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This guide gives you a list of recommended devices that might be needed while using Dolphin - either as a requirement (sensor bar, bluetooth dongle are required to connect Wii Remotes) or simply for more faithful emulation (GameCube controller, etc.).


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NOTE: If possible, buy the devices through the links present in this guide. Dolphin is registered through the Amazon Affiliates programs, giving us money for anything you buy through this page. This costs nothing to you, and the money we get is reinvested in order to help developers buy hardware when needed.


GameCube Controller

Using a GameCube Controller as a normal PC Controller

If you want to use a real GameCube controller in Dolphin, there are multiple options. There are many PC based USB adapters that allow use to use GameCube controllers as standard controllers that can be configured in Dolphin for the "Standard Controller" GameCube option and the "Emulated Wii Remote" option.

This bundle contains an official GameCube Controller (White) as well as a very commonly used USB adapter to connect the controller to your PC.

Using Dolphin's Native GameCube Controller Passthrough

With the release of Smash 4 for Wii U, Nintendo created a new type of standardized GameCube to USB adapter to allow the classic GameCube controllers to be used on their (then) latest console. Soon, not only were there official versions of these adapters, but also tons of third party adapters. Because these use a standardized interface, Dolphin can use these adapters along with LibUSB to directly pass the GameCube controller to the emulated game. This bypasses the need to configure your GameCube controller, but also means that it can only be used as a "Native GameCube Controller" without third party drivers for their adapters.

Many third party adapters also include a "PC" mode on their adapters, allowing you to swap between Wii U/Switch mode and PC mode for the best of both worlds, however some cheap third party adapters may not work as well as the official adapters.

Bluetooth Dongle

Emulated Bluetooth

Most modern Bluetooth Adapters will work for connecting Wii Remotes in Dolphin. Usually the biggest problem with a Bluetooth adapter is the signal quality and bandwidth necessary to handle multiple Wii Remotes. Having a Bluetooth Adapter with an antenna may help with these issues, but most of the time standard USB Bluetooth adapters should work okay.

Bluetooth Passthrough

Bluetooth Passthrough is a little more specific about which adapters work and which adapters work well. See the Bluetooth Passthrough page for more information.

DolphinBar

The Mayflash DolphinBar is a combination Bluetooth Adapter/USB Sensor Bar that can simplify connecting Wii Remotes. It does not support Bluetooth Passthrough and can be problematic as the LED sensor bar isn't especially reliable, at least on older models. However, on modern versions of macOS where connecting Wii Remotes isn't possible with internal Bluetooth devices, it still has some uses.

See the review for more details, but be warned that review is from many years ago and the landscape has changed quite a bit.


Wii Remotes

There are three major kinds of Wii Remotes. The original Wii Remote with no Motion Plus Inside, and two variants of the Wii Remote including Motion Plus. For Dolphin, connecting original Wii Remotes and the early Wii Remotes with Motion Plus inside is simpler, as you can just use the "1" and "2" buttons on the Wii Remote to connect to Dolphin. The later Wii Remotes with Motion Plus Inside (denoted by a -TR under the battery shell) changed the connection method and now you must use the red sync button under the battery shell to connect Wii Remotes to Dolphin.

While the earlier Wii Remotes may seem easier to use, it must be noted that the -TR Wii Remotes have more lenient with Wii Remote audio timings and may result in slightly clearer Wii Remote audio under emulation.

Two options are listed here: either Wii Remote without Motion Plus Inside, or Wii Remote including Motion Plus. Normal Wii Remotes (without M+) are easier to setup with Dolphin, but they require you to buy and attach a Motion Plus add-on to your Wii Remote to play Motion Plus games. Wii Remote Plus do not require this add-on but are more complicated to setup with Dolphin.


Without Wii Motion Plus Inside


With Wii Motion Plus Inside


Accessories


Sensor Bars

This list contains a USB powered sensor bar (needs to be plugged in to your computer) as well as a fully wireless sensor bar (requires 4 AA batteries for power).


DolphinBar

The Mayflash DolphinBar is no longer recommended as a standalone sensor bar, as newer firmwares require a Wii Remote to be connected to it in order for the sensor bar portion of the device to be active. This was not true when the review was written.


Wii Compatible DVD Drive

These DVD drives can be used with Rawdump in order to dump GameCube and Wii DVD and use them with Dolphin.

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