A few years ago I had seen my old roomate hack a Nintendo Wii. He hardware modded the thing, with a modchip installed physically inside the wii. That small, warranty voiding modification, allowed you to play unsigned burned games. It was cool, except you still needed a dual layer burner and blank dual layer discs for some games.
Fast forward a few years, my new redheaded roomie showed up with a brand new Black Nintendo Wii, fresh from the store. After a brief search on Google, I was informed that homebrew could be achieved via software modifications, provided you had an SD card.
I also found out that the Wii can be modified to run games from an External USB Drive, provided you have the proper software on your computer.
As if all that wasnt enough, once you’re done, the custom Homebrew Channel that will be installed on your wii allows you to download games other homebrew users have developed, all open sourcy. Yes, free new crazy homebrewed games! If you’re the artistic type, after this lengthy tutorial, you can also download the wii dev kit and make your very own wii games.
All without opening up the wii or buying one spendy dual layer disc.
If you’re familiar with iDevice jailbreaking, Wii homebrew is basically Cydia. And the Bannerbomb wii exploit was actually written by the same guy who wrote the iPad Spirit Jailbreak. Small world huh?
BTW: This tutorial applies to versions of the Wii System Menu ranging from 3.0 to 4.2.
– Learn Your Wii’s Version!
Go to your wii settings menu and you should see the number in the Top right hand corner. Depending on your Wii’s number, the unlocking process will be different. This Wii is fresh from a store in the Midwest, and came preinstalled with 4.2. Chances are, if you have bought a Wii recently, you’re going to have 4.2. (I believe it or (4.1) came out in sept 2009). All versions can be unlocked, its up to you to figure out what way to go about it.
– SD CARD
Most guides will tell you to use a 2 gig card or less. Although, reportedly, the new Wii’s can handle over a 2gig SD card, but its really not that important. We are only using this to unlock the wii, not load games from it. Personally, I used a 2gig card that cost like pennies at the store. They are practically giving those things away these days.
– USB Hard Drive
This can be any size. Keep in mind that Wii games average about 4 Gigs a piece, so if you planning on collecting a few, you’ll want something decent size. Also, to really test things out, I used an enclosure and an old IDE 200 gig 3.5 inch desktop computer harddrive. Still worked perfect. So, pretty much any form of USB hard drive you can come up with should work.
(ALSO format it to Fat32, more on that later)
HackMii Homebrew Installer : Download this from http://bootmii.org/download/
BannerBomb: http://bannerbomb.qoid.us/ (make sure you get the right version for your wii)
USB Loader Software: http://wehackwii.pbworks.com/WeHackWii-Package (You’ll want to unzip this to the root of your SD Card after you’ve performed the exploit)
Both of these are zip files. Both of these need to go on your SD Card. But for now, just unpack both of them somewhere you’ll remember.
Let’s Get Dangerous:
First up, you’ll need to exploit you Wii. You may have heard about hacks involving the Twilight Princess disk, and some crazy saved games, but things have moved waay past that. http://wiibrew.org was a huge help with this step. Which, is why I would advice you to click this link (It opens in a new Window) http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Homebrew_setup and follow their Instructions.
For the purpose of this guide, I would advise you to skip part 4 of step 4. Specifically, the part where it says to install DIVX.
<strong>Part 4: Installing the Homebrew Channel</strong>
<strong>4. Go to Install DVDx > Install DVDx and select yes. (</strong><a title="DVDX" href="/wiki/DVDX"><span style="color: #000000;"><strong><span style="color: #888888;">What is DVDx?</span></strong></span></a><strong>)</strong>
The reason being, we will install the DVD player add-on later, thru a newer, cleaner method.
When you’re finished hacking, (it will prolly take around a 30 minutes) come back with your now Exploited Wii, and we will go over how to play games from a USB.
Loading from a USB:
This is obviously one of the biggest advantages of getting homebrew installed on your wii. This is also where I ran into a lot of problems, finding alot of old information. Even Lifehacker’s guide seemed to be way out of date. That is until I found this awesome site, We Hack Wii With their Wii software package and amazing instructions, getting your Wii to load games from a USB Hard Drive couldnt be easier.
Before you head to http://wehackwii.pbworks.com/USB-Loader there are a few things to consider.If you have never hacked a Nintendo Wii before, prepared to be bombarded by alot of technical jargon. these guys defiantly know their shit. Thankfully, you dont have to know a whole lot to apply their methods.
if youve been following this guide, you will already be on step 5 of their tutorial.
However, on THEIR step one, they had you download and unzip a few files to the Root of your SD Card. Before you continue with their tutorial, you’ll need to unzip these files to the root of your SD card. You will be overwriting some files. Specifically, Apps and WAD. You will want to do this.
The We Hack Wii tutorial is no joke, and will probably take you atleast a half hour. Maybe more if your the kind to stand around and mull over what you’re doing. Again, if you have been following this guide, you have gone thru their Steps 1-4 Already!
For their Step Five, follow it exactly as written. Follow the DOP-Mii instructions.
Step Six: If you’ve just purchased your Wii, you’ll need to do this step. Even still, its not that hard. Makes for a better install.
Step Seven: Remember how you do this step. you’ll need to repeat it, only slightly different to get your DVD working.
Step Eight: This is their last step, but if you want a DVD player, you’ll need one more step.
DVD PLAYER ENABLING (W/O DIVX):
Open the HomeBrew Channel and run the cIOS222 v4 Installer. Just like in step Seven. Only this time:
- Select 249 IOS for Install.
- Install Custom IOS 202 (Homebrew)
- Use IOS 38 Merged with 60
After that, you’ll be able to play burned dvds.
USB LOADER GX
So if you have been following directions and installed the We Hack Wii Package, you’ll have the newest USB Loader GX Homebrew app.This will allow you to plug in external Hard drives to play backed up copies of your *legit* games. However, before you get to excited, You will need:
USB Hard Drive
I Used an old IDE w/ an External Enclosure, so it doesnt need to be anything fancy. You are going to want to format this to FAT 32. If you are unfamiliar with Formating a Drive, this is a great time to learn.
MAC: Utilities > Disk Utility is the built in Disk Editor. Open it up, format to FAT w/ a Master Boot Record.
UBUNTU LINUX: Administrator > Disk Utility. Open it up, format to FAT w/ a Master Boot Record
WINDOWS: Off the top of my head, idk. but there are prolly no less than 1000 ways to accomplish this task. really. pick any one.
Software for your Particular OS
Just having a FAT 32 Harddrive isnt Enough!! You will need special software to handle the Wii’s fancy Hard Drive Setting. (Called WBFS File System). This software will allow you to move ISO’s from your computer, to the connected hardrive, in a way that the Wii USB Loader GX program will be able to understand. This is also the most basic way of getting new games onto your wii later. In our current living arrangement, there wasn’t a Windows computer to be found, However, from what I’ve read, Windows Users have the easiest, best options for WBFS management. However, I can attest to the awesomeness of a certain Ubuntu Linux program Wiithon.
UBUNTU Linux: There is a WBFS command line tool and GUI for the command line. If you’re using linux, you’re probably way more capable than I was. I had trouble getting my roomies 10.04 Lucid box to do anything with either of those tools. I thought I was defeated, embarrassed and shamed, until I found this program: Wiithon. This little baby is sweeeet! It installs thru a .deb file (no command line involved!). After you have Downloaded and Installed Wiithon, you’re ready:
STEP ONE: Connect the USB FAT 32 FORMATTED HARD DRIVE.
STEP TWO: Open Wiithon (it is in Applications > Games by default)
STEP THREE: Click the Preferences Button (Screwdriver) > Tools and Utilities > Format WBFS
Find your attached hard drive and format it. Now that you have a properly formated Hardrive, any Wii formated ISO you have can be restored to the harddrive. Simply click the new button, find the iso, and watch the progress bar! When it gets all done:
Once you’ve restored a game to the harddrive, all that’s left to do is plug it into the Wii.
Mac: I have not had alot of luck trying to find a current Mac WBFS manager. If anyone has a better solution, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will surely credit you! For now, I guess I recommend using WBFS Manager via VM Ware.
Windows: WBFS Manager is a great starting point. You’ll need to follow the same basic steps. Format the drive, than restore your ISO files. This is probably the easiest and most famous WBFS Manager, but by no means the only one.
After you’ve restored the game, on whatever Operating System through any software you’ve chosen, its time to plug the hard drive into the wii.
- Open Homebrew Channel.
- Find and Load: USB LOADER GX.
- Select your game, and Play All Day.
Recap: your Nintendo Wii should now…
- have an external Hardrive, capable of playing backup games. Your computer has the software to install the backedup copies.
- Be able to play DVDs. Burned or Otherwise.
- Load up the Homebrew Channel, giving you access to untold treasures. (stay tuned for further posts on cool homebrew apps)
Hopefully you found this tutorial helpful!