Emulating 3DS games with a Steam Deck proves that the Wii U was right

One screen bad. Two screens good.

A Steam Deck being used to emulate a Nintendo 3DS game.

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Through the magic of software emulation you can use a Steam Deck (opens in new tab) attached to a monitor to play Nintendo 3DS games, something I am now aware of thanks to tech video creator GameXData. In a tweet they posted, GameXData shows off a hilarious image combo using the Steam Deck’s touch screen and Pokemon X/Y.

A ton of people brought it up. So, I thought I’d confirm: Yes, you can play 3DS games dual screen with a Steam Deck as the bottom screen. pic.twitter.com/RQjMpSpcLqAugust 26, 2022

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Through the power of linux, emulation, and the Steam Deck… we have reinvented the Wii U.

It’s a testament to the versatility of the Steam Deck as a piece of hardware that it can be used this way. The touch screen lets you actually emulate, and play, some of the 3DS’ games as they were when first released—maybe grab a stylus that works well on the Steam Deck screen first, I guess.

No joke, you can emulate the Wii U’s style well on the Steam Deck and a monitor—which is great. (Which the same folks at GameXData pointed out as well. (opens in new tab)) That’s super dope, because games designed similarly to Breath of the Wild make excellent use of that second screen as inventory and the like. Cemu supports this with a little checkbox that splits the gamepad to its own window.

Speaking of Cemu, it went open source recently—which is a big deal for Wii U emulation (opens in new tab). You can find GameXData on Twitter (opens in new tab) and on YouTube (opens in new tab)—thanks to them for bringing this vital piece of information to our (my) attention.

In other Steam Deck news, Valve says that production has outperformed estimates (opens in new tab), so your Steam Deck is probably on the way sooner if you’ve been waiting. Clearly that’s pleasing to Valve, since it has confirmed that there will be more open and more capable generations of the Steam Deck. (opens in new tab) Oh and they’ve made a nice little booklet (opens in new tab) about the Steam Deck as it launches in Asia. (You can read it in English, though.)

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