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Dolphin emulator can now boot up entire GameCube library

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars stood in its path, as it does

GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin is beloved by a certain subset of Nintendo fans. While its ability to run games like Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Mario Galaxy — often at a much higher visual standard — is well-known, it wasn’t until today that the main team behind the open-source application could get every GameCube game up and running in Dolphin.

The last GameCube game to become compatible with Dolphin’s latest version is Star Wars: The Clone Wars, according to a blog post on the emulator’s website. That’s because of the complexities of how the game manages its virtual memory. Although other titles have unique memory management unit (MMU) processes, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is especially tricky to emulate.

That’s the heavily condensed layman’s version of the in-depth read, in which members of the Dolphin team describe the intricacies of GameCube emulation. For those with programming knowhow, it’s a fascinating look at the trickery that lies beneath Dolphin’s emulation process. For GameCube fans, it’s a reminder of Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ tendency to bring down a much-loved thing.

It’s important to note that Dolphin can boot every GameCube game, but that doesn’t mean the emulator can play all of them. Army Men: Sarge’s War, Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 and 2 Trial Edition and the Game Boy Player don’t load past the menu screen when using Dolphin. Playing any of those will require a GameCube or a backward-compatible Wii.

Dolphin’s been kicking around since 2003, shortly after the GameCube hit shelves. After closing down for a few years, development was revitalized in 2008 as the project went open-source. It supports Windows PC, Mac, Linux and, most recently, Android devices.