It’s official. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is finally within our grasp. The team behind Dolphin – regarded as the best GameCube and Wii emulator – has announced that the service is “coming soon” to Steam. It will be released as an ‘early access game’ in due course, though the store page is already live. Add it to your wishlist, and you’ll be notified as soon as the ‘game’ goes live.
Steam always wins
For the uninitiated, Dolphin is an emulator, specifically designed to run games from “the big N’s cube-shaped and motion-controlled consoles.” It’s entirely open-source, only requires a PC (so you’re not spending preposterous amounts on a console released twenty-plus years ago), and supports modern controllers and 4K visuals.
There are a few caveats to contend with. The first is “the big N’s” (note Dolphin’s unwillingness to mention our Nintendo dictators) hatred of its twenty-year-old hardware being emulated. While downloading Dolphin is completely within your rights you’ll need to own the games you’re hoping to emulate. There are ways around this, though the process of downloading or uploading ROMs is illegal. Nintendo will come down on you faster than you can say ‘lawyer’. Just… keep that in mind.
Sure, the service has a downside or two. But the pros outweigh the cons. Massively. For one, just using a higher-end PC can net better visuals and performance. The modding community for older Nintendo games is alive and well, with community-made patches increasing resolution, frame rates, and textures to boost the overall experience. There’s even an option for some local multiplayer games that use “Dolphin’s built-in netplay”.
An official date has yet to be announced, though we know it’s coming sometime in Q2 (April, May, and June), courtesy of the emulator’s Steam page.