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Nintendo Wii

   The Nintendo Wii was Nintendo's 2nd highest selling video game console of all time (at the time of this writing), with Nintendo selling a whopping 101.63 million Wii consoles, with their highest selling console being the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo Wii was Nintendo's console entry into the seventh video game generation, which consisted of the Nintendo Wii, the Microsoft Xbox 360, and the Sony PlayStation 3.

  The Seventh video game generation was quite interesting. During this generation, all 3 consoles finally had built-in online connectivity, and had robust online support, including server services for games (Nintendo WiFi Connection, Microsoft Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network), social networking services (Nintendo Friend Code system for chat and friends for online gameplay; PSN Chat, friends, and trophy achievements, and Microsoft Xbox Live for chatting, friends, and achievements). All 3 consoles had web browsers and online stores, in order to purchase digital games, applications, DLC, and other items. The stores were the Nintendo Wii Shop Channel, the PlayStation Store, and Xbox Live Marketplace. All 3 consoles also had support for mass storage devices to handle save game data, files, and to store downloaded games/apps. The Nintendo Wii has a 512MB NAND chip for internal storage and support for external SD cards, the Xbox 360 an external/internal HDD (proprietary externals ones for fat models, standard-ish internal laptop harddrives for slim models), and the PS3 an internal HDD. The OSes for all 3 consoles were quite complex now, in order to handle online gaming/services, file managment, and other features. All of the consoles had support for high display resolutions (480p Component for the Wii, and 1080p for the X360 and PS3 over HDMI).

  Furthermore, all 3 consoles had wireless controller support. The Nintendo Wii supported 4 wired ports of GameCube controllers and Wireless "Wiimotes", the Xbox 360 wireless gamepads, the PlayStation 3 DualShock 3 controllers. The Wii and PS3's wireless controllers communicated over Bluetooth, while the Xbox via a proprietary wireless protocol. The Wii was unique with its Wiimote controllers. These used Bluetooth for sending data for button presses and speaker data (the Wiimotes had built-in speakers for sound), and an IR beam. The IR beam sent position information to a Wii sensor bar, and allowed users to point the Wiimote to the sensor bar (near the TV screen) to use like a mouse to click items and navigate menus. These controllers also featured complex motion controls, unique to the Wii, and also had an expansion port. This port could be used to connect other accessories, such as the Wii Nunchuk (which adds an analog stick to the Wiimote), and the Wii Motion Plus adapter, which allows for more complex motion for some games. Many games allowed for unique movement, such as slicing motions for Lightsaber attacks in Lego Star Wars Trilogy, and steering wheel rotations for driving games such as Mario Kart Wii.
   As far as specs, the Nintendo Wii has modest but powerful specs. Below are the specs for the original model of Wii, with all of the hardware

  • CPU
    • IBM PowerPC ("Broadway")
    • 729 MHz
  • GPU
    • ATI graphics 243 MHz ("Hollywood")
    • NEC ARM9 chip embedded inside
      • "Starlet"
      • 243 MHz
      • Handles Wii IO / security

  • Storage
    • 512 MB Internal Flash Memory (NAND)
    • External SD/SDHC

  • RAM
    • 88 MB Main Memory
      • 24 MB "internal" 1T-SRAM
      • 64 MB "external" GDDR3 SDRAM

  • Storage Media
    • Mini DVDs (GameCube games, ~1.8GB)
    • Wii DVDs (4.7 or 8.5GB for single and dual-layer discs)

  • Connectivity
    • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
      • Mitsumi DWM-W004
    • Bluetooth (for Wiimotes etc)

  • Power Brick jack

  • Inputs
    • 2x GCN Memory Card ports
    • 2x USB 2.0
    • 4x GameCube controller ports
    • IR Sensor bar port
  • Display
    • Nintendo Wii AV out port  (Composite or Component)
    • 480i or 480p
    • 4:3 and 16:9 screen resolutions

   The Nintendo Wii has a pretty vibrant Homebrew scene, for running unsigned code on the system. Using a system exploit, a user can install both BootMii and the Homebrew Channel to the Wii as softmod. BootMii runs on the console after boot0 and boot1 are booted (which initialize the console), but before the normal boot2 is run (before the system IOSes are loaded and the NAND filesystem is read). BootMii can launch the System Menu, load the Homebrew Channel, load an arbitrary elf executable file on the SD Card, backup/restore the system NAND, and extract the Wii's unique system keys (for de/encryption of the NAND). BootMii will even run if the system is bricked, and the NAND restore functionality can be used to unbrick a Wii (with a stable, saved NAND backup from before the brick). The Homebrew Channel is launched through either BootMii or from the System Menu, and allows the user to launch homebrew games and applications.

    A user can do many things with a softmodded Wii. An application called Riivolution can be run to patch retail disc games with custom textures, music, levels, memory patches, game translations, and more from the SD card on-the-fly. Riivolution can use the Ocarina engine for memory patches (cheat codes). Auto Wiimmfi Patcher can be used to patch retail disc games to connect to Wiimmfi, which is an Nintendo WFC replacement service. The GameSpy servers (which were used by Nintendo WFC for online gaming) shut down in 2014, so Wiimmfi allows many compatible games to get back online via the reverse-engineered and resurrected alternative servers on Wiimmfi, such as Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, etc. A user can install and launch through Riivolution CTGP-R, which is a custom distribution of hundreds of custom Mario Kart Wii tracks (which can also be played online through Wiimmfi). Many things can be done on a softmodded Wii!

Below are some utilities and game modifications for the Nintendo Wii