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Can Nintendo DS/3DS games play on Switch in 2019?

Nintendo DS games or 3DS games, can they and how to play them on the Switch in 2019, do you want to know the answer? If yes, my post is for that.

Are Nintendo DS/3DS games compatible with Switch?

The answer is No, Nintendo Switch is a completely different console when compared with the DS and 3DS, is an all-new way to play games, not include backwards compatibility, users can’t play DS, 3DS, GBA, SNES, WII U or any other old games on the new Switch.

As the time of writing this post, Nintendo Switch isn’t supporting Virtual console as well, so for short, neither the DS/3DS game cartridges nor the digit DS/3DS games, they all can’t run on the Switch.

Is there a DS emulator to use on Nintendo Switch?

Even though we can’t play DS games directly on Switch, there is still a method supporting us playing DS roms. That is using the DS Emulator, and it has been confirmed that, now play NDS games on Nintendo Switch is supported by Emulators-DeSmuME-NX and MelonDS.

DeSmuME-NX Emulator for Switch

This emulator is originall developed from MasterFeizz in the May of 2018, but he has been stopped working on this and announced in Gbatemp forum that, the modified version of DeSmuME-NX is supported continually by another person called Laprox in that forum.

Laprox released 2 pre-lease versions of DeSmuME-NX, the latest v0.03 is out on 11 Jul 2018 with the belowing features.


  • Vertical/Portrait Mod with calibrated and working Virtual DS Touchscreen.
  • New Temporary SDL2 Menu System.
  • Toggle in the main menu to enable/disable portrait mode.
  • An actual Homebrew menu Icon.

This emulator you can try to use on your Switch, but for a better performance I will recommend the following one.

MelonDS Emulaotor for Switch

This is another Gbatemp member Hydr8gon’s port of the Nintendo DS emulator melonDS for the Nintendo Switch. To use the emulator, place your legally dumped Nintendo DS BIOS files in the sdmc:/switch/melonds directory with the names “bios7.bin”, bios9.bin”, and “firmware.bin”. It’s latest version is melonDS 0.7.3, updated 11 days ago in 2019.

MelonDS Emulaotor for Switch can be downloaded from GitHub, if you’d prefer to launch directly from the home screen, an optional .nsp forwarder by @OkazakiTheOtaku is attached too. You’ll still need the .nro in place to use it!

Right now the emulator does not have a hardware renderer. This means things are slow! To combat this, there is an option to enable overclocking of the Switch processor, with a maximum frequency of 1785 MHz. However, even with this most games do not run full speed! melonDS 0.8 will likely include a hardware renderer, so if you want better speeds wait until then.

For using MelonDS on Nintendo Switch to play games, some games runs quite well, some fullspeed, for example the Dementium fullspeed. Currently in 2019, MelonDS is the best DS Emulator for Nintendo Switch with quite regular update, good game compatibility and easy use.

How to play DS games on Nintendo Switch by using emulator?

To use the DS emulator for Switch, your Switch consoles must be Hacked or Jailbreaked firstly. And yes, from the summer of 2018, Nintendo Switch is already be Cracked for playing free games and running homebrews. How?

A couple of months ago, Switch hackers found a hardware exploit which unfortunately for Nintendo cannot be patched via a software update. After those hackers release the bootrom exploit of Nintendo Switch online, many Switch CFWs be developed by the different teams. Among them, the SX OS CFW owned by Team Xecuter, is the most powerful Switch CFW supports Homebrews and Gamecard emulation.

So to run homebrew DS Emulator on your Switch, you should install SX OS custom firmware to your console. For getting the SX OS CFW, you either need to buy a SX Pro modkit or purchase a SX OS license key only. What are them?

The SX Pro is a Nintendo Switch hacking toolkit for installing CFW SX OS, it contains a usb dongle with sx os key and a joycon RCM jig, the first is for booting SX OS CFW on your Switch, the latter is for hacking the Switch to RCM mode. SX Pro modkit is easy to use, just download, insert and play, so you can get SX OS to run on Switch very simply to use the Switch DS Emulators. Here is the SX Pro user guide.

  • Extract SX OS to your Nintendo Switch’ microSD card.

Your card microSD can be formatted as FAT32 or exFAT. Download SX OS software to your micro sd card.

  • Insert SX Pro dongle and tool into your Nintendo Switch.

The dongle goes in the charger port, the tool in the right joycon rail.

  • Hold volume-up and press the power button, SX OS should start.

You can remove the dongle and tool once SX OS starts.

  • Activate your SX OS License to enjoy all features.

Enter the “album viewer” from the main menu and click on “license”

  • Enjoy the latest games and homebrew!

The SX OS license is a license code for getting the full functions of SX OS, without it, you can also run SX OS CFW on the Switch, but excpet for using Homebrew on SX OS, you can’t use any other features of it, such as external USB/Hard drive support, Emunand, Gamecard emulation, Cheats and so on. 

Compared SX OS Code with SX Pro, the sx os license code is much cheaper to buy, and no need for shipping to you, so you can use it to hack your Switch for homebrew emulators and free games immediately after ordering, but the SX Pro modkit is everything you need for jailbreaking the Nintendo Switch, easy setup, full features and the continued support.

All in all, in 2019, if you want to play NDS games on Switch, hack your Nintendo Switch with SX Pro or SX OS, then you can not only play the NDS games, but also play PS1, PSP, N64, GBA and free Nintendo Switch games!

Will Nintendo DS games work on Switch in future?

Personally, I don’t think so, from the recent new 3ds games release, Nintendo seems intent on keeping the 3DS line completely seperate from Switch, from the recent newly released Switch games, Nintendo to primarily view this system as a place for new games, not old ones. Even though these were standard features of previous systems, Switch offers no Backwards Compatibility or Virtual Console (which, let’s face it, isn’t happening at this point). 

In fact, in my opinion, other than expecting to play DS or 3DS games on the Switch, in a perfect world we should wish great DS&3DS games be released to Nintendo Switch port.

How about playing 3DS games on Switch?

Unlike the good DS emulation on Switch, the 3DS Emulator for Switch is just working for few games and is Only one. That is the Citra core for Nintendo Switch. 

A video shared by Reddit user SkullKidChrs shows The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D running on Nintendo Switch via Citra, a 3DS emulator. Unlike DS games, 3DS games have not reached full speed on Switch yet, so it may take some time to get them to run efficiently.

play 3ds games on Switch

Conclusion: To summarize, Nintendo Switch isn’t a backward compatible gaming console, so on it, we can’t play the old DS or 3DS games. But the lucky thing is, Nintendo Switch is already be carcked, so we can hack it with SX Pro or SX OS or other Switch modchips to run the homebrew DS/3DS emulator. 

Currently, the 3DS Emulation on Switch is bad, the DS emulation on Switch is much better, if you want to get more details on it, [email protected] is willing to help you!!!

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