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McDonald’s DS: Everything You Need To Know & How To Play It

Over the years, many ‘lost games’ have captured the hearts and minds of gamers. Perhaps it’s the mystery of what happened to them. Or maybe it’s the allure of something we’ll likely never get to play. Whatever it is, there are none quite as mysterious and unique as the mythical McDonald’s DS game.

A collaboration between Nintendo and McDonalds sounds like an odd concept. Outside of a fun pastime for visiting kids, you’re probably wondering what application Nintendo consoles would even have in a McDonald’s restaurant.

Fascinatingly, the Japanese division of McDonald’s found the perfect use for the Nintendo DS console. They decided to use it to train new employees in their restaurants.

McDonald's DS game showing burgers cooking
Flipping burgers in the eCDP game.

That meant McDonald’s had to develop their very own video game that could be played on the Nintendo DS.

Many of us have spent hours sat at computers completing e-learning courses when starting a new job. But imagine how awesome it would be to turn up on day one and get your very own company Nintendo DS. That certainly sweetens the deal when it comes to working at McDonald’s. It’s a pretty genius recruitment tactic for young people when you think about it.

So, let’s take a look back at the remarkable history of this unbelievable McDonald’s & Nintendo collaboration and explore how you can play the McDonald’s DS game in 2022…

McDonalds DS eSMART 2.0 hashbrowns
Screenshot of eSMART 2.0 featuring hashbrowns.

McDonald’s DS


Back in 2010, McDonald’s Japan were looking for an innovative way to train new and existing staff members at their restaurants.

Japan has a thriving video game industry. So, it only makes sense that they decided to develop their very own video game.

Released in November 2008, the Nintendo DSi was Nintendo’s latest entry in the handheld gaming market. And it was the perfect console for the job.

With a lack of office space in its restaurants, McDonald’s needed a portable console for staff to train on. It also needed to be relatively inexpensive. Compared to Sony’s PSP, the DSi was the more affordable option. Therefore, it was the perfect candidate.

In the end, the collaboration between the two companies resulted in a McDonald’s branded Nintendo DSi and two (yes, two!) McDonald’s DS games.

McDonald’s DS Console

The McDonald’s DS console is a surprisingly stylish handheld. In fact, the DSi’s looks were quite underrated in general.

McDonald’s is, of course, famous for its golden arches. And while the illustrious ‘M’ logo does appear on the branded Nintendo DS, it isn’t golden.

The McDonald’s DS console has a surprisingly luxurious matte black finish and is adorned with a unique black ‘M’.

These special consoles were handed out to employees of the global fast-food chain in 2010. It’s unclear exactly how many of these once-in-a-lifetime Nintendo consoles were made but they’ve achieved legendary status with collectors.

How To Get McDonald’s DSi Console?

Unfortunately, getting your hands on a McDonald’s DS console isn’t easy.

As mentioned, it has never been officially confirmed how many of the unique consoles were made. And with it being more than a decade since they were first introduced, they are now in VERY short supply. And that has sent their value through the roof.

This is how to get a McDonald’s DS console. Firstly, they aren’t available from conventional retailers. They need to be purchased second-hand from auction sites like eBay or Yahoo! Japan Auctions. Unsurprisingly, asking prices are incredibly high. Of the few that are available, most (if not all) sell for around $2,000+ (USD).

McDonalds DS - eBay listing showing a McDonald's Nintendo DSi console priced at $2,449.95
eBay listing.

McDonald’s DS Game

Even more legendary than the console is the McDonald’s DS game. In fact, there are actually two games (more on that in a moment).

While you might be imagining a game that consists solely of digital quizzes and worksheets, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The McDonald’s games are surprisingly in-depth. It makes use of the DSi’s touchscreen and stylus to bring burger making to life in glorious 3D.

Not only do players get to learn how to cook McDonald’s favourites, they can also take a virtual 3D tour of a restaurant and design their own character.

Nintendo DS McDonald’s Games

Two McDonald’s Nintendo DS games came out. They were called eCrew Development Program and eSmart 2.0.

eCDP – eCrew Development Program

eCrew Development Program, or eCDP for short, is the most famous of the two McDonald’s DS games.

eCrew Development Program title screen on the McDonald's DS
eCDP title screen.

eCDP focusses on training new colleagues who have recently started, or are due to begin, working at McDonald’s.

The game is full of detail when it comes to recipes and processes. It even teaches new colleagues how to flip burgers and where to place pickles!

eCDP has four modes: eCDP Exercise, MGR Mode, Challenge the McDonald’s, and My History.

eSMART 2.0

eSmart 2.0 title screen on the McDonalds DS
eSMART 2.0 title screen.

eSmart 2.0 is very similar to eCDP except for the fact it is geared towards pre-existing McDonald’s employees.

It only features two modes: Store Layout and eSmart Exercise.

How To Play McDonald’s DS Game?

Game Cartridge

The first thing you’re probably wondering is how you can play these games.

Unfortunately, the original game cartridges are incredibly hard to find. Sometimes they are listed jointly with the console, though.

Thankfully, all hope is not lost. There is still a way to play both games.

Cooking fries in eCDP McDonald's DS game
Cooking fries.

McDonald’s DS ROM

Unlike the McDonald’s DS console, the games are easy to play thanks to the McDonald’s DS ROMs being available online. Simply download the ROMs and an emulator (like DeSmuMe), and off you go!

YouTuber Nick Robinson documented the entire journey of getting both the unique console and eCDP game. It took months of work and a lot of money. In the end he kindly shared the game’s ROM online. It has been available to the public ever since. It’s thanks to him we all get to play it now.

Game preservationists Forest of Illusion shared eSMART 2.0‘s ROM on their website back in January. It too is now available to the public.

The McDonald’s DS game ROMs are available at the following links:

eCrew Development Program courtesy of Nick Robinson.

eSMART 2.0 courtesy of Forest of Illusion.

Have you played the McDonald’s DS games? Let us know in the comment section below and don’t forget to check out our other gaming articles…


Sam Harby

About Author

Sam is one of the editors and founders of Downtime Bros and an accredited critic. As a lifelong fan of video games, his favourites are Metal Gear Solid and The Last of Us. With years of knowledge and critical analysis under his belt, he has written hundreds of articles - including news, guides, and reviews - covering video games, movies, TV, and pop culture. Follow him on Twitter and check out his reviews on OpenCritic.

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