How to Play Nintendo Wii Games On Your Computer (Dolphin)

This guide shows you how to play games released on the Nintendo Wii on your computer. It utilizes the Dolphin emulator.

The Nintendo Wii is the ultimate successor to the Nintendo Gamecube system. A problem is that the console has been discontinued long ago. As a result, hardware and discs are starting to wear out. Does this mean that games you payed for will eventually become unplayable? Maybe. However, there is a way your can continue playing your legally paid for games long after the hardware has worn out. This is through the Dolphin emulator.

You might recall our guide on how to make the Dolphin emulator run Gamecube games. Well, conveniently enough, this same emulator can run Nintendo Wii games as well. This guide shows you how to play those Wii games.

Step 1: Download the Emulator

The first thing we need to do is get the emulator in question. What we can do is go to the official website at Next, we can head on over to the downloads section and scroll down to the latest “stable” builds. If you want to help the development team by testing unstable versions of the emulator, you can always try the unstable versions, but for most people, the latest stable version should work fine.

The emulator is multi-platform depending on the release. It’s most supported in the Windows environment, though.

Step 2: Install the Emulator

This emulator comes in as an install package. So, first thing we want to do is open the exe file.

If you run into a window like this, the emulator is fine. Just click on the “Run” button.

the next window you’ll likely get is this. If you are happy with English, click “OK”. Otherwise, use the drop down menu and pick a language that you prefer.

Next, you’ll get a standard GNU open source license agreement. Feel free to read through it. When you are done, click “I Agree” if you agree to the terms.

Next, the installation is going to want to ask you what components you want to install. In this screen, these are just standard libraries. If a program uses code made by certain languages, depending on how it’s coded, it will need specific libraries to be able to run properly. Again, nothing too out of the ordinary. Just click “Next”

In this window, you can select which folder you want to install the emulator into. Now, sometimes, the emulator may run into writing issues if you install it into the Program Files folder (default folder). This is because there is write protections in that folder depending on how your operating system is configured. To avoid any permissions headaches right off the bat, I’d recommend you find a folder somewhere else on your computer and install into that. So, click on the “Browse” button and browse to the folder you want to install the emulator to. You can even create a new folder in the subsequent pop-up window if you wish. when you are done, click the “Install” button.

You’ll see the installation process do its thing. Just let it go until you get the above window. Simply click on the “Finish” button to finish the installation process.

Step 3: Start the Emulator

When you load the emulator for the first time, you’ll see something like the following:

This is purely a user preference thing. It is up to you if you want to send the data to the development team or not. I am not in a position to decide this for you, so it is totally up to you. What you choose will not really impact your emulation experience.

Step 4: Point to a Games Directory

The emulator is going to want to find the games you want to play on your system, but it is up to you to tell the emulator where to find those games.

First, click on the “Configure” button (as highlighted in the screen shot).

Next, click on the “Paths” tab in the pop up window. After that, click on the “Add…” button. From there, just browse to the directory your games are located. When you are done, click “OK” in the window.

Your ripped games should appear in the games window so you can quickly access them.

Note: If you add a game while the emulator is still running, simply click on the “Refresh” button to get it to detect new games.

At this point, you can go ahead and test the game to see if it runs. Just select the game and click on the “Play” button. When you are done testing, hit the “Esc” button on your keyboard and click the “Yes” button to stop the emulation.

Step 5: Configure Your Controller

Now you’re going to want to be able to play your game. Can’t do that without away of using some kind of controller, can you? Well, setting this up is actually quite simple.

First, you’ll want to click on the “Controllers” button.

In the pop-up window, you’ll want to configure your Wiimote. Click on the “Configure” button (as highlighted in the screen shot).

In the new window, click on any button you want to toggle and press the key you want associated with that button. When you are done, you can save your controller profile with the “Save” button (highlighted in screen shot).

After that, you can simply click on the “OK” button to confirm what you want.

Customizing Hotkeys (Optional)

If you are interested in customizing your hotkeys, then there is a way to do this as well.

First, click on the “Options” item in the menu bar. Next, click on the “Hotkey Settings”.

If you want to customize a hotkey (such as saving and loading save states), just click on the button you want to toggle, then hit the subsequent key accordingly to set/bind that key. This screen can be a little intimidating, but do know that you can always restore the default settings if you wish. If you want to save the profile, you can do so through the save button. Once you are done, click on the “OK” button (“Cancel” if you don’t want anything changed).

That’s it! You should be ready to go to play your backed up games!


My game is running slow, what’s going on?
Emulating a console like the Wii requires a lot of resources. As such, it is recommended that you use a powerful dedicated gaming rig to get close to somewhat smooth gameplay. This is probably not something you can run on a cheap laptop by any means

Will my backup game work
Emulation is an imperfect science. As a general rule, the newer the console, the much likely games are going to be subject to bugs and errors. If you like, however, you can check out the official compatibility list to see if your game runs well, reasonably, or not at all. Just click on the game you want to know more about and find out how well it’ll run. Just remember, the testing is done generally in ideal circumstances (powerful computer, etc.), so there’s always that possibility that you’ll fine additional errors on a slower computer. Use at your own risk.

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