Popular emulator RetroArch has made its way to Switch

RetroArch is a slightly different take on emulation software. Emulators are typically seperated on a per-system basis, but RetroArch encompasses emulators of several different systems, acting as the front-end of all of them. So far, its been released to a variety of platforms, including Windows, Linux, iOS,  and even consoles like the PSP, PS3, and Wii. Now, it’s list of supported platforms has grown as the software has been fully ported to the Nintendo Switch.

The arrival of RetroArch on the Switch marks an achievement for pirates and hackers, while inadvertently being a slap in the face to legitimate Switch owners that are fans of classic titles.

Switch Online recently launched, and thus it has brought a selection of NES titles to the system. Nintendo considers this to be the successor to its long-running Virtual Console service, to the dismay of many retro fans who are unhappy that the new Switch Online service is limited to only NES titles (at least for now). Hence the reason why RetroArch coming onto the scene does count as a slap to the face, as now the innocent fans are the one left in the dark in terms of support for classic titles on the Switch.

Nintendo has yet to announce plans on expanding upon the Switch Online service with more games beyond a handful of NES titles. So, in terms of fully-legal options, Switch owners that are retro fans are left waiting on more entries to come to publisher-specific porting endeavors like the Neo-Geo ‘Arcade Archive’ series and the recently-released Sega Ages line-up.

This isn’t the first time that hackers added heavily-requested functionality to the Switch before Nintendo. Earlier this year, hackers unlocked the ability to make local save data backups. This is a feature that Nintendo has yet to officially bring to the Switch, and has only answered vaguely as to whether or not it will ever come.

Nevertheless, Nintendo likely isn’t going to take very kindly to the news of RetroArch’s arrival on Switch. This summer, the emulation scene was dealt a massive blow by Nintendo on multiple occasions. The biggest occurred when the company filed a $100 million lawsuit against the creator the LoveROMs and LoveRETRO websites. This lawsuit caused the creator to pull both sites offline, and this move sent shockwaves around the rest of the emulation community. Other prominent websites like Emuparadise wiped out its whole library of ROMs and ISOs in a preemptive response to the aforementioned lawsuit. So, hackers will have fewer easy-to-access places to stock up on new games to go with their new RetroArch Switch installations, but will likely find other sources one way or another.


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A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.