When it came out, Nintendo Wii was quite a novelty in terms of the way you could interact with the console. It offered a set of simple, yet highly addictive games for the entire family to enjoy.
Soon enough, millions of people were swinging their controllers around the room, trying to ace the backhand slice or hit the ninth hole. In fact, the original Nintendo Wii sales reached over 100 million, making it the fifth best-selling console of all times.
But as the years go by, the craze vanes and your Wii is now probably collecting dust. So why not give it a facelift and take advantage of everything the console can do?
Before You Start
Jailbreaking your Wii involves the use of Homebrew software which was not developed by Nintendo. This means you cannot be 100% sure whether the software is going to harm the console or not. In addition, Homebrew software might void the warranty.
You need to update Wii prior to the jailbreak and prevent automatic updates. Otherwise, a future update might disable the Homebrew Channel or brick the Wii. To disable the updates, navigate to Options, select Wii Settings, go to the second page, and turn off WiiConnect24.
To start the jailbreak, you will need a computer with a stable internet connection, SD Card reader, and an SD Card that’s formatted in FAT32 or FAT16.
Note: The following hack applies to the original Nintendo Wii, not Wii-U or Wii-Mini.
Assuming you’ve updated the Wii and formatted the card, here are the necessary steps:
First, you need to download and copy the Letterbomb zip file onto the SD card. Go to the please.hackmii.com, select Wii OS version, put in the Wii Mac Address, and check the reCAPTCHA box.
There are two options to download the file – Cut the red wire and Cut the blue wire. To be honest, there doesn’t seem to be a difference which one you click.
Tip: If you struggle to find the MAC Address, you can locate it by taking the following path:
Wii Options > Wii Settings > Page 2 > Internet > Console Information
Unzip the file on the SD card and insert it in your Wii’s SD card slot located behind a small door next to the disk slot. To properly insert, the top of the card needs to face the disk slot.
At this point, you can turn on the Wii and go to the Message Board by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom right corner.
You should look for the special Letterbomb message. Go left or right a few times to find it. Click on the message when you see the cartoony letterbomb.
The Letterbomb software will start running and it will prompt you to press 1 to continue. Click Continue in the following menu, navigate up to Install the Homebrew Channel, and confirm by selecting “Yes, continue”.
Once the installation finishes, you’ll get a message that was successful and you can click Exit to go back.
You Wii is now jailbroken and set to the Homebrew Channel. It will run Homebrew even if you take out the SD Card or stop playing Wii for some time then go back.
If your Wii is brand new and there are no messages, the jailbreak won’t work. There needs to be at least one message for the Letterbomb to do its magic.
You can work around this by creating a memo. Access the Wii Message Board, select the icon to create a message, then choose memo, and click Write and post a memo.
The Reasons to Jailbreak the Nintendo Wii
Nintendo Wii is arguably one of the most underutilized consoles. This means that its functionality can be extended beyond just playing games. For example, you can download and install an app that lets you play movie DVDs through the console. What’s more, there’s an option to install Linux and turn the console into a functional PC.
And when it comes to games, the sky seems to be the limit. Different emulators allow you to enjoy various games from the days long gone. Indie developers created a ton of Wii Homebrew games and some of the highlights include Super Mario War and Wii Duck Hunt.
Not to mention the fact that you can play region-locked titles on the Homebrew channel. To be precise, if there’s a Japanese game you particularly like, you can download and play it on your U.S. Wii.
Get out of Jail Free Card
When all is said and done, you don’t need to be super tech-savvy to jailbreak your Wii. And the hack opens up a bunch of opportunities to enjoy the console as you deem fit. However, it is important to stress that you’ll be installing a third-party system on your console which might impede its performance.
On the bright side, you shouldn’t have any problems if you follow the guide to the T.