Metroid Prime In Cybervisors With Dolphin VR Emulator

Graham once described emulation as the “similarly shady cousin of piracy, but where one means you don’t give money to currently jobbing developers, the other is often an act of preserving and making accessible games that otherwise would be borderline or outright unplayable.” The open-sourced Gamecube and Wii emulator Dolphin – bringing time-honoured Nintendo games to PC – fits this bill, and its latest Dolphin VR fork adds virtual reality functionality to some of the consoles’ classics.

Version 5.0 of Dolphin VR is now out, adding consumer version Oculus Rift and Vive support. For if you want to play, say, Metroid Prime in virtual reality.

How much this prospect appeals to you will undoubtedly hinge on whether or not you owned a Gamecube in the early 2000s. I did, you see, which means this really excites me. I also loved Metroid Prime and as an FPS which requires so much searching and exploration it seems cut out for VR, even if it’s been, gosh, over 13 years since I first dived into Tallon IV.

Of course, that’s not all you’re limited to – in theory, any 3D first-person game can make the virtual reality leap, however its creators point out the emulator is “still very buggy”, and as such may not support certain games. The latest version 5.0 adds head tracking support to many of those that are supported, though, which can be seen in the following video courtesy of YouTube person JoshDub:

Okay, so watching videos of other folk playing with VR is admittedly a bit guff, but I’m sure you at least sort-of get the picture from that.

More info on the Dolphin Emulator itself can be found in this direction, while specific instructions with regards to Dolphin VR are over here.

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  1. BlackMageMario says:

    Oh how I would love Nintendo and Retro Studios to bring these games to PC! They would be so amazing, even if they weren’t in VR. Hell, I want a Metroid Prime 4 or something similar at some point – they were always among the best FPSes.

    • Baines says:

      Sakamoto is still in charge of Metroid, and he apparently doesn’t like the Prime series.

      There are various little evidences, like the treatment of the Prime Trilogy (which was officially at one time pretty much stuck in its own pocket universe to be ignored by the other Metroid games.)

      But the biggest issue is that Sakamoto has his own views about what the design and character of Samus is. He wrote the Japanese manga that established her backstory and personality in Japan, and used that for the games he produced and wrote.

      The thing is, the Western world had simultaneously designed its own view of Samus both officially and less officially. And the Western view of Samus was nearly the opposite of Sakamoto’s Japanese view. The Prime trilogy, while trying to fit itself within the Metroid game series, used the Western design for Samus.

      The Western view of Samus was that she was tall (Nintendo Power established her at around 6ft), strong, extremely capable, and an all around no-nonsense person. Sakamoto’s design was that she was short, a beauty figure, suffered emotional issues, was submissive and kind of weak-willed, and had father/authority issues (which were focused on Adam) that were downright life-threatening at times.

      • snowgim says:

        That’s really interesting, and depressing if it means we never get another western Metroid game.

        Also Gwendoline Christie confirmed for Samus in the western Metroid movie that we’ll never get either.

        • MajorLag says:

          Metroid always seemed to me like it’d be one of the easier game -> movie conversions. I mean, it’s basically an Alien movie isn’t it? Bounty Hunter get’s hired by some shady organization to go in and recover some macguffin from a research facility destroyed by space pirates, yadda yadda yadda, dark secrets of company revealed, sapce pirates also there, epic battle scene with giant metroid and/or brain, credits.

          Of course Hollywood being what it is, I’m sure they’d find a way to screw it up anyway.

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            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            John Woo was at one point supposed to direct/produce a Metroid movie. I don’t know how they would explain all the doves.

      • KDR_11k says:

        And instead of focusing on the exploration gameplay that’s the undisputed strength of Metroid Sakamoto is turning it into strictly controlled progression to shove his bad story down our throats…

      • Jay Load says:

        Sakamoto’s design was that she was short, a beauty figure, suffered emotional issues, was submissive and kind of weak-willed, and had father/authority issues (which were focused on Adam) that were downright life-threatening at times.

        That’s pretty repellent and is a HUGE factor in why I struggle to like Japanese product. Their depiction of women is often medieval.

        • syndrome says:

          If Japanese portrayal of heroine is medieval, Western depiction is based on overconfident promiscuous urban antique Amazons.

          Just compare the US sequel of Apple Seed, the gratuitous female bitch archetype is strong with that one. My wife couldn’t get past the opening scene.

        • manny says:

          Japanese are more realistic, practically no recorded case of any woman doing what Samus does in all world history. But there are plenty of true stories of women going crazy and putting alot of hurt on alot of people.

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            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            Are there many recorded cases of men being space bounty hunters fighting floating brain aliens?

    • Xzi says:

      These games are already available on PC. If you own the disc just download the rom and the emulator, then play. All legal. Plus you can upscale these classics on modern PCs and it makes it even better.

      • Gus the Crocodile says:

        Well, it’s not always going to be legal to download the game just because you own a copy; it may be the case, for example, that the only legal copy is one you make yourself. As ever, people should check the law where they live.

      • Jay Load says:

        Good luck getting Corruption’s unique control scheme to work with a PC emulator. As far as I can tell it’s just not possible.

        • Xzi says:

          Dolphin allows you to connect a bluetooth Wii IR bar and use a Wiimote wirelessly. I believe the new version with VR support emulates Wiimotes with the Vivemotes. It all works quite well. This particular Wii/Gamecube emulator has been around a long time and gone through a lot of revisions/additions.

          • Baines says:

            Heck, it also has support for actual Gamecube controllers using the USB hub that Nintendo released for Smash Bros 4 (as the Wii U didn’t have native Gamecube controller ports) or any of the third-party clones of that hub.

            There was a kind of interesting article when that support was added, as it compared the analog stick range from using Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controller to using a real Gamecube controller through Nintendo’s USB hub, as well as using a real Gamecube through a third-party hub. There was a visible difference in what ranges each covered (with Gamecube controller through Nintendo’s hub being the most accurate of course.)

  2. Grubby_Gryffin says:

    I disagree that Metroid Prime ‘fits the bill’ for emulation, Nintendo released a trilogy on the eshop only last year so it is hardly unobtainable or unplayable… this is only trying to legitimise someone illegally obtaining a game for a console they decided not to buy.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Kneejerk reaction much? I agree that lots of people see any emulation announcement for a relatively recent system as a means of getting more free stuff. The creators of Dolphin and many of their forum regulars, however, are pretty vocal in their belief that the only acceptable way to play games on it (or indeed any emulator) is if you own the system as well – and have personally ripped only discs you legally own. You may well think no emulator is ethically acceptable under any circumstances if any other way to obtain the games exists, but just because someone else doesn’t share a similarly rigid moral code doesn’t make them the same as your average information-is-free, stick-it-to-the-MAFIAA Pirate Bay user.

      • Grubby_Gryffin says:

        I agree with you in principle regarding legit owner/users but do you seriously believe that is the reality in the majority of cases? Really?

        • Baines says:

          The majority? No. But those that wanted to pirate Gamecube games were doing it many years ago, using an actual Gamecube. (Streaming games from PC through the BBA didn’t even require any physical console modding.)

          Emulation does have benefits even for legitimate owners. Higher rendering and display resolutions, sometimes speed improvements, save states, VR support, and various other things. Plus I don’t have to worry about the drive motor dying or the laser failing (RIP Dreamcast, RIP first Gamecube, RIP first PS2).

          (My Gamecube, btw, is over in the corner with several controllers, and around 50 legally purchased titles. So is my Wii. And my Wii U. Heck, I even own Metroid Prime twice, having bought both the original releases and the WiiWare Trilogy re-release via Wii U. My various other consoles are scattered about as well, with their games in boxes.)

          • Grubby_Gryffin says:

            I think my initial comment is being exaggerated a little, the article specifically states emulation is a grey area but is useful for unobtainable or unplayable games – I agree, I’m merely stating metriod being released on the eshop last year means it hardly meets this criteria.

            And as you agree in your response, a majority of users of emulation will have never bought the title. At no point did I say emulation is bad for which you make perfectly valid points, just that the article trying to state metriod was unobtainable so therefore ripe for emulation was a little bit of an exaggeration and almost like the writer was trying to condone others who have never played it to download it.

          • Baines says:

            Yeah, it definitely isn’t unobtainable.

            Trilogy used to be horribly expensive (as it had a limited print run), and the original Gamecube discs range anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on where you find them (as it used to be considered an in-demand rare title)…

            But you can buy the digital WiiWare version of Trilogy for the Wii U today directly from Nintendo for $20. And you actually can find those Gamecube discs for sale at a reasonable price if you look.

          • PseudoKnight says:

            Purchasing the games again on their new console just delays the inevitable and only applies to the most popular games. For archival, emulation is important. It also lets fans play games how they want to play them, which as a PC gamer I appreciate (as this VR showcase demonstrates, even though I’d never want to play them this way due to motion sickness). I wonder if Metroid Prime has good KB/M controls, because I’m done trying to play first person games with gamepads.

        • wengart says:

          I dunno. Metroid Prime is a 14 year old game for a 15 year old system. That you have to go through considerable hoops to play and requires a decently powerful computer to run.

          I don’t think that most people who get games with emulators are particular big on the “free games!!!!” track. There has to be *something* more there.

    • SaintAn says:

      Corporation worshiper. So obsessed with the rights of corporations over the rights of people.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        I’ve read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I don’t recall any mention of a right to free video games.

        I don’t have a horse in this race, but c’mon, son. Be reasonable.

      • Grubby_Gryffin says:

        Oh no!! My cover is blown *hastily hides shrine to ‘Corporations’*

    • Xzi says:

      Did you stop to consider that maybe some of us own the physical discs?

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      Oakreef says:

      It’s very easy to rip your own copies of Wii and GameCube games if you own a Wii and a USB stick. You don’t need to pirate things to emulate them.

      • Dare_Wreck says:

        “Very easy”?? About once a year, I check in with Dolphin’s development and think I’m going to make the plunge and rip my old GameCube and Wii games. But then I read some of the guides on how to do so, get completely overwhelmed, and decide against it, since on the off chance I actually want to play one of those games again, it’s actually MUCH easier to simply hook up my old system and play the original disc.

        Then, I repeat this behavior a year later. Looking at the guides now, it still seems incredibly involved to rip a disc that you own (specifically, this one: link to You need to set up CleanRip, which requires setting up the Homebrew channel, which itself is fairly involved to do).

        It’s not as simple as you make it out to be (though, please do point out a better guide if I’m making this process out to be much harder than it needs to be!).

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          Oakreef says:

          To set up homebrew stuff you just need (A) a Wii with the latest system menu update (B) an SD card (C) your Wii’s MAC address (you can get find it in the internet settings) (D) Letterbomb

          link to

          • Dare_Wreck says:

            Those aren’t the only steps to set up the Homebrew Channel, though (albeit, they are most of them). It’s not a trivial task to set up, and the link you point to glosses over what the homebrew stuff actually entails if you’re not familiar with what you’re supposed to be doing in regards to Dolphin. And then you have to get CleanRip configured on top of that.

            In any case, my point was that your statement that it’s very easy to rip your own games is not really true, at least in regards to the amount of effort you need to go through to get to that point. (Admittedly, it’s much easier than trying to rip your own PS2 games, which require your PS2 BIOS, which in turn requires a modded system).

  3. Holden McGroin says:

    sir, it’s not only about piracy. as you can see here, there is added features! if you do not want to use VR there is still upscaled graphics, savestates and more!

    We do however, understand where you are coming from! But just have to say that there ARE legit people using emulators.

    well, as legit as it can get anyway, since in most countries you cannot download the game, you have to make the copy yourself.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      As legit as it can be given pretty much no hardware manufacturer condones, let alone supports emulation in any way, shape or form that they can’t rigidly control, and given that if they really wanted to ruin any individual user for emulating anything, they could do it, regardless of what the law in that user’s country stated. ;) But yes, saying “If you want to play Wii/Gamecube games in VR, tough! Wait until Nintendo in their infinite wisdom sees fit to create a headset, or go without! Anyone who does anything else is a filthy pirate!” is a fairly drastic reading.

      • solidsquid says:

        While I sympathize with the piracy angle, unless their own code is being used (eg PCSX2’s use of PS2 BIOS files, which aren’t provided with the emulator for this reason) it doesn’t really matter whether the hardware developers support the emulators, the emulator creators are well within their rights to create software which allows you to run games on other platforms. As pointed out, it often has benefits which aren’t available on other platforms too (save states are pretty awesome if you’re playing a game like Pokemon which only has one save file)

  4. Eight Rooks says:

    Having actually watched the video now, I… sure, it’s not terribly exciting seeing VR translated into flat 2D, but jeez, I don’t think I could take F-Zero GX from that camera angle as it is, let alone from inside a headset. Anyone who gets motion sickness off this tech would surely be vomiting everywhere after thirty seconds of that.

  5. SlimShanks says:

    Wow. Emulation is so awesome. But the question is, have they gotten widescreen support working yet?
    Also, my gamecube is still working. What a system.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      My gameboy is still working. Nintendo builds to last.

    • Baines says:

      For GC Metroid Prime specifically, someone made a HUD mod to fix that display, and the wiki says that there is a Gecko code for fixing widescreen clipping issues.

    • SaintAn says:

      My Xbox 360 died after its first year so I kept buying new ones that also died after a year, but my Nintendo, SNES, Sega Genesis, N64, Gamecube, Playstation 1, PS2, and even my original grey brick Gameboy and other generations of handhelds are still working. Tech really sucks these days.

      • BlackMageMario says:

        It’s more like the Xbox 360 in particular had a horrendous failure rate. I personally believe that PS3s and Wiis are gonna last a long time, and the newer Xbox 360s too. Don’t know about this generation’s consoles though.

        • Ushao says:

          Eh, my PS3 has died once already. The Wii is still going strong though.

        • HopeHubris says:

          My PS3 stopped working properly years ago. Still lasted longer than my brother’s first 360 though, which isn’t saying much. The rest of my consoles still appear to be functional.

    • April March says:

      My GameCube stopped working.

      Last year.

      After I let someone borrow it.

    • SlimShanks says:

      I remember playing Mariokart Double Dash with some friends as a kid, and someone getting too excited and pulling the GC off of it’s perch four feet up in the air. It landed upside down, and nothing happened. We just kept playing mariokart and picked it up after the race.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        Love this

      • Baines says:

        Nintendo tends to cut corners on capability. For example, the Wii’s motion detection could have been much better out of the box, but Nintendo didn’t want to spend the money on better/more parts. But the hardware is generally remarkably solid.

        Sony and Microsoft, particularly Microsoft, cut corners on reliability. The hardware can do a lot, but you end up with an Xbox where the vibration caused by someone walking three feet away might cause it to eat the DVD spinning in its drive bay, because Microsoft decided to save a few cents on some rubber washers. (That rubber washer thing is a true story. The 360 also had a tendency to break its own chips free from its motherboard when the board flexed from heating and cooling, because the system had insufficient cooling and used a poorly chosen clamp shape. Honestly, the system had enough questionable corner cutting hardware designs that the idea of a 33% failure rate became quite believable, particularly when you realized that they also sometimes used defective parts in their repairs.)

        • Baines says:

          Though it is hard to top the prototype Sega CD systems literally catching on fire during use. Sega did at least fix that before release.

          • MajorLag says:

            It’s possible they’d have sold more units if they hadn’t. The ever present possibility of spontaneous combustion would have made a lot of those Sega CD games more entertaining.

  6. satan says:

    Cool/funny the way he (video guy) keeps reaching up to wipe off the front of his ‘helmet’ after it gets slimed.

  7. Xzi says:

    Don’t remind me of what I’m missing out on while waiting for a proper DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, RPS. There have been so many new and exciting things to try for the Vive while I was moving all my shit to a new house.

    As for Metroid Prime VR specifically, this is all that needs to be said: link to

  8. Faults says:

    Just another niggle about the legality / legitimacy of DolphinVR – Not anything to do with piracy per se, but the developer’s use of the Oculus and Vive SDKs constitutes a violation of the GPLv2+ license that Dolphin is released under.

    I doubt it’s going to stop any of you playing, and I doubt the Dolphin team will be able to do anything to mitigate the situation, but I think it’s worth mentioning that the program is a modification released without the Dolphin team’s consent or permission.