The Best Emulators for Nintendo Switch in 2024

At a Glance
  • The Nintendo Switch, despite being technically inferior to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, remains popular due to a strong library of first-party and indie games, and the possibility of emulating its games on other platforms.
  • Emulation allows you to run programs from another device on your hardware, with popular Switch emulators like Ryujinx, Yuzu, and Sudachi offering varying levels of performance and compatibility.
  • Emulation is legal, but obtaining games for emulators often involves piracy, so it's important to acquire games through legitimate means.

While we eagerly wait for an announcement from Nintendo regarding their next console, let’s talk a little bit about their current-generation console; the Nintendo Switch. Released in March 2017, it’s been a little over 7 years since the Switch was released. While it was to compete with the PS4 and Xbox One, it has managed to fare well against the current generation Xbox Series X/S and PS5 as well.

While its hardware is not even as good as the PS4, what makes the Switch stand strong even today, is the amount of first-party releases from Nintendo alongside a great number of indie releases. Another factor for the Switch’s popularity is emulation on other platforms, so that you can enjoy the best Switch games on other platforms. How does one do that? Well, read on below!

Against the PS5 and the Series X/S, the Nintendo Switch has managed to stand strong | Nintendo

What Exactly is Emulation?

Emulation is the act of mimicking a device or program using another device or program. Put simply, it is to run programs of another device normally incompatible with your device using the help of a program. Emulators are used to help test programs developed for another device, but mostly used to enjoy retro console games across a wide range of devices that would normally be incapable of running them.

An example of an emulator would the Game Boy emulator available with the Nintendo Switch Online membership, that allows you to play classic Game Boy games from the library provided by Nintendo. While emulation through this subscription is online, usually emulation takes place on your hardware and requires particularly powerful hardware, especially your CPU, which is going to do the heavy lifting.

Other than the Game Boy, the Nintendo Switch Online membership offers emulation for other iconic Nintendo consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) | Nintendo

Emulators are usually developed by fans of the console and depending on how old the console being emulated is, the emulator may be available for a wide variety of devices. For example, PPSSPP, an emulator for the PSP is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and even on a jailbroken PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The older the device, the better its emulator is going to perform too.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Emulating Pokémon Games on PC ➜

The Current State of Switch Emulation

Since the Switch doesn’t have particularly powerful hardware, it is relatively easy to emulate. In fact, Switch emulators are miles ahead in terms of stability, especially when compared to PS4 emulators, which have yet to progress past the menu screen of a game, even after nearly a decade. This is because games on the Switch are not that graphically demanding, hence making it easier to emulate.

However, that doesn’t mean that Switch emulation is perfect. Every Switch emulator up till now is experimental, and depending on the emulator you’re using, along with the specs of your device (you’re going to need a beefy setup), the performance can vary vastly from game to game. And that’s without factoring in the multiple graphics and other performance-related settings available within the emulator.

The Nintendo Switch emulation community has come a long way | Digital Exhibition

About around 2 years ago, Switch emulation made its way to the Android platform. However, since it is a recent development, only a couple of games are able to run properly. It also requires some pretty powerful hardware for phones, so it’s recommended for flagship and gaming phones. Nevertheless, it is quite the milestone for the emulation community.

READ MORE: 7 of the Best Android Emulators for Windows in 2024 ➜

Best Switch Emulators

At any rate, here are the best emulators for the Nintendo Switch:

1. Ryujinx

Ryujinx is the most compatible emulator across most platforms | Ryujinx

Ryujinx is the most compatible emulator for PC platforms as its available for Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms from their official website. It’s also completely open-source too, so you might find unofficial forks and ports for other platforms. Below are the recommended specs needed to run Ryujinx:

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 3600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB
  • Windows 10.0.17134 or higher / macOS 12 or higher / Any modern Linux distribution (the essential dependencies must be supported by that distribution)

As mentioned earlier, depending on your PC’s specs and the game you’re trying to run, you will face different levels of performance compared to another PC. Make sure to watch some YouTube videos for the best possible settings within Ryujinx to achieve maximum performance. You can also browse this compatibility list to check the compatibility level of your desired game and check on any issues.

2. Yuzu

Yuzu was the most popular Nintendo Switch emulator before Nintendo put an end to it | Shandell Jones

Yuzu was the best Switch emulator out there before Nintendo decided to sue its developers for promoting privacy and other issues. As a result, the developers shut down the project and stopped development on March 2024. However, since it was an open-source emulator, it has numerous forks and unofficial releases. Even now, you can find Yuzu on the Internet Archive by searching for it.

Yuzu was available for only Windows PCs and received an official Android port in May 2023. It was also able to run in a stable condition on a Steam Deck. However, since the project was shut down nearly a year after its release, its Android port is still very experimental and only able to run a few games on a handful of mobile device. Here are the PC specs required to run the last Yuzu build to have been released:

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 3600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB
  • Windows 10 or higher

READ MORE: How To Use DOSBox on Mac, Windows & Linux – A Detailed Guide ➜

3. Sudachi

Sudachi maintains the spirit of Yuzu, down to its UI | Retro Crisis

Sudachi is one of the many proclaimed Yuzu successors out there, but its the only true one. A fork of Yuzu and picking off where the original developers stopped, Sudachi is keeping the spirit of Yuzu alive along with the hard work of the original developers. Since Sudachi is only a few months old, it is still very experimental, but somewhat stable.

Currently, Sudachi is available on the Windows, Linux and Android platforms. The Android port, in particular, has received high praise, but still requires a very powerful phone. The Windows and Linux ports are also very polished. There are no official specs outlined by the developers, nor any hint as to what is the performance of games, but rest assured, the developers are hard at work.

Since Sudachi has no official requirements, it’s best to use Yuzu’s requirements as a benchmark. After all, it’s based off Yuzu. As for the Android port, we would recommend using a phone with at least 4 GB RAM, runs Android 14 and has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Vimm’s Lair – Classic Games & ROMs ➜

Emulation and Piracy

As mentioned above, Yuzu was shut down by Nintendo, as they claimed that the emulator was “enabling and intensifying” piracy and making profit off of their misfortunes. We’re not sure why a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate would think that an emulator would enable piracy, as the developers themselves did not provide any games. In fact, the forums were actively moderated and removed mentions of pirated game links.

Vimm’s Lair is a popular site for getting ROMs off the Internet

Nonetheless, we would be lying if we said that many people don’t resort to piracy when emulating, no matter what device they’re trying to emulate. Piracy is very common in emulation circles, and in recent years, it has become even more commonplace. A number of factors can be attributed to this; the increasing game prices, region-locking, no legal way to purchase the game, or just to spite Nintendo.

READ MORE: How To Play Windows Games on Mac – Detailed Guide ➜


At the end of the day, what emulator you decide to go with is totally up to you. Try them all and see which one yields the best performance on your games. And make sure to stay on the right side of the law, as the high seas can be quite alluring. But don’t forget to have fun!


What is emulation?

Emulation is the act of using a software to imitate another device in order to run software normally incompatible with your own device. It is usually used to enjoy retro games, but can also be used to develop software for other platforms.

What are the best emulators for the Nintendo Switch?

The best emulators for the Nintendo Switch are Ryujinx, Yuzu and Sudachi. Each has their own pros and cons, while yielding different results for different games.

Is emulation legal?

By all accounts, emulation is perfectly legal. However, obtaining the games for emulators is usually done through illegal means. Therefore, make sure to buy your games from authentic places.


Farhan Ali

Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.