Dolphin – The Nintendo Gamecube / Wii Emulator


Dolphin Emulator Overview

Dolphin is the worlds first and only Nintendo Gamecube / Wii emulator available for both Windows and Mac OS. It is still the only Wii emulator for PC available. It was something of a game changer when it was released as it was able to play commercial Wii games when the console was still a top selling device. Dolphin allows you to launch both Gamecube and Wii games stored as disk images on your computer either in a window on your desktop or in full screen mode. Unlike the Playstation 2 and XBOX 360 the Nintendo Wii was the only games console of that generation that did not support high definition gaming. Dolphin allows you to play Wii games in up to 4X the resolution of the Wii console making the games look stunning and better than on the original console. This month the team of developers behind Dolphin have released the long awaited Dolphin version 5.0 (initial release). This is the first release of version 5.0 with much more work to be done before 5.0 final.

What is surprising about a system emulator cable of playing games that are so recent is the low system requirements Dolphin has. On their website Dolphin simply state that it requires a fast CPU and a graphics card supporting Pixel Shader 2.0. We have found that a now very affordable Intel I3 CPU is more than enough for the software and the majority of gaming graphics cards available today will do the job and will play in the highest available resolutions. The Dolphin  Nintendo Wii emulator download size is just 4.39mb. Dolphin makes use of multiple CPU cores so the more the merrier. One thing to be aware of when emulating Wii games is the Wiimote controller. Dolphin allows you to configure any PC game controller to work with your emulated games but of course most don’t support the motion sensing the Wiimote does. We found that the XBOX 360 wireless controller worked well with a large portion of the games that do not need motion sensing. For the games that do require motion sensing add a simple Bluetooth adaptor and Dolphin supports the connection of a Wiimote to your PC and it works very well indeed. Controller rumble features are also emulated and it also supports emulated memory cards for full game saving functionality. Dolphin can also emulate applications stored in Wii channels so you can play all of your favourite downloaded content. Since version 4.0 of Dolphin 3D is supported so you can fully utilise your 3D TVs and glasses which is again something that the Wii itself could never do. The Dolphin emulator also allows you to play Wii homebrew. Dolphin homebrew is executed in exactly the same way as Wii images.

Best Game Controllers to be used with Dolphin

[easyazon_table attributes=”UPC,ProductGroup,Brand,EAN” identifiers=”B003VD56KC,B000MGVAAQ,B016KBVBCS,B0036IBST0,B0015PHMFU” locale=”UK” orientation=”at” tag=”racirhyt-21″ text=”Official Xbox 360 Wireless Controller|Official Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver|Steam Controller|Official Wii Remote (Wiimote) Control|Universal Arcade Stick for PC”]

With Dolphin you cannot boot original Wii disks as the file system used is different to that of a PC or Mac. You therefore need to convert the disks you own to images on your hard disk. This will be covered in a separate post. One of the advantages of emulating Wii and Gamecube games over consoles like the PS2 is the size of the images. Generally Wii games are very small and will not take up huge amounts of space in your media library.

Dolphin Mario

Dolphin Emulator Compatibility

Dolphin is fairly complete and you won’t find many Gamecube / Wii games that are not supported by the software in some way. There are a number of games that have the odd glitch but this will not affect your enjoyment. The good news is the long awaited Dolphin 5.0 has this month had it first initial release and in the final version of 5.0 the majority of these are hoped to be addressed. Dolphin currently has 11.6% of commercial games perfect with 72.3% fully playable. A full game compatibility list can be found at

Download Dolphin Emulator

To download Dolphin emulator visit the link mentioned above.

Installing Dolphin Into Your HTPC Media Centre

There are a number of ways you can fully integrate the Dolphin Emulator into your HTPC media centre. Firstly you will need to download and install the software from the Dolphin website. If you are using XBMC / Kodi you need to install the Advanced Launcher plugin. This will allow you to set the location of the Dolphin executable and your rom set. Once this is done all of your favourite games can be presented with full box art in exactly the same way as your movies and music. If you are running a gaming media centre the Hyperspin package can fully integrate Dolphin and the Hyperlaunch tool is available to configure this.

Dolphin was a real break through on the system emulation scene and it continues to impress today. It will extend the capabilities of your HTPC media centre giving you a truly additive gaming experience.