How to use Dolphin Emulator?

In the gaming world, we have two of the best game consoles ever made. So it's only right that the Dolphin emulator which emulates both consoles on PC is one of the best emulators ever made.


Dolphin is a completely free and open source platform which implies that it is accessible on all operating systems namely Windows (64-bit), MacOS 10, Linux, and Android. Now we will see how to install the dolphin emulator and for the sake of better understanding and simplicity, we will see the installation on windows 10 PC as it’s the most widely used system.

While installing the dolphin emulator, there are mainly two kinds of versions to choose from:

Stable Version

Releases once or twice a year

Development Version

Releases as many as multiple versions in a single day

Use if you want to play super safe. Issues don’t usually arise and are fixed quickly even if they do arise.

Note: A good way to do it is to use the latest development version and update it weekly

Once you have selected the version to install, download the version. It will be downloaded in .zip format. It’s a compressed file

Use an extracting tool like  WinRAR archiver  to extract the file in the desired location

It is recommended to extract it in a specific location in a drive with ample disk space so all the games can be saved in this folder in the future too.

It's time to get started! Launch the Dolphin emulator by clicking on the desktop icon

If the desktop icon is not there, go to the dolphin X64 folder and search for the executable file (.exe) to start it for the first time.

Adding games to Dolphin

  1. Select config
  2. Set the basic and advanced settings as you wish
  3. 3.Click paths -> click add -> add the folder containing games
  4. Go back to the main menu and hit refresh
  5. What you have now is the list of games stoking in that directory
  6. Not seeing banners of certain is no reason to be concerned since they will soon appear when you play and make a saved file in those games

Configuration by game settings

1 One of the biggest flaws of an emulator is the fact that configuring a game by game settings is very confusing and even after so many years, it’s still unpredictable. Some games play smoothly with one graphics setting and others with another.

Certain games run awesome at 60 FPS with full anti-aliasing whereas others don't. . Since it is not a fixed science, the only way to go is trial-and-error. This means sometimes we'll have to tweak an individual game's configuration so that the main settings get overwritten for that particular game.

2 Individual game settings can be changed by right-clicking the game icon in the dolphin main menu.

3 Game icon(right click) -> Properties-> Game config -> edit config.

4 Blank white notepad will appear for entering overrides for the setting as you wish.

5 From the dolphin wiki page, you can acquire the full list of settings. Write the setting heading in square brackets. And then the desired tweak. Eg: [video_settings] AspectRatio=1.

Checking Game Compatibility

  • 1 It is recommended that before playing any game in dolphin, the compatibility of the system should be checked. This can be done by the game icon (right click) -> wiki or search on dolphin wiki.
  • 2 This game’s wiki page will show the needed information on compatibility issues. It will also direct you with links to white notepad codes needed to alter the settings.
  • 3 Use this information to ensure your system is compatible with the game that you’re about to play

Controller configuration 

Controller configuration is an integral step before starting to play any game. Firstly, check if you have any of these controllers available with you: Xbox360, Xbox One, and various Logitech gamepads. These XInput gamepads will be recognized by the PC but still have to be configured manually:

  • Playstation ¾ controller: use the SCP Toolkit to recognize this XInput controller.
  • GameCube Controller: it can be recognized with some configurations, and by using the GameCube Wii U controller adapter or GameCube Mayflash adapter.
  • Wii Remote: go to setting and use the Real Wiimote option and a Bluetooth adapter

NOTE: Dolphin games are best when played with controllers as they were supposed to be. But a mouse and keyboard can also be used.

Graphics Setting

A walkthrough of the graphic settings in the dolphin emulator


OpenGL: Helps in reducing in-game issues and gives excellent well supported performance.

DirectX 11 (Direct3D 11): Followed by OpenGL in a superior support. Performance might vary with the game.

Vulkan DirectX 12: It is experimental because it can greatly increase the performance but at the cost of glitches and errors.

Software Renderer: It's mostly a tool for developers and not gamers as it's very slow and doesn't have enhancements options.

Aspect ratio: Since it may differ from game to game, it's better left on auto.

Fullscreen: Can be set to auto or native resolution.

Vsync: It will reduce screen tearing but will reduce the performance.

TIP: Enable Show FPS while experimenting in the settings so you are assured to not mess something up.


Internal resolution: Game resolution greatly affects your FPS (frames per second).

Anti-aliasing: It is performance intensive since it reduces jaggies in images to make them clear and sharper.

Anisotropic filtering: It is free visual fidelity. Set to 8x or 16x in case of performance issues.

Scaled EFB copy and per-pixel lighting: These will render a good visual experience by increasing the picture quality with hardly any decrease in performance.

Forced texture filtering: It’s better to leave it disabled as it boosts the visual but causes lag issues in Mario sunshine and other such games.

Widescreen hack: It is better to keep it disabled and add the required widescreen codes manually.

Disable fog: disabling fog might look better visually but it might hamper the games which use fog actively like horror games.

Hacks - Skip EFB Access from CPU: The performance boost is not worth the damaged compatibility and playability. So it’s preferable to not mess with it.

Ignore format changes: It increases performance without any drawback but it is better to have it disabled in the case of certain games.

Store EFB copies to texture only: As it increases the performance, it decreases the accuracy. Enabling this setting is usually fine except for some games.

Texture cache: Enabling it helps in GPU texture decoding especially in the case of discrete GPUs

External Frame Buffer (XFB): Unless a certain game requires it, it is better kept disabled.

Other: Options are just tweaks and custom changes in performance and visual improvements.

Advanced: (Mostly used by developers)

Load custom texture and pre-fetch custom texture: fetch textures that are safe to use.

Enable progressive scan: it won't do anything in most cases so it's safe to enable.

Installing and launching dolphin on Android

Go to the google play store and download the following apps:

  • Dolphin emulator: With a 3.9-star rating and more than 1 million downloads, it is apparent that many many android users use this emulator too.
  • File manager: download if not already available. Eg: EU file explorer or Google files.
  • Extractor: an extracting tool like 7zipper or RAR 
  • Open the file manager, go to downloads and create a new folder there. Preferable names are GameCube, dolphin, games, etc.
  • Now you have to search for game ROMs online. So, Google search for “game ROMs for android”. Top results include “Romsmania” but I prefer
  • Select the desired console. In our case, it’s the GameCube console.
  • Download the game of your choice by either selecting one of the displayed ones or by searching for the one you want.
  • Keep in mind that the sizes of these games are in GBs. So:
  • Ensure you have wifi connection to not exhaust your mobile data.
  • Ensure your Android device (mobile/tablet) has enough space for it.
  • How well these games will run on your phone depends on the phone’s processing speed, RAM, refresh rate, etc.
  • If you find out the game you want to play is incompatible with your device, that is no reason to worry. Try again later in a few days with a newer version.

Go to the file manager:

  • Go to the Downloads folder
  • Search for the folder by the name of the game you just downloaded
  • Extract/unzip that folder in the same location
  • Then move the iso file to the dolphin/GameCube folder
  • Launch the dolphin emulator and hit refresh. The game you just desired has been added here. Go ahead and enjoy it!
  • To enjoy it more and get a better “gaming experience”, you can use a Bluetooth gamepad controller like the Ipega red knight or CLAW Shoot