1. Very fun read! I always love to read about user exploits, and it’s easy (not being a dev myself) to fall into a line of thought whereby it seems like they don’t know anything about their own systems, comparatively. (Which looks incredibly stupid, now that I’ve typed it out.) It’s very cool to see instances of them bringing that same hacker mentality to the table.

  2. Exploits. Is there anything they can’t do?

    I mean, were it not for exploits, I would have sold my Wii a long time ago. Now that it’s softmodded, I use it to play old games, and I’ve actually bought more peripherals for it (classic controller, extra controller, etc), when before I basically was just recycling stuff from my Gamecube to play Melee and Brawl.

    And the fact the PS3 has a major exploit has me debating buying one someday, just as the promise of installing OSes on it had me interested before. That, and Portal II, which my PC likely won’t play.

  3. Hmm, awestie, tell me more: my Wii sits here doing nothing. What do I need to do to make it useful again?

  4. First things first: Don’t update your Wii so that you have the most options for the initial install. You can get the new features later.

    Then, you’ll want to install this. It’s a softmod that adds “Homebrew Channel” and a few other things that are mostly important for running homebrewed code well and recovering on the very off chance that your system’s firmware gets damaged (very unlikely to happen unless you lose power durring an update. The same risk occurs when updating from Nintendo, IIRC). If you have System Menu 4.2 or earlier, all you need is an SD card and a save file from the internet that takes advantage of a buffer overflow. If you have a later version, you’ll need to hunt down a game which has another exploit. Luckily, one of those is SSB: Brawl, which is pretty much a must-own game for the Wii. It doesn’t work on European or Korean Wiis, though.

    After that, find some emulators and other homebrewed stuff like media players and games at WiiBrew.org. There’s a program called Homebrew Browser that lets you install most of the WiiBrew programs via an internet connection to your Wii, if you prefer that. You can also install programs that launch backups for burned discs or USB drives, as well. Those won’t be on WiiBrew, though, as it’s run by a strongly anti-piracy homebrew hacking group. The GBA-Temp forum is a good resource for that.

    Just to be clear, here’s what you can do with a hacked Wii, given the right installed homebrew software:
    * Run Emulators for just about every system up to and including the Nintendo 64 and Gameboy Advance (I believe there is a proof of concept DS emulator, but it runs so slowly that it’s virtually pointless)
    * Play back most SD media
    * Play DVD movies (The Wii has the capability, Nintendo just didn’t write the software or pay for the licenses)
    * Run backups of Wii games from a USB drives/burned DVDs, which offers convenience and much faster loading times.
    * Run backups of Gamecube games from burned DVDs (Gamecube games can’t run from the drive, because the Wii, as coded, does not acknowledge USB input while running as a Gamecube). Great for out of print GC games.
    * Tweak your Wii more to your liking (Disable safety messages, change music, etc)
    * Run anything you’d want to run on a Wii, if you’re handy with C/C++.

    Most of your media and software will be kept on an SD card, or maybe a USB drive, so have one of those handy. It’s possible to run code from a disc or even over the network, but it’s just much easier to use an SD card.

    Also, Nintendo tries, somewhat sloppily, to delete homebrew from Wiis when they update the firmware, so if you softmod your Wii, it’s recommended to not upgrade unless you’ve researched if the update can be done safely. It’s also easier to install homebrew initially on a Wii with a lower version. Usually, there’s a trick or a patch to update the Wii without losing homebrew capabilities, and the community is very good about testing everything so that it doesn’t harm the Wii. This is good, as it offers the best of both worlds. You can still use the WiiWare/Virtual Console store and play games that call on features in newer firmware, but not have to deal with locking down your console again.

    Anyway, the Wii’s a very easy console to hack, and it has a lot of interesting software available that works well with the peripherals that connect to the Wii, and it’s pretty hard to cause harm to your Wii. I consider it the Dreamcast of this generation, even thought the PS3 may have had a bigger exploit recently that will be harder to patch. The Wii’s just simply had a much bigger headstart, and the huge number of owners simply means there’s more people working on doing cool stuff with the Wii.

    I can go into more detail if you like, but the guides on WiiBrew and GBA-Temp are pretty good.

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