If you’re looking to play your Gamecube games on modern technology, then you’ll need some of the best Gamecube emulators around in order to do so.
For those new to emulators, they’re basically pieces of software that you download in order to play ROM files, which are game files.
Downloading Gamecube emulators is completely legal, but downloading ROMs is illegal.
It’s a shady area, but it’s a known fact that Nintendo or other games developers DO NOT want you to download ROM’s. So, we can not recommend and will not recommend downloading ROMs.
Some argue that you can legally, if you own the games, but as of now, in 2020, it’s still a grey area in terms of legality. Retro Dodo does not advise downloading ROM’s.
In this article we’ll be going over some of the best Gamecube emulators that you can download to play the best Gamecube games in your collection. Ranging from the best Android emulators, to ones you can download for your PC or for your best retro handhelds.
**PLEASE NOTE – This article is purely for educational, scientific, and knowledge-enhancing**
purposes only and should be treated in the same way as a highly exciting thesis or dissertation. Retro Dodo does not condone illegal downloading or any other shady activities that might get anyone (namely us) into trouble. Please check the legality of ROM downloading in your area and always follow government guidelines on internet safety and copyright laws.
1. Dolphin Emulator
Dolphin Emulator is by far the most popular Gamecube emulator around, and that’s for a wide number of reasons.
It’s available on Android, Windows and Mac, so you’ll be able to use this on most platforms. You won’t need to pay for it either, as it’s 100% free.
Like any of the best Gamecube emulators out there, you need a device that can power Gamecube ROMs, most PC and Macs will run Gamecube games just fine. But, you may need a powerful Android smartphone in order to play your Gamecube games at silky smooth frame rates. We recommend at least a quad core smartphone.
You’re probably thinking “but Gamecube games are old”, that’s true but the files are actually fairly large and to output those fast 3D renderings require decent power, just like the best Dreamcast emulators.
Once you install and jump into Dolphin you will notice that you have a wide range of settings that you can change. At first this may be a bit overwhelming, but this is what makes Dolphin far superior to any of its competitors.
You can map your keys, show features on screen, easily organise your ROMs and most importantly get the best frames rates possible.
Not only is Dolphin the best Gamecube emulator around, but it can also play some of the best Wii games out there, making it a two in one for any of your devices. But to play Wii games, you need a seriously powerful smartphone.
If you have those powerful devices, you can even try and push 4K resolution out of it, but don’t get your hopes up you need a powerhouse for that.
What makes Dolphin the best on the list is not only because its free, but because its the most reliable out there in terms of Gamecube performance, and thats all we really ask for in an emulator.
Coming in at number 2 on our best Gamecube emulators is one called Whinecube. It hasn’t been updated since 2008, so let that sink in and make you realise how good Dolphin is to make competitors like this abandon their work.
Whinecube is only available for Windows and has 3.5/5 star reviews on many other emulation websites, so even though its old, people still use it and download it regularly. It can run a majority of Gamecube ROM’s well but Whinecube is renowned for framerate drops.
The user interface is also a big of a pain to get around and as you can imagine, feels a little outdated. You’re probably wondering why its number 2 on the list, but in all honesty, there’s only a handful of Gamecube emulators out there.
This gives Dolphin little to no competition, and with time, has pushed away other emulator creators because they just can’t outperform it.
The only real reason you would download this one is if Dolphin, for some reason just doesn’t work on your devices.
It will run your games, but expect freeze, frame rate drops and possible crashes from time to time. There’s more information below.
Now we’ll be honest, due to Dolphins high quality and conglomerate over the Gamecube emulator niche there aren’t many rivals to it, because its simply that good. But that doesn’t stop some people from trying, even if they’re not that good.
Number 3 on our list is SuperGCube a Win32 Gamecube emulator based off the long forgotten and discontinued GCube emulator. It has a highly optimized, efficient emulation core that can achieve reasonable speed, with only minor frame rate drops now and then.
It’s a free piece of software that you can download for PC (NT/2000/XP), but unfortunately the most recent update was many, many years ago in 2009 making it buggy and unreliable.
The only reason you would download this over Dolphin is if you’re running on a very old Windows OS, and then it runs far better than Dolphin, because well… Dolphin doesn’t work on those super old Windows operating systems.
It’s not shady, but only 15,000 people have every downloaded this emulator, so we’ll let you decided whether you want to download it using the link below.
So there you have at a look at the best Gamecube emulators around. A small list, I know, but thats because there’s only one on the block that performs well.
We’ll update this article with more information should one of the get an update, or if a new Gamecube emulator gets released to compete with Dolphin. Happy gaming!
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.