Single-Screen Nintendo DS Lets You Switch Between Screens

This fantastic mod, demonstrated by FacelessTech, converts a Nintendo DS into a single-screen handheld console.

Cameron Coward
a month agoGaming / 3D Printing / Displays

Nintendo has long had a reputation for innovative and often quirky hardware. The Nintendo Switch is both a handheld portable and a home console. The Nintendo Wii introduced the world to motion-controlled gaming. The Nintendo Wii U gave players a second auxiliary screen in the controller. But that second screen feature first appeared in the Nintendo DS, which had two displays built into a single handheld console. Generally, the primary screen shows the game level and the second screen shows menus, maps, inventory, and other secondary information. FacelessTech has performed a Nintendo DS mod that combines both screens into a single display.

The original Nintendo DS, often referred to as the "DS Phat," had two TFT LCD screens in a clamshell case. Both screens had a resolution of 256 x 192 and a 4:3 aspect ratio. The bottom screen also had a touchscreen digitizer, so players could select menu or inventory items with a tap. This mod combines both displays into a single screen. This isn't ideal for games that display important information on both screens simultaneously, but it works well for games where you're spending most of your time looking at only one of the screens. Flipping a little switch lets you look at the other screen when you need to see its content.

There are a couple of ways to perform this modification, but FacelessTech chose to keep the bottom screen. The benefit here is that the touchscreen digitizer remains in place and always corresponds to the bottom content. That means that you can interact with the bottom content even when it isn't visible. This mode requires surprisingly little hardware: a three-poll two-way switch, some wire, and a 3D-printed replacement faceplate. FacelessTech provides instructions on how to connect the switch. After it is in place, it just directs one of the two video signals to the screen's input. This mod is very elegant in its simplicity and results in a more compact console. As an added benefit, battery life should be much longer since there is only one display consuming power.

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