How to Emulate a Nintendo 3DS Game on Android

Xiaobai Software  2022-07-03 23: 39  read 97 views

Emulation gives you an accessible, affordable way to play older games that may be hard to come by these days.Your Android phone is capable of emulating most home and handheld game consoles up to the fifth generation, but even Nintendo's later handheld consoles are no problem for modern smartphones.


Let's talk about setting up and using the Nintendo 3DS emulator on your Android phone.

The best Nintendo 3DS emulators on Android

Of course, the first step is to choose an emulator.There are many surprising options, but the difference between the best ones comes down to your personal preference.

CitraRetroArchLargely hailed as the best 3DS emulator.Both are open source and available for most platforms.


RetroArch Emulator

RetroArch is capable of emulating a large number of game consoles, including the 3DS, Wii, Wii U, GameBoy, PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2, SNES, Sega Genesis, and more.This is possible because RetroArch acts as a hub, consisting of many emulators built for various consoles.

It's available on Windows, Linux, Android, macOS, and iOS -- however, it's also capable of running on some consoles, such as the GameCube. RetroArch provides a complete list of supported platforms on its website.

Download: RetroArch (free)

Citra Emulator

Citra was the first 3DS-capable emulator built for PC.It is currently available for Windows, Linux, macOS and Android. The Citra team has a great game compatibility list, and it even categorizes supported games on a scale from "untested" to "perfect" so users can see the progress of game compatibility testing.

While RetroArch has the advantage of greater usability and more supported platforms, we'll be using the 3DS-focused Citra for this article.The Citra team has maintained consistent substantial support over the years, and the Android app is well optimized - it even includes support for gamepads!

Download: Emulator Image (free)

Warning! About ROM

It is our duty to remind you that it is illegal to obtain ROMs by any means other than ripping from discs or cassettes you own.You can only rip ROMs from games you own, purely for your own use, not for distribution.Nintendo is especially strict about sharing and downloading their ROMs, so be careful.

However, as long as you don't sell the ROM, you should largely have no legal issues.When obtaining a ROM from an online database, make sure the source is reputable and the file is safe before downloading. A ROM will never be an EXE file, nor will it require more access to your device.

How to Set Up and Use Citra on Your Android Phone

Once you've downloaded Citra on your Android phone, you're just a few steps away from playing your favorite 3DS games.

Prepare your game for simulation

Before launching the app, you may wish to store your game files in an appropriate folder on your Android device.It's even better to create a new folder titled 3DS Games or Citra Games or something.

This doesn't require preparation before launching the app, but it will make your first-time setup easier - when launching Citra for the first time, you'll be prompted to choose which folder your game will launch from.This can be changed at any time by clicking the folder icon in the upper right corner.

Games on the Nintendo 3DS use the CIA extension, but they must be decrypted before they can be used - this extracted file will use the 3DS extension.You can extract files using tools like WinZip, but Citra also allows you to extract 3DS files directly from the CIA on the app's home screen.Just click the file icon, select Install CIA, and select the CIA file from your downloads.The rest is easy.

How to play games on Citra

Have a small library of 3DS games ready and you're ready to play.

1. Launch Citra and accept the permissions requested.It may ask for mic access - this is for DS games that use the mic for gaming.

2. Select the game folder you prepared earlier, and click to select this directory.

3. Once your puzzle game directory is selected, the main screen will list all your games with an icon attached.

4. Click on the game of your choice to launch it.When the simulator loads the necessary shaders, a small loading box appears.After this, you can start.




The best Android 3DS emulators

When testing Citra, we selected two games from its compatibility list, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Resident Evil Revelations.The former is marked as "great" and the latter is marked as "terrible" in the compatibility list.We found that Super Mario provided an overall enjoyable experience, with only occasional stuttering.Resident Evil, on the other hand, has some texture and model bugs, as well as a crash.

We have no doubts that Citra is a great way to enjoy compatible games, and the persistence of the team assures us that they will only continue to expand and improve existing compatible games. Citra is an easy recommendation -- perhaps the best way to emulate a 3DS game.


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