I’m not going to preach to you about the history of the Nintendo DS or try to confirm your sudden urge to play it. I will get straight to the point because I know you. If you have ever played Pokemon on the DS, it is an exclusive Pokemon game that connects you to your past.
Pokemon-like Nintendo DS emulators for the PC. You may also want to play other Nintendo games such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Prime Hunter, etc.
Best Nintendo DS Emulators For PC in 2021
Desmume is actually one of the best DS emulators for PC. It is available for Windows and Mac. The name is a bit strange and the pronunciation is pretty bad.
Performance depends on the configuration of your PC. Nintendo DS games will run well on all platforms, but face frames will fall on the MacBook Air (2017 edition) when games are played with maximum graphics. On the bright side, you can make a lot of adjustments to the settings for graphics emulation.
The NDS emulator also offers a disk space feature that allows you to continue the game where you left off. There are other useful features such as a cheat code manager and USB controller support.
Desmume is popular among Nintendo DS fans, but there are a few issues with it. For example, the developer has lost contact with the emulator since the last stable update came in 2015. Apart from that, many Pokemon games do not support Desmume, so you have to play them manually. There is also no WiFi emulation.
Availability — Windows and Mac
Why use DeSmuMe?
- Graphics customization
- High Compatibility
When it comes to the best Nintendo DS emulators for the PC, MelonDS is ahead. If you want to play Pokemon games on your PC, MelonDS is the perfect match. MelonDS can be compared to the dominant NDS emulator Desmume. As it is, it is on the PC and lacks many emulation and graphics options, but it excels in areas such as accurate rendering of DS games. Thanks to its new OpenGL rendering, it allows you to tap into extreme resolutions and media, and with a powerful system and a new JIT recompiler, it has the fastest emulation.
The highlight is the local Wi-Fi support for multiplayer games. It’s experimental and only works on a few games, but it’s a lot of fun to see how it works. It also has disk space options, a few screen layout options, and joystick support, which is common for other DS emulators on the PC. This is simply the best DS emulator for Windows. Starting with the imitation of GameBoy Advance games, this emulator is considered to be the best Nintendo DS emulator on Windows.
Availability — Windows and Linux
Why use MelonDS?
- High performance at increased resolutions
- High accuracy
The first thing that is a plus for this DS emulator is that it supports GBA, Nintendo DS as well as Nintendo DS Lite and DSI games. In terms of graphics settings, this emulator is a handful. Compared to the other best NDS emulators mentioned above, it takes up a lot of system resources. This is a compromise, but the silver lining is that this emulator works very well and performs poorly on the PC. With a few adjustments to the settings, the best game graphics are comparable to Desmume.
The multiplayer option is experimental and did not work in my case. Another problem is the lack of a screen layout function.
Apart from the tax stick support, there is no option to save the state. No internal GBA cheat code support. This emulator is only available for Windows.
Availability — Windows
Why use No$GBA?
- Low memory usage and offers high speed
- Also supports GBA a Nintendo DSi games
Like other Nintendo DS emulators, the RetroArch All-In-One emulator allows users to play games from retro consoles. The idea is to merge several emulators into the core of a single software. With RetroArch you can play games from Nintendo consoles such as NES, SNES, DS, DSi, DSI, 3DS, 64, Atari, MAME, and more.
The user interface is intimidating at first glance, but if you use it for a while, it becomes easier. It has all the essential options for graphics emulation. You can increase the native resolution to 4K and use shaders to change the look of the game. There are also joystick support, storage options, and various screen layout options. Compared to other Nintendo DS emulators it is difficult to run the game.
The problem with RetroArch is that it consumes more PC resources than some of the others out there, e.g.
Why use RetroArch?
- All-in-one emulator
- A few pre-loaded games
Availability — All platforms
It is still one of the best emulators for PC. OpenEMU for PC is not too different from RetroArch in terms of support and console emulation options. It is just a frontend software like any other console emulator. However, the streamlining of the emulator distinguishes it from other emulators.
If you are on a Mac, the interface reminds you of iTunes. To play Nintendo DS games, the emulator comes with a Desmume. For example, it shows the nesting art of the game and sorts it by platform.
However, the lack of multiple graphics settings can annoy a number of users. Furthermore, I did not see in my tests any possibility to increase the internal resolution.
The Nintendo emulator has all such screen layout options, memory states, and cheat code support. There is also a huge list of controllers that are supported, including DualShock, Switch Pro, and more.
Availability — Mac
Why use OpenEmu?
- Streamlined UI
- All-in-one emulator
6.Citra (Nintendo 3DS Emulator)
Citra is the best Nintendo 3DS emulator to play Pokemon games on PC. OpenEMU is one of the best DS emulators for Mac.
This Nintendo 3DS emulator allows users to set the internal resolution of the games to 4K, taking the experience of Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda Gaming to a whole new level. Even on a mediocre system, you can run multiple 3DS titles with full graphics and higher resolution.
The software has joystick support, screen layout options and cheat code support. Titled Citra on the official website, there is a section if you are looking for compatibility with Nintendo 3DS games on PC emulators.
Citra emulates the 3DS via local Wi-Fi. The Nintendo emulator also features an in-house screen recorder. In other words, you can play multiplayer with other people playing games on the emulator.
Nintendo DS is a handheld game console so it is only natural that people yearn for Nintendo DS games on Android. The best DS emulator for Android is Citra. Citra is no less than the Nintendo 3DS emulator for PC when it comes to features. It is available for both Android and iOS, making it the only working Nintendo 3Ds emulator for both platforms.
There is also an app to increase the internal resolution. You also get controller support, save states and key mapping.
Availability — Windows, Mac, Linux and Android
Why use Citra?
- Multiplayer support
- 10x internal resolution
Best Nintendo DS Emulator For Android In 2021
7. DraStic DS Emulator
Since the smartphone screen is dynamic and different from the dual-screen of the Nintendo DS, the app compensates for this with six different layout options. Apart from the default view of the screen, there is a large stacked view and a single view option that keeps one screen shorter than the other. Expect the best potential from the higher configuration of the smartphone.
The only downside is how drastic it is to pay for the Android app at a price of $4.99. This is annoying given the number of characteristics.
Why use DraStic?
- Online Google Drive space to save data
- Increase emulation speed
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Lemuroid is a Nintendo DS emulator for Android users. Unlike other Nintendo DS emulators, Lemunroid supports many other systems such as the Atari 2600, A26, Atari 7800, A78, Atari Lynx, Nintendo NES, Super Nintendo, SNES, Game Boy GB, and Game Boy Color, and much more. Even more drastically, it is completely free of charge and ad-free.
Here you will find all necessary features such as fast storage and gamepad support. You can even connect more than one gamepad. There is also an Android app for playing Nintendo games and a directory where you can view all your games.
Why use DraStic?
- Connect multiple gamepads
- Support for zipped ROMs
Are Emulators even legal?
An emulator is a type of software that emulates a game on a console. Emulators on the PC are not illegal to download, but playing a game with the same emulator is illegal. The situation is similar to that of torrent clients, which in themselves are not technically illegal, but downloading torrents is.
However, there are different views on this issue. We visited Nintendo’s official website and believe that making digitized copies of retro games is illegal because Nintendo does not produce DS games and makes money from them.
How to play Pokemon on PC?
You can play Pokemon games on your PC using Nintendo DS emulators such as MelonDA, OpenEMU, and more. If you want to play smartphones games on your PC then you might be interested in the best Android emulators and emulators for PC. Here are the best DS emulations for PC at the moment. How to play Pokemon on PC.