearl refresh, giving the game new legendary Pokémon and a fresh outlook on the story. Selling 7.60 million copies when it was released in 2007, you can unlock the National Pokédex, exclusive Pokémon and catch or trade, learn about the Distortion World, The Battle Frontier, and overall higher quality gameplay.

14. Big Brain Academy

This game gave a broader scope of brain training with a series of puzzle games! 6.1 million copies sold after 2005, Big Brain Academy encouraged players to answer questions and solve puzzles to mark up the age of their brain. Logic, memory, math, and good analytic skills determined the end result for the player. Are you intrigued to know yours?

15. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

A Japanese RPG game for all ages, Dragon Quest IX was released in 2009, selling over 5.3 million copies. Although it was less popular in Western countries, it was praised in Japan for its approach to fantasy gameplay and was the inspiration for the more notable series, Final Fantasy. The art style was also drawn by the creator of Dragon Ball Z.

16. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness

Based on the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon GameBoy Advance series, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness sold 4.8 million copies worldwide. Waking up as a Pokémon with no memory of who you are, you become part of a Pokémon society. If you’re looking to play DS games on Linux OS, have a go at reviving classic Nintendo DS games on Linux with emulation.

As per the facts and figures, these Nintendo DS games were not only the most popular, but are still worth playing today. If you’d like to explore more of the Nintendo DS gaming sphere, there are a multitude of NDS franchises you can check out. Which Nintendo DS game will you try out first?

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