VTemulation.net is no longer actively maintained, please see the announcement for more information.


VTemulation.net
Emulation on the Nintendo Wii

Contents:

Introduction

Important Information

The Process

Getting Help
The following document assumes you have a basic understand of emulation and related concepts. If you do not, we recommend reading our Getting Started with Emulation guide first.

Introduction

The Nintendo Wii has one of the most active homebrew communities of any console since the Sega Dreamcast. The Wii is a popular platform for homebrew development in part due to how easily it can be modified via software to run unsigned code. With that modification the Wii becomes capable of running an enormous library of homebrew software, including emulators.

Important Information

Before going any further, it’s important to understand a few basic things. First, the Wii like other consoles is a closed and proprietary platform. It will only run software that is officially licensed by Nintendo. Hardware and software lockouts prevent unsigned code (homebrew) from running. As such, running any homebrew applications including emulators requires that the console is modified either via hardware or software to bypass those lockouts.

Any type of modification to a console, whether it be hardware or software is a risky endeavor. The presence of or attempt at any type of modification will instantly void any warranty on the console. In addition to that, if the process goes awry, even a software modification can damage the console beyond repair. VTemulation.net, its staff and any homebrew software developers are in no way responsible for any damage to your console – PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!

The Process

If you’ve decided you want to go ahead and modify your consoles to run homebrew applications, the next step will be to perform the actual modification. The easiest and most common method to modify the console is to use one of the various hacks to install the Homebrew Channel. This will serve as a launcher for any applications you want to run on the Wii. To do this, you will need an SD card as well as an SD reader/writer for your computer. Detailed instructions on installing the homebrew channel can be found on WiiBrew’s Homebrew Setup Tutorial. This document is continuously modified as the process changes with future versions of the Wii software.

External Document: WiiBrew's Homebrew Setup Tutorial (New Window)

After your Wii has been modified to run homebrew applications, the process becomes much easier going forward. From this point, you can simply copy emulators and related ROMs to the SD card and run them via the Homebrew Channel. In order for an emulator to be properly recognized by the homebrew channel and for the emulator itself to see your ROMs, a specific directory structure has to be used. For convenience, most authors maintain the proper directory structure within their archives. As with any emulator, you’ll want to read the documentation thoroughly to ensure the proper directory structure is used.

For virtually all emulators, the Wiimote alone can be used to navigate menus and launch games. Many emulators also support additional controller configurations such as the Wiimote + Nunchuck as well as the classic controller. The classic controller is a great compliment to most emulators as it can comfortably adapt to the control schemes of most classic consoles.

Getting Help

If you have any questions or you’re running into issues, feel free to drop by our forum and we’ll be happy to assist!