Hack Mii

The other day, I totally hacked my Wii. You see, I ordered the US version of Monster Hunter Tri in order to finally play with my podcast comrades online. The shipment took almost a month and it barely arrived in time for our planned podcast episode (oops, spoilers) so you can imagine my disappointment when I realized the Wii wasn’t region-free. Oh…

So it came down to either ordering an entire US console or hacking my existing one. Besides of being quite expensive, I wasn’t even sure if a US console would work with my European cables and everything. On the other hand hacking my existing console could potentially lead to having to buy a new one anyway.

So it came down to hacking. Things weren’t really looking good as I already had the 4.3 upgrade installed. It seems like this upgrade introduced some functions that prevented most hacks from working. I found a comprehensive guide on how to deal with it anyway. But it contained a lot of warnings that ended with “… or you will brick your Wii.”. Gulp. You know, bricking my Wii would also mean I would lose every savegame (including the +200h Monster Hunter Tri one) and every Wii Ware game I’ve bought.

On the other hand, I had the advantage of having some of the hacks already installed. Back in the early days I used the Twilight Hack (relax, it has nothing to do with Vampires) to get the Homebrew Channel installed. And indeed, this made the procedure slightly less dramatic. I could just re-install the Homebrew Channel, add some more hacks on top of it and finally downgrade my Wii to 4.1. There were two heart-stopping moments where the Wii froze but everything turned out ok in the end.

Going through the process gave me an update on the developments in the Wii Homebrew community. The quality and richness of the availible tool and apps is quite astonishing to say the least. I mean, just take a loot at BootMii!


The future of hacking: it just works.

BootMii is a software you can install at a very fundamental level of your Wii. You can use it to do things like backing up your entire Wii as a security measure if anything goes wrong. Apart from the pretty sweet functionality, it certainly looks quite stunning. Of course, this is just a skin in the end. The menu is still controlled by pressing the power and reset button. And among the other tools there are also quite bare-bone looking ones. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that this a couple of steps above the awkward experiments I saw previously. These tools are slowly becoming solid apps you can rely on.

I got my first glimpse of that when I ported my European Monster Hunter Tri savegame to the US version. I launched the Homebrew Channel. There, I started the Homebrew Browser. It’s basically an App Store for Wii Homebrew. There, I found an app called the Savegame Manager. The Homebrew Browser automatically downloaded the App and installed it for me. I used it to do something the Wii wouldn’t allow me to do: to backup my Monster Hunter Tri save on an SD card. Having the savegames of both versions on an SD card it was only a matter of copying a few files from one folder to another. And lo and behold, the character I invested over 200 hours in was reborn on the US servers.

It was a nerve-wracking but quite rewarding experience in the end. I’m looking forward to see what this community comes up with next. It’s just a shame that the Homebrew idea always comes with the stigma of piracy.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “Hack Mii”

  1. Matt

    “It’s just a shame that the Homebrew idea always comes with the stigma of piracy.”

    Not to mention how many new, useful features you get access to. I wonder what would happen if a company hired these homebrew developers to make their hacked programs standard. Well, the legal ones anyway. Maybe Microsoft will buy some of these new kinect hackers.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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