How to Set Up and Use Dolphin

Miss the GameCube? We feel you.
Ash Ash (362)

If you want to emulate GameCube games, Dolphin makes that more than possible. For those who haven't had the opportunity to check it out before, now is a great time. The Dolphin software has been refined after years of use (alongside a dedicated community) and the average gaming PC has enough juice to handle the workload.

What is Dolphin?

Dolphin is a Nintendo GameCube and Wii emulator. The platform is perfectly legal and doesn't contain any original code from Nintendo, but rather was developed independently to emulate GameCube and Wii ROMs (games).

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Some games require a little more power than others to operate smoothly. For the most part, these specs are enough to get you off the ground with Dolphin.

Software requirements

You will need a system running a 64-bit version of either Windows (7 with Service Pack 1 or higher), MacOS (10.10 Yosemite or higher), or a Linux OS.

Hardware requirements

CPU: 3 GHz, Dual-Core

GPU: Direct3D 10.0, OpenGL 3.0

You may be able to get away with specs just under this, but it's best to aim for more processing power than you need for optimal results.

The packages you need to install Dolphin are available on the official Dolphin website. Check to see what installer you need for your OS and save the files to your machine.

Dolphin Emulator

Once you install Dolphin, you can launch it and run games using files known as ROMs. There are plenty of places online to find the ROMs you need, we even have a whole guide dedicated to finding sources for free and legal ROMS.

Loading ROMs

You can open a ROM file using the Open option in Dolphin. You will have to navigate to the download location of the ROM you want to play.


Most USB gamepads will automatically detect. However, you can adjust controller settings like button mapping under Options > Controller Settings.

Because Dolphin is a leading emulation platform for both GameCube and Wii ROMs, it's a popular option for packages like RetroArch which combine many emulators (known as cores) into one downloadable platform.

Lakka is another system that makes use of the Dolphin emulation software. If you're into retro gaming emulation, you should check out our guide comparing RetroArch vs Lakka to see which gaming platform looks the best to you.

It's easier than it sounds!
Ash Ash (362)

The Nintendo Wii is compatible with GameCube controllers. The console natively supports them and even has dedicated ports just for them.