The Nintendo Switch is the latest portable (and desktop) console released by Nintendo. This console saw the light of day in March 2017 and, to this day, it is being one of the company’s most successful consoles. Due to a series of security breaches, the Nintendo console released the company’s best-kept secrets, which, in addition to prompting the creation of Custom Firmware, also opened the door to Switch emulators. And, in addition, with a very good performance despite being relatively recent projects.
Requirements to be able to emulate the Switch
Emulating a new generation console is not as simple as emulating, for example, an NES or a Play Station 1. For this, in addition to a good emulator, we will need to have a more or less powerful computer capable of emulating the hardware and the Console BIOS to be able to process the game at an acceptable FPS level.
To play more or less well, it is recommended to have a sixth generation Intel Core i3 processor, or more modern (or its equivalent Ryzen 3 from AMD) along with 8 GB of RAM memory to be able to load the game without problems. In addition, it is also recommended to have an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card, or a Radeon RX 470, in addition to 16 GB of RAM, for a better experience.
Of course, although we are going to run the games in digital format, it is necessary to have previously purchased the physical game so as not to be incurring a piracy issue.
Yuzu, the most advanced Switch emulator
Yuzu is one of the first Switch emulators to see the light of day. This emulator, totally free and open source, comes from the creators of Citra, one of the most popular 3DS emulators. This emulator is written in C ++ and emulates the essential components of the Nintendo Switch hardware in order to function. This is one of the reasons why some games do not work and performance can leave a little to be desired in certain titles.
We can consult the compatibility list of this emulator in the following link . As we can see, its developers have worked especially to optimize the emulator to play the most popular games. Breath of the Wild and Link’s Awakening, for example, are games that can be played acceptably with this emulator. The entire Pokemon saga also offers a good performance, as well as Mario Maker 2 and Odyssey. Unfortunately, there are still many games that do not finish working properly.
We can download the latest build of this emulator for free from the following link . We can use this emulator without problems, and with the same compatibility, both on Windows and Linux. To be able to use this emulator we need, on the one hand, a dump of the NAND of the console (since this emulator will load the complete system of the Switch) and on the other the Keys. If we have a vulnerable Switch it will be easy to achieve this. However, if we do not have it, we will have to search the Internet well to find it.
Ryujinx, a simpler but functional alternative
Another similar project that seeks to bring the Switch to Windows 10 users is Ryujinx. This Nintendo Switch emulator is also completely free and open source, and it is written in C #. Its development is based on offering the best possible performance of the games, an accurate emulation and, in addition, being easy to use.
The compatibility list can be consulted at the following link . The compatibility with commercial games is much lower than what we can find in Yuzu. However, it is true that this emulator allows you to emulate homebrew much more precisely, in addition to running games that its alternative does not emulate correctly, such as Animal Crossing New Horizons or Mario Kart.
We can download the latest build of this Nintendo Switch emulator from the following link . While Yuzu we could use it on Windows and Linux, Ryujinx is also compiled for macOS.
This emulator is simpler since it only requires using the KEYS of an original console (they could be found on the Internet easily) and it does not require a complete NAND dump like Yuzu. Instead, this ease translates into a loss of functionality and worse compatibility.
Cemu, the WiiU emulator par excellence
Cemu is not exactly a Nintendo Switch emulator, but rather one of the best WiiU emulators, its predecessor. However, since Nintendo published many games for Switch and for WiiU, especially in the first months of life of its new console (such as the Zelda BotW or Mario Kart 8), Cemu became one of the best alternatives to play to some Switch games (obviously released for WiiU) on the computer.
Although it can be complicated to configure, and it consumes a large amount of resources, Cemu allows us to play practically any WiiU game on the computer with excellent performance. But, we repeat, it does not support exclusive Switch games, but rather allows emulating their ported versions to WiiU.
We can download Cemu from the following link .
Beware of fake emulators
To this day, these three are the only true emulators that we can find to play Nintendo Switch games on a PC. And the experience, unless we have a very powerful computer, is not entirely perfect. And the best of the three emulators is Cemu, especially if we want to play Mario or Zelda, since it is the one with the best support for these great titles.
However, there are websites that offer us another series of emulators for PC with which to play this console. We should know that all these emulators are fake . There are no other emulators that allow us to play this Nintendo console, and most likely, if we listen to it, we will end up falling into the clutches of hackers.
Don’t get confused about emulator
A time has come when we have various types of emulation. On the one hand we have the emulators of a console, as is the case of the two that we have dealt with in this article (because there are no more). These emulators allow us to emulate a specific console, such as the Nintendo Switch, on another platform, such as the PC.
However, we can also find other types of emulators: those for the console itself. These emulators, such as RetroArch, are designed to run on a modified console, and allow us, among other things, to run games from other consoles on the Nintendo Switch. These types of emulators are good for the console itself, but they do not fulfill the task that we have been seeing in this article.