Dolphin Emulator

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Dolphin program icon.png Dolphin Emulator
Type: Nintendo Wii and Nintendo GameCube Emulator
Developer(s): Dolphin Emulator Project
Stable Release Versions: Version 5.0, Version 4.0, Version 3.5
Operating System: Windows, Linux, MacOS
Written in: C/C++
License: GNU GPLv2+
Website: Dolphin Emulator

Dolphin is a Wii and GameCube emulator with high compatibility across the majority of titles for both platforms. It was first developed as closed source in 2003, and as open source since 2008.

It allows PC gamers to enjoy games for these two consoles in full HD (1080p) with several enhancements: compatibility with all PC controllers, turbo speed, networked multiplayer, among other things.

Setting up Dolphin[edit | edit source]

Main article: Installation Guide (on

Basic steps[edit | edit source]

  • Download Dolphin emulator from here (Nightly Builds), or from here (Stable).

Please read about the differences in Dolphin versions below.

  • Extract the contents of the .zip file you just downloaded to a folder of your choice.
  • Run Dolphin.exe

Differences in Dolphin Versions[edit | edit source]

Dolphin 4.0.1 Dolphin 5.0 Dolphin Nightly
Graphical Functions Set Texture Cache to Safe for coins to spin
Set EFB Copies to RAM as well
Texture Cache = Fast
can be used
Texture Cache = Fast
can be used
Gameplay Dump (synchronized) A/V not synchronized
Use Dolphin 4 AVSync
Function integrated Function integrated
Record from .dtm file Does not seem to work Does not seem to work Function integrated
On-the-fly Changes Can replace level on-the-fly with identical/smaller level Can replace level on-the-fly with identical/smaller level Level sizes are not allowed to change. See Fixed Level Size in Reggie Preferences for a handy solution to that problem

It is recommended to use Version 5.0 or a Nightly Build.

Dolphin Game Management[edit | edit source]

Dolphin emulator can open Wii ISO files, WBFS (Wii Backup File System) files, and also play the extracted contents of such files. The setup procedure for the third method is more complex, but allows to edit levels on-the-fly, while the emulator is running. Please consider, that it's also very time-consuming to create a new ISO/WBFS archive each time something in your game has changed. Please see No-ISO Method (Extracted Game).

Dolphin game folders2.png

To populate the list of available games, it's needed to to setup the Game Folders where Dolphin will look for games. Click on Config, then select the tab Paths and add directories with ISO/WBFS files in them to the list. Proceed by pressing Ok. The list in the main window should now show your games.

No-ISO Method (Extracted Game)[edit | edit source]

It is advised to use this method for extensive testing.
Requirements: Wii ISO of the game you want to extract.

Dolphin is capable to play the extracted contents of a Wii ISO or WBFS file. This makes it very easy to edit files in general, and especially easy to edit a level on-the-fly. First we need to obtain the game files. The steps are similar compared to this tutorial (Obtain Original Game Files). But this time we need to extract the entire disc instead of just Partition 1. Please read on for the precise steps.

  • Open Dolphin Emulator with your game loaded. Select it in the main window pane, right-click on it and select the entry Properties.


  • In the window that opens, go to the Filesystem tab.


  • Once there, right-click on Disc and select the entry Extract Entire Disc.... Choose a folder for your files and click on Ok.

Dolphin extract disc2.png

  • You should now have a DATA folder. Inside that folder are 3 more folders, disc, files, and sys, along with the files cert.bin, h3.bin, ticket.bin, and tmd.bin.
  • The final step is to point Dolphin to the main.dol file located inside the sys directory. This can be done, by clicking on Config, navigating to the Paths tab, and editing the entry for Default ISO.

From now on you can simply play your extracted game by pressing the Play button.

Please read on to the next chapter. We'll be talking about how to use more than one extracted game patch in parallel.

Dolphin Game Patches[edit | edit source]

It is possible to use multiple extracted games in parallel. Useful if you have to supervise more than one project. This is very easy to do and requires only a bit of organization.

How to create multiple custom Game Patches based on Newer[edit | edit source]

  • Create a folder for your Dolphin game patches. As an example, we'll be using:
\NewerDolphin\Games <-- 'Games' is the Game Patches folder

You can choose any folder you like of course.

  • Extract the entire disc of Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii as shown in the No-ISO Tutorial.
  • Rename the DATA folder to Newer and move the entire folder to the Games directory created above.
  • This is now your Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii game patch. It is recommended to keep one such patch untouched.
  • Now copy (!) the entire Newer folder (it's around 350MB for Newer) and paste it into the Games directory again. Choose anything you want as a folder name, but it's recommended to use your project name. In the example image it's just called YourGamePatch.

Dolphin GamePatch2.png

You should now have an entire copy of the game in the folders Newer and YourGamePatch.

  • In order to change the game Dolphin will start, head to Config again, click the Paths tab, and select a different main.dol from the sys directory of the game you want to start (Default ISO).
  • C:\NewerDolphin\Games\Newer\sys\main.dol starts Newer untouched
  • C:\NewerDolphin\Games\YourGamePatch\sys\main.dol starts your custom GamePatch, etc...

More custom game patches can be added of course. It's also possible to add NSMBW (original game) as a Dolphin game patch, alongside Newer patches.

Savestates[edit | edit source]

Savestates is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in any game. You can use this feature manually by going into the File menu or by quick keyboard shortcuts.

Using save states:

  • Capturing a save state: To capture a save state go to Emulation > Save State > Save State to Slot > Save to Slot 1. The keyboard shortcut for saving a save state is Shift+F1.
  • Loading a save state: To load a save state that you previously saved, go to Emulation > Load State > Load State to Slot > Load to Slot 1. The keyboard shortcut for loading a save state is F1.
  • Ten save slots! Dolphin allows you to save up to 10 different save states. By default, it is set to slot “1”. You can change the slot by going to Emulation > Select save slot. Then select the desired slot.


TAS[edit | edit source]


Cheats[edit | edit source]


Gameplay Recording[edit | edit source]

Main article: Gameplay Recording

HQ Dolphin Screenshots[edit | edit source]

Main article: Screenshots