The GBA was released in 2001 and discontinued in 2010 in North America, and was considered on-topic as of 2016 (6 years post-discontinuance and 15 years post-release). The NDS was released in 2004 and discontinued in 2013. I believe it should be considered on-topic as of 2021 (8 years post-discontinuance and 17 years post-release). Of course, this only applies to the NDS, not the 3DS.

This question was inspired by a comment:

With the passage of time since the question was asked, I'd now disagree on the DS aspect: The DS line was discontinued in 2014, and the successor 3DS platform has now stopped production: nintendolife.com/news/2020/09/… . A look on Amazon UK only shows 3DS games for sale. On that evidence, I don't think there's any reason to object to the original DS platform being on-topic in 2021.

Note that I include the PSP in the question title because it was contemporary to the NDS.


I think definitely, for the DS. Architecturally, the DS belongs to the era of making BIOS calls for division and trigonometry; modern handhelds have system calls to the kernel instead (though they generally have dedicated instructions for division and trigonometry). It has more in common with retro devices than with the 3DS, at least when the 3DS isn't in DS emulation mode (a bit like modern computers in IBM PC-compatible mode (those that still have such a mode)).

The PSP is a little trickier. I'd tentatively say yes to the first model, but no to its sequels.

  • What’s the difference between ‘BIOS calls’ and ‘system calls to the kernel’? Feb 8 at 14:35
  • 1
    @user3840170 Good question; they're actually the same thing. I presumed that the DS worked like an IBM PC, but it's using a software interrupt mechanism just like system calls. Nonetheless, I think the rest of my point applies – and the BIOS isn't a kernel (there are no OS processes, for instance), so it doesn't work like modern handhelds (which usually have stripped-down multi-process OSs).
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Feb 8 at 14:44
  • 1
    Are there any major differences that put the NDS in an older generation, architecturally? I know the PSP was certainly a more powerful system (32 MiB main memory, a CPU at up to 333 MHz, a dedicated GPU at 166 MHz, etc.), but it was contemporary to the NDS and was a direct competitor. What would make the NDS retro but the PSP potentially not retro? And why certainly no to the sequels?
    – forest
    Feb 14 at 1:40
  • @forest Certainly no to the sequels because the PSP E1000 was contemporary to Windows 8. The DS seems like a Game Boy Advanced SP Advanced-plus-touchscreen, but the PSP seems like a handheld PlayStation Lite. The PSP had a built-in web browser that supported Flash (in later updates), but the DS's was sold separately and practically required modding the console (a memory expansion pack that no other licensed software used). The PSP has a user-facing OS that supports task switching – it's not quite multitasking, but it's close. But my opinion on this matter is pretty uninformed.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Feb 14 at 13:42
  • As the commenter that was quoted above, I'd better chime in with my agreement too. I have very little experience with the PSP line, so I'll yield to wiser heads on that.
    – Kaz
    Feb 15 at 8:46
  • 2
    Moot point now, but I think the lack of bilinear filtering on textures was enough to make the DS retro even when it came out, and definitely pushes it back to that era now.
    – Matt Lacey Mod
    Feb 18 at 2:27

Since meta exists to allow votes on different answers, rather than a single correct answer, I feel I should put an opposing view.

I don't consider DS retro.

I have no convincing arguments for this, other than I could walk into a game store in my local UK high street and buy a new or second hand Nintendo DS game from a wide range of titles. It seems to me that the system is current and supported, even if most of the consoles in the range are no longer manufactured.

On the other hand, GBA games would be few and far between, so I consider this format practically obsolete.

  • 1
    Please do down-vote if you feel the original DS and DS lite are in fact retro computers. It is only an opinion. Feb 21 at 15:22

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