Nintendo Switch emulators
|The Switch in its two forms, portable (above) and docked (below).|
|Type||Home video game console|
The Nintendo Switch is an eighth-generation hybrid gaming console released by Nintendo on March 3, 2017 and retailed for $299.99. It has a Nvidia Tegra X1 SOC (System On a Chip) with 4 ARM Cortex-A57 CPUs and 4 ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs at 1.020 GHz with 4GB of RAM. It's GPU is a Nvidia GM20B. During its development, the Switch was known as the NX (short for NeXt or Nintendo "Cross") and was widely speculated up until its announcement. Aside from specialized components unique to the console, the hardware is more or less off-the-shelf, being built around a semi-custom variant of Nvidia's Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip which was also used on a number of Android devices.
While Nintendo intended to step up the security of the console, vulnerabilities were still found early on that allowed tons of system files to be dumped, including dumps of games in the form of romfs.istorage archives, an exefs folder, and license files. These game dumps eventually got shared online by scene groups except for their licenses but were missing important files to run and even if they had been completed, there were no custom homebrew apps let alone solutions to load unofficial game dumps for the system. A number of prominent hacking teams (starting with shuffle2 and fail0verflow in collaboration) all came across a new exploit independently of each other that allowed complete control over the system, later officially recognized by Nvidia as CVE-2018-6242.
A "debugging emulator" for the Nintendo Switch, CageTheUnicorn (now Mephisto), popped up not long after the first components were dumped. It was designed to emulate sysmodules with "no support for graphics, sound, input, or any kind of even remotely performant processing [...] by design". It was then revealed that members of both the Citra and Dolphin teams were already working on their own emulator in secret, followed by another developer releasing an emulator named Ryujinx.
|Name||Operating System(s)||Latest Version||Active||Recommended|
|Ryujinx||Windows, Linux, macOS||Nightly||✓||~|
|Mephisto||macOS, Linux||v1.2.1, Git||✓||✗|
- An open-source cross-platform emulator made by the Citra team. yuzu has seen it's development pace grow extremely fast during 2018 to the point that certains games are now fully playable. Some 2D games now show correct graphics and sometimes good speed. Some 3D games are playable but almost none is running full speed.
- A lot of Nintendo Switch exclusives games are playable already but can't be considered perfect yet.
- It is known that the devs are now working on a Vulkan renderer and continually work to improve the emulator compatibility and accuracy. Note that top tier Hardware is required to get decent speed in most games at the moment.
- An open-source public domain emulator programmed in C#. Compared to it's early days, it has now slower development than yuzu but seems to focus on full system accuracy. Most 2D games are now booting despite of confortable speeds and some 3D games are showing graphics.
- A closed-source emulator in the work since late July/August 2018. It can boot some homebrews as well as the title screen of one commercial game. This is more a one person project for personal training at the moment.
- The first attempt at an Android emulator by Cyuubi, a developer known for the 3DS emulator LemonLime. Originally known as MonoNX, Lightswitch replaced the project due to Xamarin framework's limitations. This new project is being written in C++ and Java using JNI.
- This emulator actually displays no graphics at all making it useless for end-users at the moment.