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R4 3DS Affiliate Program


The R4 3DS Newsletter

ZX Spectrum Emulator zxDS For Nintendo 3DS

ZXDS Has been updated on February 12th, 2015.  The latest Version is now zxds 1.3.3 has now been released.  And while it is one of several ZX Spectrum emulators for the Nintendo DS, DSi and Nintendo 3DS XL systems, it is our very favorite.  It is by far the best ZX Spectrum emulator for the Nintendo hand held systems.


What You'll Need To Use ZXDS

You'll need just a few things in order to get up and running with ZXDS.  Please see the list below for what you'll need

Download and installation

Just download the archive using the link below, unpack it and copy the entire ZXDS directory (not just its content, but the directory itself) to the root of whatever device you use to run homebrew on your DS (or any other compatible model, like DSi or 3DS). Make sure that even the empty subdirectories are copied properly (in particular, make sure the /ZXDS/Saves directory is created, otherwise the save slots won't be saved permanently to your card). If you wish so, you may then relocate the ZXDS.nds to elsewhere on the card, like to the root itself, to make it more accessible.

You should also copy some tape, disk, snapshot or replay files to your card. Either TAP/TZX/PZX tape files, TRD/SCL disk files, SNA/Z80/SZX snapshots or RZX replay files are supported. You can place them anywhere you want, however the /ZXDS/Data directory is looked up first by default. For your convenience, I have included few Spectrum games and demos in the archive itself, so you can at least give it a go. And you can find pointers to much more software further down this page. In particular, don't miss my list of the recommended games.

Alternatively, if you have WiFi access, you can just rely on the /ZXDS/Data/Online directory and browse the plethora of files available online. If you wish, read the online.txt included in the ZXDS archive for more info.

Using the emulator

Simply run ZXDS the same way you run any other application.  When you load up your R4 3DS menu, you'll be greeted by the list of files you have on your micro SD Card, select ZXDS in order to load up the emulator.

Upon startup, just follow the built-in online help which shall provide you with all the instructions you will need (remember to turn the help off once you get familiar with individual icons and menus, it would only slow you down otherwise). You will basically need to load some file via Load File screen of I/O menu (pressing START gets you there quickly by default), then perhaps adjust controls via the Controls screen, and you are all set.

The control mapping can really make a difference, so make sure you customize it the way you like it most for any serious gaming. For example, in case you have problems pressing the diagonals, it helps to map the up direction to the B button as well. This way you can jump sideways with ease. And mapping the quick save and quick load actions to the shoulder buttons gives you an instant save and load at the touch of the button, priceless feature for the hardest parts of the game you are playing. And for even more complex game controls or for text adventure typing, the custom keyboard feature is a godsend, too. Make sure to check the bundled custom keyboard examples, and don't hesitate to create your own.

Check out some of the videos of ZXDS running on a Nintendo 3DS system.