Hack your Wii to Run Emulators and Install Homebrew

   Posted August 27, 2012 by Jimmy Selix in Nintendo Wii

This tutorial will explain how to softmod your Nintendo Wii running 4.3x firmware.  By softmodding your Wii, you can then run homebrew software and even emulators such as MAME, Atari 2600, NES, and others.

One of the best ways to extend the enjoyment of your Nintendo device is to hack in the ability to run emulators. NES, N64, Atari 2600, and MAME options are all available. You will need to have your Wii connecting to the internet and a free SDCard to follow this process and.  This tutorial will only focus on getting your Wii softmodded to play emulators and other homebrew off an SDCard.

1. Be sure you are running 4.3 firmware on the Wii. You can check this on your Wii by going to Wii Settings and in the upper right is your firmware version. This should be Ver. 4.3U for USA, Ver. 4.3J for Japan, etc.  Be sure to have your Wii connected to the internet as several of the applications needed require internet access.

2. On your Wii go to into Wii Settings > Internet > Console Information. Write down your MAC Address. We need this for the next step.

3.With your computer, go to http://please.hackmii.com and enter in your MAC Address. Click on the version of 4.3 firmware your Wii is on. This will save a zip file to your pc.

4. Extract the contents of the zip file onto an SDCard. The SD Card must be formatted in FAT32. Do not include the top mailbomb folder; just place the files.

5. Download my pre-compiled app pack and copy this to the root of the SDCard too. Once again do not include the top folder. Your memory card will now have a private folder, an apps folder, and a few other files in the root.

Your SDcard should look like this:

6. Put the SDCard with our contents we downloaded and extracted into your Wii device.

7. On the Wii go to the Message Board and go to Yesterday’s date. You will see a LetterBomb icon, this is the HackMii package we created and will be used to softmod our Wii.

8. It will load the HackMii installer. Wait for it to load through the disclaimers.


9. Click on Install Homebrew Channel, and click the A button. The software will install.

10. (Optional) You may wish to to install Bootmii. This lets you back up your NAND flash. If you install it to Boot2, it will always launch the BootMii menu when you power on your Wii.  If your only planning on doing homebrew and emulators, you can skip this step. Once we exit, we will be brought to the Homebrew Channel.

11. Basically at this point, we can now run homebrew emulators and apps from our SD Card. My app pack includes a few basic emulators and apps. The Homebrew Browser app lets you download emulators and updates from the web on your Wii.

You will now have the homebrew Channel on your Wii home screen which should have some pre-loaded apps and emulators.

Jimmy’s App-Pack:

Jimmy’s App-pack of software that I have gathered includes these emulators and apps:

cIOS38 v14 installer – For loading usb harddrive cIOS for USBLoader GX
FCE (NES emulator)
GenPlusGX (Genesis emulator)
Homebrew Browser (app download store for wii homebrew)
Multi-Mod Manager (MMM) – Removing Stubs/CIOS, USBLoader GX
SDLMame (MAME emulator)
WAD Manager 1.5 (load and remove wad files)
Wii2600 (Atari 2600 emulator)
Wii64 (N64 emulator)
USB Loader GX v1.8 (loads gamebackups)
SNESX9XGX (SNES emulator)
WiiExplorer (File explorer)
WiiMC (Media Player)

Any Wii system update will break the softmod so be sure to not update.  If a game you buy requires the update, there is most likely a work around that will avoid the update.


Navigating in the homebrew channel

Home button brings up options to exit to Wii menu, shutdown, or boot to BootMii.
+ and move between pages
1 button brings up Options for HBC
2 button changes from list to icon view


Manually Installing Apps to SDCard

Just download the homebrew app. Create a folder on the SDcards’s apps folder. For example, appsfungame and then copy files to folder.  It will show up on the homebrew channel.

How to use Emulators

You will need ROMS for the emulators. Most of us usually have a large library but you can search your normal places for them.  Basically, in the root of the SDCard are names of the emulators.  In each emulator folder there will be a folder called roms.  Put your appropriate rom files here.  

Launch the emulator through the homebrew channel on your Wii home screen.  Hitting the home key will bring up the settings screens that lets you configure the emulator, controllers, sound, upscaling, and other options.


About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
View more articles by Jimmy Selix

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • EvanXER

    What program from the Jimmy’s App-Pack do I use to play wii rom games?

    • David Kirk

      Any of the emulators will play games. Like any other emulators, you must provide the game ROMs or binaries to use.

    • Jimmy

      > i did not touch on that topic in this article. however i’m about to put together a guide on that soon! basically you will need to hack the CioS memory and downgrade to a hackable one so you can have access to the USB ports on the back to run games off of. 🙂

  • adam

    Its freezes when i try to load the homebrew app

  • Chris Mock

    I can get to the homebrew channel, have a SNES rom, but when I try and load the ROM, system goes dead. Please help

  • joe

    when you click on the pre-compiled apps nothing comes up, can anyone help me

  • kalarse

    If I update my Wii system after installing everything, will it brick my Wii?

  • http://rogers Don

    downloaded the homebrew 1st part went great. I did not complete down load of your app pack as a pop up indicated do you want to make changes to your computer and the answer is no; Not sure what to do at this point. Would like your app-pack but a little concerned? Can you provide some direct as to the launch. When it goes to the other screen it is a little confusing as to what where I am downloading your app -pack I am a senior and new to this and I am house bound and would really like to play games such as Mario,cards games and slots. Thanks so much.

  • http://Rogers Don Straiko

    I have the HBC and Browser installed. I do not have Wads or Usb. Can I remove the sd card from my wii 4.3u and add apps files///

  • rhhc100

    I download app pack. Can’t open it. It says it no good. Can u fix it

  • Anja

    Thanks for this easy tutorial! 🙂
    But when i load a game in the snes emulator, i only get sound and black screen.
    the games i tried to open was yoshis island and mario kart.

    can u help?

  • Mayor Adam West

    Thanks Jimmy!! Rocking out on some Punch Out as we speak.

  • Elizabeth

    We got the Homebrew channel to work, and everything worked fine with that, but when we tried to load our rom games up (using any of the emulators in your pack), the Wii shuts off. It doesn’t matter which game or which emulator I try. My husband and I are so frustrated; we have tried like 5 different tutorials and this is the one we got farthest with, but still can’t play games. HELP!

  • AK

    Also getting the blank screen with in game sound when I load a rom in FCEUGX. Whats going on here?

  • Levi

    When I extract the files it gives me only the folders. None of the text documents, boot file or snex9s ROMs show up.

  • Kountrykomix

    This is awesome Jimmy, thanks so much. I was thinking once I get all my apps and wads together I was gonna create an all in one pack for people cause I have had to restart my wii and format to factory settings cause my SD card got messed up but I found another pack that got rid of the priloader stuff for me and then I was able to format it for factory settings and then I could start over the homebrew process. This time I’ll be smart and keep a backup of everything.