Emulation is a great way to experience your favorite games, but without the original controller it can feel inactive. How to set up Nintendo̵7;s official Dolphin Wii peripherals and GameCube emulator for PC.
What you need
To use a real Nintendo GameCube controller with Dolphin, here’s what you need:
- An official Nintendo GameCube controller. While unofficial alternatives work, they are much inferior in build quality. In addition, you may find that some controllers like see as GC pads but are actually Switch Pro Controllers.
- A USB GameCube controller adapter. We recommend either Nintendo’s official adapter or MayFlash Adapter for best results. If the adapter is wired and works with the Switch or Wii U, it is likely to work here as well.
- Zadig. This is the application you need for your Gamecube controller to be set up correctly with Dolphin. Download it for free.
- A powered USB hub (optional). This is not necessary if your laptop or desktop has free space for both USB cables, but is necessary if it does not. In order for vibrations to work properly and to ensure the best performance, make sure that both adapter cables are connected and have stable current.
To use an official Nintendo Wii Remote (Wiimote) with Dolphin, you need the following:
- An official Nintendo Wii Remote, preferably with the built-in MotionPlus. Third-party options are not guaranteed to work with Dolphin, even if they work on the Wii.
- A computer with a compatible Bluetooth adapter. Newer is better.
- A powered Wii sensor rod. You can use your original sensor field connected to a running Wii, a battery-powered wireless sensor field, or a USB sensor field.
How to set up a real GameCube controller in Dolphin
First, if you are using an unofficial adapter that offers switching between “Wii U” and “PC” modes, switch it to “Wii U.” Dolphin has built-in support for the GameCube Controller Adapter once you have installed the correct driver, so ignore PC mode unless you want to use the controller in other applications. If you are using an official Switch or Wii U adapter, skip this step.
Connect your adapter and open Zadig. If you do not have two USB ports available or if you do not care about vibration, you do not need to connect the white USB cable. This is only to give vibrations to the GameCube controllers.
Click the “Options” menu in Zadig and select “Show All Devices.”
Click on the drop-down menu at the top of the window, find “WUP-028” in the list and select it. This is your adapter!
Look at the “USB ID” field under the Driver box. Check that the USB ID shown here is “0573 0337”.
Warning: If the wrong USB ID is displayed here, do not proceed. Your adapter does not work and you may damage it by continuing.
If everything looks correct (like the screen cap below), click on the box to the right of the orange arrow and select the “WinUSB” driver. Click the “Replace Driver” button to install the driver, and when done, you can close Zadig!
Now that you have installed the replacement driver, it’s time to try it out in Dolphin.
Continue and open the Dolphin Emulator and click the “Controllers” button on the far right of Dolphin’s built-in toolbar.
Click “GameCube Adapter for Wii U” under the Port 1 drop-down list, and then click “Configure.”
Note that port 1 is the first port on the left side of the controller adapter. The port assignments in Dolphin correspond to those on the adapter.
If you have followed this guide properly, you should see the “Adapter discovery” window. Click “OK” to continue.
If it does not appear, try repeating the process with another adapter or USB port.
How to set up a real Wiimote in Dolphin Emulator
As long as your computer already has Bluetooth, it is much easier to configure a Wii remote control than to use a GameCube controller. Just make sure your sensor rod is plugged in and the Wii Remote batteries are charged. You should also make sure that your computer’s Bluetooth is turned on.
First, click the “Controllers” button on the far right of the Dolphin toolbar.
Now click on “Emulate Wii Bluetooth Adapter”, if it is not already selected. Under the Wii Remote 1 drop-down menu, also select “Real Wii Remote.”
Simultaneously press buttons 1 and 2 on your Wii remote control. After about 20 seconds or less, your Wii remote connects to Dolphin. After doing this, close the “Controller Settings” window and click the “Config” button.
Click the “Wii” tab in the Config window, then adjust the “Sensor Bar” position according to your Sensor Bar position. IR sensitivity, speaker volume and rumble can also be adjusted here and work in the same way as they do on an actual Wii. You are now ready to play your games!
Once you have finished playing, you must manually remove a battery from your Wii Remote to turn it off. Unlike the right Wii console, Dolphin cannot turn off the remote control automatically, and if you forget to do it yourself, it will continue to use your battery until it gets dry.
How about Passthrough or DolphinBar?
In our tests, the results with Dolphin’s Bluetooth throughput solution and DolphinBar are at best finer and require a lot of extra adjustment for very little extra in return. For people who are not already power users, we do not recommend any of these solutions.
But if you’re interested in exploring Passthrough as an alternative, the Dolphin Wiki page provides instructions. It offers a comprehensive list of tested USB Bluetooth adapters and an installation guide. However, due to the complexity of the process and the higher probability that it simply does not work at all, we have not included it in this guide.