How to download and play Wii/GameCube games on Android using the Dolphin Emulator

Relive your childhood!

Whether you took it out during a meetup with family and friends or loaded it up on your own, the Wii and the GameCube created special memories in many of our childhoods. Wii Sports, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros – these are just a few games that brought enjoyment for hours on end. Fortunately, it is possible to relive those games right now. All that is required is an Android smartphone and a bit of time to set things up. In this article, we cover absolutely everything you will need to do, in detail, to set up how to play Wii/GameCube games on an Android smartphone for free.

How to play Wii/GameCube games on Android for free

An emulator is simply a bit of software that lets one device act like another. In this context, we are looking for an app for Android which can simulate the Wii and the GameCube. It should not impact the device in any way, since it is just like any other mobile app. Luckily, there is one already established that can emulate both consoles and is trustworthy.

Step 1: Download the Dolphin Emulator

Dolphin Emulator
Image via Google Play

Head over to the Google Play Store and search for Dolphin Emulator. The requirements to download the emulator may be a little higher since they are pretty recent consoles. Refer to this web page here to check.

Step 2: Download some Wii/GameCube games

The Dolphin Emulator will not come with games pre-installed. Games must be downloaded separately from the Internet. Since there are a ton of different websites to download games for emulators, there is a chance some are not safe, so tread carefully. These two links for Wii games and GameCube games are good places to look. From a legal perspective, just ensure you own a physical copy of the games before obtaining a ROM file of that game.

Once you have found your desired game, follow the instructions to download it to your device. There may be some slightly new terminology on the website. A ROM is a name commonly used when referring to games run on emulators. Literally, ROM stands for Read-Only Memory, and in this context, a ROM is a copy of a game’s read-only memory.

Put simply, an emulator ROM is just a digital version of a game cartridge. The game files for the Wii and GameCube can vary in size, though the Wii games can be particularly large. It can be a good idea to find out what the file size of the game is before downloading, to ensure there is enough space free on the mobile storage.

Step 3: Extract and Organise the game files

The game should be downloaded either as a .zip file or as a .7z file. To retrieve the actual game file, we must first extract the folder. To do this, simply navigate to the file on a files manager app and hit extract. A good file manager to use is ZArchiver, available to download for free on the Google Play Store.

Wii/GameCube games extracted
Image via Dolphin Emulator

The WII games should end in .nkit.iso, and GamCube games should end in .iso. Keeping all the game files organized in folders helps make them more accessible for later steps.

Step 4: Loading up the games

Now back on the Dolphin Emulator app, click on the relevant menu for the Wii/GameCube using the navigation bar. Then, hit the + button in the bottom right. In the pop-up, locate the folder where the game file is stored on your device and allow access to that folder for the Dolphin emulator.

Dolphin Emulator games Mario
Image via Dolphin Emulator

After that, the game should appear in the emulator, just click on the cover image and it should load up! The folder selected will be used for future games as well, which is why a folder dedicated to just Wii/GameCube games is very useful. Later on, when downloading new games, just add the files to that folder and they should appear in the emulator automatically. If not automatically, try clicking the refresh button at the top.

Step 5: Getting familiar with the controls and settings

The Wii games in particular are quite demanding resource-wise, so it may be a good idea to tone down some settings here and there. Hit the back button on your device, or use the gestures you would normally use to go back a page and this will open the emulator menu. There are a variety of things to do here, including taking screenshots, tweaking settings, and redesigning the overlay controls.

super mario galaxy gamecube wii
Image via Dolphin Emulator

It is also possible to hook up a controller to the emulator. Ensure it is connected to your device, then on the home page of the Dolphin emulator, click on the cog wheel at the top to open the settings menu. Navigate to the GameCube input or the Wii input sections, then bind the buttons on the controller to the relevant inputs. For the Wii, there have been various input devices ranging from classic controllers to Nunchuks, and even niche pieces like drums and guitars. It is possible to emulate these as well!

Did you find our article on how to play Wii/GameCube games for free on Android useful? Do let us know in the comments below!

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