Nintendo DS games use a proprietary in their game cards. The mask ROM chips are manufactured by Macronix and have an access time of 150 . Cards currently range from 8–512 (64 to 4 ) in size (although data on the maximum capacity has not been released). Larger cards have a 25% slower data transfer rate than more common smaller cards. The cards usually have a small amount of or an to save user data such as game progress or high scores. However, there are few games that have no save memory such as . The game cards are 35 mm × 33 mm × 3.8 mm (1.38 in × 1.30 in × 0.15 in) (about half the width and depth of Game Boy Advance cartridges) and weigh around 3.5 g ( oz).
Nintendo DS games inserted into the top slot are able to detect the presence of specific Game Boy Advance games in the bottom slot. In many such games, either stated in the game during gameplay or mostly explained in the games' instruction manuals, extra content can be unlocked or added by starting the Nintendo DS game with the appropriate Game Boy Advance game inserted. Among those games were the popular or , that allowed the player to find more/exclusive Pokémon in the wild if a suitable Game Boy Advance cartridge was inserted. Some of the content can stay permanently, even when the GBA game has been removed after content has been added.
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On January 29, 2014, Nintendo announced that Nintendo DS games would be added to the Virtual Console, with the first game, , being released in Japan on June 3, 2014.
Almost all existing Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi games can be played on a Nintendo 3DS system in 2D. With backwards compatibility, your existing portable games look and play just as well.***