Apr 14, 2024 4 min read

#46: Emulation is a hydra, but this head ate its face

In today's overkill digest, we look at the demise of Suyu, the Nintendo Switch emulator.

#46: Emulation is a hydra, but this head ate its face

In today's overkill digest, we look at the demise of Suyu, the Nintendo Switch emulator.

Hi, hello, and welcome to a new edition of the overkill digest newsletter, your go-to source for everything handhelds.

I'm waiting for a review unit of the AYANEO Flip KB (the one with the keyboard) to arrive, though it's currently stuck with customs. But if you have any questions or parts you'd like me to dig in, email me, and I will include any answers in my review.

Now, as for this week, we've got some emulation news again, but it‘s not great. So let's dig into it.

Big this week

Nintendo Switch emulator Suyu (and Sudachi) is dead. Suyu, the emulator that took over the work after Nintendo killed Yuzu, is done.

First, Discord decided to kill the servers for Suyu (and Sudachi, another Yuzu-based emulator), while also disabling the accounts of the respective lead developers in response to a DMCA takedown request they've received. But this doesn't mean Nintendo was behind the request because the community's thinking after the recent case with GitLab was that a troll was responsible. This might have been the case this time, too, but I find it a dangerous precedent that Discord decided to disable the accounts of the lead developers.

Furthermore, according to someone claiming to be a Suyu developer, infighting has forced most of the dev team to retire from the project and instead focus on something else that may or may not be emulator-related. They said:

Bus was a bad leader. Constantly took credit for things, made rash decisions, and took little to no responsibility for them. He didn't help at all with the organization or management of the team as a whole, but mostly just pushed out his ego and acted like a boss.

We are officially leaving Suyu due to its radioactivity.

Because of the source's radioactivity, most of the developer team wants NOTHING to do with the project because of liability concerns.

To me, this sounds like Suyu is completely gone, with only Ryujinx remaining a real alternative for those of us who want to emulate their Switch games on a PC.

I also expect no real alternative to pop up for a while until the Switch is no longer actively on sale. It's currently simply too risky to create software for the platform, knowing how litigious Nintendo is (and how, ehm, weird their fanboys are if all the DMCA requests indeed came from trolls).

As soon as they move on to the Switch's successor (and that's only if they decide to stop selling the OG Switch and not keep both hardware on the market), Nintendo might have their hands full making sure the Switch 2 won't be hackable like its predecessor. There will come a time when Nintendo finally stop making money from selling the Switch hardware and games, which might be the best time to focus on emulation again.

In the meantime, let's hope no one starts looking too deeply into Ryujinx.

In other news

  • The first emulator for iOS launched, but... While iGBA might have appeared on the App Store this weekend, I can't recommend anyone download it. Because as it turns out, this app is basically an ad-filled copy of the real GBA4iOS, an open-source project and the precursor to Delta by Riley Testut. Regardless, it is still a full-fledged emulator, which allows you to load in ROMs through the iPhone's Files.app. So far, it was unclear if Apple would allow sideloading ROMs from outside of the emulators, so if this app is anything to go by, we're about to enter the golden age of emulation on iOS — and I am here for it!
  • Cabel Sasser on what it was like to create the Playdate. During this year's Game Developer Conference, Panic CEO Cabel Sasser took the stage to speak about the development of the Playdate handheld, one of the more interesting consoles currently on the market. It's a fascinating watch!
  • Fallout 4's next-gen update is coming soon. With the release of the new Fallout Series (on Amazon), Bethesda teased a new next-gen update for Fallout 4, which will bring performance and quality settings to PS 5 and the Xbox Series S/X. And for us Steam Deck owners, the game is now Steam Deck Verified.
  • We're getting many new indie games. During the triple-i initiative showcase (what a name), different indie studios announced several new games: We're getting a roguelike Prince of Persia game, Palworld will get an arena mode, a huge free update for Darkest Dungeon 2 is around the corner, Slay the Spire 2 has been revealed and much more.
  • The Aokzoe A2 Ultra is the next Intel-based handheld. This makes it another handheld, using the same processor found in the MSI Claw. While it is unclear exactly what chip the Chinese manufacturer plans to use, seeing alternatives to all the AMD-based systems means we'll see some competition in the space. This should hopefully move the whole industry forward.
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