Emulation is a great way to experience your favorite games, but without the original controller it can feel fake. Learn how to set up the official Nintendo peripherals in the Dolphin Wii and GameCube emulator for PC.
What you will need
To use a real Nintendo GameCube controller with Dolphin you will need the following:
- An official Nintendo GameCube controller. While unofficial options work, they are much worse in build quality. Additionally, you may find that some controllers do this look like GC pads, but are actually Switch Pro controllers.
- A USB GameCube controller adapter. We recommend either the official Nintendo adapter or the MayFlash adapter for the best results. If the adapter is wired and works with the Switch or the Wii U, it will likely work here too.
- Zadig. This is the application you will need to properly set up your Gamecube controller with Dolphin. Download it for free.
- A powered USB hub (optional). This is not required if your laptop or desktop has free slots for both USB cables, but is required if it does not. Make sure that both adapter cables are plugged in and have stable power for the vibration to work properly and for the best performance.
To use an official Nintendo Wii remote control (Wiimote) with Dolphin, you will need the following:
- An official Nintendo Wii remote control, ideally with integrated MotionPlus. Third-party options are not guaranteed to work with Dolphin, even if they will work on the Wii.
- A PC with a compatible Bluetooth adapter. New is better.
- A powered Wii sensor bar. You can use your original sensor bar plugged into a running Wii, a battery-powered wireless sensor bar, or a USB sensor bar.
How to set up a real GameCube controller in Dolphin
If you are using an unofficial adapter that allows you to switch between Wii U and PC modes, switch it to Wii U first. Dolphin provides native support for the GameCube controller adapter once you have the correct driver installed. So you can ignore PC mode unless you want to use the controller in other applications. If you̵
Plug in your adapter and open Zadig. If you don’t have two free USB ports or you don’t care about vibrations, you don’t need to connect the white USB cable. It is only used to supply vibrations to the GameCube controllers.
In Zadig, click the Options menu and select List All Devices.
Click the drop-down menu at the top of the window, find and select “WUP-028” in the list. This is your adapter!
Look at the “USB ID” field under the driver box. Make sure that the USB ID displayed here is “0573 0337”.
Warning: If the wrong USB ID is displayed here, do not proceed. Your adapter is not working and you could potentially damage it if you continue.
If everything looks correct (like the screen cover below), click the box to the right of the orange arrow and select the “WinUSB” driver. Click the Replace Driver button to install the driver. Once that’s done, you can close Zadig!
After you’ve installed the replacement driver, you can try it out in Dolphin.
Open the Dolphin Emulator and click the Controller button on the far right of Dolphin’s built-in toolbar.
In the Port 1 drop-down box, click GameCube Adapter for Wii U, 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 followed these instructions properly, you should see the Adapter Detected window. Click OK to continue.
If it doesn’t appear, repeat the process with a different adapter or USB port.
How to set up a real Wiimote in Dolphin Emulator
As long as your PC already has bluetooth, setting up a Wii remote is a lot easier than using a GameCube controller. Just make sure your Sensor Bar is plugged in and your Wii Remote’s batteries are charged. You should also make sure that your PC’s bluetooth is enabled.
First click on the “Controller” button on the far right of the Dolphin toolbar.
Now click on “Emulate the Wii Bluetooth adapter” if it is not already selected. Under the dropdown for Wii Remote 1, also select “Real Wii Remote”.
Now press buttons 1 and 2 on your Wii Remote at the same time. Your Wii remote will connect to Dolphin after a maximum of 20 seconds. Then close the “Controller Settings” window and click the “Config” button.
In the configuration window click on the “Wii” tab and adjust the position of the “sensor bar” according to your position in the sensor bar. IR sensitivity, speaker volume, and rumble can also be adjusted here and work in the same way as on an actual Wii. You are now ready to play your games!
Once you are done playing, you will need to manually remove a battery from your Wii Remote to turn it off. Unlike the real Wii console, Dolphin cannot turn off your remote automatically. If you forget to do this yourself, the battery will be used until it is dry.
What about passthrough or the DolphinBar?
In our tests, the results with Dolphin’s Bluetooth passthrough solution and the DolphinBar are finicky at best and require a lot of additional tweaking for very little extra. We do not recommend any of these solutions for people who are not yet a power user.
However, if you’d like to explore passthrough as an option, see the Dolphin Wiki page for instructions. It offers an extensive list of the tested USB Bluetooth adapters and installation instructions. However, due to the complexity of the process and the higher chance it won’t work at all, we haven’t included this in this guide.