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The most popular Wii emulator now does ‘the unthinkable’

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You can now hit up the Wii Shop Channel with Dolphin

The team behind Dolphin, the best-known, most technically stunning Wii and Gamecube emulator, just added an impressive feature in its latest update. Users of the free PC software can now access the Wii Shop Channel. Downloading demos and even buying WiiWare and Virtual Consoles games is now possible through the emulator.

“Getting to the point where we could go shopping on Dolphin was a long and tumultuous one,” developer JMC47 wrote of the update, which is broken down in the video above. “We couldn't even connect to the update servers a few weeks ago, and had little idea why.”

After several weeks of tinkering with the software, Dolphin finally supports the Wii Shop Channel as of today’s version. The team is still working to perfect emulation of the eShop, but anyone with Dolphin can now make full use of the Wii Shop Channel. That means they can add more points to their accounts, download games and then play them with the benefit of the program’s upscaler.

The community wiki for Dolphin explains all the certificates needed to make use of the Wii Shop Channel, and it also links out to a network guide breaking down how to properly install the update. If Dolphin users have installed the same NAND — the system’s built-in memory — that they used on their original Wii consoles, they should even be able to re-download previous purchases at no extra cost.

It’s a pretty wild development, and it’s one that’s got emulation enthusiasts pumped. This may be the biggest and most celebrated update for Dolphin since its designers cracked support for every GameCube games back in September.