What is the (or is there any) difference between 3DS and NDS games? Is it possible to play 3DS games on NDS emulator?

  • The 3DS is the successor to the NDS. Their ROMs are as different as the NGC's and Wii's, or the Wii's and Wii U's. If there was such a thing as a 3DS emulator, you might be able to play NDS ROMs on it, but not the other way round. That's because not only do they feature different hardware, but the 3DS has more features as well, which the NDS (and thus, NDS emulators as well) does not have. For instance; the 3DS possesses a 3D slider and an analog pad, which the game needs to account for. Trying to access those will undoubtedly lead to a crash or otherwise undefined behaviour on the NDS.
    – Nolonar
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 18:01
  • 2
    Close voters- emulation is not off-topic here and is not inherently illegal. Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 18:14

3 Answers 3


As the name implies, the NDS is the earlier version of the Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS has better graphics (and sold better). Concerning the ROMs I think that will just be a tug of quality, because the 3ds is better I think the NDS will be substandard to its brother. I think that a ROM for the NDS cam work on the 3DS but I am quite sure you cannot use the 3ds ROM on the NDS because of its backward compatibility


It is not possible. Although the structure is more or less the same, the 3DS has a new firmware, which has yet to be emulated. There is no 3DS-emulator out yet, but you could hack 3DS-roms like normals ROMs, because the system is still the same.


Just to re-iterate what the other posters have said:

This all comes down to backward compatibility, as does every other device. A newer device will generally play old content (with a few exceptions). However, an older device will not play newer content; this is either due to drivers, graphics, core framework and the like...

As Looper advised - there is currently no 3DS Emulator out as of yet. So in short - No, it isn't possible to play 3DS games on a standard NDS Emulator.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .