Wii emulators

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Revision as of 11:14, 17 December 2017 by F0rZ3r0 (talk | contribs) (Wi-Fi Connection)
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The Nintendo Wii

The Wii is a 2006 console by Nintendo. Because of similarity between the Wii and the GameCube, Wii emulation happened very quickly through GameCube emulation.


Name Operating System(s) Latest Version GCN Wii Triforce Libretro Core Recommended
Dolphin Multi-platform Git ✓*
Ishiiruka-Dolphin Multi-platform Git
Dolphin Android Git ?

*Requires the Triforce branch to work. It is very old and unsupported.

Dolphin is the only option for Wii emulation. This is probably due to the project going open source, allowing more developers to pursue it early in the lifespan of the console. It's updated on a near daily basis and is very good, barring some noticeable issues with GameCube games. System requirements are high. In addition, it is recommended to sync a Wii remote to play games for two reasons, mainly that it can be difficult mapping the motion controls to a controller, and MotionPlus has not been emulated at this time.

Wii System Menu Emulation

Dolphin is capable of running the system menu. To get the system menu, one needs to use BootMii to dump the NAND of the Wii and import it. Refer to the NAND usage guide on the Dolphin wiki for more details.

As of 5.0-4588, it is possible to get the System Menu along with all other system software automatically by performing an online update (in the Tools menu).


Wi-Fi Connection

Main article: Dolphin Online

This was the first Nintendo console to make online a standard feature. The service was discontinued May 20, 2014 for most games.[1] However, custom servers exist using Wiimmfi, but most popular titles are restored. However, it is greatly recommended to use a Wii instead, since you require a NAND from a real Wii to connect, and if you drop any frames at all while in anything online (i.e a Mario Kart Wii race), you will be banned, along with the Wii's NAND.

DS Connectivity

An unadvertised feature of the Wii is being able to connect to the Nintendo DS (and by extension, the DSi and the 3DS through their respective retro-compatibility features). A few DS titles[2] can do it, including but not limited to:

  • Mii Channel (hidden feature that can be used in conjunction with a 3DS's Mii Maker application or some DS games)
  • Pokémon Battle Revolution
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Fate
  • Nintendo Channel

Unlike with GameCube/GBA connectivity, this feature is still not emulated yet. So far, neither Dolphin, nor any Nintendo DS emulator so far supports this feature.



The main selling point of the Wii - motion control devices relying on gyroscopic sensors to detect motion, and an IR sensor plus a "Wii Sensor Bar" on the top or bottom of the TV screen (which is just 2 red LEDs, and you can easily use two candles on each side of the screen to get the exact same effect) to detect the screen and simulate pointers. Optionally, a nunchuck with an analog pad can be plugged to the Wiimote, and it also has its own gyroscopic controls. Some other, yet less common add-ons may be plugged in too.

You can simulate these controls with one of these modes:

  • Bluetooth Passthrough (since 5.0-910). This allows exposing a Bluetooth adapter to the emulated software directly, bypassing all host stack limitations. Given a good enough adapter, this mode guarantees identical connectivity and behaviour to the Wii.
  • Real Wiimote: Controlled only with an actual, physical Wiimote, connected to the PC with Bluetooth. You may need to hold 1+2 on the Wiimote before clicking "Pair" in Dolphin.
  • Emulated Wiimote: Controlled only with keyboard or gamepad controls you set up in the configuation. Considering the motion controls were basic enough for the first Wiimote, there's just options to set the directions for "Tilt", "Swing" and "Shake". The IR sensor is mapped to the mouse by default, though the option to go towards the screen is empty by default but available for remapping. The Nunchuck has its own motion controls. Depending on the game, you can just set up a few of these (typically, a button dedicated for shaking) and leave the rest empty. With presets, you can have each game use its own configuration. There's settings for sideways and vertical Wiimote positions.
  • Hybrid Wiimote: Allows for using both emulated controls and real Wiimote controls. Can be useful to control the IR pointer with a mouse in case there's no sensor bar.

Up to 4 Wiimotes can be added. If they desynch and disconnect, they can be reconnected by pressing Alt+F5~8.


Enhanced incarnation of the Wiimote with better motion detection. It was used to great effect for improved swordplay in Wii Sports Resort and The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. However, with this improvement comes additional complexity for setting up the gyroscopic controls.

As of now, the official Dolphin builds only allow for using a real Wiimotion Plus controller to control these games, with no option for an emulated Wiimote+ with keyboard or gamepad controls. "Emulated Wiimote" only covers gyroscopic controls for the regular Wiimote model. It's also very low on the list of priorities for the developers right now; they won't do it, but at least will consider if someone else did it in a way "good enough" for them.

However, one old unofficial branch from 2011 by jpeterson offered emulated Wiimotion+ with a somewhat intimidating setup menu for all the bindings, which is why it's best used with the real thing under the "Hybrid Wiimote" setting. Links for it and its source are dead, sadly enough. It was recently ported by a kind soul to the latest versions of Dolphin and may be downloaded from these links along with a Xbox 360 controller preset optimised for Skyward Sword.


  • Dolphin Wiki - For checking if your games work and any fixes/tweaks/settings you should know before hand.