Out of the box, the Nintendo Switch is a wonderful console that can be played at home or on the go. But in this article, we will answer the question ‘what can a hacked Nintendo Switch do?’
The Nintendo Switch has proved hugely popular and has sold over 129 million units since launch. The success of the Switch can be attributed to the constant stream of great games released for the system, and the future looks bright with potential smash hits Super Mario Bros. Wonder and the recently announced Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door Remastered scheduled to hit the platform soon.
In addition to being a robust and fun hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch also holds potential for modders by installing custom firmware or jailbreaking.
But what is there to gain from hacking a Nintendo Switch, and what can you do with one once said hacking has happened? Here’s everything you need to know!
Table of Contents
1. Play Nintendo Switch Games
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way to start with. Your hacked Nintendo Switch can still play most of your Nintendo Switch games.
That means you don’t need to abandon your 200 hour save in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. You can also keep your fastest lap times in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and your villagers won’t be wondering what happened to you in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
2. Running Custom Firmware
Regardless of the vernacular, whether it’s ‘running custom firmware’, ‘jailbreaking’, ‘modding’ or ‘hacking’, we’re essentially talking about the same thing.
Running custom firmware on the Nintendo Switch opens the door to the actions further down in our list of what can a hacked Nintendo Switch do.
There are guides available online that detail the intricacies of jailbreaking the Nintendo Switch and the process differs considerably depending on the age and specification of the console.
Tech boffins have even been able to get Android running on Nintendo’s little device, enabling users to run apps, including Netflix from the Google Play Store.
That’s perfect for revisiting Bojack Horseman while out and about!
3. Install Emulators
One of the most common reasons why people choose to hack their Nintendo Switch is to run emulators.
Installing a frontend for emulators such as RetroArch opens up a world of emulators for people to play retro games.
By running emulators players can gain access to games from the NES to the N64.
Emulators aren’t limited to previous Nintendo consoles either. Games from the Sega Mega Drive, Sega Dreamcast and even classic PlayStation consoles are available to emulate.
A special mention has to go to PSP emulator royalty, PPSSPP. PPSSPP is one of the best PSP emulators because it gives games a decent glow up with upscaling and presents a user-friendly interface that even the most novice of modders can navigate.
4. Install Custom Themes
Next up on our list of the what can a hacked Nintendo Switch do is the ability to install custom themes.
With all of the personality and flare that Nintendo pours into its first party offerings, the frontend on the Nintendo Switch feels a bit like an afterthought. The default home screen on the Nintendo Switch offers exactly two themes, ‘Basic White’ or, you guessed it, ‘Basic Black’.
For those looking for a bit more pizzazz from their home screen, a hacked Switch allows the user to install custom themes.
Custom themes go beyond expanding the colour palette past black or white and can feature custom artwork, modified game library layouts and revised icon designs.
With thousands of custom themes available, there’s a style to suit everyone!
5. Stream PC Games
Remember we mentioned running custom firmware? That same custom firmware can be used to effectively turn your Nintendo Switch into a Steam Deck.
Running custom firmware such as Atmosphere or Android allows users to access game streaming apps directly from their Nintendo Switch.
Undoubtedly, a decent internet connection is a must to get the most out of any game streaming services.
The obvious benefit to accessing PC games from the Switch is the sheer number of titles that are available on the PC platform.
If you enjoy playing your Switch curled up on the sofa or tucked up in bed, you can now experience great games such as Death Stranding or God of War, all through the magic of streaming.
6. Play Physical Games Digitally
The final point on our list of what can a hacked Nintendo Switch do; play physical games digitally.
Once again making use of the custom firmware and PC combo, hacked Nintendo Switch consoles enable players to make digital backup copies of their game cartridges and store them digitally on the console.
For collectors of physical media, this means their physical carts stay in the best condition possible while their game catalogue is immediately accessible via the Nintendo Switch digitally.
For other gamers with a large collection of physical games, however, the ability to take your Nintendo Switch on the road without the fear of losing those tiny little carts offers great peace of mind.
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Theo first fell in love with gaming when he sped through Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog back in 1991. Theo has previously provided reviews, news coverage and articles for The Games Cabin and enjoyed producing comedic Let’s Plays on his own personal YouTube channels.
A huge Kingdom Hearts and Metal Gear fan, Theo enjoys deep gameplay mechanics and complex storylines. A completionist by nature, Theo has earned over 140 platinum trophies including top digital trinkets for Stardew Valley, The Witness, Bloodborne and a plethora of GTA games.
Outside of gaming, Theo can often be found riding his motorbike, headbanging at gigs or out in the countryside exploring nature and marvelling at the ‘realistic graphics’.