The best Android GameCube emulator – Dolphin emulator

Do you miss playing games from your childhood on your GameCube console? Fret not, because we found the best GameCube emulator for Android devices.


GameCube is an all-time classic, and perhaps you miss the fun of playing your favorite Nintendo video game. You might have the old purple console, but possibly you don’t remember where you put it.

Thankfully, installing a GameCube emulator either on a smartphone or a PC solves the problem. Pretty nifty, right?

Now, here’s the thing:

There are several emulators of GameCube, but only if you intend to play on a PC. If you plan to emulate some of your favorite video games on a smartphone, it all comes down to one option: Dolphin.

That’s right!

Dolphin is an emulator that lets you play games as you did on your GameCube console. The Android version of this emulator is the only one compatible with most games available for the GameCube console.

In this article, we will be focusing on a detailed description of the main features and characteristics of the Android version for Dolphin. Plus, a quick review of an excellent DS emulator on Android, DraStic.

See also: Great DS and 3DS Emulators for Android

Dolphin Emulator – The Best GameCube Emulator for Android

Dolphin Official Logo

This emulator carries the name of the original prototype that later became Nintendo GameCube. It allows you to play both GameCube and Nintendo Wii games, and although it’s still an alpha version, it works fine in smartphones with Android 5.0 or better.

Isn’t that amazing?

To install and run Dolphin, you need devices of 64 bits and able to stand video backend OpenGL 3.1 (or newer).

Anyway, don’t be too concern about these technicalities. Just install the app, and if you don’t get any error message, you’ll be fine.

These are Dolphin most relevant characteristics:

1. You can get the Google Play or APK version

Downloadable from either the app store or the developer´s website. Make sure you get the newest APK version since the software is continuously updated.

Best GameCube Emulator Android - Dolphin logo
Dolphin Emulator

2. User Friendly

Easy-to-use interface. Notice the symbols for both the GameCube or the Wii emulator and a purple button with a plus sign on (lower right corner of the app) for adding games.

Best GameCube Emulator Android - Dolphin interface

3. High Compatibility

Works perfectly fine with ISO extension files, although other formats are also accepted (GCZ, CISO, and WBFS). Make sure your game file is compatible with the emulator, or otherwise, it won´t work.

You must own the original GameCube game since it´s illegal to download ROMs made from third-party copies. Get your own and ask a friend with a Wii console to convert it, installing the Homebrew channel and an app such as CleanRip.

Luigi’s Mansion GameCube Copyrighted Game
Best GameCube Emulator Android - ROM files automatically added
ROM Files Automatically Added to Game List

4. Adjustable General Settings

It also has a configuration panel for general settings. For example, in this setting window, always make sure to set CPU Core to JIT ARM64 Recompiler, and enable Dual Core and Override Emulated options.

Also, modify the emulated CPU clock speed to allow a better fps rate. Hopefully, values between 40% and 100% will allow up to 60 fps, which is great for most games.

You can set the limit to 100 %. All the other settings you´ll see in this menu can be left as they come. Remember always to click on the floppy disk icon, on the right upper corner, to save these changes to the INI files of the emulator.

Best GameCube Emulator Android - Dolphin Settings
Configuring Emulator Performance

5. Numerous Visual Settings

There is also a configuration panel for visual settings. We suggest you set them up like this:

  • Video Backend must be OpenGL. In case you have installed the Vulkan API, you may try to select it from the menu.
  • Set the Shader Compilation Mode to Asynchronous (Skip Drawing). It´s proven to make most games run smoothly.
  • Set Aspect ratio to whatever you like. You might want to stretch the image to occupy the whole screen or perhaps a smaller ratio (e.g., 4:3)
  • In Enhancements, you can set the internal resolution to go from 640×528 to even 4K; setting it to 1280×1056 (720p) will be more than enough for most games on a smartphone screen.
  • Finally, in the Hacks submenu, we recommend activating all the parameters (placing the checkmark on the correspondent box) except for Defer EFB Copies to RAM.
Best GameCube Emulator Android - Dolphin Visual Settings Menu
Configuring Dolphin Emulator Visual Settings

Once again, remember to click on the floppy disk icon (on the right upper corner of the app) to save all the new parameters to the INI files. The final step is to click on the game icon displayed on the main menu, and that´s it, you’re all set to start playing!

gamecube dolphin
Luigi’s Mansion GameCube Game

Bonus material: DraStic DS Emulator

drastic emulator logo

Considered as the best emulator of Nintendo DS on Android, this paid application has proven to run smoothly as long as you fulfill the minimum hardware and software requirements.

If you have enough RAM and a decent processor, you´ll be fine.

Step 1: Download DraStic

If you want to run the DraStic emulator smoothly, the minimum requirements are a 1 GHz single-core processor and at least 256 Mbytes of RAM.

Step 2: Configure the App

After installing the app, the configuration procedure is similar to other emulators. First, place your Nintendo DS BIOS file in a directory that can you can access from the DraStic DS browser.

ds video game
Super Mario Bros Nintendo DS Video Game

Convert the game first to a BIOS file before adding it to the emulator.

Step 3: Customize Layout

Configuring the original two-screen arrangement of the Nintendo DS is very straightforward using the app. DraStic DS allows you up to six screen layouts for emulating it all into one single screen.

DraStic DS Screen Arrangements

For playing games that are not demanding in terms of graphics, you can leave all the settings as they come by default.

Step 4: Connect an Android Game Controller

And one last cool feature about DraStic DS is that you can connect an Android game controller like the MOGA Pro Mobile Gaming System to have a closer experience of what playing on your original DS is.

moga controller
External Controller for Android Smartphones

Just insert your smartphone on the attached case of the controller (or for some models, connect them using a USB to a-something-else cable) and set the DraStic DS to a full-screen window.


Final thoughts

Before anything else, it is necessary to own the original copies of GameCubes video games before dumping them into ROMs. Most of them are copyrighted.

There are several emulators for GameCube, but most of them run on a PC (either using Windows, macOS, or even Linux). However, to play on your Android smartphone, our word is final: Dolphin is the best emulator available so far.

Dolphin Emulator on Android

Remember that all suggestions made in this article to configure the variety of settings Dolphin has, are not to be taken for granted. While some smartphones will do fine with them for some others, you’ll need to make changes depending on the game you want to emulate.

If you’re not in the mood for playing GameCube anymore, remember: there’s still a wide range of emulators for other videogame consoles that you can choose from, and that will keep you retro-ly entertained.

So, have you tried the Dolphin GameCube Emulator yet? Have comments, suggestions, and related questions? Do let us know in the comment section below!

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