Citra Emulator Emulator Screenshots

Citra Emulator Description

Experience the Magic of the Nintendo 3DS with Citra Emulator

The Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming console took the world by storm when it was released in 2011. With its glasses-free 3D visuals, refined dual-screen setup, and wealth of exclusive first-party franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon, the 3DS marked the peak of Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld gaming market. Over 75 million 3DS consoles were sold worldwide during its lifetime, treating dedicated gamers to nearly a decade’s worth of engrossing adventures.

But all good things must come to an end. In 2020, Nintendo ceased production on the 3DS to focus on its newer Switch hybrid console. While the 3DS had an excellent run, many gamers still have a soft spot for its unique games and features. This is where the open-source Citra Emulator comes in. With Citra, you can relive your favorite 3DS memories on your PC and breathe new life into this legendary handheld’s excellent library.

What is Citra Emulator?

Citra Emulator is a free, open-source emulator for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android that mimics the functionality of the Nintendo 3DS system. It was first publicly released in 2015 and has been steadily improved through consistent developer updates.

Citra effectively emulates 3DS hardware, allowing you to play original 3DS game cartridge dumps on your computer. It translates the code from 3DS game files, known as ROMs, and renders graphics, sound, and controls so that the games look and feel just like they do on Nintendo’s handheld. This gives you a chance to revisit 3DS favorites or play titles you missed out on without needing to buy the obsolete console and physical games.

Some key features that set Citra apart include:

  • Enhanced graphics: Citra can upscale 3DS games to resolutions higher than the console’s 400×240 and 320×240 screens. This makes many titles look significantly smoother and crisper.
  • Customizable screen layouts: View one or both 3DS screens on your monitor. Resize and position them as desired.
  • Touchscreen emulation: Use your mouse to interact with games as you would on the 3DS touchscreen. No need for a touch device.
  • Controller support: Play with your keyboard or map controls to a gamepad for a more natural experience.

With these capabilities, Citra makes owning a 3DS optional to enjoy its games catalog.

System Requirements

Citra has modest system requirements, but you will need:

  • A 64-bit Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. Windows 7 or newer is recommended.
  • A graphics card and processor that support OpenGL 3.3 or higher. Most dedicated GPUs qualify.
  • Decrypted 3DS game ROMs. You’ll have to find these yourself as sharing them is legally questionable.

Specific hardware power affects what games run well. More demanding titles may require a more robust PC. But Citra can comfortably run simpler games on lower-end laptops too.

The Ups and Downs of Citra Emulator

As with any emulation software, Citra comes with both advantages and disadvantages:


  • Revive your 3DS gaming nostalgia on modern systems
  • Upscale and enhance graphics beyond the original quality
  • Customize multi-screen layouts for preferred visibility
  • Free and open-source with steady improvement from developers
  • Broad game compatibility covering most of 3DS library


  • Need to own decrypted game copies in ROM format
  • Can’t play physical cartridges directly
  • Demanding 3D games may require a powerful PC
  • Potential bugs and glitches during emulation
  • No online multiplayer support

Imperfect emulation accuracy and the legal gray area of ROMs means Citra can’t perfectly replace a real 3DS. But it serves as an excellent free option for revisiting most 3DS games through a modern lens.


For over 70 million 3DS owners, Nintendo’s stereoscopic handheld marked a golden age of on-the-go gaming. And while the console met its end, the memorable experiences it provided live on. With the Citra Emulator and library of decrypted game ROMs, you can immerse yourself again in the finest exclusives the 3DS offers.

Don’t let the discontinued status of the Nintendo 3DS stop you from tapping back into its gaming magic. Citra Emulator makes it simple to relive these amazing portable adventures right from the comfort of your modern computer. The only limit is your imagination, so download Citra today and let your 3DS nostalgia run wild once more!

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