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Revision as of 01:09, 22 April 2019 by Azure Fang (talk | contribs) (Some cleanup / removed biased and inaccurate claim toward influencing DeSmuMe development)
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Developer(s) Arisotura
Repository contributors
Latest version 0.8.3
Active Yes
Platform(s) Windows, Linux, Nintendo Switch
Emulates Nintendo DS
Accuracy Medium-Accurate
Support ($) Patreon
Programmed in C++,C
License GNU GPL v3
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 is developed by Arisotura (formerly know as 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 far from perfect, don't except to play games at full speed. Is expected to improve when 0.8 is released)[1]


As of 0.7.2, melonDS has had major improvements such as savestates, microphone support, improved timing, and the ability to simulate the close/open function of the console's lid. Though it's still not at the same level of quality on some things as DeSmuME, it is getting close with 0.8 expected to have decent OpenGL rendering which would allow for things like upscaling and potentially better performance.


Like most emulators, development has been rocky with at one point the sole developer putting the project on a hiatus in May of 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 and has since showed high hopes for 2019.

The UI is still pretty barebones with very little to tweak in terms of improving performance. This is mainly due to the developer's goal of accurate emulation rather than providing game-specific hacks.

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.

More information can be found in this FAQ.