CitraVR delivers native Nintendo 3DS emulation on Quest, arriving today from Air Link creator Amanda Watson.
Citra is an open-source Nintendo 3DS emulator for Windows that’s development started in 2013. Because of the Dolphin emulator’s legal issues on Steam, Watson tells UploadVR that CitraVR’s open beta will skip App Lab and the main Quest store, releasing on SideQuest and GitHub today at 9pm CST.
Once sideloaded, CitraVR starts with a 2D panel in the Quest home interface for managing and selecting games, transitioning into a full app upon launching one. The virtual top screen renders the game in stereoscopic 3D, as on the console itself.
Though you can already use Citra on PC VR, including streaming to Quest, CitraVR runs natively on Quest as an OpenXR application. While the Touch Controllers’ default mapping “makes most games on the platform playable,” CitraVR also supports 3rd party wired USB and wireless Bluetooth controllers for games requiring more inputs.
“My initial goal when developing this port wasn’t primarily to bring 3DS game emulation to VR, but rather to be an educational resource for VR developers,” says Watson in a prepared statement, who later calls this “a statement to developers and players” about VR app development’s possibilities. Stating it’s General Public Licence (GPL) compliant, all source code will be publicly available, letting other GPL-licenced projects copy CitraVR’s source code to add VR support.
Legally accessing 3DS games through Citra requires dumping your games through a hacked 3DS, which is detailed further in the Citra FAQ. Many users will, of course, simply obtain 3DS game ROMs online, just like the non-VR version and other console emulators, though CitraVR doesn’t in any way endorse this.
It’s also worth noting that despite 3DS being backward compatible, Citra doesn’t support original Nintendo DS games. Finally, Watson also tells UploadVR that performance is game-dependent and recommends checking Citra community guides for what works best.
CitraVR arrives today on for the Meta Quest platform. For more information on how to sideload content, check out our previous guide below:
Notice: This article was originally published on January 15, 2024. It was updated on January 20, 2024, to reflect CitraVR’s launch.