Nintendo Switch emulators

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The Switch console (docked) with its Joy-Cons in its own grip.
The Switch console (portable) with its Joy-Cons mounted on the tablet.

The Nintendo Switch is a ninth-generation hybrid gaming console released by Nintendo in 2017. 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 a Windows-only emulator named Ryujinx.



Name Operating System(s) Latest Version Active
yuzu Windows, macOS, Linux Nightly
Ryujinx Windows Nightly
A cross-platform emulator made by the Citra team. With the addition of some homebrew apps running properly, three commercial games are officially confirmed to boot with graphics, but running at incredibly slow framerates.[1]
A public domain emulator programmed in C# for Windows. Much like yuzu, some homebrew runs and at least one game has been confirmed to boot but runs slowly.[2]


  1. JMC47 (April 15, 2018). First games are running!
  2. McDev (April 13, 2018). The Binding of issac In Game Ryujinx Switch Emulator. YouTube