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In brief: One of the top Nintendo GameCube and Wii emulators is coming to Valve's digital distribution platform. Dolphin debuted as freeware way back in 2003 and became the first emulator that could successfully run commercial GameCube games. Early builds struggled with performance, and audio emulation was not available at first but things only got better with time. Dolphin went open-source in 2007 and has been updated on a pretty routine schedule ever since.
The team behind the free and open-source Dolphin emulator recently launched its own Steam store page. The emulator is not available to download just yet from Steam (you can grab it here from TS downloads) but it can be added to your wish list. A notice on the Steam page mentions a planned a Q2 2023 launch date in early access.
There are several reasons to run games on an emulator instead of original hardware. While original hardware offers the purest experience, some prefer to play classic titles at higher resolutions or with widescreens support. HD texture packs can also make older games less of an eyesore, and patches can drastically improve frame rates in some cases.
Quality of life features like quick saves and online multiplayer can make emulators even more appealing, as can community-based mods and custom level packs.
The dev team will publish a full-length article when the emulator launches to outline its feature set. Should everything go according to plan, Dolphin on Steam will exit early access before the end of 2023. It will remain free even after exiting early access, we're told.
The Steam listing is quick to point out that Dolphin simply creates a virtual environment to run games from the big N's cube-shaped and motion-controlled consoles. It does not include any games, and is simply a tool to run legally obtained copies of games. It is up to you to obtain copies of games and / or dump them into a format that is compatible with the Dolphin emulator.