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Pictochat logo.png
Type LAN messenger
Launch date
  • NA November 21, 2004
  • JP December 2, 2004
  • AUS February 24, 2005
  • EU March 11, 2005
    Last updated March 22, 2012 (details)
    Platform Nintendo DS
    Nintendo DS Lite
    Nintendo DSi
    Nintendo DSi XL
    Nintendo 3DS Homebrew

    PictoChat (ピクトチャット PikutoChatto?) is a communication utility that comes pre-installed on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite and Nintendo DSi consoles. Up to sixteen people can paint and/or text chat with each other using it, connected wirelessly through a LAN-only, system-to-system wireless connection. It allows for simple input of keyboard text and written text/drawings. PictoChat received an Excellence Prize for Entertainment at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival.



    The touch screen is used to type in letters with an on-screen keyboard or to draw and send pictures. Messages sent from the DS or DS Lite appear in black, while DSi systems feature an additional "rainbow" pen (see the last paragraph of functions). The keyboard provides enough Latin and kana glyphs to write in all languages supported by the system: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, plus Hungarian, Finnish, Portuguese and Dutch.The pictochat system can only send messages in a radius of 10 meters.

    Four chat rooms (A, B, C & D) are available at one time, each with a capacity of sixteen people, for a maximum of sixty-four people in total of all the chat rooms.

    PictoChat is preloaded onto all Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, and Nintendo DSi XL units worldwide.

    On the DSi versions of PictoChat, a rainbow pen can be used by tapping on the pen icon again once it has been selected. Content created using the rainbow pen can be read by PictoChat users on Nintendo DS Lite and original Nintendo DS systems. Additionally, the DS and DS Lite play a special sound when receiving a message written by a DSi user.

    Unofficial Ports[edit]

    There is a very good unofficial port of Pictochat 3DS for the Homebrew Launcher https://gbatemp.net/threads/offical-release-thread-pictochat3d.396398/

    Super Smash Bros. appearances[edit]

    A stage based on PictoChat appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

    Another stage called "PictoChat 2" appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and is exclusive to the portable variant.

    Using PictoChat[edit]

    PictoChat has a very simple interface. One of the main techniques is to write or draw on the DS touchscreen with the stylus. Users can also type a message by touching an on-screen keyboard or by using the DS's control pad to select a letter and A to type it. In addition, users can drag letters from the keyboard to move them anywhere in the chat window. Pressing select or the retrieve button (the button under the Send button) will recall the image at the bottom of the top screen and copy it into the user's workspace. To make a different picture recall itself, the user can use the arrows on the touch-screen or the R and L buttons to select a different picture from the chat history. Pressing the far lower-right hand button erases the current chat window.

    Clicking on one's name or another user's name will reveal his or her color and profile (which can be changed in the DS settings). When the user opens PictoChat on their birthday, it will greet the player, wishing them a 'Happy Birthday'.[1]

    PictoChat animation[edit]

    Although not an official function, PictoChat has been used to create short animations by drawing individual pictures on the Nintendo DS's touch screen and sending them frame by frame to the message board on the top screen. By pressing and holding down the left shoulder button and right shoulder button respectively to scroll through the pictures, it shows them at a frame rate of 7.5 frames per second, creating the illusion of animation. Several online galleries are dedicated to sharing PictoChat animations.[2]

    Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten[edit]

    The Nintendo DS kanji-English-Japanese dictionary 'Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten' (漢字そのまま楽引辞典?) contains an extension to PictoChat that allows users to input kanji characters in addition to the standard character set. This version of PictoChat also vocalized roman characters and kana when they are input. This software is only available in Japan.


    1. ^ Nintendo DS Birthday Greeting. YouTube (2011-11-19). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
    2. ^ Crecente, Brian (2005-03-30). "Oddities: Animated DS Pictochat Drawings". Kotaku. Retrieved 2008-02-27.