A few days ago, the talented hackers behind Citra (3DS emulator) announced they have been working on a Nintendo Switch emulator. Named “Yuzu”, the emulator’s source code is available and making fast progress.
Although Yuzu is currently very far from emulating commercial games (its official intent is to run homebrew games to help with independent development and debugging), the announce has generated mixed reactions.
In particular, many gamers are worried that the emulator could indirectly bring piracy to the platform (or, of its games, on a different platform) and impact Nintendo Switch sales.
However it’s worth remembering at this point that the Nintendo Switch is the fastest selling console in history, in many countries, and that an emulator would probably take a very long time to impact that success in any meaningful way.
From the hacking scene’s perspective, this looks awesome: the emulator’s open source and could indeed help homebrew developers debug their games early on, potentially in a much more comfortable way than having to run code on the actual machine.
But again, the emulator is in its very early stages today, and won’t run much yet. From the project’s readme:
yuzu is a work-in-progress Nintendo Switch emulator. yuzu is an open-source project, licensed under the GPLv2 (or any later version). yuzu has been designed with portability in mind, with builds available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. The project was started in spring of 2017 by bunnei, one of the original authors of the popular Citra 3DS emulator, to experiment with and research the Nintendo Switch. Due to the similarities between Switch and 3DS, yuzu was developed as a fork of Citra. This means that it uses the same project architecture, and both emulators benefit from shared improvements. During the early months of development, work was done in private, and progress was slow. However, as Switch reverse-engineering and homebrew development became popular, work on yuzu began to take off as well.
In January of 2018, the yuzu team was formed out of several Citra developers, and the decision was made to release the project publicly. As an emulator, yuzu is in its infancy, and is only currently useful for Switch reverse-engineering and homebrew development.
download and install Yuzu
You’ll need to compile the emulator from source in order to run it. The github page gives very detailed steps on how to build the emulator on multiple platforms including Windows. No doubt that some nightly builds are floating around, but I’m too lazy to look.
There’s also no clear indication of what apps you can run on it for now, although you might want to try vgmoose’s Space Game, which appears a lot in yuzu’s screenshots so far. Adventurous folks might want to try a doom port.