What The Original Nintendo DS Could Have Looked Like

By Spencer . March 27, 2009 . 12:35pm


Let’s travel back in time to a day before the Nintendo DS flew off store shelves. Behind the scenes Nintendo was experimenting with a touch screen adapter for the GBA. This technology was later used for a new handheld which we know very well now. However, a patent application filed by Nintendo in 2004 shows a different concept for the hardware.


An early Nintendo DS only had the top screen flip up and a different button layout. The X and Y buttons aren’t in this prototype. A speaker takes up that spot. Game Boy Advance backwards compatibility wasn’t part of the plan either. DS cards plugged into the bottom and there wasn’t a second slot. Actually, this early design looks a lot like a rectangular Game Boy Advance with a second screen.


What do you think of this Nintendo DS? If Nintendo released it would it be as successful as the DS Phat pictured below?




Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • I would have hated having the buttons that low.

  • ugh, I’m glad they went with the current designs.

  • daizyujin

    It may just be lines drawn for indentions but it appears this was meant to fold into a cube. The sides look like they would have bent back. Regardless, the extra buttons and GBA compatability are welcome additions. Unlike many others, the only real complaint I have the original DS is the screen. Otherwise I love the design. It is small enough for me at least and the durability can’t be beat. I let my mother play the damn thing and it still runs. That is saying something right there.

  • daizyujin

    Also when I look at that card, it looks more like an SD card than the traditional DS game card. Makes me wonder if they might have originally been thinking of using MMC/SD like the N-Gage did.

  • Chow

    The design looks very old, like something out of the early nineties, though.

  • Maybe I’m just used to the over-complicated controllers nowadays, but I don’t think I’d like a DS with just an A and B button. It was cool for the NES and adding a C button the Genesis was neat, but anymore I think four face buttons are not just standard, but necessary. Else we’d have a lot of R-trigger + A button commands.

  • I like the design, I hate the button placement.

  • It looks like a hybrid of Game Gear and N-Gage.

  • MisterM

    The DS cartridge in that diagram isn’t a cartridge at all, it’s an SD memory card which is now used by the new DSi. It’s interesting to see that Nintendo has been kicking around that idea for years.

  • Joanna

    no, it’s not slick enough…haha. Yes I like nice looking devices :P

  • M’iau M’iaut

    That look makes a lot of sense considering how the initial stories were of something called the GBA2….and Big N has even called the DS a line of product ‘independent’ of the GBA.

    Wish there was evidence that at some point they’d been considering a thumbstick ala that wonderful little one on the NGPC.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos