The Wii U game console has been discontinued since early 2017. But if you want to play this old Nintendo console on modern hardware, you can do so thanks to the Cemu emulator for Windows PC.
This emulator not only allows you to play Wii U games on your PC, but also improves the original hardware, upscaling some games to 4K resolution. However, keep in mind that while Cemu is under constant development, the quality of the gameplay varies from game to game.
Legal ways to play Wii U games on PC
Piracy is a problem that gaming companies like Nintendo take extremely seriously. This means that it is not recommended to search and download pirated Wii U games on the Internet.
The best way to play Wii U games is to buy the Wii U games you want to play, second hand, and use the ddd WiiU Title Dumper or disc2app tools to scan and dump your Wii U game files. You need a DIY Wii U console which has been modified to allow you to run non-Nintendo software.
If you can’t copy Wii U games yourself, or don’t have a homemade Wii U console available, you’ll need to search the Internet for Wii U game files. However, as we mentioned, this is risky and could violate privacy laws in your country, so we do not recommend doing this.
Install Cemu Emulator
Assuming you have the Wii U game files ready to play and you will need a PC with the correct system requirements before installing the Cemu emulator Minimum system requirements include Windows 7 (or higher) with at least 4 GB of RAM, although 8 GB is recommended. You will need to make sure you have the latest C ++ Redistributable Packages installed on your computer.
You will also need a good quality NVIDIA or AMD graphics card. If you have Intel graphics, Cemu is currently not supported. The Cemu development team pointed out that this is due to severe visual issues that prevent you from playing games with this type of graphics chipset.
- If your computer meets the minimum system requirements, download the latest version from the Cemu website. The installation comes as a ZIP file, so unzip it to a suitable location, such as a folder on your Windows desktop.
- You will also need to do the same with Cemu Hook, a graphics and performance add-on for Cemu. Download the appropriate version of Cemu Hook for your version of Cemu, then extract the contents of the zip file to the Cemu installation directory.
- After installing Cemu Hook, start Cemu by double-clicking the Cemu.exe file in the Cemu directory. If the error message “Shared Fonts Missing” appears at the bottom of the Cemu screen, click Download Now. The process will end automatically.
- There are also a significant number of Cemu graphics packages designed to enhance the gameplay experience. If you are using Cemu version 1.15.1 or higher, you can download them automatically. To do this, click Options, then Graphics Packages. Click Download Latest Community Graphics Packs.
- Finally, you may want to consider loading shader caches for your Wii U games. This is not necessary, but if you don’t, the Cemu emulator will have to generate the shader caches on its own. This can cause severe gameplay lag during the first few game attempts while the cache is being generated. This Reddit post has a long list of caches that you can download. Copy the included BIN files to the Cemu installation folder / shaderCache / transferable / directory.
After installing the shader caches, you can proceed to customize your Cemu installation.
Set up your Wii U emulator
There are quite a few settings, including graphical add-ons and controller configurations, that you will need to change or tweak in Cemu before you can start playing.
The Community Graphics Packs that you automatically downloaded in the last step are customized for each game. You will need to set them up for each game you plan to play.
- Click Options, then Graphics Packages. For each game, click the + arrow. Each game will have a resolution setting, so click Resolution, then choose your preferred screen resolution from the Active Settings drop-down menu on the right. Confirm any other settings or graphics changes for your game at this point.
Next, you will need to configure the controller. Cemu supports keyboard and mouse use as well as USB and Bluetooth gamepads. You will need to map the controller of your choice to the keystrokes simulated on the Wii U controller.
- Click Options, then Input Settings. In the Controller Emulation section, select Wii U Pro Controller. Select the Controller API by choosing Keyboard for the keyboard or XInput for the USB controller. Select Wiimote if you are using an old Wii Bluetooth Remote.
- For each button, click next to each letter or controller element, then press a key or move or press the corresponding keyboard on the controller to display it. Once your controller is fully mapped, enter a profile name in the Profile field, then click Save to save the profile.
You can learn more about mapping your controller by visiting Cemu’s Controller Configuration Guide.
Running Cemu’s Wii U Games
Not all Wii U games are playable in Cemu. Cemu is still listed as an “experimental” emulator, some games are impossible to play with. With that in mind, you should check the official Cemu Gameplay Rankings page to determine if the game is playable.
- If so and you have the appropriate gameplay files, click File, then Upload. In the file selection menu, find the Wii U game files. These come in the WUD, WUX, ISO, or RPX file format, depending on how you obtained the game files. Click “Open” to start the game.
Once launched, you can start playing your game in the Cemu window. By default, the resolution and controller parameters set in the previous steps will be used.
If you have any issues, the Cemu wiki has additional guides and instructions on how to dump Wii U game discs and how to set up or troubleshoot Wii U gameplay on your PC.