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2019 Complete guide to play GBA/GBC/NES games on Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3ds system 11.9.0 updated, can we play GBA/GBC/NES games on the Nintendo 3DS? How to play GBA/GBC/NES games on Nintendo 3DS V11.9? On the below, we will show the 2019 Complete guide to playing GBA/GBC/NES games on Nintendo 3DS.

3 ways to play GBA games on 3DS in 2019

A-Play GBA games on 3DS CFW

First, you need to install a CFW(custom firmware), then play GBA games on them by converting the GBA game to CIA format, it means you can use an r4 card which supports NTRboothax to hack your 3ds for CFW, Then, you can just launch “FBI” to run the CIA installer to play GBA games in CIA format on the 3ds firmware console.

The Nintendo 3DS actually has all the hardware inside to natively play GBA (GameBoy Advanced) games without using emulation. With CFW (Custom firmware) this means we can package our own GBA and load them on the 3DS, having them play exactly the same as on a real GBA. The only thing has been emulated is the actual GBA cartridge slot.

GBA ROM injection is possible on all 3DS models. That means 3DS, 3DS XL/LL, 2DS, New 3DS, and New 3DS XL/LL. You will need PBT CFW (for o3DS and 4.5 firmware only) or Luma3ds CFW (up to 11.9 both for o3DS and New 3DS). here you can get the tutorial to play GBA games on 3DS CFW with the injection. 

B-Play GBA games on 3DS Homebrew

First, you need to install a 3DS Homebrew launcher and then you need a GBA emulator, the most widely-used homebrew launcher for 3ds is Ninjhax 2.9, ninjhax 2.9 alpha is a piece of software that allows you to run unsigned code on your 3DS. In practice, this means being able to run homebrew applications such as games, tools and emulators! Additionally, ninjhax 2.9 allows you to run many out-of-region gamecards, as well as use custom themes on your console. here we will show the guide: 

What you’ll need:

  1. Cubic Ninja Cartridge, Cubic Ninja downloaded from eShop, or a flashcart with Cubic Ninja ROM
  2. 3DS between version 9.0.0 & 11.9.0
  3. SD Card (Comes with 3DS)
  4. Internet connection
  • Setup a) Download the Homebrew Starter Kit
  • Setup b) Extract & place it on the root of your 3DS’s SD Card (There should be a ’3ds’ folder and a ‘boot.3dsx’ file).
  • Setup c) Put your SD Card into your 3DS.
  1. Put your Cubic Ninja cartridge in your 3DS. If you’re running it from eShop, skip this step.
  2. Turn on your 3DS.
  3. Start Cubic Ninja.
  4. Press any button, then hold down L+R+X+Y.
  5. Accept any prompts to delete save data
  6. Go to ‘Create — QR Code — Scan’
  7. Now you need to go to the Ninjhax website and enter your firmware version you obtained earlier under the Get Ninjhax section,This will give you a QR code for your 3DS to scan.
  8. When Ninjhax loads successfully you will see the screen like this, press A to install the hack(when you have a very strong Wi-Fi signal the hack worked, so if you are having trouble it might be an idea to move closer to your wireless router if you are far away from it.)
  9. After installing you will now have access to the homebrew launcher on the 3DS:
  10. To load the homebrew channel again you have to go through the process of loading Cubic Ninha, then going to scan QR code again as you have just done. However once the hack is installed you do not need to scan the QR code, the homebrew launcher will simply load and you will have access to any Homebrew apps on the SD card.
  11. That’s it, if you download any more homebrew you simply need to place it in the 3ds folder on your SD card.


To boot into Ninjhax, follow these simple steps:

  • Turn on your 3DS.
  • Load Cubic Ninja.
  • Click ‘Create — QR Code’ and Ninjhax should load without anything else needed.

C-Play GBA games via R4 3DS card

If you choose this way, you need to buy an r4 3ds card to play GBA games, these r4 cards are playing NDS games on 3DS/DSI system devices natively and at the same time, they are supporting GBA emulation on 3DS too.

So if you use one R4 3DS card with a GBA emulator, you can also play free GBA roms on your 3ds/3ds xl/2ds machines. Here we recommend r4i gold 3ds plus, it supports GBA games on a 3DS/DS console with the following emulator, gbaemu4DS.

Install guide: 

for wood user (v1.45 or newer) (If you use an older Version you need to update as this won’t work on an older Versions)

1. Download and unpack the latest Version (link(alpha 2 fix 4)) to the root of your SD
2. copy thegba homebrews and roms you want to play to your SD (the ending must be .agb, .bin or .mb (.gba dosenot work at the moment (this does not work because wood disallows it. I can’t fix that. Ask the creator of wood))
3. finished you can now lunch yourgba homebrew/roms like the DS homebrews/rom

Manual settings

1. Download and unpack the latest Version (link(alpha 2 fix 4)) to the root of your SD
2. copy thegba homebrews and roms you want to play to your SD
3. start hbmenu.nds
4. follow the instructions in this Video

4 ways to play GBC games on 3DS in 2019

A-Play GBC games on 3DS CFW

The same step with GBA games, you also need to install a CFW(custom firmware), then play GBA games on them by converting the gbc game to CIA format, and use an r4 card which supports NTRboothax to hack your 3ds, Then, you can just launch “FBI” to run the CIA installer to play GBC games in CIA format on the 3ds firmware console. 

Before you begin, please note that this requires an original 3DS or 3DS XL, the N3DS will not work. Secondly, this requires a firmware version on or before 11.9.0-42. And finally, you will already need to own a GBC game. That includes games from the ambassador program. There will be a list of required materials at the bottom. here is the guide that you can use Ultimate GBC VC Injector to play GBC games on 3DS. 

B-Play GBC games on 3DS Homebrew

It’s similar to the steps mentioned above, we need to install 3DS Homebrew and GBC emulator at first, GameYob is a Game Boy emulator currently being developed by Drenn. Much like blargSnes, it’s open source, has sound and is in continuous development. It can run almost any game nearly perfectly and gives users a wide array of options to choose from.

There is a compatibility list here.


By default, it looks for roms in the /gb directory of your SD card (NOT gateway’s microSD card). As always you can change this directory in gameyob.ini by editing these lines:


Savegames are copied to the SD card when you exit to the file chooser, exit via the home menu, or exit via the power button. If you run out of power, or it crashes, you’ll probably lose your progress.

Touch the screen or press R to open the menu once in-game. Use L or R to navigate to different submenus.

Source:  Github

Current Status: 

Things looked grim for a while when I seemed to get burnt out, and no progress was made. Luckily, SteveIce and others stepped in and made bugfixes, implemented scaling, and all that good

stuff. Now it runs almost as well as GameYob DS. Sound quality is still not quite on par, but it’s had great improvements.

Downloads:  All Releases


  • Myself (Drenn) for making GameYob DS and this port
  • SteveIce for the polish and bugfixes which made GameYob 3DS usable (imo)
  • smea for ctrulib & Ninjhax
  • StapleButter for blargsnes showing me how to use ctrulib
  • Nebuleon & others who contributed to GameYob DS.

C-Play GBC games via R4 3DS card

R4 3ds card supports GBC emulation on 3DS and DS consols as well, you just need to buy a R4 card and use the following GBA emulator, then you can play GBC games easily.

Lameboy Gameboy Color Emulator for The DS and 3DS – This is perhaps the absolute best Gameboy and Gameboy Color Emulator for the Nintendo DS, DS lite, Nintendo DSi XL and the new Nintendo 3DS. with Lameboy you’ll be able to load and play all of your favorite Gameboy and Gameboy color games right on your new Nintendo game system.

While there are other emulators out there, Lameboy takes the cake, and lets you really enjoy all of those great old classic GBC games, without having to hunt for a Gameboy Color. Here is a simple guide to show you how to play GBC games with an R4 on 3DS device?

  1. Buy an r4 card, like r4i gold pro, r4i sdhc 3ds rts.
  2. Download the GBC emulator:Lameboy.  Extract the zip file, open it and drag and drop “.nds” and “.cfg” to the root of the sd card.
  3. Creat a folder named “GBC” to put your download GBC games in the sd card.
  4. Reject the sd card from your pc. Insert the r4 card  with the sd card into your 3ds console.
  5. Choose one game to enjoy. Done.

D-Play GBC games on 3DS Virtual Console

Without any hack or use flashcard, you can play GBC games on 3DS via Virtual Console.

The Virtual Console is a service for the Nintendo 3DS similar to the Virtual Console on the Wii, found on the Nintendo eShop. With it, players can download Game Boy and Game Boy Color games such as Super Mario Land and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX onto their Nintendo 3DS.

There are currently 28 games for the Nintendo Game Boy Color, but all are paid. Though all the games are played on a high-scale resolution, players can change to the original console resolution. To do it, at boot up, hold START and SELECT, and it will change to the original resolution, additionally adding an original Game Boy border to the screen. 

4 ways to play NES games on 3DS in 2019

A-Play NES games on 3DS CFW

If you want to play NES games on 3DS, the first step is need to convert .nes games to .cia games, and use a r4 card supports NTRboot to hack your 3ds, here we will show how to Inject NES ROM images into Nintendo NES Virtual console emulator for the New and Old Nintendo 3DS portable video gaming console. The process is similar to the Super NES Injection method, but requires a bit more finesse due to some hex editing that needs to be done.

What does it do?:

It takes a NES backup file and converts it to an installable CIA for your 3DS with CFW. It does all in a one single program.


  • VC NES injection into a CIA
  • Easily made the custom 3D banner
  • Easily made custom text/footer banner
  • Easy made screen size/aspect ratio configuration
  • Easily made the whole process!

Requeriments: Microsoft .NET framework 4.5

Tutorial: You’ll just follow the steps in program.

B-Play NES games on 3DS Homebrew

The steps also very easy, we need to install homebrew 3ds firstly via using Ninjhax as on the above and download the NES emulator to our consoles, VirtuaNES to 3DS is an alternative to existing NES emulators. It used to be considered one of the best emulators before FCE and Nestopia, and it runs quite fast for lower spec-ed computers (at the cost of some emulation accuracy).

But because of that, the Old 3DS / 2DS is able to benefit from this fast running emulator core. This runs full speed on an old 3DS / 2DS with support for tonnes of mappers. Although it doesn’t support every single mapper, the library of games that can run on this are probably fairly huge already.

As always this will also work on a new 3DS.

Download latest from Github:

To use:

Homebrew Launcher:

  • Copy virtuanes_3ds.3dsx, virtuanes_3ds.smdh and virtuanes_3ds_top.png into the /3ds/virtuanes_3ds on your SD card.
    Place your NES ROMs inside any folder.
  • Go to your Homebrew Launcher (either via Cubic Ninja, Soundhax or other entry points) and launch the virtuanes_3ds emulator.

CIA Version:

  • Use your favorite CIA installer to install virtuanes_3ds.cia into your CFW. You can also use FBI to download from TitleDB.
  • Place your NES ROMs inside any folder.
  • Copy virtuanes_3ds_top.png to ROOT of your SD card.
  • Exit your CIA installer and go to your CFW’s home screen to launch the app.
  • To load .FDS games, make sure that you get the FDS BIOS.
  • Rename the BIOS to disksys.rom and place it in /3ds/virtuanes_3ds/bios/disksys.rom.

The depth manual you can find on the GBA.

C-Play NES games on R4 3DS card

Though you can’t insert a NES cartridge to play them on your 3DS model. If you put the R4 3ds card into your console, and download the NES emulator from the Internet. You can play the downloaded NES and Super NES roms on a 3DS handheld.

What’s the R4 card? R4 3ds is a type of flash cartridge for Nintendo 3ds family machines. It allows roms and homebrews to be booted on the Nintendo 3DS handheld system from a microSD card. This allows the user to run homebrew applications, to store multiple games on a single memory card, and to play games which you have no need to buy.

It is mainly supporting NDS games but with homebrew function, R4 card also enables NES emulation on the 3DS Firmware consoles. Which means that inserting an R4 card to your 3DS or 2DS, you can also play not only free DS games but NES games. Here is a simple guide to show you how to play Super NES games with an R4 on 3DS/2DS device?

  1. Download the latest r4i-sdhc firmware v1.85b for R4I 3DS RTS card. Unpack the zip file, Open the “R4i-3DS V1.85b English” kernel and copy all the contents into your microsd card(Format it with FAT32).
  2. Download the SNES emulator:SNEmulDS.  Extract the zip file, open it and drag and drop “.nds” and “.cfg” to the root of the sd card.
  3. Creat a folder named “SNES” to put your download SNES games in the sd card. Here i use “7th Saga”and “Act Raiser” as an example.
  4. Reject the sd card from your pc. Insert the r4i-sdhc 3ds rts with the sd card into your DS/3ds console.
  5. Power on and click the “Bomberman land” icon and log in the game menu.
  6. Then you will see the “SNEmuIDS.nds”,you will find the SNES eumlator is just another nds file on the card. click it to enter in.
  7. Wait for  a second and it will trun to the game menu.
  8. Choose one game to enjoy. Done.

D-Play NES games on 3DS Virtual Console

We also can play NES games on 3DS Virtual Console, here is the NES games list on 3DS Virtual Console:

  • Adventure Island II
  • Adventures of Lolo
  • Balloon Fight
  • Bases Loaded
  • Blaster Master

There are currently 64 games released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, set at $4.99 unless otherwise noted. 

Summary: If you have any puzzles about the guide on the above, please contact [email protected], and if you want to play ds/3ds on Nintendo 3DS with plug&play method, an r4 card and sky3ds+ can do that, you can use these card to play more 1000+ DS/3DS games!!

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