I noticed that when I play DS games on my 3DS, the games don't fill the entirety of the top screen on the 3DS - there are black bars on either side of the image.

Is there a way to get the game to fill the entire screen? Or is that just going to make things look terrible?

  • FWIW someone (Sono on gbatemp) started investigating the possibility quite recently and actually achieved some progress. This is however still in development and will require a hacked 3DS to use.
    – Alvin Wong
    Jul 19, 2019 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


There appears to be two modes for playing DS games on the 3DS. If you hold Select+Start while the DS game is loading, it will display in it's "Native Resolution" on the 3DS screens.

Unfortunately, this is going to make the black bars bigger and not smaller. As far as I can tell, this is the only other display mode that the 3DS supports when playing DS games.

It has to do with the different resolutions/aspect ratios of the DS and the 3DS. Similar things happened when playing GB games on the GBA.

  • 2
    If they allowed you to "fix" this it would be stretching the image. Any "proper fix" would involve a firmware update allowing "ds mode" to have the full screen, changing the rendering code in the game to match. The latter is a very invasive operation, and would have to be done on a "custom" basis for every game. For some, it's a good question what they would be doing with that extra screen space to begin with, since the layout was designed with the smaller screen in mind.
    – MaHuJa
    Dec 15, 2011 at 17:51

Nope, not that I know of. The only way for you to play the DS games is with the format it gives you.

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