Can You Play GameCube Games on Wii? [Limitations and Requirements]

Dejan Cvetnarevic
Dejan Cvetnarevic

Updated · Nov 16, 2022


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Nintendo’s GameCube may not have been as popular as PlayStation 2, but it did make for a great console with an extensive library of high-quality games and a fan-favorite controller.

And now, more than 20 years later, can you play GameCube Games on Wii?

It depends on the model.

Here’s what Wii versions are compatible with GameCube games and how to play these games on your Wii console.

Can You Play GameCube Games on Wii?

Developed in 2001 by Nintendo, one of the largest video game companies, GameCube was a popular gaming console that included many great titles such as Super Mario, Pikmin, the Legend of Zelda, and Metroid Prime.

Although the console was discontinued in 2007, Nintendo gave its successor, the Nintendo Wii console, backward compatibility, which meant fans of the GameCube games could continue to play their favorite games on the latest console.

However, this backward compatibility only applies to the Wii model that came right after the GameCube console.

Wii models released in 2011 and later do not have the GameCube controller ports needed to run GameCube games and can’t read the GameCube discs.

The easiest way to find out if you have a Wii model that plays GameCube games is to check the model number of your console, which is placed above the barcode on the packaging and at the bottom of your Wii.

Wii consoles playing GameCube games have a model number that starts with RVL.

If your Wii’s model number starts with RVK instead, then your console is not compatible with GameCube software.

That said, you may be able to find a way around that with the help of homebrew— the same way you might be able to play DS games on Nintendo Switch.

If you need gift ideas for a gamer, you might be interested in the Nintendo Switch Lite since its a very popular console due to its affordability and portability.

How to Play GameCube Games on Wii

If your Wii console is GameCube compatible, you’ll need to make sure that you have the necessary hardware before you insert your GameCube games into the console.

GameCube games on Wii cannot be played with a Wii controller; You’ll need a GameCube controller to make them work. Also, you’ll have to get a GameCube memory card if you want to be able to save your in-game progress.

Once you have everything you need, here is what you need to do to start playing GameCube games on Wii:

  1. Open the controller cover on top of the Wii, above the power button.
  2. Plug your GameCube controller into one of the four controller ports on top of the Wii console.
  3. Open the memory card cover which is next to the GameCube controller slot and insert your memory card into one of the two slots.
  4. Insert the GameCube disc into the Wii console the same way you insert a normal Wii disc.
  5. Press the Home button on your Wii controller and choose Game Cube for the preferred Disc Channel.
  6. Select Start and play the game.

If you want to return to Wii, press the Eject button at the bottom left side of the console and then press Reset (located between the Power button and the memory slots).

Potential Issues of Playing GameCube Games on Wii

With 60% of Americans playing video games daily, it’s no wonder that we have plenty of choices in the gaming sphere and that goes for Nintendo platforms too.

But, despite Nintendo’s efforts to make the transition as painless as possible, the Wii console’s backward compatibility is somewhat limited.

No DVD player

One major disadvantage of GameCube and Wii consoles is that they don’t have DVD or audio CD support, which is why a great number of gamers turned to PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

Nintendo claims that the reason why they decided to opt out of DVD and CD support is to reduce copyright infringement and provide faster loading times, as well as avoid DVD licensing fees and make the consoles more affordable.

A new memory card required

A console that cannot play DVDs is a bummer, but it’s rarely a deal breaker for serious gamers.

Not being able to save your progress in a game can turn away even the most persistent gamers, especially those who prefer adventure-style games, which typically take longer to complete.

The issue is easily fixable– that is if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks on a new memory card.

GameCube controller required

For most Nintendo fans who are feeling nostalgic about the GameCube console, the biggest obstacle to turning back the clock is that the backward compatibility does not apply to the Wii controller.

In other words, you can’t play GameCube games on your Wii console without a GameCube controller; You’ll either have to find your old controller or buy a new one.

The good news is GameCube controllers are affordable and easy to find on sites like Amazon and Craigslist.

Bottom Line

Thanks to Wii backward compatibility, players can enjoy GameCube classics on Wii consoles too, but not on the newer models. And even if your Wii console is compatible, you’ll need to find yourself a GameCube controller to play the games and buy a new memory card if you want to save your in-game progress.


Can the Wii U play Gamecube games?

The Wii U console is not compatible with GameCube games.

Does Wii play GameCube games?

Wii models that were manufactured before 2011 can play GameCube games.

Can you play Wii games with a GameCube controller?

If your Wii console is compatible with GameCube software and accessories, you can play Wii games with your GameCube controller. Some of the Wii games that use the GameCube controller are Arc Rise Fantasia, Mario Kart Wii, Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo, and Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution.

Can you play GameCube games on Wii with a Wii controller?

You can only play GameCube games on a Wii console with a GameCube controller.


Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.

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