The seemingly never-ending Dolphin emulation project, an emulator that replicates Nintendo's GameCube, may finally be complete - the console's entire library is now playable.
Although the emulation community is not as prominent in the video game industry as it once was, there is still a sizable group of people who get their old school video gaming fix from running console simulators on their computers or mobile phones. Emulation technology has made incredible progress over the past decade as technology continues to become more powerful, with one game developer going so far as to create a 3D NES Emulator that automatically converts games from 2D into 3D. Potential legal issues surrounding acquiring the games that an emulator can run aside, it's a facet of gaming that's still crucial in preserving older titles.
Perhaps no other community-based emulation project has been so dedicated in preserving a console's games library than the Dolphin project, an emulator that is built to simulate the Nintendo GameCube. Many gamers fondly remember the GameCube for both its unique controller design and a high-quality library of titles ranging from Pikmin to cult classics like Skies of Arcadia. While the vast majority of these games have been available for years on Dolphin already, the team behind the emulator announced today that it has finally solved the last coding puzzle in the project, successfully emulating the Nintendo GameCube's Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In a very lengthy and detailed blog post from two of Dolphin's core coders, JMC47 and MaJoR write that some games were coded with individual quirks that can take time to account for and get running. For Star Wars: The Clone Wars, those "quirks" required such a gigantic code rewrite that it was only after years of work that the Dolphin team finally got the title, which is not one of the best Star Wars games ever released, up and running.
It's a testament to the GameCube's popularity that a team of coders has managed to, unofficially and without aid from Nintendo, maintain a console emulator long enough to make it capable of simulating every single game ever released for it. For those worried that Dolphin will end up going the way of the Pokemon Uranium project Nintendo shut down earlier this summer, it's worth mentioning that Dolphin has been around for over a decade and Nintendo hasn't managed to find a way to shut it down up to this point.
For a relatively small group of coders without the support of the actual developers who made each game, the Dolphin team's accomplishment today is an incredibly impressive one. Right now, there isn't a way to buy GameCube software and play it on a Wii U, so projects like Dolphin help preserve a beloved console from being left in the dust as the industry moves ever onward.