When you think how many years it took for Wii emulation to get as good as it has, and the state of PS3 emulation, it’s staggering how far Switch emulators have come in such a short time.
The main source of Switch emulation has been yuzu, an open-source emulator first released back in January 2018. Over that time the team has been doing a ton of work fixing up synchronisation issues, performance problems, blocky resolutions, and the general problems that crop up when trying to emulate another system.
But the latest performance update, as outlined by BSoD Gaming on YouTube below, has basically made Switch emulation completely playable across a wide range of games. Two of the ones outlined below, Super Mario Odyssey and Pokemon: Let’s Go! aren’t just completely playable from start to finish, but the frame rate is solid from top to bottom as well thanks to a new asynchronous GPU implementation.
Super Mario Maker 2 runs a lot better now, because the patch means the game doesn’t suffer from desync issues quite as much.
Of course, there’s the kicker that you can’t get any of this running without jumping through a ton of hoops, one of which includes a modded Switch console. Most people won’t want to put their Switch at risk, and most people who own a Switch will generally just enjoy playing games on the platform rather than messing around with it to play those games on a PC.
Still, the progress over the last year as a piece of software is nothing short of astounding. And seeing some of Nintendo’s Switch games boosted to 4K, 5K and 8K (what) resolutions is really something.
My kingdom for Breath of the Wild in native 8K. And can you imagine what it’d be like when these emulators start leveraging machine learning for some of the upscaling in a few years? Oh my.