Emulators on 3DS

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Since the 3DS homebrew exploit, provided you can do this exploit, you can install a variety of emulators taking advantage of the hardware. Currently, the New 3DS is capable of running much faster than the older models, making it a much more ideal platform for emulation.

Multi-System[edit]

Retroarch[edit]

There are preliminary 3DS ports of the following cores:

  • 2048
  • CatSFC
  • CatSFC Plus (has more accurate audio, slower)
  • Final Burn Alpha CPS1
  • Final Burn Alpha CPS2
  • Final Burn Alpha CPS3 (most games are too slow to run even on New 3DS, though JoJo runs almost full speed)
  • Final Burn Alpha Neo Geo (A few games are unable to be loaded due to memory constraints)
  • FCEUmm
  • Gambatte
  • Genesis Plus GX
  • gpSP (dynarec only works by installing the CIA)
  • Mednafen NGP
  • Mednafen PCE Fast
  • Mednafen VB
  • Mednafen WonderSwan
  • mGBA (acceptable with Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, but otherwise too slow to use even on New 3DS at present)
  • Nestopia
  • NXEngine
  • PCSX-ReARMed (dynarec only works by installing the CIA, many games are too slow even on New 3DS)
  • Picodrive (32X emulation does not work in the .3dsx format, at least.)
  • PocketSNES (less compatible than CatSFC, but can actually run many special chip games at full speed)
  • QuickNES
  • Snes9x-Next (too slow to use even on New 3DS at present)


Using current exploits, the New 3DS is capable of running most of these cores at or nearly at full speed on most games. The only cores the older 3DS can reliably run at full speed are 2048, Gambatte, QuickNES, NXEngine, and some older Sega games using Picodrive. Opposed to normal use of RetroArch, these are all self-contained emulators, albeit sharing the same automatic configuration. Screenshot-taking is broken. Upon exiting RetroArch 3DS, press the Start button.

Consoles[edit]

NES[edit]

SNES[edit]

Handhelds[edit]

Game Boy[edit]

Game Boy Advance[edit]

The 3DS does include natively a firmware for a GBA mode, used for the ambassador releases. But its compatibility is a hit and a miss, missing features, and its software mode actually runs very slow.

Some homebrew apps do real GBA emulation on the 3DS:

Others[edit]

CHIP-8[edit]

VC Injection[edit]

Some have tried injecting alternate ROMs in the available Virtual Console releases (MD, GG, NES, GBA Ambassador, GBC, Japanese emulated SFC compilations) with varying degrees of success. VC emulators for Sega systems in particular have high compatibility.