The Nintendo DS Lite apparently had a secret feature that allows players to project the Nintendo DS top screen to a TV.
The original discovery was made by ‘Lost Nintendo History’ who are “a team of people aiming to uncover and restore the secrets of Nintendo's software and hardware” and recently shared on Twitter by Nintendo fan/YouTuber @Beta64Official.
I just learned today that the DS Lite has an unused "video output" feature disabled on boot that allows you to play DS games on your TV, and the hacking team Lost Nintendo History managed to restore the feature. So freaking cool!https://t.co/B3Kxr7yB5I pic.twitter.com/4FxQLDx0XLFebruary 22, 2021
According to the original post by Lost Nintendo History, the team “discovered that the Nintendo DS Lite had a leftover feature in its SoC (System-on-Chip) allowing it to easily have cheap hardware video output.” This feature allowed the handheld console to project its top screen onto a TV. The hacking team was able to restore this feature thanks to “a little circuitry and some software hacks, we were able to [...] make it usable for anyone.”
The feature was originally disabled upon booting up the console and only worked on the Nintendo DS Lite. This means the original launch DS, DSi, and 3DS are all unable to restore this feature. The Lost Nintendo History team also provided a guide for fans who want to try this themselves via their GitHub account.
This discovery is interesting not just because we can now imagine what it could have been like to play the likes of Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, Brain Training, or Cooking Mama this way - but that it also gives us an insight into Nintendo’s handheld + TV set up plans way before the release of the Wii U or Nintendo Switch.
To relive the days when your Nintendo DS was your best friend, take a look at our best DS games list