The Dolphin Emulator is a video games emulator for GameCube and Nintendo Wii consoles that was originally launched for Windows in 2003. This super-cool app has developed alongside digital technology to the point where it can now be installed on Android, iOS, and various computing platforms.

The open-source gaming software gives users the ability to play classics like Super Smash Bros, Mario Cart and The Legend of Zelda. Not only does this awesome app allow you to play the best games of the past, it also gives them a face-lift, allowing you to play them in super high-definition graphics the likes of which your GameCube could never have imagined.

Why tinker around with Fruit Ninja when you can revisit the classics of video game history – after all, there’s no school like the old school!

“So, how can I use Dolphin Emulator?” I hear you ask. Read on, dear reader, read on…

Compatibility

Dolphin Emulator can be used with a wide range of devices including Windows 7 and above, Linux, Mac, Android 4.0 and above and all 64bit Android devices.

We recommend using it on Windows. Although it can be used on a mobile, this is an alpha version and is not going to deliver the same gaming experience as its PC counterpart. A PC with 3.4GHz processing speed and an i5 or i7 processor or above will deliver the best experience, while dual cores won’t make any difference.

Assuming you’ve got any of the compatible devices, you can start enjoying the Dolphin Emulator –  let’s take a look at some of the best features.

Best features of Dolphin Emulator:

Dolphin Emulator comes with a bundle of great features, unmatched by other emulators. Here are some of our favourites:

Graphics updates

There’s nothing like playing your childhood favourite games in high-definition graphics. Individual games are constantly being tweaked with, de-bugged and improved which makes playing oh-so-pleasurable! While the Nintendo Wii only allows up to 480p graphics, the Dolphin Emulator allows up to 5k – which is 2880p – a massive upgrade to the original, with incredibly crisp graphics!

Play old-school games

In fact, even just being able to play all our favourite games from our youth is a great feature in itself. The list of games available on Dolphin Emulator is always growing, but seeing as it’s been operational in one form or another since 2003, that list is already pretty huge, including racing, fighting and FPS games, as well as many more.

Open source

The fact that it’s an open-source developmental project means that there are constant updates by different programmers. This means that a fresh pair of eyes is never far away to scrutinise the app and make sure it’s everything that it could be.

Long-standing project

There’s a certain level of trust that you can have in the Dolphin Emulator seeing as it’s been operational for so long. The blood, sweat and toil that has gone into making it what it is today are always evident, and it makes you appreciate it just that little bit more.

Legal to use

While ripping a game isn’t legal, using an emulator is. Dolphin Emulator is perfectly legal to install and use, and they’ve never faced a legal backlash from Nintendo for what they’re doing. That being said, we should reiterate that downloading a ROM of a game online for free is not legal, and should be avoided. Ripping your own old games is perfectly legal.

Free to use

Everything always tastes better when it’s free, right? Dolphin Emulator was launched in 2003 as freeware for Windows, and since then, it’s never had a price tag attached to it.

Easy to use

Installing and using the Dolphin Emulator is a walk in the park: read on for details.

Now that you’ve got an idea of the pros, you probably want to hear the other side, right? Well, nothing is perfect and Dolphin Emulator is no exception.

Downsides of Dolphin Emulator

Some of the weaknesses of the emulator include the fact that there are occasional bugs, although these are always being addressed by independent developers.

The Dolphin Emulator for Android is an alpha version and therefore isn’t as effective as its Windows counterpart. While this is a downside, it must be remembered that Windows is the best platform to use it with as the games themselves require a certain level of processing to play properly.

Now you’re probably wondering how to install the real thing. Admittedly, it’s a bit more complex than your run-of-the-mill application. Read on to learn how to get Dolphin Emulator up and running on your device.

How to install Dolphin Emulator

First, make sure you have adequate space. Once you’re sure you have enough space on your hard-drive, open your browser and search for an archive software such as 7-Zip (64bit). You can also use WinRar if you’re using Windows. Once it’s installed, you’ll have to restart your device before continuing.

You should then install DirectX and Visual C++ (64bit), which are both essential components to running the Dolphin Emulator. You can install these online in the same way you did 7-Zip.

Now you want to download the Dolphin Emulator 5.0 for PC or Mac from the link at the bottom of this article. Once this is done, you must extract the file from your archive (WinRar, 7-Zip). Once you see it, open it, and make sure to run the program as an administrator for better performance.

To download Dolphin Emulator for Android, first, you must allow downloads from unknown sources. To do this go to Settings > Security > check to allow “unknown sources”. This means that you can now install applications from publishers who aren’t official from the Google Play Store or App Store.

Next, download Dolphin Emulator from the link at the bottom of this article. Once it’s installed, click to allow it to access your files. Now you’re done, and you’re probably sat there with an empty games folder looking back at you… How do you get the games? Let’s find out.

How to download games for Dolphin Emulator

Now you’ve installed the emulator, you want to get some dolphin games to play. This is a simple process, and there are several ways you can get games into your library.

First, and the way we recommend you do, is to buy your Wii and GameCube games from a licensed retailer and then use software to rip them onto your device. You can use Homebrew to do this: type it into your browser to find the official website.

The alternative to this is to simply download the ROM files online using a torrent software such as U-torrent. Once those are on your device, you can open them using WinRar or 7-Zip and drag them into your Dolphin Emulator file on your documents in your hard drive.

This is piracy, which is illegal and not recommended. The game developer will never be given due credit for their hard work if you insist on downloading games illegally for free.

Now on a higher note, it’s the 21st century and the world of gaming is more exciting than ever before, with virtual reality and immersive content becoming more and more jaw-dropping. Want to make your gaming experience a little more ‘Ready Player One’? Well then, let’s have a look at some of the variants of Dolphin Emulator to feed your curiosity.

Variants of Dolphin Emulator

Dolphin Emulator keeps users busy with some seriously cool and sometimes high-tech innovations. Here’s a few to show you just how far we’ve all come since Sonic:

Dolphin VR

Undoubtedly, the thing with the potential to change the face of gaming (and gamers) forever, it didn’t take Dolphin developers long to jump onto VR. Dolphin VR is a third party project which aims to literally make you live the game.

Dolphin Triforce

This is another very cool addition to the Dolphin Emulator. Dolphin Triforce allows users to play the games developed by Triforce Arcade – namely the Legend of Zelda series. The project is no longer active, but the source code is still out there for any developer to tinker with.

Conclusion

Dolphin Emulator is a fantastic platform that really brings out a whole new side to the classic games of yesteryear. If you’re looking for some quality old-school fun, or just something new to spice up your leisure time, Dolphin Emulator is for you, and you don’t even need to buy a console!

The emulator has been upgraded so many times by such an extensive open-source team of developers that its run-speed and capability has been massively upgraded over time. There are still some bugs – it isn’t flawless… but it’s damn near close!