I have previously expressed my love for Nintendo’s Wii, and the ease with which it is soft-modded to unlock homebrew capabilities. This way you can use the console to play ultimately the complete library of all Nintendo consoles from NES to Wii, and all Handhelds from Game Boy to DS.
For some years Wii U’s “vWii” (the Wii side of the system) has been similarly hacked, though to do it you needed one of several Wii discs, none of which I owned. Recently I discovered that a newer hack is available that enables you to softmod not only the vWii, but also the Wii U itself, using one of the games readily available on the eShop, so I decided it is time to take the plunge.
Using said softmod, you are able to install your Wii U discs as apps on an SD card, so that they run as if downloaded from the eShop. This takes a long time to do, and the games can take anything up to 23GB, but it’s nice to have your games collated in one place.
There are, undoubtedly, other things possible using homebrew software though I have yet to look too far into it. Most exciting for me is the ability to use my Wii’s hard drive to play my Wii and Gamecube games, meaning that finally, after 12 years, my Wii is redundant and can go back in its box for a well-earned rest. Good timing, as I recently purchased a component cable for my PS2, and my tv has only one component input and changing them about requires removing the tv from the wall.
I’m a little disappointed how bad Wii, and especially Gamecube games look on my 1440p monitor. Of course I didn’t expect them to be super sharp and lovely, such is the nature of the technology, but I did hope there’d be a nice bit of upscaling and smoothing to 1080p from the Wii U (the monitor reports that it is receiving a 1080p signal after all). Games do look great on the small Gamepad screen though, if you can deal with its small size. You can’t use the Gamepad to control the games – I did read about a mod that allows it, but it has its problems so I won’t be doing that just now.
Using the Wii U Gamecube adapter means I can use my Gamecube controllers for Gamecube games, and the software saves your progress to a virtual memory card. Otherwise, a Wii Remote can be used with a Classic Controller or equivalent. USB-HID controllers are also supported, I think including Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3/4 controllers, though I haven’t tested these.
So, to the title of this post… well, yes, I do believe Wii U is the greatest console available today. The ability to play every single Nintendo home and handheld game ever released up to Wii U and DS on one machine, not to mention decent emulation of PlayStation, Commodore 64, Sega Master System and Mega Drive, and others means this console has the largest library ever, ignoring PCs of course.
Not to mention the Wii U itself has a solid library of some of Nintendo’s finest output.