The 7 Best Nintendo DS Emulators for PC to Play Pokemon Games in 2020

9 min read

DS emulator

If you were around in the late 1990s, then you might remember playing older generation DS games such as Pokemon, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Kirby. If you have a longing to play these games again on your PC, you can do so with the best Nintendo DS Emulators for PC. These emulators allow you to travel back in time and play the best Nintendo games again on your latest operating system.  

What is Nintendo DS Emulator? 

In 2004, Nintendo DS was the most innovative and developed dual-screen handheld game console that was released by Nintendo. Nintendo DS Emulators might help you relive those memories of playing with the game console.  

Nintendo DS Emulator is a software that allows you to play older games on the latest desktops and laptops. You can begin playing the games by downloading copied software such as Nintendo ROMs from internet distributors where Nintendo ROMs work with Nintendo Emulators to allow you to play games on PC or modified consoles.  

So, without further ado, let us introduce you to the seven best Nintendo DS Emulators for PC. 

The Best Nintendo DS Emulators for PC: 

1. DeSmuMe Emulator 

DeSmuMe might sound like a strange name, but unlike the way it sounds, DeSmuMe is one of the best DS Emulators for PC. DeSmuMe Emulator can operate on all the Nintendo DS games effectively. Since the emulator is Open-Source, DeSmuMe is continually improving and releasing new builds.  

The performance of the DeSmuMe Emulator will depend on the configuration of your PC, but the emulator is accessible on both Windows and Mac computers and is known to operate smoothly on both the platforms.  

The best place to install and download the DeSmuMe Emulator is on this website 

DeSmuMe Nintendo DS Emulator has many exciting features such as the following: 

  • DeSmuMe is free of cost and will let you have the best Nintendo DS Emulator without paying a dime 
  • DeSmuMe lets gamers customize graphics with many emulation settings according to the user’s system configuration. 
  •  DeSmuMe is known to have high compatibility  
  • DeSmuME has a slot feature that allows you to continue the game from where you left behind 
  • DeSmuMe offers a cheat code, a USB controller support and you can scale the game according to your inclination  
  • DeSmuMe allows for playing many types of commercial games 
  • DeSmuMe has one of the best user-friendly interfaces among all Nintendo DS Emulators 
  • DeSmuMe is also extremely easy to install 

One of the drawbacks of DeSmuMe is that some users have found to confront frame drops which you can fix with troubleshooting. Frame drops for DeSmuMe mostly depend on your PC configuration and are mostly found to happen on Mac laptops.   

2. MelonDS Emulator 

MelonDS Emulator has many similarities with DeSmuMe and comes up as one of the leading Nintendo DS Emulators for PC that is out there. Melon DS Emulator also supports most of the Nintendo DS games.  

The negative aspect of MelonDS Emulator is that it can only be operated on Windows and Linux PCs, and do not have a Mac option. MelonDS is also known not to support Windows 32-bit operating systems. You can only download MelonDS on Windows 64-bit or the Linux 64-bit operating systems.  

The best place to install and download MelonDS Emulator is on this website 

MelonDS Emulator has many positive features such as those listed below: 

  • MelonDS Emulator is a free application and is an open-source emulator 
  • MelonDS Emulator allows you to gain access from Wi-Fi where you can also play multiplayer games with your friends and family 
  • MelonDS Emulator provides many good features like joystick support, external controller, 3D Upscaling, OpenGL renderer, and online connectivity 
  • MelonDS Emulator allows you to gain access to extreme resolutions with OpenGL renderer. This is perfect for Pokemon games on PC 
  • MelonDS Emulator shows live FPS and lets you save your games as you progress 
  • MelonDS Emulator renders 2D and 3D games  
  • MelonDS Emulator offers high-performance speeds with enhanced resolutions  

MelonDS Emulator lacks many of the graphic and emulation options that DeSmuMe owns, but it has some highly accurate rendering of DS games. You also do not have to worry about ads while using MelonDS, because it is a completely ads-free emulator.  

3. RetroArch Emulator  

RetroArch Emulator is an all-in-one emulator, unlike MelonDS Emulator and DeSmuMe Emulator. RetroArch Emulator is also among the best Nintendo game emulators that are available out there. RetroArch supports various platforms and provides the option of running the games from mainstream retro consoles and supports all the Nintendo DS consoles such as NES, DS, SNES, DSi, 64, Atari, 3DS, MAME, and many others. 

RetroArch Emulator is one of a kind as the concept is to have a combination of many different emulators in a single friendly to use the software.  But because RetroArch is an all in one emulator, it gets more difficult than other Nintendo DS emulators to play games. RetroArch supports all the three PC types and can be downloaded on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.   

The best place to install and download RetroArch Emulator is on this website 

Some of the positive features of RetroArch Emulator are listed below: 

  • RetroArch Emulator is continuously developed by the developers of the emulator and the features keep improving 
  • RetroArch Emulator supports multiple platforms and has an easy to use interface 
  • RetroArch Emulator permits you to record your gaming sessions and also stream the game on Twitch   
  • RetroArch Emulator comes with a series of default games already executed on it  
  • RetroArch Emulator allows you to improve graphs to about 4K while also applying shaders to the graphics 
  • RetroArch Emulator supports using different screen layouts, allows you to use the joystick and has a slot option that you can save 
  •  RetroArch Emulator also supports home consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation 3 

One of the major drawbacks of RetroArch Emulator is that it needs more resources for your PC than other Nintendo DS Emulators. RetroArch also does not support many of the games DeSmuMe and Melon DS emulators support.  

4. Citra (Nintendo 3DS Emulator)  

Citra is known as one of the best Nintendo DS Emulators to play Pokemon games on PC. It allows running several 3DS items at high resolution and high-quality graphics. You can even run the titles even without having the latest operating systems. Citra enables users to have an internal resolution up to 4k which makes your Pokemon games experience incredible. You can also use Citra for other games such as The Legend of Zelda.  

Citra has a multiplayer support network and has up to 10x internal resolution which is not found in many other NDS emulators. One of the major drawbacks is that Citra only supports Windows 64-bit PCs although it is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.  

The best place to install and download Citra Emulator is on this website 

Citra Emulator has positive features which are listed below: 

  • Citra Emulator allows you to play Pokemon games with simple and easy techniques 
  • Citra Emulator allows you to run the full Nintendo DS games with superior resolution and complete settings  
  • Citra Emulator allows you to use the multiplayer option with a  reliable Wi-Fi connection  
  • Citra Emulator has an in-house screen recorder which you can use to replay your games 
  • Citra Emulator has an external controller and supports the use of a joystick, screen layout and cheat code 
  • Citra Emulator also has an easy to use layout which is simple to learn 

One of the major disadvantages of Citra Emulator is that it works best on a Windows 64-bit operating system. The application is also still in development but most of the features are available to use. If you want to use one of the best NDS Emulators to play Pokemon games, then Citra Emulator will give you the best experience.  

5NO$GBA Emulator  

NO$GBA is one of the best free Nintendo game emulators that are available in 2020. It allows you to play the entire Nintendo DS games and Gameboy advances at a great graphic quality. NO$GBA supports GBA, as well as Nintendo DS lite (DSi) games. It has a reasonably better graphic quality than DeSmuMe.  

The emulator also works at a fast speed, even if you have an old PC. NO$GBA also takes fewer system resources compared to other Nintendo DS emulators. The emulator only supports a Windows platform and does not support iOS operating systems. NO$GBA supports the latest Windows 10 as well as MS-DIS computers and Nintendo DS Homebrew.  

The best place to install and download NO$GBA Emulator is on this website 

NO$GBA has some positive features which are listed below: 

  • NO$GBA Emulator supports joystick, cheat code and save state options 
  • NO$GBA Emulator works at a fast pace compared to other NDS emulators while taking fewer system resources 
  • NO$GBA Emulator supports most Windows operating systems including Windows 10, Windows XP and even MS-Dos computers 
  • NO$GBA Emulator contains multiple cartridges reading, multiple support, and also loads multiple ROMs 
  •  NO$GBA Emulator works on older PCs as well which is an added advantage 

One major disadvantage of NO$GBA Emulator is the lack of adequate screen layout features. Some people have had problems with the multiplayer option which also does not work in good quality. Since most of the older computers were in Windows, you could try loading NO$GBA Emulator if you have access to a Windows computer to play Pokemon games.  

6OpenEmu Emulator  

OpenEmu Emulator is like RetroArch Emulator with its supported consoles and emulation options. OpenEmu is also an all-in-one emulator.  It is one of the front-end software for console emulators. The best thing about OpenEmu is the user-interface which is similar to iTunes if you are a Mac user. It has one of the best user-interfaces among NDS emulators.  

The best place to install and download OpenEmu Emulator is on this website 

Some of the positive features of OpenEmu are as follows: 

  • OpenEmu Emulator supports both Windows and Mac operating systems 
  • OpenEmu Emulator has a streamlined UI 
  • OpenEmu Emulator comes with DeSmuMe emulator to play Nintendo DS games 
  • OpenEmu Emulator has many controllers supports including DualShock, Switch Pro, Wiimote, and others  
  • OpenEmu Emulator has screen layout options, save states, cheat code support and other features that most Nintendo DS emulators come with 

One of the major drawbacks to OpenEmu emulator is the lack of several graphic settings that some users might find hard to navigate. There is also a lack of options to increase internal resolution. OpenEmu is a decent NDS emulator compared to other emulators out there.  

7. DuoS Emulator 

DuoS Emulator is a simple emulator that allows you to play your favorite old Nintendo DS games. That said, DuoS is a generic emulator and is not very advanced in its features. DuoS are used mainly by Windows PC users and offer a good selection of features. There are no quicksave or load features that are available in the other Nintendo DS emulators that are mentioned above.  

The best place to download and install DuoS Emulator is on this website 

Some of the positive features of DuoS as listed below: 

  • DuoS Emulator is easy and simple to use, designed with the plain interface that even a new computer user can use 
  • DuoS Emulator is a freeware program and allows playing a wide selection of games 
  • DuoS Emulator supports using turbo button and cheats options  
  • DuoS Emulator is free from internet viruses and bugs that are often found in technical issues 

Downloading DuoS Emulator is fast and easy for Windows. If you want a simple basic Nintendo DS Emulator, then DuoS will serve the purpose. But you should remember it is still under development and will not offer more advanced features.  


Which Nintendo DS Emulator you wish to use will depend on a lot of factors such as how familiar you are to Nintendo and Pokemon games and the various features that you require. 

If you want the Nintendo DS Emulators with the best features then we suggest that you install DeSmuMe, MelonDS, RetroArch, and Citra emulators.   

If you want a simple and easy to use NDS emulator then we suggest that you install Citra, MelonDS, NO$GBA, OpenEmu and DuoS emulators  

It is important to know that all the seven NDS emulators that are mentioned in this article will let you play Pokemon games and travel back in time to play your favorite games.   

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