There are two ways to “save” in Dolphin. You can either save in-game, which writes the data to a virtual memory card file and works basically just like it does on the console itself. You can also do a “save state” which is basically like hibernation mode on a laptop. It saves everything in the Gamecube’s memory to a file, so you can load it later and continue from exactly where you left off.
Let’s How to Setup a Dolphin Emulator Memory Card
Setup a Dolphin Emulator Memory Card
To save the in-game way, first make sure you have a memory card configured.
Step 1: In Dolphin, click the Config button at the top, go to Gamecube, and make sure Slot A is set to Memory Card.
Step 2: Using save-states is a lot like using quicksaves in an FPS. Press Shift+F1 to save to slot 1, and F1 to load it again.
Step 3: You have 8 slots total, F1 through F8. One precaution: loading save states won’t always work if the configuration options aren’t the same. If it crashes when you try to load, just change the options back and try again. Many options can be changed without affecting save states, the ones that tend to break things are usually the same ones Dolphin won’t let you change while a game is running.
Step 4: I’m not sure why loading a save state is crashing for you. What you’re doing sounds correct. Try loading a game, press Shift+F1, then press F1. If that still crashes, post more info: the specific version of Dolphin you’re using (if you’re on 3.0, try downloading the latest development build, newer builds fix many issues
Step 5:The newest as of today is 3.0-863), the game you’re trying to emulate, your OS, and anything else you think might be relevant. (In fact, the sidebar suggests you should do this every time you ask for emulator help.)
It occurs to me that you might not be playing a Gamecube game. You only need memory cards for Gamecube games, the Wii didn’t use memory cards because it saves to internal flash. Which, in Dolphin, means it should work automatically and you don’t have to do anything special to get it to work.