Play 3DS Games on Switch How to Enjoy Nintendo’s Classics on the Go?

Are you a fan of Nintendo’s 3DS games but can’t let go of your beloved Nintendo Switch? What if we told you that you could combine the best of both worlds and play 3DS games on your Switch device? It’s not only possible but also a fantastic way to relive classic titles and enjoy gaming nostalgia on the go. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to play 3DS games on Switch, ensuring you can experience your favorite titles anytime, anywhere.

Play 3DS Games on Switch: A Step-by-Step Guide

Playing 3DS games on your Nintendo Switch may seem like a daunting task, but fear not! We have simplified the process for you with easy-to-follow steps that will have you playing your favorite 3DS titles in no time. Before we delve into the details, let’s briefly understand what’s required to make this happen.

Prerequisites for Playing 3DS Games on Switch

To get started, you will need the following:

A Homebrew-Enabled Nintendo Switch: You’ll need to unlock the full potential of your Switch by enabling homebrew. This will allow you to install custom software and make the necessary adjustments to play 3DS games.

A Reliable SD Card: 

A high-capacity and reliable SD card is essential for storing your 3DS game files and ensuring a smooth gaming experience.

3DS ROMs: 

You will need the game ROMs of your favorite 3DS titles. Ensure that you own the original copies of these games to comply with legal requirements.

Emulator Software: 

You’ll need an emulator that is compatible with both the Nintendo Switch and 3DS games. There are various options available, but make sure to choose a reputable and trusted emulator.

Now that you have the necessary items, let’s proceed with the step-by-step guide to playing 3DS games on your beloved Nintendo Switch!

Step 1: Enable Homebrew on Your Nintendo Switch

The first step is to enable homebrew on your Nintendo Switch. This process might vary slightly depending on your device’s firmware, but generally, it involves installing custom firmware (CFW) to gain access to homebrew capabilities.

To achieve this, you’ll need to:

  • Research and identify a reliable guide for your specific Nintendo Switch model and firmware version.
  • Download the required files and follow the instructions carefully to install CFW.

Always remember that modifying your Switch comes with certain risks, such as voiding the warranty or even bricking the device. Ensure you understand the process and proceed at your own discretion.

Step 2: Install the 3DS Emulator on Your Switch

Once you have homebrew enabled on your Switch, the next step is to install the 3DS emulator. There are a few emulator options available, but one popular choice is “Citra.” Citra is an open-source emulator known for its compatibility and performance.

To install the 3DS emulator:

  • Access the homebrew menu on your Switch.
  • Locate the Citra emulator and select the option to install it.

Step 3: Obtain 3DS ROMs and Convert Them (For Personal Backups)

To play 3DS games on your Switch, you’ll need the ROMs of the games you wish to enjoy. However, keep in mind that downloading ROMs from unofficial sources is illegal and unethical. Make sure you own the original copies of the games you want to play.

Once you have the original cartridges, you can create backup copies of your games by using a homebrew tool. This will ensure you have your games in digital format, which is convenient for playing on the Switch.

To create backup copies:

  • Research and find a reliable tool that allows you to dump 3DS game cartridges.
  • Follow the tool’s instructions to create backup files of your 3DS games.

Step 4: Transfer 3DS ROMs to Your Switch

After obtaining the legitimate backup copies of your 3DS games, you can transfer them to your Switch’s SD card. Connect your SD card to your computer and place the game files in a designated folder.

Ensure you organize the files properly to avoid any issues when running the emulator on your Switch.

Step 5: Launch the 3DS Emulator and Play!

With everything set up and the 3DS ROMs on your Switch’s SD card, it’s time to launch the Citra emulator and start playing!

  • Access the homebrew menu on your Switch.
  • Locate the Citra emulator and launch it.
  • Browse for the 3DS ROM files you transferred to the SD card.
  • Select the game you want to play, and voilà! You’re now enjoying 3DS games on your Nintendo Switch.

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Q: Can I play any 3DS game on my Switch using this method?

A: While the compatibility of the Citra emulator has improved significantly, not all 3DS games will work flawlessly on the Switch. Some games might suffer from performance issues or graphical glitches. It’s best to check the Citra emulator’s compatibility list to see if the game you want to play is supported.

Q: Is it legal to play 3DS games on my Switch using homebrew and emulators?

A: The legality of playing 3DS games on your Switch using homebrew and emulators is a gray area. While homebrew itself is not illegal, downloading copyrighted game ROMs from unofficial sources is against the law. Ensure you own the original copies of the games and create personal backup copies following the appropriate legal guidelines.

Q: Will playing 3DS games on my Switch void the warranty?

A: Enabling homebrew on your Switch and using custom firmware might void the device’s warranty. It’s essential to understand the risks involved before proceeding with any modifications to your console.

Q: Can I play multiplayer on 3DS games using the Switch?

A: As of now, the Citra emulator on the Switch does not support multiplayer features for 3DSPlay 3DS Games. You can enjoy the single-player experience of your favorite titles, but online multiplayer functionality is not available.

Q: Can I update the games when playing them on the Switch?

A: Yes, you can update 3DS games on your Switch if the emulator supports it. Be cautious not to update the game using Nintendo’s official servers, as this may cause compatibility issues with the emulator. Instead, look for updates within the homebrew community.

Q: Are there any risks involved in using homebrew and emulators on my Switch?

A: Yes, there are risks associated with using homebrew and emulators on your Switch. These risks include voiding the warranty, potential bricking of the device, and even getting banned from online services. Always exercise caution and follow instructions from reputable sources to minimize these risks.


Playing 3DS games on your Nintendo Switch opens up a world of gaming possibilities and allows you to relive the magic of classic Nintendo titles. Remember to proceed with caution, ensuring you own the original games and follow legal guidelines when creating backup copies. Embrace the nostalgia and enjoy a fantastic gaming experience on your Switch with the best of Nintendo’s 3DS games!