Dolphin is the best emulator around for playing Nintendo GameCube and Wii games, and it’s not just available on desktop PCs. The Android port has been around for years, and over the past two months, the Dolphin Emulator team has been working on a few important changes. Dolphin can now run natively on Apple M1 hardware, and new fixes for emulation on Mali GPUs mean more games than ever work well on Android devices.
Dolphin just added native support for Apple’s M1 chipsets at the end of last month, using the project’s AArch64 JIT (Just-In-Time) emulation core that was developed for Android and Windows on ARM. Dolphin’s ARM support isn’t as complete as emulation on 64-bit x86 hardware, but performance is already excellent in most games. “There’s no denying it,” the Dolphin Emulator team wrote in a blog post, “macOS M1 hardware kicks some serious ass. It absolutely obliterates a two and a half year old Intel MacBook Pro that was over three times its price all while keeping within ARM’s reach of a powerful desktop computer.”
With powerful ARM-based hardware becoming more common, Dolphin’s developers have been working to fix long-standing bugs and performance issues in the ARM emulation core. Fixes to floating point calculations have fixed crashes and graphical issues in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Sonic Colors, Sonic Unleashed, and other games. Dolphin Emulator has also fixed bugs with shaders on Mali GPUs, which affected many games running on Android phones and tablets.
Dolphin is also fixing issues with controls on Android. Controller configurations are now saved properly, and with changes to transparency on touchscreen buttons, it’s a bit easier to play games without a physical controller. Check out the full blog post for everything else coming to the latest stable Dolphin Emulator release.