The Nintendo Switch is a wondrous marvel of a console, able of providing a wide range of games.
While it’s absolutely not the most powerful console currently available, it does a lot of work with the power it has.
Still, it’s nice to have the option to play your Switch games on other systems, and also to have the ability to mod a Switch game if say, you’d like to do a challenge run on Pokemon that you can’t do otherwise.
You could mod your Switch and risk being banned by Nintendo, or you could install Yuzu Emulator on your Steam Deck so that you can still play your Nintendo Switch games when you’re out and about.
In this guide, we’re going to explain two methods of installing Yuzu on your Steam Deck, it’s one of the best Nintendo Switch emulators on the block.
The first way will also install a myriad of other emulators that you can use to play your games on a Steam Deck, and the second method will dive into how you can install JUST Yuzu on your Steam Deck.
It’s important to note that there are steps here that you will need to do yourself using your Switch, such as pulling your keys and firmware and dumping your Switch ROMs.
We’ll explain how to do this, but you do need to actually own the game before you can play it on a Steam Deck.
Table of Contents
The Emudeck Method
The Emudeck Method will install a wide variety of emulators other than Yuzu, including emulators for the following systems:
- Sega Genesis
- PC Engine
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Master System
- Neo Geo
- Super NES Widescreen
- Genesis Widescreen
- Game Boy
- Game Boy Advance
- Neo Geo Pocket
- Nintendo DS
- Nintendo 3DS
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo Wii
- Nintendo GameCube
- PlayStation 1
- PlayStation 2
- PlayStation 3
- Nintendo Wii U
- Nintendo Switch
It’s actually relatively simple to install Emudeck onto your Steam Deck. The Steam Deck itself is basically open-source, and you’re able to install whatever you want on it as long as you can find a workaround to any potential issues.
How To Install EmuDeck On Steam Deck
- Format an SD card to ext4 or btrfs if you want to store roms on your SD card.
- Download the EmuDeck installer using the Steam Deck browser
- Copy the EmuDeck installer from your downloads folder to your desktop by dragging and dropping the file
- Run the file.
- Run through the various steps that EmuDeck gives to you, including selecting exactly what emulators you want installing. It’s not too much of an extra effort to install every single emulator, but if you want you can only install Yuzu Emulator.
Once you’ve done all this, all you need to do is dump all of your ROMs and firmware onto the Steam Deck itself. We’ll go further into how to do this later in the article.
How To Install EmuDeck On Linux
The other method is rather simple. For this method you just need to download Yuzu through the Discover Store on Linux.
You’ll have to add all of the settings for Yuzu yourself though, including making it so that the controller input actually works with the Steam Deck, and so that games actually run at a decent frame rate.
Emudeck does all of these for you, rapidly making things a lot easier and allowing you to just get on with playing games such as The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Super Mario Odyssey.
What games can Yuzu Emulator run?
Yuzu can run most Nintendo Switch games, but to varying degrees of quality.
You’re able to mess around with various settings to make it so that everything runs to the level that you want, but some games won’t run well regardless.
You’re likely to face frame drops in a lot of newly released games, especially while the developers of Yuzu are trying to make the game work as well as possible.
This is due to the Steam Deck’s performance and not so much the emulator itself.
How To Dump Firmware Files & Key Files
In order to run Yuzu, you need two things. Your Nintendo Switch firmware and the prod.keys file.
You can dump these from your Nintendo Switch as long as your Switch is jailbroken, but otherwise you’ll have to find another way to get these files.
Once you have them, you need to start Yuzu in the Steam Deck’s desktop mode, and if you haven’t booted the software before, you’ll be asked about the missing files.
Click on file in the top left corner, click open the Yuzu folder, and click the keys folder. Make sure both the prod.keys and title.keys are in this folder, then you’ll be able to install the files to Yuzu.
In terms of firmware, you need to drag all of your files into the nand/system/contents/registered/ and drag in all of the firmware files that you’ve acquired.
Restart Yuzu once you’ve done this and the application should work perfectly!
How To Get Switch Games
If you want to dump a Switch game, then you need another tool entirely. To get a physical or digital game dumped, you need the following:
- Gamecard Installer NX
- Your Prod.keys file
- A modified Hekate_ipl.ini file
- Hekate patches
Keep in mind you can ONLY dump Switch ROMs if you’ve got a jailbroken Switch, otherwise this process is impossible.
- In the Hekate home menu, tap the launch button
- Tap on CFW- SysMMC
- Once your Switch boots into the HOME menu, hold the R button while you launch a game to access the homebrew menu.
- Navigate through the homebrew menu and select nxdumptool
This is where the guide splits into two separate sections depending on if you’re looking to dump a physical or a digital file. For physical:
- Select dump gamecard content
- Select NX Card Image (XCI) dump
- Set the following settings
- Split output dump (FAT32 support): Yes
- Create directory with archive bit set: No
- Keep certificate: No
- Trim output dump: Yes
- CRC32 checksum calculation + dump verification: No
- Select start XCI dump process and wait for the process to finish.
- Return to the main menu and you’ll have your game!
For digital, you need to follow the following steps:
- Select dump installed SD card/ eMMC content
- Choose the game you want to dump
- Select Nintendo Submission Package dump
- Select dump base application NSP
- Set the following settings
– Split output dump (FAT32 support): Yes
– Verify dump using no-intro database: No
– Remove console specific data: Yes
– Generate ticket-less dump: No
– Change NPDM RSA Key/sig in Program NCA: No
6. Select start NSP Dump Process and wait for the process to fully finish. Once that’s done, you can return to the main menu.
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Ryan is a seasoned retro gaming features writer with bylines at Fanbyte, PCGamesN, Lost In Cult and more. When he’s not writing, you can find him playing retro video games.