Get ready for one of the shortest emulator articles of all time as we look at the 2 best Nintendo 2DS emulators of the year!
Yes, there are only 2 that work well. We’re not going to trick you into clicking on an article and showing you original DS emulators to bump up the numbers either…
… you can check out our list of the best Nintendo DS emulators for that!
Despite the fact that the standard Nintendo 2DS looks a lot like a wedge of cheese or a door stopper, it’s a neat little handheld for anyone wanting to play 3DS games without the 3D…
… and these emulators are perfect for anyone looking to play their best Nintendo 3DS games on their laptop or phone!
Once again, we’re only listing the two emulators that currently work. The first one has been in development since 2013, so if you see any ‘miraculous new programs’ appearing on the web, just keep scrolling past!
If any new emulators do show up, then we’ll update this list accordingly. But for now, check out the best Nintendo 2DS emulators on offer today!
Table of Contents
- Open Source
- Windows, Linux, Android
Citra is the Number 1 best Nintendo 2DS emulator on the internet!
Ok, I know there’s only two, but here me out; Citra is the real deal.
Some of you may also know that this is the best 3DS emulator of all time too… pretty much because the games are exactly the same.
And the great news for mobile fans is that the Citra team has made an Android version of their famous emulator. It’s a cracking little program that plays 2DS and 3DS games perfectly, bar the 3D part, of course!
For years now, all people have really wanted is to be able to play Mario Kart and Pokemon while out of the house. ‘Just use a 2DS’ I hear you cry, but that would be too obvious…
Plus, mobile games like Mario Kart Tour and Pokemon Go are no where near as good as the adventures available for the 2DS!
Remember Yuzu, the best Nintendo Switch emulator? Well, Citra are the team behind that very same program! Their 2DS/3DS emulator has been in the making for 8 years at the time of writing with 150 people working on it!
As I said above, Citra is the real deal.
Ok, so there’s bound to be a few hiccups here and there as mobile phones and computers aren’t specifically made to play 2DS games. Still, it’s a great way to play 2DS titles away from the house without your trusty cheese wedge.
And the Citra team know that there’s always room for improvement too. They’re continuously improving their entry into the best Nintendo 2DS emulators realm and doing everything they can to keep it going from strength to strength.
Give Citra a try by using the download button above and let us know how your go-to games play. With 164 ‘great’ games and 157 ‘perfect’ games, there certainly is a lot to choose from!
- Open Source
- Multiple Platforms
Up next, and also the final emulator in this short list of the best Nintendo 2DS emulators, is RetroArch.
Regular readers will undoubtedly know how much we love RetroArch here at Retro Dodo Towers. It’s the king of emulators, boasting screen overlays that transform your PC or laptop and and a wide list of consoles to virtually recreate.
You see, RetroArch isn’t just a 2DS emulator. It’s an N64 emulator, a Sega Genesis emulator, and a Neo Geo emulator.
It’s like a magic genie, except it gives you way more than three wishes!
If you’ve read our article on the best Dreamcast emulators or just type ’emulator’ into the Retro Dodo website, you’re bound to find a piece on RetroArch. It’s a program that uses ‘cores’ to virtually recreate lots of other consoles, allowing users to swap and change at a moments notice.
Oh, and guess what the core is for playing 2DS games on RetroArch…
… it’s Citra!
Technically, we lied in the title.
Looks like there’s only one 2DS emulator currently worth downloading, and that’s Citra!
What Are ROMs?
Emulators play ROMs.
For anyone who doesn’t know, ROMs are digital images of your existing discs and cartridges. Using software, players rip files and store them on a computer, ready for emulators to load up.
Just remember that ripping your own games is fine, but downloading other users ripped files or uploading your own to the internet is a no-go zone.
Nintendo have an all-out war on ROM uploaders, so bear that in mind.
Why Is Emulating A Nintendo 2DS So Difficult?
Nintendo 2DS games are huge. It’s not as if we’re recreating Super Mario Land on one of the best retro handhelds; these are richly textured games on one of the most powerful handhelds ever released.
Plus, the sheer processing power needed to run games like a Link Between Worlds is phenomenal!
Still, Citra has proved that mobile phones are up to the task thanks to their super-fancy Android app, so give it a go and let us know how you get on using it on your smartphone!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.