Hacking (Softmodding) your Wii 2015

Though the original Wii has not been produced since 2011, it is still a fun game system especially with younger kids.  Though it doesn’t have have hdmi, you can get better video quality buying a component video cable (ebay) and then change the system settings to 480p and widescreen mode.  The default with the standard composite cable is 480i and 4:3 ratio.  You can find used Wii systems for between $40-$80 on Craigslist.  Wiimote controllers are harder to find since they are still supported on the Wii U.  Motionplus controllers are a bit more expensive and not really necessary since fewer games require or support the extra accuracy.

I was given a Wii with a non-reading CD drive by a friend and I was able to replace the drive by finding a guide online on how to disassemble it.  I had to purchase a replacement drive and special screwdriver on ebay.  The Wii then sat for several years since my friend had already replaced the broken one.  Here is one disassembly guide  https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Nintendo+Wii+Teardown/812

I decided to get it going for my nieces and found that it could be softmodded to run games off USB drives instead of CD.  There are lots of guides available and it can be difficult to sort through all the info.

Make sure your Wii is updated with the latest firmware 4.3U (US,  June 2010).  This allows you to use the latest hack (Letterbomb) which installs the Homebrew Channel.  Homebrew Channel allows you to run your own apps on the Wii.  Hacking requires a SD card formatted FAT32.  Earlier guides mention only using non SDHC cards smaller than 2GB but with the latest firmware, SDHC cards CAN be used.  I used a 8GB SDHC card.

To run games off a USB drive, you can look for  USB Loader GX app which is copied onto your SD card.   This app doesn’t support running games off the SD card but another loader, CFG Loader, can be used if you want to.

There is another tool called modmii which may simplify the procedure for hacking.

If you have a HTPC, you can play Wii games with the Dolphin emulator.  You will need a game-quality graphics card and a fairly fast computer to run the emulation.  Original wiimotes are recommended though there is a dolphin wiimote app for your smartphone.  To connect to the wiimote, a generic bluetooth dongle is needed (couple of bucks on ebay).  Check on ebay as well  for a cheap USB powered sensor bar but you can use two candles in a pinch.


Leave a Reply