Can You Play 3DS Games on Switch?

You cannot play 3DS games on Switch. But, there are unofficial ways that you can play 3DS game titles through the use of an emulator and a custom Homebrew.

Using an emulator or Homebrew does not even guarantee that the game will render properly on Switch. It will also be risky to install unofficial firmware that will nullify your Switch’s warranty that can also, later on, ban you from playing online.

There are gamers though who prefer to play 3DS games as not only that these games give the nostalgic childhood fun but the games are also entertaining in their way.

Let’s go ahead and take a close look into 3DS games and Switch.

What are 3DS Games?

What are 3DS Games?

3DS games are handheld games developed by Nintendo for its 3DS handheld console. The console was first released in 2011 and has since then been one of the most popular handheld consoles.

3DS games differ from Switch games in terms of graphics and gameplay. 3DS games usually have simpler graphics and gameplay compared to Switch games.

Why Can’t Nintendo Switch Play 3DS Games?

Why Can't Nintendo Switch Play 3DS Games?

The Switch cannot play 3DS games because primarily 3DS game cards will not fit the Switch’s game card slot. If you compare the game cards of 3DS games to that of Switch’s game cards, Switch’s game cards are smaller than 3DS.

The internal and external parts of Switch are also not compatible with 3DS games. Backward compatibility remodeling would also be hard given the Switch’s graphics, resolution, and display are different and more powerful than the 3DS handheld console.

Switch design also does not have the shoulder buttons that are handy for several 3DS titles.

How to Play 3DS Games on Switch

How to Play 3DS Games on Switch

As mentioned earlier there are ways that you can play 3DS games on Switch through an emulator or custom Homebrew but don’t expect too much.

The switch is not designed to play 3DS games so you might be disappointed in the outcome if you try to play using an emulator or Homebrew.

Please note that the installation of a custom Homebrew can cause errors so you have to be careful when you do the process. You also have to be very careful when you install custom hardware as it is risky and can have you banned by Nintendo.

If your mind is set to use Homebrew for 3DS or DS gaming then you can go to this link for the guide: Homebrew Guide. You can also try to search for reliable videos online.

Some of the best emulators that you can install are as follows:

  • MelonDS
  • DeSumMe
  • RetroArch

Alternative Best Switch Games to 3DS Gaming

Alternative Best Switch Games to 3DS Gaming

There are several best games that you can play on Switch that could potentially make you forget 3DS gaming. Here are our recommendations:

Puyo Puyo Tetris

Puyo-Puyo Tetris is a crossover puzzle video game that was first released in 2014. The game is a combination of the Tetris and Puyo Puyo franchises.

The game aims to clear as many lines as possible by matching same-colored Tetriminos or chains of four or more same-colored Puyos.

Fortnite: Battle Royale

Fortnite: Battle Royale is a free-to-play online game that was first released in 2017. The game is a survival shooting game where the last person standing wins the game.

The game has up to 100 players who are dropped into an island where they have to scavenge for weapons and materials to build their fort. Many might know this game due to its popularity among Twitch streamers streaming their gameplay.


Warframe is a free-to-play online action game that was first released in 2013. The game is set in an evolving science fiction world where players take control of the Tenno, a race of ancient warriors who have awoken from centuries of cryo-sleep.

Players must work together to complete missions and objectives while fighting against the hostile factions of the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an open-world action-adventure game that was first released in 2017. The game is set in the kingdom of Hyrule and follows the story of Link, who wakes up from a hundred-year sleep to find the kingdom in ruins.

The link must explore the kingdom, defeat enemies, and reclaim the lost memories of Hyrule.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is a 3D platformer game that was first released in 2017. The game is set in various kingdoms where Mario must rescue Princess Peach from Bowser.

Mario can possess various objects and creatures to complete his objectives.

The game also introduces a new capture mechanic, which allows Mario to capture enemies and use their abilities.

Can You Play 3DS Games on Switch FAQs

Can you transfer games from the 3DS game console to Switch?

No, you cannot transfer games from the 3DS game console to Switch.

Does the Nintendo Switch Lite console play 3DS games?

Nintendo Switch Lite Does not play 3DS games.

Will 3DS games come to Switch in the future?

There is no news about 3DS games being available in the future for Switch.

Can modded Switch run 3DS games?

There are reports of users being able to run 3DS games on modded but it’s risky and can have you banned by Nintendo.

What consoles can play 3DS games?

Nintendo 3DS XL, 2DS, and the 2DS XL are consoles that can play 3DS games.

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Article by Jake

Hey I'm Jake! Writer for various gaming and technology blogs. I also enjoy a little bit of golf in my free time as well as gaming. I really enjoy competitive games and I hate to admit it, but I have really been enjoying Wild Rift on my phone as I get the League experience without the rage. Usually you'll find me on Steam though exploring the many competitive options out there, whether that is a Battle Royale game or a MOBA game.