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Top Selling Nintendo DS Games: Ranked by Sales

13 Mar, 2024
Written by
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Elizaveta Latinskaya
Best Selling RPGs: Ultimate List Ranked by Revenue [2024]

The Nintendo DS, introduced in 2004, stands as a monumental figure in the landscape of handheld gaming. With its innovative design and user-friendly features, it not only captivated millions of gamers around the world but also significantly influenced the trajectory of the gaming industry. One of the most distinctive features of the Nintendo DS was its dual-screen setup, with the bottom screen offering touch-sensitive capabilities—an innovation that opened up new avenues for game developers to explore and for players to interact with games in a more immersive manner.

How we calculate Our high-load parsers scrape the web and our marketing analysts process the data to provide up-to-date information for business.
Rank Game Genre Developer Publisher Platform Release Date Sales, Million Units
1 New Super Mario Bros. New Super Mario Bros. Platformer Nintendo EAD Nintendo Nintendo DS May 15, 2006 30.8
2 Nintendogs Nintendogs Pet-raising simulation Nintendo EAD Nintendo Nintendo DS April 21, 2005 23.96
3 Mario Kart DS Mario Kart DS Kart Racing Nintendo EAD Nintendo Nintendo DS November 14, 2005 23.6
4 Brain Age Brain Age Puzzle, Educational Nintendo SPD Nintendo Nintendo DS May 19, 2005 19.01
5 Pokemon Diamond Pokemon Diamond/Pearl RPG Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo Nintendo DS September 28, 2006 (Japan), April 22, 2007 (North America) 17.67
6 Pokemon Black Pokemon Black/White RPG Game Freak The Pokémon Company, Nintendo Nintendo DS September 18, 2010 (Japan), March 6, 2011 (North America) 15.64
7 Brain Age 2 Puzzle, Educational Nintendo SPD Nintendo Nintendo DS December 29, 2005 (Japan), August 20, 2007 (North America) 14.88
8 Pokémon HeartGold Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver RPG Game Freak Nintendo Nintendo DS September 12, 2009 (Japan), March 14, 2010 (North America) 12.72
9 Animal Crossing Animal Crossing: Wild World Life Simulation Nintendo EAD Nintendo Nintendo DS November 23, 2005 (Japan), December 5, 2005 (North America) 11.75
10 Super Mario 64 DS Super Mario 64 DS Platform, Adventure Nintendo EAD Nintendo Nintendo DS November 21, 2004 (North America), December 2, 2004 (Japan) 11.06

Moreover, the Nintendo DS was among the first gaming consoles to incorporate built-in wireless technology, allowing players to connect with others locally and, eventually, across the globe via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. This feature not only enhanced the multiplayer experience but also fostered a sense of community among gamers.

The Nintendo DS’s broad appeal can be attributed to its diverse library of games, which catered to a wide range of demographics, from young children to adults. It wasn’t just about traditional gaming genres; the DS expanded its reach to include educational titles, brain training games, and lifestyle applications, thereby attracting a segment of the population that didn’t traditionally identify as gamers. Titles like “Brain Age” and “Nintendogs” showcased the console’s appeal to non-traditional audiences, emphasizing its role in expanding the gaming market.

The console’s success is also owed to its backward compatibility with Game Boy Advance games, providing a vast library of titles for new DS owners and ensuring a smooth transition for long-time Nintendo fans. This feature, combined with the DS’s innovative characteristics and a wide variety of games, solidified its place in gaming history and contributed to its enduring legacy.

Top Selling Nintendo DS Games

New Super Mario Bros.
  1. New Super Mario Bros.

Release Date: May 15, 2006

Genre: Platform

Developer: Nintendo EAD

“New Super Mario Bros.,” a game that rejuvenated the classic Mario platforming experience, has reached an impressive milestone with sales of 30.8 million units worldwide. “New Super Mario Bros.” is a modern revival of the classic Mario platforming gameplay, bringing together traditional side-scrolling fun with new features and enhancements. Players navigate Mario (or Luigi in multiplayer mode) through a series of levels across various worlds, each filled with challenges, enemies, and secrets. The game introduces power-ups like the Mega Mushroom, which makes Mario grow to an enormous size, and the Mini Mushroom, which shrinks him to tiny size, opening up new paths and gameplay strategies. With its blend of nostalgic appeal and fresh mechanics, “New Super Mario Bros.” offers an engaging experience for both long-time fans of the series and newcomers.

  1. Nintendogs

Release Date: April 21, 2005

Genre: Pet Simulation

Developer: Nintendo EAD

The staggering sales figures of 23.96 million units globally attest to the “Nintendogs” massive appeal and its significant impact on players of all ages. “Nintendogs” is an innovative pet simulation game that lets players adopt, care for, and train virtual puppies. Using the Nintendo DS’s touch screen and voice recognition technology, players can interact with their dogs in a variety of ways, from petting and feeding to teaching them tricks and entering them in competitions. The game comes in different versions, each featuring a set of breeds to choose from. Its realistic simulation and interactive features have made “Nintendogs” incredibly popular. 

Mario Kart DS
  1. Mario Kart DS

Release Date: November 14, 2005

Genre: Racing

Developer: Nintendo EAD

“Mario Kart DS” has captivated a wide audience, leading to its impressive worldwide sales of 23.6 million units.”Mario Kart DS” is a thrilling racing game that brings the fun and competitive spirit of the Mario Kart series to the Nintendo DS. Players race against characters from the Mario universe across various imaginative tracks, using power-ups to gain an advantage or disrupt their opponents. The game introduced online multiplayer capabilities to the series, allowing players to compete against each other from anywhere in the world. It has addictive gameplay, multiple single-player modes, and innovative use of the DS’s dual-screen for maps and player positioning. This title is popular for its contribution to the Mario Kart legacy and its role in showcasing the capabilities of the Nintendo DS.

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day
  1. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day

Release Date: May 19, 2005

Genre: Puzzle, Educational

Developer: Nintendo SPD

With its impressive global sales of 19.01 million units, “Brain Age” stands as a testament to the potential of video games to entertain and benefit mental fitness. “Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day” is an engaging puzzle and educational game designed to stimulate the brain with quick, daily exercises. Based on the research of Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, the game offers a variety of challenges that test memory, math skills, and more, aiming to keep the player’s brain sharp. The game uses the Nintendo DS’s touch screen and voice recognition for its interactive puzzles, making the exercises both fun and accessible. “Brain Age” became widely popular for its innovative approach to gaming, appealing to a broad demographic beyond traditional gamers. This title not only introduced a new genre of brain-training games but also encouraged players to incorporate mental exercises into their daily routine, promoting the idea that gaming can have positive cognitive benefits. The inclusion of features like tracking progress over time and comparing brain age scores with friends added a competitive and social element, further enhancing its appeal.

Pokémon Diamond Version/Pearl Version
  1. Pokémon Diamond Version/Pearl Version

Release Date: September 28, 2006 (Japan), April 22, 2007 (North America)

Genre: Role-Playing Game (RPG)

Developer: Game Freak

Impressive combined sales of these games are 17.67 million units worldwide. “Pokémon Diamond Version/Pearl Version” are key entries in the Pokémon series, set in the fictional region of Sinnoh. Players go on a journey to become the Pokémon Champion, capturing and training Pokémon to battle against other trainers and completing the Pokédex. These versions introduced over 100 new Pokémon, along with new gameplay features such as online battles and trading via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The games also featured time-based events and the ability to explore the underground Sinnoh region with friends. The rich storyline, enhanced graphics, and multiplayer capabilities made “Pokémon Diamond/Pearl” highly popular. These titles have played a significant role in continuing the Pokémon legacy, captivating a new generation of players and long-time fans alike.

Pokémon Black Version/White Version
  1. Pokémon Black Version/White Version

Release Date: September 18, 2010 (Japan), March 6, 2011 (North America)

Genre: Role-Playing Game (RPG)

Developer: Game Freak

“Pokémon Black Version/White Version” achieved remarkable sales of 15.64 million units. “Pokémon Black Version/White Version” are landmark titles in the Pokémon series, set in the new Unova region, inspired by New York City. These games introduced players to over 150 new Pokémon, the largest number of new creatures since the first games, and featured a dynamic seasonal cycle that affected the game environment and Pokémon availability. The story explores themes of idealism and reality through the player’s encounters with the antagonistic Team Plasma, who question the ethics of Pokémon battles. With enhanced graphics, a compelling storyline, and innovative features like the Entralink for multiplayer interactions, “Pokémon Black/White” captivated audiences worldwide. These versions are celebrated for their fresh approach to the Pokémon formula, introducing new mechanics while retaining the core elements that fans love.

Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day
  1. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day

Release Date: December 29, 2005 (Japan), August 20, 2007 (North America)

Genre: Puzzle, Educational

Developer: Nintendo SPD

Impressive global sales of “Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day” were 14.88 million units. “Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day” builds on the success of its predecessor by offering new activities and exercises designed to stimulate the brain. This sequel introduces a variety of fresh puzzles that challenge memory, concentration, math skills, and more, aiming to keep users’ minds active and engaged. Leveraging the Nintendo DS’s touch screen and voice recognition capabilities, the game provides an interactive and accessible platform for brain training. “Brain Age 2” also includes new features such as multiplayer modes and additional downloadable content, enhancing the gameplay experience. With its innovative approach to cognitive exercise, “Brain Age 2” has continued the legacy of the series, promoting the idea that video games can be both entertaining and beneficial for mental fitness.

Pokémon HeartGold Version/SoulSilver Version
  1. Pokémon HeartGold Version/SoulSilver Version

Release Date: September 12, 2009 (Japan), March 14, 2010 (North America)

Genre: Role-Playing Game (RPG)

Developer: Game Freak

“Pokémon HeartGold Version/SoulSilver Version” collectively sold 12.72 million units worldwide.”Pokémon HeartGold Version/SoulSilver Version” are enhanced remakes of the classic “Pokémon Gold and Silver” games, set in the Johto and Kanto regions. These versions breathe new life into the beloved story, with updated graphics, touch screen functionality, and the addition of the Pokéwalker accessory, a pedometer that lets players take their Pokémon with them in real life to gain experience and find items. The games reintroduce players to the rich world of Johto, featuring a blend of new and returning Pokémon, and include the ability to have any Pokémon follow the player around in the game world. With improved gameplay, expanded features such as online trading and battling via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and the nostalgic appeal of revisiting Johto, “Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver” have captivated a wide audience. These titles are celebrated for their successful fusion of classic Pokémon elements with new innovations, appealing to both long-time fans and newcomers to the series.

Animal Crossing: Wild World
  1. Animal Crossing: Wild World

Release Date: November 23, 2005 (Japan), December 5, 2005 (North America)

Genre: Life Simulation

Developer: Nintendo EAD

“Animal Crossing: Wild World” achieved impressive global sales, reaching 11.75 million units. “Animal Crossing: Wild World” is a captivating life simulation game that immerses players in a charming village populated with anthropomorphic animals. This sequel to the original “Animal Crossing” game expands on its predecessor’s open-ended gameplay, allowing players to fish, catch bugs, decorate their homes, and interact with quirky villagers. “Wild World” introduced several new features, including the ability to visit friends’ towns over Wi-Fi, a more dynamic town where villagers come and go, and a variety of new events and activities. The game’s relaxed pace, engaging social interactions, and the joy of personalizing one’s virtual life contributed to its broad appeal. “Animal Crossing: Wild World” has been praised for its ability to create a comforting, engaging virtual world that players can return to day after day, fostering a strong sense of community and belonging among its fans.

Super Mario 64 DS
  1. Super Mario 64 DS

Release Date: November 21, 2004 (North America), December 2, 2004 (Japan)

Genre: Platform, Adventure

Developer: Nintendo EAD

“Super Mario 64 DS” reached global sales of 11.06 million units. “Super Mario 64 DS” is an enhanced remake of the classic “Super Mario 64,” offering new content and features alongside improved graphics. This version introduces additional playable characters, including Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario, each with unique abilities that add depth to the gameplay. Players can explore the vast, 3D environments of Princess Peach’s castle and its surrounding worlds, collecting Power Stars to progress. The game also includes a variety of mini-games that utilize the Nintendo DS’s touch screen, adding further diversity to the experience. The combination of nostalgic elements from the original game, new challenges, and the innovative use of the DS hardware contributed to “Super Mario 64 DS” popularity. This title is celebrated for successfully bringing a beloved classic into the handheld gaming era, captivating a new generation of players as well as those who cherished the original.

Top-Selling Nintendo DS Games and Their Enduring Legacy

These games have transcended the boundaries of traditional gaming, appealing to a wide spectrum of audiences, from young children to adults, and fostering a community of gamers who share memories and experiences that are unique to the Nintendo DS era. The success of these titles reflects the enduring legacy of the Nintendo DS, highlighting its role in shaping the gaming landscape and influencing future generations of handheld consoles. As we look back on these top-selling Nintendo DS games, we are reminded of the joy, challenge, and innovation that they brought into our lives, solidifying their place not only in gaming history but also in the hearts of players everywhere.

What made DS games stand out?

DS games shone because many were designed with the unique stylus in mind, making gameplay more intuitive and inviting. This, along with dual-screen usage, broadened its appeal beyond traditional gaming audiences. Nintendo aimed to attract a wider range of players, resulting in a diverse library of over 2000 titles.

Are DS games hard to find now?

Yes, DS games have become harder to find and more expensive, with some prices doubling or tripling. This scarcity worsened after the Wii U eShop, where many purchased DS games digitally, shut down in March 2023.

Why do DS games look pixelated on a 3DS?

DS games appear pixelated on a 3DS because the two systems have different screen resolutions. The 3DS’s higher pixel count means DS games must be stretched to fit the screen, making them look less sharp than on the original DS.

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