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Modding a Nintendo Wii

April 1, 2008 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Should I Mod My Wii?

Ever since the PS2, modchips have become extremely popular among technology enthusiasts. Nintendo Wii modchips are installed on the Wii DVD drive and work by modifying signals sent to/from the DVD drive. Hence, they are often called drive chips. Installing a modchip on your Wii allows you to:

  • Play Wii backups
  • Play GameCube backups
  • Play Wii games from different regions
  • Run homebrew games and applications

For many people, the word “backups” actually means “games downloaded illegally from the Internet.” However, there are many legitimate, legal uses of modchips, including playing actual backups of your games and playing games you bought in Japan on your US Wii console. I personally use my modchip to play Japanese games on my US Wii, which I would not be able to do otherwise (except by buying a Japanese Wii console, but that would be retarded since I already have a Wii console).

There are many types of Wii modchips available out there. Some of the more popular ones are Wiikey, D2CKey, Argon, Yowii, YAOSM, Wiinja, and Cyclowiz. The List of Wii Modchips on Wikipedia is pretty comprehensive. For a comparison of the different modchips, check out these Comparison Tables from nintendo-scene.

So, the benefits of a Wii modchip sound great! But should you install one? That depends on how comfortable you are with soldering tiny electronic parts. If you have no experience but are extremely motivated, it’s possible to successfully install a mochip after practicing (a lot) on some old electronic parts you have lying around. If you know how to solder and have a steady hand, patience, and good tools, you should be fine. The soldering involved in most Wii modchips today is much easier than the soldering for PS2 modchips, so if you’ve successfully installed a PS2 modchip in the past, the Wii modchips should be a breeze.  We will go over the actual installation later in this article.

If you want to make your Wii region-free without installing a modchip, Datel / Codejunkies has released the “Wii Freeloader” which allows users to play outside region games by booting up with their Freeloader disc. So, if you don’t want to ever touch a soldering iron, this may be the solution for you. However, be aware that this method is easily countered by Wii firmware updates, and when that happens, you’ll have to hope that they releases a new version of Freeloader (which you’ll probably have to pay for again). With modchips, you can always update the modchip firmware (for free) to counter any such changes.

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