Can Nintendo Switch Play 3DS Games?

Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Yes, the Nintendo Switch can play some 3DS games, but not all of them. The Switch is backward compatible with some 3DS games that have been specifically remastered for the Switch console, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, and others. However, most 3DS games are not compatible with the Switch and can only be played on the 3DS or 2DS consoles.

Nintendo Switch and 3DS: What Are They?

Nintendo Switch and 3DS are two different gaming consoles made by Nintendo. The 3DS was released in 2011 and is a handheld console that features dual screens, one of which is a stereoscopic 3D display. Meanwhile, the Switch was released in 2017 and is a hybrid console that can be played both as a handheld device and as a home console. The Switch features a single screen that can be played in either handheld mode or on a TV.

Overall, both consoles have their own unique features and games to offer. The 3DS has a large library of games, including many classics from previous Nintendo consoles, as well as a unique 3D display. On the other hand, the Switch has a growing library of popular games, as well as the ability to be played on a TV or as a handheld device. Ultimately, which console to choose depends on personal preference and the types of games and features one is looking for in a gaming console.

Can Nintendo Switch Play 3DS Games?

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Many gamers have been wondering whether they can play their Nintendo 3DS games on their Switch consoles. The official statement from Nintendo is no. But, There are several ways to play 3DS games on the Switch. Some 3DS games have been ported to the Switch, while others have been remade. However, if your favorite 3DS game hasn’t been ported, you can still play it on the Switch using an emulator.

  • The Citra 3DS emulator is a popular option for playing 3DS games on Switch, but you will need a moddable console to do this.
  • Another option is to set up Citra on a desktop operating system and use Switch Remote Play to play it on your Switch from your PC.
  • The Flip Grip is a third-party accessory that allows you to play your Switch in portrait mode, which is great for games that use the 3DS’ bottom touchscreen heavily.
  • Finally, some 3DS games were digital-only releases, which means that unless you previously purchased the software, there is no official way to play them.

How to Play 3DS Games on Nintendo Switch

First off, it’s important to note that the Nintendo Switch cannot play physical 3DS game cards or transfer digitally downloaded 3DS games. However, there are official ports and remakes of many original 3DS games for the Switch, including Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and Hyrule Warriors Legends.

If you’re looking to play 3DS games on the Switch through emulation, the Citra 3DS emulator is a popular option. Keep in mind that this requires a moddable Switch and setting it up can be risky.

The Flip Grip accessory is a helpful tool for playing 3DS games on the Switch, as it allows for on-the-go vertical/portrait orientation gaming, allowing for greater visibility and better use of the 3DS’ touchscreen.

Alternatives to Nintendo Switch for Playing 3DS Games

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With no backward compatibility for 3DS games on Nintendo Switch, gamers are left searching for alternatives. Here are some of the best options:

  • Use official ports and remakes- Some original 3DS games like Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and Hyrule Warriors Legends have been ported or remade for Nintendo Switch.
  • Emulation- The Citra 3DS emulator allows gamers to play 3DS games on the Switch. However, a moddable Switch is required for this method.
  • Flip Grip accessory- The third-party accessory, Flip Grip, allows gamers to play 3DS games in vertical/portrait orientation on their Switch, making it easier to use the touchscreen.
  • Explore digital options- Many original 3DS games were only available as digital releases, so players can search for these versions online or try to redownload previous purchases.
  • Use a different device- Although not as convenient, gamers can continue to play 3DS games on their original 3DS, 2DS, or the New Nintendo 2DS XL.


In conclusion, while the Nintendo Switch cannot play 3DS games due to differences in internal and external hardware, size and shape of the cartridges, and the cost of including backward compatibility, there are still ways to enjoy 3DS content on the Switch. Nintendo has released ports and remakes of some original 3DS games, including Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and Hyrule Warriors Legends, which can be played on the Switch.


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