RetroArch NES Emulator Download Available For Nintendo Switch

Super Mario Bros 3 PegaSwitch

Nintendo may be slow on the draw for adding the Virtual Console to the Nintendo Switch, but hackers, modders, homebrew tinkerers and the software evangelists of the creative web have stepped up their game to do what Ninten-don’t. That’s right, the Switch is partially cracked if you have firmware version 3.0.0 installed. If you updated your system then you’re screwed, but if you have an older Switch that wasn’t updated to 3.0.0, you an snag a copy of Pokken Tournament DX that will essentially allow you to softmod your Switch and add some homebrew to it… including an NES, SNES, and Jaguar emulator.

The Retroarch NES emulator can only be installed if your Switch is softmodded. DogParty designed the LibRetro-Fceumm NES emulator, and you can download and compile the source code from over on Github.

Once you compile the source code you can then port it over into the folder for homebrew applications on the Switch via the PegaSwitch.

You can see what Super Mario Bros 3 looks like running on the Switch courtesy of YouTuber x0x0.

So you’re probably wondering how this all works and what you have to do to get this operational on the Switch? Well, it is and is not easy.

There’s a softmod tutorial available over on

If your Nintendo Switch’s firmware is set to 3.0.0, you can proceed to get Ubuntu 16.04. You can download Ubuntu’s desktop Linux environment from over on Ubuntu’s download page. It’s free.

Follow the instructions on the tutorial page and input the appropriate commands to install PegaSwitch, and setup up your PC as a host machine for the Switch.

Once you get done a virtualbox window should pop up for PegaSwitch. Your PC is now primed and ready to work as a host for homebrew. You’ll need to download the ACE Loader GUI version 07.01.18 and the PegaSwitch fix. Download the files from the Google Drive and replace both the ace.nro and start.js file.

Launch PegaSwitch to setup the host computer, and then boot up the Switch and change the DNS to your host computer’s IP running PegaSwitch. If you do it correctly, when you run the test for your network connection it should boot up the browser terminal. You’ll need to open another terminal and follow the tutorial’s command line instructions to get the ACE Loader to run.

This will enable you to run more homebrew, such as the SNES emulator that runs Super Mario World, or the Jaguar, which runs Wolfenstein.

Unfortunately, the Jaguar emulator — while it does indeed work — runs really, really slowly. Wolfenstein is practically unplayable right now, but they’re working on bringing up the speed and improving compatibility.

Alternatively,  you can play the classic Shareware version of DOOM, along with a few other full versions of DOOM and even the freeware version of DOOM. You can see a very brief demonstration of the game being played with the Joy-Cons in wireless mode below.

In order to actually load the ROMS into the PegaSwitch, you’ll need to follow the instructions for loading homebrew applications into the ACE Loader GUI. User x0x0 put together a tutorial over on the Polish website, which runs you through the basics on how to get the homebrew software to run on your softmodded Switch.

It’s definitely a process to get things up and running, but the good part is that you don’t have to take apart your Switch and do any soldering like with the PSX, PS2 or OG Xbox, and you can experiment with Linux before actually attempting to connect it to your Switch.

Expect more user-friendly loaders and applications to be made available to ease the pain in getting the emulators to work on the Switch. Also, expect more variety in ROMs to start popping up sooner rather than later.

Nintendo fixed the exploit in the firmware patch following 3.0.0, but if you’re lucky enough to still have that version installed, you can most certainly give it a go and exploit the crap out of it if you have a Linux runtime environment installed on your machine.