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Game Boy/GBA/DS Compatability FAQ by ArsonWinter

Version: 2.3 | Updated: 09/04/2009

Nintendo Portables - Compatibility FAQ
Version 2.3 - September 4th, 2009


Nintendo gives all hardware they produce a specific number. This 
makes identifying what you have very easy, especially across 
different regions. This convention is included in every Nintendo 
hardware release, and it dates back to pre-Famicom home video game 
systems (Japanese non-cartridge systems). There are a few basics 
about the Nintendo hardware numbers system that you should 
familiarize yourself with before viewing this site.

Usually, when concerned with Nintendo's consoles and portable 
systems, the prefix is the codename. For example, the prefix for the 
Nintendo DS is "NTR," from the development code name "Nitro." The 
GameCube's development codename was "Dolphin," which explains the 
"DOL" prefix. "NUS" is the prefix for the Nintendo 64, which was 
known as "Nintendo Ultra" in development.

With every new prefix since the Famicom/NES, the base system is 
usually "01" or "001" (back to the first example, Nintendo DS's 
system hardware number is "NTR-001"). Accessories and peripherals 
follow with additional numbers. Any gaps in product number lists can 
be explained by being future, canceled, or unknown hardware items.

For example, an entry for "AGB-011" does not exist, because the 
hardware was never released. In the case of new hardware, such as the 
Nintendo DS, gaps in the system's hardware numbers (say, from NTR-006 
to NTR-009) may account for upcoming peripherals or future add-ons.

Every so often, Nintendo switches or alternates between component 
suppliers, or simplifies a hardware design internally. For the most 
part, the outer design machine itself is not changed at all, and most 
consumers will not be able to tell the difference. There are 
exceptions, such as with the Nintendo DS. There are actually two 
different suppliers of the bottom touch screens on the Nintendo DS. 
One type of screen displays images with more sharp detail, while the 
other has a fuzzy characteristic. The average consumer would not be 
able to tell the difference, and both screen types function exactly 
the same, with the same product number. 

Frequently Used Abbreviations:

NCL  - Nintendo Company Limited, the Japanese arm of Nintendo
NOA  - Nintendo of America
NOE  - Nintendo of Europe

DMG  - The Original Game Boy design, short for "Dot Matrix Graphics"
MGB  - Product code for Game Boy Pocket or Game Boy Light
CGB  - Product code for Game Boy Color
AGB  - Product code for Game Boy Advance
AGS  - Product code for Game Boy Advance SP
OXY  - Product code for Game Boy Micro
NTR  - Product Code for Nintendo DS
USG  - Product code for Nintendo DS Lite
TWL  - Product code for Nintendo DSi

GB   - Japanese-used term for DMG Game Boy
GBA  - Game Boy Advance
GBC  - Game Boy Color
GBP  - Game Boy Player for GameCube
SGB  - Super Game Boy for Super NES
SGB2 - Super Game Boy 2 for Super NES
SP   - Game Boy Advance SP
DS   - Nintendo DS
DSL  - Nintendo DS Lite
DSi  - Nintendo DSi

Frequently Used Terms:
Famicom - Japanese equivalent of the Nintendo Entertainment System
Game Pak - Cartridge with game software
Game Boy Video Paks - Special paks with video instead of a game
Imports - Refers to software from Japan brought to America or Europe
Option Paks - Nintendo DS expansion modules
Pirate Game Paks - Unauthorized, illegally copies of retail games
Unliscensed Game Paks - Software not authorized by Nintendo
Wi-Fi - Wireless networking found on the Nintendo DS-line
DSiWare - Downloadable games on a Nintendo DSi

Here is the hardware compatibility section. The names for these  
accessories were taken from store.nintendo.com. Obviously I'm not  
going to include a lot of hardware-specific items in this, like  
battery covers, screen replacements, cartridge cases, etc.

Game Boy
The original portable Nintendo game system. Released in 1989, then 
popularized thanks to a little game known as Tetris, the dot-matrix
graphics captivated a generation of gamers. The system was notable
for having one of the longest lifespans in videogame history.

 GB Link Cable
 Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
 Connects two DMG Game Boys together. Requires a Universal Game Link  
 Adapter to convert between the original DMG Game Boy's link port,
 and the link port used by the Game Boy Pocket (MGB) and Game Boy
 Color, and compatible with the GBA line.

 Game Boy Universal Link Cable
 Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
 Connects two Game Boys together, and comes with a Universal Game
 Link Adapter (required to connect to a DMG Game Boy).

 Game Boy Four-Player Adapter
 Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
 Connects four Game Boys together for games like RC Pro Am. Requires
 a Universal Game Link Adapter when using a DMG Game Boy.

 Game Boy Pocket AC Adapter
 Compatible with: MGB/GBC
 Compatible with both the Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Color.

 Game Boy Camera
 Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
 Takes black and white pictures that you can print out.

 Game Boy Printer
 Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
 Print out stickers in games like Super Mario Bros. DX. Requires a  
 Universal Game Link Adapter when used with a DMG Game Boy.

Game Boy Pocket
Released in 1996, this redesign improved battery life and slimmed the
original system down considerably. The communication port was also
changed for this system, which remained until the SP.

Game Boy Light
A Japanese exclusive revision that added a backlight. 
Released in 1998.

Game Boy Color
Released in 1998, this system was an upgrade to the original Game Boy
line that added a faster processor, color screen, and infraed link 
port. Popular games like Pokemon Red/Blue marked this era.

 Mobile GB Adapter (Japan only)
 Compatible with: CGB/GBA
 This Japanese-only hardware connected a Game Boy to a cell phone, 
 allowing games like Mobile Golf, Pokemon Crystal, and F-Zero for
 Game Boy Advance send and receive data from Nintendo. Service was
 abruptly discontinued in early 2002, hence it's not compatible with
 products released after 2002.

Game Boy Advance
Released in 2001, this 32-bit system changed the portable landscape
with Super Nintendo-quality graphics, better sound, and smaller game
paks. The GBA also played every previous Game Boy game.

 GBA AC Adapter Set
 Compatible with: GBA 
 Set includes the "DC Power Module" that replaces the battery cover
 of the original GBA, and the AC Adapter that plugs into the wall.

 GBA Game Link Cable
 Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP
 Connects to the GameCube for use in games like Animal Crossing.

 GBA Infrared Adapter (Japan only)
 Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP
 Utilized in only one Japanese-only game, "Cyber Driver Zoids." This  
 game, oddly enough, was developed by NdCube (of F-Zero: Maximum  
 Velocity fame) and published by Tomy. You can use the game and  
 adapter to program motions for a toy "Zoid" robot. Nintendo has
 never released a game with this technology.

 GBA Wireless Adapter
 Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP
 Connects wirelessly to other players for games like Mario Golf,  
 though only with software programmed to use the adapter. Accepts 
 wireless signals from the Game Boy Micro Wireless Adapter.

 E-Reader (Japan only)
 Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
 Reads dot-codes off of playing cards. This is the first E-Reader,  
 released in Japan only. The main difference is that this version of  
 the hardware didn't include linking features (to a GameCube or other  
 GBA). Because of this, the link port that's on the North American E- 
 Reader and the E-Reader + is missing, meaning it can fit in a DS.  
 Also note that the E-Reader is NOT region-free. See the "Region  
 Connections" section for more.

 E-Reader (North America; "E-Reader +" in Japan)
 Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/OXY
 Reads dot-codes off of playing cards, and converts them to game  
 software. The E-Reader is a tight fit for the SP, but not compatible  
 with the DS due to the link port. Note that if you really want to
 use the E-Reader, just hack the link port off the device, and you
 can fit it in. Also note that the E-Reader is NOT region-free. See
 the "Region Connections" section for more. For use on a Game Boy
 Micro, no modificiation to the link port is required.

 Game Boy Advance Play-Yan/Play-Yan Micro (Japan only)
 Compatible with: SP/DS/OXY/DSL
 Nintendo's little device with MPEG4 (in the ASF format) and MP3  
 support, using Panasonic SD cards. While it is known that the  
 original GBA cannot use this device, it's not yet known if the
 device is compatible with the Game Boy Player. The Play-An Adapter
 is compatible with a wide range of SD memory cards, from
 manufacturers like Panasonic, Toshiba, and San Disk. With the
 release of the Game Boy Micro, the Play-Yan received a firmware
 upgrade with new features.

Game Boy Advance SP
Released in 2003, the SP set out to add a backlight to the popular
Game Boy Advance. This release also changed the look and feel of 
Nintendo's handheld game systems for years to come.

 Game Boy Advance SP Headphone Adapter
 Compatible with: SP/DS
 Since the SP doesn't have a headphone jack built-in, Nintendo
 created a device that connects to the "EXT2" port. Also works with
 the DS.

 Game Boy Advance SP AC Adapter
 Compatible with: SP/DS 
 Since the SP and the DS share the same port design and voltage,
 their AC adapters are interchangeable.

Nintendo DS
Released in 2004, the DS would serve as a roadmap to the direction
Nintendo was heading in with the Wii. Designed around two screens, a
touch-screen, a microphone, and two slots for games. This was the
first portable to abandon backwards compatabilty for pre-GBA paks.

 Nintendo DS AC Adapter
 Compatible with: SP/NTR
 Once again, it's the same port on both the SP and DS.

 Nintendo DS USB Wi-Fi Connector 
 Compatable with: SP/DS/USG/TWL
 Connects the DS online with a computer running Windows XP.

 DS Headset
 Compatable with: DS/DSL/DSi
 Headset and Microphone combo.

 DS Magnet Stand (Japan only)
 Compatable with: SP/DS/DSL
 Connected to the Slot-2 on the Nintendo DS. Sold with a cooking
 training game in Japan.

Game Boy Micro
Released in 2005, this system boasted a clearer and brighter screen,
louder sound, and removable faceplates. The system also streamlined
backwards compatability, removing the option to play pre-GBA paks.

 Game Boy Micro AC Adapter:
 Compatible with: OXY
 A proprietary power adapter for the new extension port on the Game
 Boy Micro.

 Game Boy Micro Wireless Adapter
 Compatible with: OXY
 A Wireless Adapter that's only compatable with the Game Boy Micro.
 Of course, it still works with the signals from the old GBA Wireless
 Adapter plugged into a Game Boy Advance, SP, or Game Boy Player.

 Game Boy Micro Link Cable
 Compatible with: OXY
 A black Game Link Cable that connects to the Micro via it's 
 proprietary EXT slot. Retains all the functionality of the previous 
 version, and is compatible with all other link cables only when used 
 with Game Boy Micro Game Link Adapter. 

 Game Boy Micro Game Link Adapter
 Compatible with: GBA/SP/GBP
 Provides backwards compatability with previous Game Boy units.

Nintendo DS Lite
Released in 2006, the DS Lite shrunk the size of the previous model,
while improving brightness. This model's Slot 2 is smaller, so paks
tend to stick out further while it's occupied.

 Nintendo DS Lite AC Adapter
 Compatible with: DSL
 Powers your Nintendo DS Lite.

Nintendo DSi
Released in 2009, the DSi improves screen brightness, adds online
functionality, and adds a SD card slot to the side of the unit. The
DSi does, however, remove the ability to play GBA games or use any 
accessories that make use of the Slot 2 on previous models.

 Nintendo DSi AC Adapter
 Compatable with: DSi
 Another unique AC adapter.

Here is the section outlining the different types of Game Boy games,  
with the colors of the cartridges included to make things easier.  
Yes, I'm aware that there are some specially-colored carts out there,  
like Donkey Kong Land or the Pokemon games... I think it's pretty  
easy to figure out which cart type I' talking about.

Game Boy Paks (Grey)
Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
The original DMG Game Boy games. Some are equipped with extra  
features for the Super Game Boy, from special borders and color  
palates, to whole 16-bit games (as in Space Invaders).

GB Memory Cartridge (White)
Comptaible with: DMG/MGB/SGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
For 2,500 yen, Japanese Game Boy players could download new Nintendo  
Power games at kiosks located inside Japanese convince stores. 
Considered a cheap way to get games like "Balloon Fight GB," "Pac- 
Man," and "Metroid II," this was also the only way to get games like  
"Super Mario Bros. DX." This service was ended on August 31st, 2002.

Game Boy DMG/Color Game Pak (Black)
Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP 
These are "Dual-Mode" games, meaning they can be played on the DMG  
hardware like normal, or on Game Boy Color/Advance hardware with  
graphical and gameplay enhancements.

Game Boy Infra-red Game Pak (Black)
Compatible with: DMG/MGB/SGB/SGB2/GBC/GBA/GBP/SP 
An infrared device built into the game pak, allowing the game to  
interact with signals from remote controls. It was developed by  
ALTUS. Currently, the only game that has this system is "Robopon."

Game Boy Color Game Pak (Clear) 
Compatible with: GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
These games require the faster speeds that the Game Boy Color offered  
over DMG Game Boy at the time.

Game Boy Color Rumble Game Pak (Clear)
Compatible with: GBC/GBA/GBP/SP
Few games released (like "Perfect Dark" and "Star Wars: Racer") used  
Nintendo's rumble hardware.

Game Boy Color Motion Sensor Game Pak (Clear)
Compatible with: GBC/GBA/GBP/SP 
The only title with a motion sensor released for the GBC in North  
America was Kirby's Tilt-N-Tumble. On the SP, it's still playable,  
but it takes some getting used to. I don't advise playing it on a  
Game Boy Player.

Game Boy Advance Game Paks (Black)
Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
When playing specific games with a Game Boy Player, special options  
may open up (like controller rumble). On the Nintendo DS, only the  
single-player modes are available.

Game Boy Video (White)
Compatible with: GBA/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
Prevents playing on Game Boy Players due to piracy concerns.

GBA Game Pak with Sun Sensor (Clear)
Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
Games like "Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand" and its sequel utilize 
the Konami-developed Sun Sensor. NOTE: The first Boktai cannot be 
played on the Game Boy Player.

GBA Game Pak with Sensor (Black or Clear)
Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
Includes like Boktai (Sun Sensor), Happy Panechu (Tilt Sensor, Japan  
only), and Yoshi Universal Gravitation (Rotation Sensor). Playable  
with some difficulty on the Game Boy Player (you'd have to move/tilt  
your GameCube). This is definitely not recommended.

GBA Game Pak with Rotation Sensor (White or Transparent)
Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
Developed for games like "Wario Ware: Twisted." Also features a motor  
for rumble support. Not recommended for GBP play.

GBA Game Pak with Rumble Motor (Brown)
Compatible with: GBA/GBP/SP/DS/OXY/DSL
Developed for "Drill Dozer."

DS Rumble Pak (Black)
Compatable with: DS/DSL
Features a rumble motor for use with "Metroid Prime Pinball" and 
"Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time." This uses the same case design 
as a GBA cartridge, but will not function in any other machine. In
Japan, a smaller DS Lite version of this was released.

DS Game Expansion Pak (Black)
Compatable with: DS/DSL
Designed for "Band Brothers: Request Selection" and presumably other 
games. This uses the same case design as a GBA cartridge, but will 
not function in any other machine.

DS Memory Pak (Black)
Compatible with: DS/DSL
Only for use with DS Web Browser. Extended memory for online brower
functions. Same as below, but in traditional GBA Pak housing. DSi's
free Web Browser replaced this product.

DS Lite Memory Pak (White)
Compatible with: DSL
Same as above, but designed smaller to fit into a DS Lite. Was only
avalible on Nintendo's Online Store.

DS Camera Pak (White; Japan only)
Compatable with: DS, DSL
Used for Face Training game. Future Face Training games will be
released via DSiWare, using the DSi's built-in camera.

DS Slide Control Pak (White; Japan only)
Compatable with: DS, DSL
Used for Mag Kid.

DS TV (Black; Japan only)
Compatable with: DS/DSL/DSi
In Japan, you can use this to watch sattelite televison.

DS Game Cards (Black)
Compatible with: DS/DSL/DSi
Playable across the entire DS line. Comes in a black case. Some games
may include exclusive DSi features.

DSi Game Cards (White)
Compatable with: DSi
Games in a white case are only playable with the DSi.

Here is a section full of all the model numbers on the Nintendo Game  
Boy and DS hardware family. To explain the missing model numbers,  
every now and then Nintendo creates hardware it doesn't release (like  
the Game Boy Advance GameEye, prototypes, etc). These products may be  
assigned a model number, even if they've never been produced.

DMG Game Boy:
 DMG-01 DMG Game Boy System
 DMG-02 Stereo Headphones
 DMG-03 Rechargeable Battery Pack
 DMG-04 Game Link Cable
 DMG-05 Battery Case
 DMG-07 Four Player Adapter
 DMG-08 Cleaning Kit
 DMG-09 Game Pak
 DMG-11 Precautions Booklet ^
 DMG-13 Game Pak with Rumble
 DMG-14 Game Boy Universal Link Cable
 DMG-15 GB Memory Cartridge (Japan only)
 DMG-20 Game Pak with Tilt Sensor

^ - Labeled by region: "DMG-XXX-11" (USA, CDN, EUR, AUS, or JPN)

Super Nintendo: 
 SNS-027 Super Game Boy
 SNS-042 Super Game Boy 2 (limited US release)

Game Boy Pocket:
 MGB-001 Game Boy Pocket System
 MGB-002 Battery Pack (Japan only)
 MGB-003 Battery Charger (Japan only)
 MGB-004 Game Link Cable Adapter
 MGB-005 Game Boy Pocket AC Adapter
 MGB-006 Game Boy Camera
 MGB-007 Game Boy Printer
 MGB-008 Game Link Cable
 MGB-009 Game Boy Printer Paper
 MGB-010 Universal Game Link Cable
 MGB-101 Game Boy Light (Japan only)

Game Boy Color:
 CGB-001 Game Boy Color System
 CGB-002 Game Boy Color Game Pak
 CGB-003 Game Boy Color Link Cable
 CGB-005 Mobile Adapter GB (Japan only)

Game Boy Advance Model Numbers:
 AGB-001 Game Boy Advance System 
 AGB-002 GBA Game Pak
 AGB-003 Battery Pack (Japan only)
 AGB-004 Battery Charger (Japan only)
 AGB-005 GBA Multiplayer cable
 AGB-006 Infrared Link Adapter (Japan only)
 AGB-007 Battery Case (Japan only)
 AGB-008 GBA DC Power Module
 AGB-009 GBA AC Adapter Assembly
 AGB-010 E-Reader (Japan only)
 AGB-013 GBA Game Pak with Sensor
 AGB-014 E-Reader
 AGB-015 GBA Wireless Adapter
 AGB-016 E-Reader Cover (Japan only)
 AGB-019 GBA Cartridge with Rotation Sensor
 AGB-021 Rumble Game Pak

Game Boy Advance SP Model Numbers:
 AGS-001 GBA SP System
 AGS-002 GBA SP AC Adapter
 AGS-003 GBA SP Battery Pack
 AGS-004 Headphone Adapter
 AGS-005 Stereo Headphones (US only)
 AGS-006 Play-An Adapter
 AGS-101 GBA SP System with Backlit Screen

Nintendo GameCube Model Numbers:
 DOL-011 GBA to GameCube Adapter 
 DOL-017 Game Boy Player

Panasonic Q (GameCube/DVD Combo):
 SH-GB10 Game Boy Player for the Panasonic Q (Japan only)

Nintendo DS Model Numbers:
 NTR-001 Nintendo DS System
 NTR-002 AC Adapter
 NTR-003 Battery Pack
 NTR-004 DS Stylus
 NTR-005 DS Game Card
 NTR-006 DS/GBA Game Case
 NTR-007 Stereo Headphones
 NTR-008 Rumble Pak
 NTR-009 Wrist Strap
 NTR-010 USB Wi-Fi Connector
 NTR-011 Memory Expansion Pak
 NTR-012 Slide Control Pak (Japan only)
 NTR-014 Camera Pak (Japan only)
 NTR-016 DS TV (Japan only)
 NTR-017 DS TV Cover (Japan only)
 NTR-019 Headset and Microphone
 NTR-022 Magnet Stand (Japan only)
 NTR-024 Strap Stylus (Japan only)
 NTR-025 Antenna for DS TV (Japan only)
 NTR-028 Stand (Japan only)
 NTR-029 Stand (Japan only)

Game Boy Micro Model Numbers:
 OXY-001 Game Boy Micro System
 OXY-002 AC Adapter
 OXY-003 Battery Pak
 OXY-004 Wireless Adapter
 OXY-005 Faceplate
 OXY-006 Faceplate Ejector Tool
 OXY-007 Carying Pouch
 OXY-008 Micro Link Cable
 OXY-009 GBA Game Link Adapter

Nintendo DS Lite Model Numbers:
 USG-001 Nintendo DS Lite System
 USG-002 AC Adapter
 USG-003 Battery
 USG-004 Stylus
 USG-005 Slot 2 Cover
 USG-006 Rumble Pak (Japan only)
 USG-007 Expansion Pak

Nintendo DSi Model Numbers:
 TWL-001 Nintendo DSi System
 TWL-002 AC Adapter
 TWL-003 Battery
 TWL-004 Stylus

The Game Boy family has always been region-free, which means that you  
can play European games in Japanese systems, using a North American  
link cable. The Nintendo DS range is region-free, too. 

There is one big exception: the E-Reader. 

While it works in any region, E-Readers will only read cards from the  
same region (i.e. North American E-Readers will only read North  
American E-Reader cards). More importantly, there are TWO types of  
Japanese E-Reader systems. Europe did not release an E-Reader. 

The Japanese E-Reader can read dot-codes off playing cards. The "E- 
Reader +" is modeled after the US release (however they are not  
backwards compatible). Besides adding voice to the main menu, this  
version also adds the ability to connect to the GameCube ("Pokemon  
Channel") or another Game Boy Advance ("F-Zero: Falcon Legend"), the  
ability to save a program, and a few "stock" game sounds/music. The  
"E-Reader +" can read Japanese "E-Reader" cards.

Individual games themselves, however, are not always region free.  
That is, they work in hardware from any region, but you might not be  
able to link up different regions (or work with GameCube connectivity  
features). There are a few reasons for this:

 - Features might be added to or removed from the game since release.  
This is common in many Japanese titles, but it also affects games  
from different regions. For example, the North American version of  
the DS game "Mr. Driller Drill Spirits" doesn't include a gameplay  
mode and single-card multiplayer found in the Japanese version.  
Another example, the Japanese version of the GBA game "Tony Hawk's  
Pro Skater 2" included two additional skaters added after the release  
of the American version of the same game. 

 - Games get translated and localized when they're released in  
America or Europe, which might displace a portion of internal code  
from region to region. Many Wi-Fi enabled games these days include
a way to play across the globe, but the game has to be programmed
for this to happen.

 - A game could have a region identifier, which is very rare. Once  
again, this has no bearing on the hardware, but may prevent linking  
with the same game from another region or connectivity features.

 - Nintendo DSiWare offered online in the DSi Shop is locked to 
whichever region your DSi was purchased in.

 There is no good way to get around these region incompatibilities,  
except to take a "wait-and-see" with import software that you plan on  
connecting to GameCube games from your region, or playing against  
your friends with different region game paks. Of course, there are  
games (usually from companies like Altus and Sega, not Nintendo) that  
have translations built-in, like "Sim City 2000" for GBA, and "Feel  
the Magic" for the Nintendo DS. Games like this are usually released  
in North America and Japan (or Europe) near-simultaneously.


Q. What do you know about DSiWare?
A. DSiWare is non-transferable (e.g. don't expect to play DSiWare on
any machine other than the one you buy it on). Right now, the DSi
will only let you play games from internal memory (not off an SD
card, like the Wii will let you). It's also region-locked.

Q. Why can't older Game Boy games work on the DS?
A. There are now two answers to this question.

Simple Answer:  In order for, say, GBC games to work on the DS, the 
voltage would  have to be increased internally. On the GBA, GBP, and 
SP, there was a  switch that did this when an older game was inserted 
(compare the  notches at the bottom of a grey DMG cart to the bottom 
of a GBA  cart). The extra ridge of the DMG cart pushes down a button 
to switch  the GBA/GBP/SP into "GBC mode," making it work just like a 
GBC. The  switch changes the voltage internally, so the processor has 
more  power to work with (to try to bring it up to normal GBC 
speeds). The  DS doesn't have this switch, and thus, blocks this 
ridge, and thus  prevents DMG/GBC games from being inserted.

Advanced Answer (with personal conspiracy theories):  From Nintendo's 
website: "...the Nintendo DS lacks the special  processor that is 
required to play these [Game Boy/Game Boy Color]  games. Because of 
the age of the processor, and the difficulty in  adding that 
processor to an already highly complicated architecture,  the 
processor was not included in the final design of the DS."  However, 
regardless of this, the DS hardware is powerful enough to  emulate 
the processors of the GBC. Even with this power though, you'd  still 
need an increased voltage to use specific cartridges (Game Boy  
Camera, larger games, games with Save RAM, etc). Rather than allowing  
support for only some DMG/GBC titles (without a link port, I might  
add), and adding a voltage switch (and more importantly, extra  
hardware) to the DS, the option was to drop support for all DMG/GBC  
games. Newer games that use cartridge-specific features (Boktai,  
Wario Ware Twisted, Play-An, etc) have been streamlined to use as  
little power as possible. I think it also has something to do with  
the system's image... the SP is still going to be around for a while  
until the next Game Boy, and a major selling point for the GBA is  
it's backwards-compatibility. Adding this feature to the DS (even  
sans a GBA link cable port) would eliminate the need for the SP  
altogether in many consumers minds. After all, the only advantage  
now for consumers to purchase an SP is the form factor, link cable  
port, and backwards compatibility.

Q. What Game Boy/DS systems/cartridges/accessories are region-free?  
A. See "Region Connections" section above.

Q. What's diffrent between the DS and DS Lite?
A. The DS Lite is a more compact design, four screen brightness 
profiles, and it ships with a cover for the GBA slot.

Q. Where can you purchase these accessories (the Universal Game Link  
Adapter for the DMG Game Boy, for example)?
A. Nintendo has an excellent online store for all sorts of  
accessories and components: http://store.nintendo.com

Q. What third-party products work with the DS?
A. I haven't got the time to track down every third party product to  
see if it works with the GBA, GBP, DS, and so on.

Q. Do you know where to buy a GBA Play-Yan Adapter and what does it  
look like?
A. The Play-Yan Adapter (to play MPEG-4 and MP3 files off Panasonic 
SD  cards) will launch in Japan in February of 2005 via Nintendo's 
online  store. A North American or European launch is not yet 
confirmed.  Officially, the adapter has been announced with a price 
of 5,000 yen  (that converts to around $48 USD if you're considering 
importing it).  For pictures, check out NCL's official Japanese Play-
Yan site at: http://nintendo.co.jp/n08/playan/feature/index.html

If you're going to contact me, might as well do it over AIM. If you  
have any corrections, questions, or comments, please talk to me.

Please don't e-mail me about Pokemon. I get ten e-mails a week about
Pokemon. I will not repond to these questions if you send me them.

E-Mail: tideblue@gmail.com


Version Changes:
 1.0  12/19/04  FAQ started
 1.1  12/21/04  Added a few minor updates
 1.2  12/22/04  Added a new FAQ question
 1.3  12/23/04  New FAQ question, and other minor corrections
 1.4  12/27/04  Added model numbers to Hardware and Cart sections,       
         Separated the DMG Game Boy and Game Boy Pocket on the lists 
 1.5  12/28/04  Added more model numbers, and Mobile GB info
 1.6  01/02/05  Loads of updates, added Region Connections
 1.7  01/19/05  More info on the Play-Yan
 2.0  08/31/05  Updated layout, added Game Boy Micro, online links
 2.1  02/09/06  Added more Micro and DS Lite info
 2.2  04/25/06  Added a few DS Lite loose ends.
 2.3  09/04/09  Added DSi information and fixed errors; changed name

Special Thanks:

 CJayC - For making GameFAQs such a great site
 Rachel Smith - convinced me to make the "Region Connections" section
 Jelly Soup - info about the GBC Infra-red game pak 
 Mats 'Zeldafannow' Andersson - Gave me a start on the model numbers
 Wingzeroismine - being nosy enough to make me write out a long 
explanation on why the DS isn't backwards compatible
 Twide - Informed me of the Super Game Boy 2 model number
 Bill Krieder - Filling in the DMG model numbers
 Coam - Info on the AGB model numbers
 Computerdude1032 - For informing me that it's "store.nintendo.com"
 Agentj - For the Play-Yan question
 Chilled87 - Nintendo DSi Information
 Matt P - My brother! - Spelling errors and DS Lite info


 Domains with permission to host this FAQ
  GameFAQs  http://www.gamefaqs.com/

 - Ryan "ArsonWinter" Painter 


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