melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (2024)

Repository contributors
Latest version0.9.5 [+]
Android (Unofficial)
Nintendo Switch (Unofficial)
PlayStation Vita (Unofficial)
EmulatesNintendo DS
Nintendo DSi
Support ($)Patreon
Programmed inC, C++
LicenseGNU GPLv3
Source codeGitHub
BIOS/KeysRequired for DSi

melonDS is a free and open-source Nintendo DS/DSi emulator aiming for better performance than DeSmuME and to emulate Wi-Fi and local multiplayer capabilities. Its developer is Arisotura (formerly known as StapleButter/Luigi__), a former contributor to DeSmuME, and it is available as a libretro core since version 0.6. Its first commit on GitHub was on May 15, 2016.


  • 2 Overview
  • 3 Cheats/BIOS/Tutorials
  • 4 Issues
  • 5 melonDSi
  • 6 Getting started
  • 7 System requirements
  • 8 Gallery
  • 9 External links


melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (2) melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (3) melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (4)Official Builds
Also available on Github
melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (5) melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (6) melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (7)Dev Builds
melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (8)Source Play Store
Unofficial melonDS Android port
melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (9)Release 6
GBATemp Thread

Ported by Hydr8gon, and currently maintained by Generic (aka RSDuck), who added an ARM64 JIT and other improvements. (Unofficial)
melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (10)Vita port
No longer maintained


As of 0.9.5, melonDS offers:

  • Nearly complete core (CPU, video, audio...)
  • JIT recompiler for fast emulation
  • OpenGL renderer, 3D upscaling
  • RTC, microphone, lid close/open
  • Joystick support
  • Savestates
  • Many display position/sizing/rotation modes
  • Wi-Fi: local multiplayer, on-line connectivity
  • DSi emulation
  • Camera support (DSi only)
  • DLDI
  • (WIP) GBA slot add-ons

...and more are planned.

Though it is not as mature as DeSmuME in some areas, it is a relatively simple emulator to use and has potential.



Like most emulators, development has been rocky with at one point the sole developer putting the project on a hiatus in May of 2018 leaving this to-do list for anyone who wished to contribute improving the emulator, which is still open-source. On July 2018 it was announced that development was going to continue for melonDS and has since shown potential.

There is very little to tweak in terms of improving performance (which can be a good or bad thing). This is mainly due to the developer's goal of accurate emulation rather than providing game-specific hacks.

The OpenGL renderer is still being worked on, meaning that there is a small chance some models/textures may not render correctly.


On October 15, 2019, Arisotura released the beta version of an emulator called melonDSi, an experimental melonDS branch for DSi emulation. It used to require a lot of files to be dumped to work (most of which were console-unique), but it has been reworked to require less files (namely, the DSi ARM7 and ARM9 BIOS, the DSi Firmware and a NAND dump). It has since been merged into the master branch and is available on melonDS 0.9.

Getting started[edit]

From the README on GitHub:

Firmware boot (not direct boot) requires a BIOS/firmware dump from an original DS or DS Lite. DS firmwares dumped from a DSi or 3DS aren't bootable and only contain configuration data, thus they are only suitable when booting games directly.
Possible firmware sizes
  • 128KB: DSi/3DS DS-mode firmware (reduced size due to lacking bootcode)
  • 256KB: regular DS firmware
  • 512KB: iQue DS firmware
DS BIOS dumps from a DSi or 3DS can be used with no compatibility issues. DSi BIOS dumps (in DSi mode) are not compatible. Or maybe they are. I don't know.
As for the rest, the interface should be pretty straightforward. If you have a question, don't hesitate to ask, though!

These files can be found here. If you do choose to look elsewhere online for system files, be warned that there are old hacked dumps floating around that breaks if the WFC configurations are altered.

To use the OpenGL renderer, you must have at least OpenGL 3.1.More information can be found in this FAQ.

To use melonDS in DSi mode, you need extra files which can be found on this page.

System requirements[edit]

MelonDS runs on everything with the software renderer, although you jokingly need to follow those "mininum requirements" to run properly:

  • CPU: Intel Pentium II / AMD Athlon X2, 12GHz
  • GPU: nVidia GeForce 2 / AMD Radeon HD3500 / ZARG X152 / Voodoo 2
  • RAM: 12.6TB
  • HDD: 6KB
  • 5"5 floppy drive
  • OS: Windows 3.1 or XP / Linux / haiku / 9os / AcmlmOS
  • PCI-Express or USB 4.1 bus
  • Network: SSLv3
  • Keyboard, mouse, cat
  • Sacrifice goat to Thargos while Jupiter and Pluto are aligned with the Earth

(more seriously, though, just try it out and see how well it runs; if it's too slow, remember there are other emulators you can try)


  • Top: 2x the native resolution without OpenGL.
    Bottom: 2x the native resolution with OpenGL

  • Top: Native software render.
    Bottom: 4x the native resolution with OpenGL

External links[edit]

melonDS - Emulation General Wiki (2024)
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