Want to take a trip down memory lane by using the best GameCube emulator Android can run for some retro gaming action? Here’s a complete guide on the one and only Dolphin Emulator for playing GameCube games on Android the easy way.

For the 90s kids among us, growing up in the golden age of gaming with some of the most iconic consoles released in the 2000s was a time we simply cannot forget. The release of the PlayStation 2 by Sony and Microsoft joining the gaming arena with the original Xbox marked the beginning of a new era in gaming. To disrupt the gaming industry once again which it had owned for decades, Nintendo released the GameCube, which quickly became a fan favorite for not only resonating with the fans of the previous generation Nintendo 64 but also due to the fact that the GameCube came with dozens of unique game titles.

However, almost two decades later, the Nintendo GameCube is long outdated and multiple generations of gaming consoles have already hit the market. This hasn’t stopped the retro gaming junkies from reminiscing the good old days and enjoying the exclusive titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Sunshine, Resident Evil 4 and many others. But what if you don’t have a Nintendo GameCube anymore and can’t seem to find an old one online without burning a hole through your wallet? This is where the leap in technology has got you covered, with the invention of a software called the Dolphin Emulator.

Dolphin Emulator – The Best GameCube Emulator Android Can Run

Although the popular GameCube emulator has existed for Windows, Linux, and Mac for quite a while, the release of Dolphin Emulator for Android in 2013 changed everything. Bringing best of the retro gaming console to a handheld mobile platform has made the Dolphin Emulator a preferred choice for gamers who want a taste of retro without having to find one of the few living consoles out there and be able to game on the go.

Although the Dolphin Emulator for Android is still in beta, it is officially available on the Google Play Store and updated based on a monthly cycle. Similar to how most game console emulators work, you will not find any Nintendo GamCube game titles included with the Dolphin Emulator. This is necessary to keep the software legal, so you will have to manually fetch .ISO files to play them with the best GameCube Emulator Android can work with.

Dolphin Emulator for Android Isn’t Perfect

Being the one and only GameCube emulator for Android, Dolphin Emulator has become a popular name in the retro gaming community. Despite being in the works for years now, Dolphin Emulator is far from being perfect, and there are plenty of reasons why users continue to depend on the PC version of the emulator instead of the Android version.

Compatibility – The Dolphin Emulator on Android does suffer from compatibility issues with lag and crashes reported. Problems with game titles are reflected in the fact that it offers a 27% “Perfect” rating for game titles, and a 63% “Playable” rating, which is still impressive considering the fact that the Nintendo GameCube has more than 550 game titles.

No GPU Support – Although the graphics drivers on Android have improved significantly in the past years, they do not offer the seamless performance that GPU drivers on a computer would. While most of the new Android flagship devices are capable of running the Dolphin Emulator smoothly, older Android devices may have trouble with the regressions and fixes that vary from release to release.

Rooting Recommended – The team that is working behind the Dolphin Emulator has mentioned that rooting your Android device does increase the chances of having a smoother gaming experience. You can remove the governing agent of the clock speed of the processor by rooting the device, but the process of rooting also opens up doors to other security and performance issues which may not seem like a fair tradeoff.

How to Play Nintendo GameCube Games on Android

The Dolphin Emulator for Android may not be perfect, but since it essentially the only way you can play a GameCube game on an Android device, that makes the best choice out there by default. If you are feeling nostalgic and want to remember those good old days of retro gaming without having to hunt for an old yet working Nintendo GameCube, here how you can enjoy the fun on the go.

Step 1: Download the Dolphin Emulator App

  1. From the home screen of your Android phone or tablet, head over to the Google Play Store app.
  2. Use the search bar to find the Dolphin Emulator app or download it using the link given here – Download Link.
  3. Download the Dolphin Emulator app and launch it once it has been installed on your Android device.
  4. The first time you launch the Dolphin Emulator, grant it permission to access the Storage section by pressing the Allow button on the pop-up menu.

Step 2: Fetch the GameCube Game .ISO File

Each and every Nintendo GameCube game title that has been created is available in a compressed processing format called .ISO. The .ISO file format is incompatible with Android since Android OS runs on .APK files, which is why you need to the emulator as the middleman. With the help of the Dolphin Emulator, you are able to run these incompatible .ISO files with little to no issues, but you still need to source these .ISO files separately.

For ethical and legal reasons, we cannot highlight how you fetch these .ISO files, but a simple search on Google can bring up plenty of sources from where you can download Nintendo GameCube game titles easily and quickly. For reference, ROMsMania and ROMsMode are some of the reliable websites from where you can download the .ISO file for the Nintendo GameCube game that you wish to play.

In some cases, the file that you download may not be in .ISO format, but compressed in .RAR or .7z format. Before you can use the file to see if the best GameCube emulator Android can run it, you will need to extract it. To do so, there are a bunch of useful apps available on the Google Play Store, and we’ve chosen the 7Zipper app for this particular guide.

  1. Download and install the 7Zipper app from the Google Play Store (Download Link).
  2. Open the 7Zipper app and grant it permission to access the Storage section of the device.
  3. On the main screen of the app, navigate to the folder where you’ve saved the compressed GameCube game file.
  4. Scroll down in the folder to find the compressed .7z file and tap on it.
  5. Press the OK button to begin the file extraction process and wait as it may take a while for it to complete.

Now that you have to .ISO file of the game ready for launch, you can begin the process of adding the game to the Dolphin Emulator and play in on your Android device.

Step 3: Launch the Game

Once you have the GameCube .ISO file in its raw form ready for deployment, all you need to do is add it to the Dolphin Emulator app. Once you have the game added to the emulator, you will be able to launch, manage saved data, and configure control settings right from there.

  1. Open the Dolphin Emulator app on your Android phone or tablet.
  2. Press the “+” icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  3. Using the navigation screen, find your way to the folder where you have the GameCube .ISO file downloaded and extracted.
  4. Once you’ve found the .ISO file in a folder, press the button at the bottom called “Select This Directory”.
  5. Now head back to the main screen and you should be able to the see the newly added Nintendo GameCube game title to the Dolphin Emulator.
  6. Tap on the game icon and wait for the game to launch.
  7. You will be able to view a virtual gamepad right on the screen, and even choose to hook up a Bluetooth controller to play the game with physical buttons.

Under most circumstances, the gameplay remains smooth with a high framerate, owning to the fact that the display is not full screen. You can choose to play using the virtual gamepad, or connect a controller, and the Dolphin Emulator allows you to reconfigure the buttons either way.

Final Words

Ever since our mobile phones have been powered by processors and hardware that can compete with desktop computers, it has broken the glass ceiling of performance that you can expect from a handheld device. This is exactly what is happening with the Dolphin Emulator, which is arguably the best Nintendo GameCube emulator Android can get at the moment. Granting you the ability to relive the best games of your childhood with the ease of being able to do it all on the go is what makes Dolphin Emulator so enjoyable.

Are you among the thousands of users who are using the Dolphin Emulator for play GameCube games on Android phone and tablet to relive their youth? Do you need help in understanding how the Dolphin Emulator works and how you can use it to play GameCube games the easy way? Be sure to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can.


How can I Play Old GameCube Games?

The same way you'd play any other GameCube game - through the use of a decent emulator. As we mentioned above, Dolphin gets the job done for most people.

Follow our aforementioned instructions from above and you should be good to go. Just keep in mind that no emulator is perfect. There will always be a number of issues that you can run into and that applies to emulation in general.

After all, you're basically "translating" code from a different OS to one that our current software can understand. And that's no easy task. It takes years of work to get emulators into a stable state. And even then you'll be looking at numerous games that need very specific settings to run. Many will refuse to run at all.

So, nothing really changes with newer or older games. As long as it's the same platform - you should be able to use the same emulator. And if it doesn't work, try Googling for the correct settings cause sometimes that's a necessity.

Is Dolphin Game Emulator Legal?

At this point, you're probably wondering whether using Dolphin, or any other emulator is legal. In fact, it can be both legal and illegal - depending on its kind of use.

The emulator itself is perfectly legal. The problems only start when games get into the picture.

The only way to obtain games and "put" them into a mobile phone is by either downloading them or by ripping a copy of your original game by using a PC. Once it's in digital form, decrypted, and converted to a playable format by the emulator, you should technically be able to run it.

The problem is that creating or obtaining copies of such games violates terms of use. So, getting a GameCube game to run on an emulator is technically illegal no matter what.

Still, if you already own the game and have legally purchased it, then we'd personally say that playing it on an emulator is at least morally okay.

At the end of the day, you're doing all of that only for personal use and you've purchased the games as well. So, chances are nobody is gonna come after you.

Keep in mind that downloading games that you don't own is piracy and can be punishable by law in certain countries such as Germany.

How to Add Games To Dolphin Emulator Android

As we mentioned above, there are mainly two ways to add games to your emulator. You can either create a playable copy of your original disc by using a PC - or you can download that copy and extract it directly with your phone.

Again, both options are considered illegal. But, as long as you've purchased the game, you're technically in the clear.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Find a website that hosts GameCube games that are ready to play
  2. Download the game/s that you own and want to emulate
  3. Unpack it by using the appropriate software
  4. Remember the folder that it's going to be put in
  5. Then find it by using Dolphin and launch it

As we mentioned above, there may be a few cases where you'll have to apply very specific settings depending on the game. If that happens, just use Google to find the appropriate ones.

What Systems Can Dolphin Emulate?

Dolphin can emulate 2 systems:

  1. GameCube
  2. Wii

The exact playability and compatibility that you'll get can greatly vary depending on the game, the phone/hardware that you're using, and your emulator settings as well.

At the moment of writing this article, 60.5% of the Will and GameCube games that are out there are playable while only 34.6% work perfectly. 3.8% can start before crashing, 0.5% can reach the main menu, and 0.6% don't work at all.

So, keep in mind that Dolphin can emulate two systems. But, just like with any other emulator, it doesn't do so perfectly. There's still work that needs to be done on their side. And also don't forget that your phone's hardware plays a massive role on how fluently you'll be able to run the emulator.

Where to Download Games for Dolphin Emulator

There are plenty of websites to download GameCube and Wii games (Hopefully you'll choose the ones you already legally own). But, you also have to keep an eye out for malicious ones.

Vimm's Lair is one of the most popular and safest ones. It can be a bit slow and it's not about your connection - it's about the website's servers. Even with Fiber, you'll be restricted to a few hundred kilobytes per second.

Still, we'd take a slow but reliable website over something that hosts tons of malware at any given day.

That's all for now. Feel like we forgot to mention something important? Got anything wrong? Then let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!

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Best GameCube Emulator Android Can Run – Complete Guide

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