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Revision as of 04:01, 18 December 2018 by Skylark (talk | contribs) (added Switch port and updated description)
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Developer(s) StapleButter
Repository contributors
Latest version 0.8.3
Active Yes
Platform(s) Windows, Linux, Nintendo Switch
Architecture(s) x86_64
Emulates Nintendo DS
Support ($) Patreon
Source code GitHub

melonDS is a work-in-progress Nintendo DS emulator aiming for better performance than DeSmuME and to emulate Wi-Fi and local multiplayer capabilities. It's developed by StapleButter, a former contributor to DeSmuME, and has been available as a libretro core since version 0.6.


  • Official builds (Windows, Linux)
  • Switch port (WIP) (Some games play at a playable frame rate, but is still is far from perfect, don't except to play games at full speed. Is expected to improve when 0.8 is released)[1]


The sole developer put the melonDS project on a hiatus on May 2018, leaving this to-do list for anyone who wished to contribute improving the emulator, which is still open-source. On July 2018 it was announced that development was going to continue for melonDS.

As of 0.7.2, melonDS has had major improvements such as savestates, microphone support, the ability to close/open lid, and better timing. Though it's still not at the same level of quality on some things as DeSmuME, it is getting very close with 0.8 expected to have decent OpenGL rendering, allowing for potential upscaling and better performance. The UI is still pretty barebones with very little to tweak in terms of improving performance.

Getting Started

From the README on GitHub:

melonDS requires BIOS/firmware copies from a DS. Files required:
  • bios7.bin, 16KB: ARM7 BIOS
  • bios9.bin, 4KB: ARM9 BIOS
  • firmware.bin, 128/256/512KB: firmware
Firmware boot requires a firmware dump from an original DS or DS Lite. DS firmwares dumped from a DSi or 3DS aren't bootable and only contain configuration data, thus they are only suitable when booting games directly.
DS BIOS dumps from a 3DS can be used with no compatibility issues. DSi BIOS dumps should be usable too, provided they were dumped properly.

These files can be found here, just rename the bios to match.