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Can you emulate Gamecube games on Steam Deck?

A wild Dolphin appears.

The Steam Deck is the ultimate handheld gaming system, so many players want to know just exactly what they can play on it. Gamecube emulators such as Dolphin are hugely popular on PC, and many fans want to know if they can utilize emulators to play their Gamecube games on the Steam Deck as well. Here is all you need to know about playing Gamecube games on the Steam Deck.

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Keep in mind that ROMS are technically illegal, and it is ill-advised to download them.

Related: How to install Google Chrome on Steam Deck

How to play Gamecube games on Steam Deck

In order to play Gamecube games on the Steam Deck, you are going to have to own the necessary game files on the Steam Deck first. This can be done by converting your Gamecube games manually, or via alternative methods. To get them up and running on the system you just need to follow a few simple steps:

  • Click on your Steam Button, then select Power and Switch to Desktop.
  • Find an emulator program to install via the Discover Store. The most popular one for Gamecube games is called Dolphin.
  • Open Steam still in Desktop Mode and select Add Non Steam Game.
  • Select the Dolphin Emulator and hit Add Selected Program.
  • Switch back to Game Mode and open the Dolphin Emulator through your Non Steam Games tab.
  • Go to the Audio tab. Audio is disabled by default. Change Audio Backend to Cubeb if you want audio.
  • Open the Graphics open, and change the following:
    • Backend – Change to Vulkan or leave it OpenGL
    • Adapter – Select AMD RADV VANGOGH
    • Aspect Ratio – Change to Force 16:9 or leave at auto.
  • Go to the Enhancements tab and do the following:
    • Internal Resolution – Change to 720p
    • Anti-Aliasing – Leave off
    • Anisotropic Filtering – Leave at 1x
  • Under the Controllers tab, do the following:
    • Device – Select SDL/0/Microsoft X-box 360 pad 0
    • Configure each button to your Steam Deck buttons.
  • Find an installed game via the Open button, and it should launch with no issues.

Related: Does Steam Deck download while in sleep mode? Answered

Some players have trouble accessing Dolphin on Desktop Mode, so it is advised that you add the emulator to your Steam Games before attempting to play it.

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Michael Stoyanoff
Michael Stoyanoff is a Freelance Writer for Gamepur. He holds vast knowledge on Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft among other MMO's. Bioware RPGs are also a passion. In his free time you can find him lounging with his pug or working on his fitness.