There’s good news and bad news for folks that’ve been waiting to play Nintendo Gamecube or Wii games on a smartphone. The good news is that the first emulator is now available for Android. The bad news is that it’s incredibly buggy, and your phone, tablet, or Android game console probably isn’t powerful enough to play any games anyway.
Dolphin emulator developer Ryan Houdek has released an early, buggy build of a Gamecube and Wii emulator, but says the first device expected to run any games at a reasonable speed is the soon-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy S IV.
That’s because the Galaxy S IV will be one of the first mobile devices to feature support for OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics. Most ARM-based chips released so far don’t support it, and they’re not fast enough to handle the emulator through CPU power alone.
In fact, you pretty much need a laptop or desktop PC with an Intel Core i5 or faster processor to emulate a GameCube or Wii. ARM-based chips don’t even come close.
So while the Samsung Galaxy S IV might be fast enough to handle a couple of games, it might be a few years before there’s hardware on the market that can really take advantage of the Dolphin emulator to let you play the Gamecube or Wii versions of your favorite Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, or Super Smash Bros titles.
That said, the developer is taking donations to help pay for a Galaxy S IV for testing purposes. You can find out how to contribute, or how to download a barely working pre-release version of the emulator to try yourself at the Dolphin forums.