Ever find yourself wishing your Wii did more than bring you Nintendo’s finest titles? It’s not quite the media hub that is the Xbox or PS3, what with the lack of a hard drive–but you can change that. Oh, yes. You can make your Wii into something halfway useful as a non-gaming device with a few, uh.. modifications. As a general disclaimer, Nintendo frowns upon modifying your Wii to do all of the neat things mentioned in this article. In fact, their latest system update (4.3) targets systems engaged in acts of piracy and deletes their modifications. COED doesn’t care what you do to your own Wii — we’re certainly not sticklers for legality — but be careful. Don’t come crying to us if Nintendo bricks your Wii. Google around thoroughly before attempting to hack and always make a backup of your original firmware, just in case.
1. Wii Radio
Tired of your iPod? Your party is, that’s for certain. Luckily, Wii Radio turns your Wii into an internet radio satellite, allowing you to pick up streaming radio signals around the globe. You can search by genre, bookmark your favorites, and skip around when things get boring. Some programs feature a visualizer to turn your living room into a rave — just check for epileptics before enabling.
If there’s one thing Sony and Microsoft have over the Wii, it’s their consoles’ ability to play movies. Fortunately, you can hack your way into their ranks and watch movies on your Wii. A USB drive is helpful for storing your video files (legally obtained, of course) for viewing on MPlayer; DVDx enables your Wii to read data directly from DVD discs. BluRay isn’t supported, but who really needs to see every pixel of the Circle of Life while watching The Lion King? Highly unnecessary.
3. Wii Alarm
For those of you who can’t wait for the future in which your TV wakes you up, try Wii Alarm. Set the time and tone and have a very disorienting first experience when you stumble out of bed and fruitlessly slap the alarm clock. Further enjoy the din as you spend 20 minutes searching for the Wiimote your cat chased under the couch (true story).
Now, Nintendo REALLY doesn’t like it when you hack into Mario Kart and give yourself unlimited golden mushrooms, so be careful with this hack while playing online. This program will load a code file created on your computer from your SD card and factor that cheat into your gameplay when you boot through its interface. Suddenly, if you so choose, terrain doesn’t affect your vehicle in Mario Kart. Pretty sick stuff if you don’t, say, give yourself Bullet Bill at all times and wonder why Nintendo won’t let you play online anymore. Mario Kart is just one of the many games you can affect with this program; having infinite bombs in Zelda, for example, is another handy trick.
5. Dance Clone
If you’re into Dance Dance Revolution, this program is an excellent way to customize your playlist. Still in its infancy, this program does have a few bugs, but generally works with songs and step files generated for StepMania. If you’re not into DDR, exercise won’t kill you. Get off the couch and try it, and you might discover why people put themselves through the embarrassment of playing. Dnace Clone is a great way to get into the game, as you can create your own steps to any song you’d like with as much or as little difficulty to the steps as you desire. Finally, a use for the dance mat your grandmother got you for your birthday without having to listen to pink-themed J-crap.
Check out WiiBrew.org for the programs listed as well as an overview of Wii hacking.