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The Nintendo GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin is coming to Steam

Just keep it hush-hush with the Big N

Rejoice, fellow Nintendoers! Dolphin Emulator - the open-source emulator for Nintendo GameCube and Wii games - is coming to Steam in Q2 2023. The Steam page is quick to note, for probably legal reasons, that “this app does not come with games” and “you must own an original copy of any game” you want to emulate. Dolphin allows you to emulate retro games with 4k support, modern controllers, and it’s totally free.

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Of course, Dolphin is also available on PC through other methods, so what’s the biggie? Well, older games will now probably benefit from Steam’s cloud saves and remote play. Plus, emulating games on Steam Deck will likely get a whole lot easier, just in case you wanted to play Mertroid Prime on the go. Oh, wait. The main draw, though, is that Steam support makes it more convenient to integrate Dolphin games into Steam libraries, allowing you to quickly click and play. They’re essentially expanding into the lazy gamer market - me, I mean.

The 3DS and Wii U eShops shut down just yesterday, meaning this announcement was very well timed, but it also means you’ll no longer be able to buy many classics, like Ocarina Of Time, on any modern system. Nintendo’s probably clutching their millions of gems as we speak, but emulation is both legal and essential to game preservation, so hey ho. Dolphin are careful to avoid mentions of Nintendo - they’re the illusive Big N, now. The Steam page doesn’t even name the consoles it’s emulating, instead referring to the GameCube and the Wii as the “cube-shaped and motion-controlled consoles” respectively. Lawyers, stand down.

Once upon a time, Graham 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.”

If you’re interested in using Dolphin Emulator before its Steam release, you can find more information on how it works here. You can do a ton of fun stuff with the app, like, maybe playing Metroid Prime in VR.

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