Dolphin is a GameCube and Wii emulator usable on personal computers. As a result of this, both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl are playable with the emulator. As Dolphin is currently the most stable GameCube and Wii emulator available for download, it is currently the most popular option for emulating the two games. Its high system requirements, however, have prevented it from attaining the same level of popularity as Nintendo 64 emulators, such as Project 64.
Outside of its ease of setup and relative stability, Dolphin has since become popular for its use in tool-assisted superplays, especially with JPleal's Perfect Falcon and Perfect Pichu videos. In addition, the emulator allows for the ability to hack textures in both Melee and Brawl, as well as potentially play both games online (though both are criticised for extensive desynching problems).
Melee is reportedly said to run in Dolphin without errors. Brawl, however, requires certain graphical requirements set within Dolphin to properly display the various Results screen; in single player modes, the screen focusing on the player's character instead becomes a solid green colour, while in multiplayer modes, text becomes corrupted and illegible.
Dolphin Netplay or Netplay for short is an emulation of Melee with hacks that allow it to be played by two players over an internet connection. It also functions as a GameCube and Wii emulator. By using the associated IRC, players can host a private game and exchange generated codes, which connect them to another user. Four player games are also possible.
Old issues included desyncing and crashing, much of which has been fixed in its current release. Desyncs no longer occur when playing Pikachu or when 'flash on L-Cancel' hacks are enabled. In addition to the increases in performance, the online community players has grown greatly, with professionals like Kage playing occasionally. The matchmaking IRC has shown steady increase in membership following Apex 2014.
To use the traditional Gamecube controller, a Raphnet or Mayflash USB-GC adapter is needed. The Raphnet one has a slight advantage over the Mayflash in input delay, but is more expensive and does not come with 2 ports. When properly configured, local Dolphin emulations of melee are comparable to a 2ms screen delay.
Some critics of Netplay complain that the online lag makes it unplayable compared to a Gamecube with CRT television. There are several ways to minimize the collective lag. A good internet connection and computer are needed, and playing players geographically closer can improve quality greatly. Following the rule of 1buffer=17ms of ping will be effective as well.