Nintendo Switch emulators

From Emulation General Wiki
Revision as of 04:39, 22 August 2020 by Anton007 (talk | contribs) (Emulators)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nintendo Switch
The Switch in its two forms, portable (above) and docked (below).
Developer Nintendo
Type Home video game console
Generation Eighth generation
Release date 2017
Predecessor Wii U
Emulated ~

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 Platform(s) Latest Version Active Recommended
PC / x86
yuzu Windows Linux Nightly ~
Ryujinx Windows Linux macOS Nightly ~
NSEmu Windows Git
SphiNX Windows ✗ (WIP)
Mephisto Linux macOS v1.2.1, Git
CageTheUnicorn Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD Git
Mobile / ARM
Skyline Android 0.3
An open-source cross-platform emulator made by the Citra team. yuzu has had an extremely fast development pace to the point that many games are now fully playable.[1] Originally only available with an OpenGL renderer, Vulkan support was added to yuzu in December 2019.[2] Many 2D games now show correct graphics and have good speed. Many 3D games are playable, and some are running at full speed.It can play almost over than 450 games at perfect/great and okay -compatability levels .A lot of Nintendo Switch exclusive games are playable already but can't be considered perfect yet.[3][4]
The development team continually works to improve the emulator compatibility and accuracy. Note that top tier hardware is required to get decent speed in most games at the moment. The developers offer Early Access to new release for those who support them on Patreon.
An open-source public domain emulator programmed in C#. Compared to its early days[5], it has now slower development than yuzu but seems to focus on full system accuracy. Most 2D games are now booting and running at comfortable speeds and some 3D games are playable. Ryujinx also supports resolution upscaling to 4K, though this requires a powerful computer.
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 and previously called Lightswitch,Skyline 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.