How To Play Gamecube & Wii Games on Your Windows PC

This guide will show you how to use an emulator on your Windows PC, that will let you play games from the Nintendo GameCube & Wii platforms.

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There’s no denying that Nintendo is one of the best gaming companies out there. They have made a myriad of classics that are severely loved to this age regardless of how old they look like. A few examples, are the Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and the Kirby series. All of these games remain a critical hit and a commercial success that spawned several sequels and it still does.

Because of Nintendo having quality games on the Wii and the GC, it is quite difficult to track all of them. And no, collecting them all is not an option for some of us as it can get quite expensive to collect old goodies.

That is why an emulator exists, to let you play every Gamecube and Wii game, instead of wasting money on collecting games that are long gone. The emulator I am talking about is called Dolphin. This fine emulator is a work of art as it enables you to play any Gamecube or Wii game that you can think of. Come read about how to play Gamecube/Wii games on your Windows PC, today.

1.What’s Dolphin:

Dolphin is a free open-source emulator that is capable of running dozens of Gamecube and Wii games on Windows, Linux, macOS, and even on Android. The very first build of this emulator appeared back in 2003, but it sadly couldn’t emulate any game due to how it was just going through its first development phases. However, after troubled years into its creation, Dolphin finally succeeded at running commercial games properly from start to finish. Soon after the emulator gained support for Wii emulation, and a port for Linux and macOS, the developers aimed their efforts at developing a mobile version of the emulator for Android.

2.How to install Dolphin:

Dolphin is a standalone just like any emulator we showcased before. Meaning it doesn’t require any installation wizard. Installation is facile: extract the emulator from the zip, and you are good to go. As always, you should put your emulator into a folder other than main drive as sometimes the latter fails to save or even boot. Also note that you need all of the Microsoft visual c+ on your computer, otherwise, good luck booting up the emulator. (If it boots of course).

3.Where to get the games:

The internet is the bastion of everything you need. Just like previous emulators, we showcased before. You can obtain Gamecube and Wii games from sites such as Cdromance, Romsmania, or romsforever. Do not worry, these sites are perfectly, and easy to get the hang of pretty quickly. These sites not only have official GameCube/Wii games, but also undub video games. Meaning, games you can play with Japanese dub and English subtitles. In addition, they also provide Japan-only video games. So, why not go in and check an out yourself?

4.How to configure the emulator:

I. Configure controls:

Since Dolphin emulates both Gamecube and Wii controls, you’ll be met with different button mappings for each console. Luckily, it’s not that very difficult.

Gamecube:

If you want to configure your Gamecube controls using a keyboard or controller, simply head to options> controller settings> Gamecube controllers > port 1> configure. You will see a screen like the one below:

Wii:

If you want to configure your Wii controls, simply head to Options > Controller Settings > Wii Remotes > Wii Remote 1 > Configure.

Since the Wii controls are particularly different than the GameCube, you should check an eye out on the motion controls and IR tab like the one mentioned below:

This will come in handy if it’s the first time you experience Wii controls. Note, I do not recommend using a regular controller as it will become a pain in the ass quickly. That is why I recommend either using a mouse or buy an original Wii controller to get the full experience with zero annoyance.

II. Setting your games directory:

The photo was taken from Fantastyanime site

The first time you boot up your emulator, it will look like the picture on the left. Empty, right? no worries, you can make it flourish with tons of games. However, you always have two choices. Either loading the game directly by going to Open> the folder where your games reside> then double click, or fill the empty screen with all of your games like the picture shows on your right. At first, you’ll see a message like ”Dolphin could not find any GameCube/Wii ISOs or WADs” ”Double-click here to set a games directory…”

What you should do is double click on it. Next, you’ll be prompted to select the folder where you have put your games. After you do that, that’s it, you’ll see all of your games in front of you. To run a game, just double click on it and you are good to go.

III. Load a game:

So you have downloaded a game, and you can’t wait to play it. I know that feeling, don’t worry. Just like I explained above, to run a game, just press Open> the folder where your games reside> then double click, or do the trick I talked about as well. Note that your games should be either 7-Zip, or Winrar, and the games should be extracted before that emulator can recognize them. Other than that, it shouldn’t be difficult.

IV. Full-screen mode:

Dolphin loads game in window screen mode by default. Just like previous emulators press Alt+Enter to go full screen and press it again to go back to windowed mode.

V. Save your game:

Just like any emulator out there, Dolphin allows you to save your progress anytime, anywhere, or you can stick with the saves-in game. Anyway, to use any save state, simply head to save state> save state to the slot > then choose which one you want. You can also save using your keyboard by pressing Shift+F1. To load your game, simply press F1.

Although, I don’t recommend using this feature all the time as it may sometime corrupt your save, forcing you to restart the game. That is why it’s better to stick with the saves-in game most of the time. Before I close this section, I highly recommend checking this wiki for any issues you will encounter in the near future. It’s extremely helpful!

VI.Capture screenshots:

To capture a screenshot, simply F9 from your keyboard. You can do it from the menu as well by going to Emulation > Take Screenshot. Dolphin sends the screenshot to Documents > Dolphin Emulator > ScreenShots as a PNG image.

VII.Fast Forward:

Fast forward is the feature that speeds up the game. To activate it, hold down the Tab key

VIII. Configure the game settings:

 

Not all the games run perfectly, and not all of them run horribly. For example, there’s a bug on The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess where the game would drop from constant 60FPS to 15 FPS. That’s where this section will come in handy. Luckily, the emulator has built-in patches which can fix 99% of your problems. However, with this method, you can go even beyond. To change the settings of an individual game, simply right click, then properties, and then under the game config tab click ” edit config”.

Upon doing that, you’ll be presented with a blank notepad document where you can enter in overrides for any setting you desire.  Before you attempt to do anything, please check the Dolphin wiki for any setting.

Enter these overrides by writing them inside the notepad like it’s shown in the picture above. Once you’ve entered all the overrides you want, save and exit the Notepad file. To remove your tweaks, simply come back to this file and delete whatever changes you made.

5. Improve the emulator visuals:

Compared to nowadays, the Gamecube graphics may not please a lot of people. However, luckily with Dolphin emulator, you can improve the overall visuals of each game you throw at the program. The first time you boot the emulator into fullscreen, you will notice how pixelated the image like it’s shown in the picture. That’s because the emulator is set on default to run using your CPU power and to run smoothly on most low-end computers. Fortunately, you can fix that pretty easily.

On the emulator, click on Options> Graphics Settings. Wait for a second, and a window will appear like the one below:

Click on the enhancements tab. This tab is the main tab that can either improve the visuals or screw them for good.

With Dolphin, you can increase the internal resolution up to 5k. However, make sure your monitor and hardware are capable of handling it. Otherwise, you will encounter sudden slowdowns. Low-end computers can run up to 2x native with no problems at all. For Mid-end, 4x native is the maximum, and for High-end, you can go the extra miles and enable 5k with ease. Make sure to head over to the Dolphin wiki to stay up to date with intensive and non-intensive games on the emulator.

6-Anti-Aliasing:

In addition to increasing the internal resolution, you can enable anti-aliasing as well. One thing for sure is that a low-end PC can handle a handful of Gamecube games at 2x to 4x. However, when it comes to Wii games, only a Mid-end or a High-end pc is capable of doing such a thing. Here’s how to enable the feature: On the emulator, click on Options> Graphics Settings. A window similar to the one above will appear.

Note that enabling MSAA will put heavy stress on your CPU which will use your CPU to its limit. Make sure you have a CPU with high clock speed, more than 4 cores. (That’s for Wii games)

7-Post-Processing Effects

(Photo was taken from fantasyanime website)

While this section is not necessary, I wanted to include it for informative reasons. Post-processing is just a feature that applies several filters like the ones you see above. I sometimes use it just to have a bit of laugh ( not my problem if I’m weird, no? ). Anyway, to access this section, just do like the above: Options> Graphics Settings.
Afterwards, search for post-processing and search for whatever option you want to use. Dolphin will give you an instant preview of the effect you have chosen.

8.The fix to several issues:

 

1. Black Screen:

There are a couple of reasons why the emulator may display a black screen when running a game, this can be due to a lot of reasons. However, we’re here to fix them.

*Make sure the game you are running is actually a Gamecube and Wii game, and download the games from the sites I have cited above.

*Update your DirectX to the latest version along with installing all of the Microsoft essential files ( like Visual C+, Framework)

*Maybe you are running a newer version of Dolphin. Try rolling back to older versions and see if it helps.

*Make sure your GPU is updated, or do the opposite and downgrade your drivers to previous ones.

2.Failed to load D3Dcompiler_4..dll issue:

This is always a DirectX problem. To fix it,  update your DirectX to the latest version.

9. How to use cheats:

When I first played Viewtiful Joe on the emulator, I was stuck in the last level. No matter what I do, I end up receiving the ” game over ” screen. Luckily, I stumbled across an option on the emulator that enables cheats, and boy, I finally managed to finish that dreadful level I was stuck in for days. To enable cheats, go to Option> Configuration. Then, in the settings window, put a check in enable cheats. ( Because without it, cheats will never work). After this, right-click a Gamecube or Wii game in your games library, and then left-click on properties. In the windows that pops up, Click AR Codes and you’ll see something similar to the picture above.

10. Conclusion:

Dolphin Emulator has proved to be more than useful to allow people to experience a handful of Gamecube/Wii games they may have missed it in the past. There’s no other emulator that does the things this program performs. It is such a marvel by all means.

Disclosure: We may sometimes use affiliate links to reputable retailers like Amazon.

FreeckyCake
FreeckyCake
Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but still open to any game in the industry if you ask me! My favourite game is Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams and nothing comes close to it to this very day imo. I highly recommend you to play it!

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