How to fix MelonDS Android emulator not loading ROMs

MelonDS is a very popular Nintendo DS emulator for Windows, macOS and Linux. There is an unofficial port of it available for mobile devices, and it’s called the MelonDS Android port.

MelonDS Android emulator

Maybe you have tried it but had problems getting the games to start? Here’s how to fix MelonDS Android emulator not loading ROMs.

I have been using Drastic DS emulator for a few years, and until recently it was considered the only good option for playing DS games on Android phones and tablets.

While Drastic is still great, the MelonDS Android emulator has proven to be competent. And unlike the former which is a paid app, the latter is free and open source. It’s still in a pretty early development stage, and v1.0.0 beta was released recently.

How to fix MelonDS Android emulator not loading ROMs

1. First, you need to ensure you have the BIOS files required for the emulator to work. You can get them via a quick Google search.

How to fix MelonDS Android emulator not loading ROMs

The archive that I used is called NDS Firmware & BIOs.7z and weighs about 280 KB.

2. Extract the archive (use the Zarchiver app for 7z archives) to any folder of your choice. This is really important, but the folder has to be on your device’s internal storage. Do not place the BIOS files on your SD card, this is what is causing the emulator to crash to your homescreen or the app’s main screen.

3. Download and install the MelonDS Android emulator on your device.

4. Upon the first run, the emulator will prompt you to select the folder with the BIOS and firmware files, specifically, Bios7.bin, Bios9.bin, and firmware.bin.

MelonDS Android emulator select bios directory

Choose the directory that you extracted the contents to (in step 2).

MelonDS Android emulator select bios directory 2

5. Next the emulator will prompt you to select the NDS games folder, pick the directory where your games are located.

MelonDS Android emulator select rom folder

 

The games can be on your phone’s external storage.

MelonDS Android emulator select game folder

 

That’s it, now you know how to fix MelonDS Android emulator not loading ROMs.

MelonDS Android emulator select game list

The emulator also supports DSi games, but you will need the BIOS and Firmware for that as well, which you can find on the page linked to in step 1.


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Ashwin Karthik
Originally a Business Grad, Ashwin is a natural at testing and reviewing apps & games for Windows and Android Apps, as well as flashing ROMs. A proud owner of a Redmi K20, he is also an avid gamer and loves playing on his Computer, PS4 & Nintendo consoles.

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