The best GameCube emulator is coming to Steam

 F-Zero GX
F-Zero GX

Dolphin, the fantastic emulator for GameCube and Wii games, is officially coming to Steam in the second quarter of 2023.

The Steam version of Dolphin will be available as a free download, just like the standalone release. It'll start in Early Access, with plans to drop that moniker by the end of the year. The devs haven't detailed much of what'll be unique with this release, but "better Steam integration and a more streamlined UI for Steam Deck users" are on the table, according to the Steam store page.

You can already install Dolphin on pretty much any platform that supports Steam, but there are some notable benefits that a proper Steam version can offer. Those include cloud saves, Steam Remote Play, and a much easier install process on Steam Deck. That latter point is perhaps the most notable here - Dolphin already runs just fine on Steam Deck, but it requires you to drop out of the handheld's main interface for a PC-style install. The process is not massively onerous, but it does get away from the all-in-one convenience of Steam Deck's consolized interface, a problem that this proper Steam version of Dolphin now solves.

You might be wondering about the legality of all this, but Dolphin's Steam page is unlikely to run afoul of even Nintendo's famously trigger-happy legal team. Emulators for classic hardware are perfectly legal - it's just the free distribution of copyrighted games online that's against the law. Emulation frontend RetroArch has been on Steam for some time now, and like RetroArch, Dolphin is going out of its way to avoid making any direct mention of Nintendo, its consoles, or its games on the Steam page.

It's probably time to bone up on the best GameCube games and best Wii games of all time.