Notes from inside your Wii

HackMii header image 2


March 26th, 2009 by marcan · 84 Comments

As you may already know, we moderate the comments on this blog. It should go without saying, given other related sites such as Wiibrew, its forums, or the #wiidev EFNet IRC channel, but there are rules here.

Comments containing any of the following will be deleted:

  • Any questions regarding warez launchers, or implications that you use said software.
  • Any questions regarding pirated VC or WiiWare titles, or implications that you use those. This includes any mention of WADs unless you specify which legal WADs you’re talking about.
  • Flamebait regarding piracy and how we suck because we don’t condone or endorse it.
  • Flamebait about such topics as “homebrew is illegal”. We don’t need yet another pointless discussion on the legality of homebrew in various places and its comparison with warez or warez tools.
  • Comments in other languages. Pido perdón a los lectores hispanoparlantes; este blog está en inglés.
  • “Backups”. It’s a wildcard for piracy. Sorry if you have legit backups of games; this isn’t the place to discuss them due the piracy discussion that all too often hides under the “but it’s just backups” excuse.
  • Comments that are just plain wrong and likely to mislead, horribly bad or dangerous advice, and which contradict the very post that they are on (debate or properly identified contradiction is okay; I’m talking about answering a newbie question with a bad answer or the opposite of what the post says without properly explaining yourself)

If your comment is otherwise valid or insightful, but violates one of the above rules, it gets deleted. Too bad. Sorry, I can’t go editing comments to remove the bad bits, and some people would see that as even worse than removing them outright. Get rid of the objectionable parts and post it again – we don’t ban commenters (unless they spam).

I’m also not stupid. If I can draw a line from your comment to “I’m almost certainly pirating”, I probably will. If you’re pirating, you should probably avoid commenting here. If you need help with anything to further your pirating, you really should not post a comment about it, because there’s a good chance I’ll notice what your intentions are, even if it’s not explicit. And if you honestly are not doing anything questionable but you think it might be interpreted as such, make sure you provide an explanation. Stupid implausible exuses from pirates need not apply.

In addition, random blog entries aren’t the place for off-topic messages directed personally to me or bushing. I’ve got an e-mail address. I do read comments that contain personal messages and may act upon them, but I won’t approve them (they clutter the already long comment lists), and I won’t reply to them. If you have a message that you need to get to me personally, use e-mail. If you have a general inquiry and/or need help on something off-topic, go to the Wiibrew Forums or the #wiihelp IRC channel on EFNet.

Finally, I’ve been known to get cranky at times and delete comments that just plain bore me or annoy me. Like asking something already answered in the blog post. Or talking about off-topic and unsupported/dangerous stuff that we don’t particularly care about or consider a good idea. Like those silly system menu skins or mods, or random custom channels that you really could do without. It depends on my mood and how silly the comment is.

If your comment mysteriously didn’t appear, think twice about what you said. If you don’t see anything wrong, we may have made a mistake, or maybe your comment got caught in the automated Akismet spam filter. Just try posting the comment again, or maybe change it up a bit if you think the spam filter might have been the issue.

If you feel this is censorship, go voice your problems, concerns, or opinions elsewhere. The Internet is pretty large; I’m sure you’ll find a place where you can post your issues.

As a reminder, proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation goes a long way towards getting better answers from other people. It also tips the balance your way if I’m unsure whether to delete your comment or not. This goes particularly for English natives who just feel like being lazy or doing it on purpose. I understand that non-natives might not know English that well; just do your best, and try to explain yourself in detail if you think that people might have trouble understanding you.

I’m leaving comments open for this entry – this is your chance to talk about this, because you won’t get to do it on other posts. The rest of the rules still apply here, so no warez or flamewars about homebrew or piracy.

Tags: Wii

84 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TheSteve // Mar 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Out of curiosity, the idea of doing reverse engineering fascinates me, and its something I have an interest in pursuing. My problem is I don’t know where to start. I have a background in software engineering, with a most of my side electives being in computer security, the jobs just weren’t available for work in that field when I was looking.

    If I were interested in doing Wii reverse engineering, where would you recommend I start?

  • 2 Muzer // Mar 28, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I think it’s because if you do that, only the emulated system would be effective. This means if you do it on say, a SNES game, you’d be able to run SNES homebrew, but not much else :p

  • 3 Don Giovanni // Mar 28, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Virtual console games can be updated/patched easily.
    The reason why the Twillight hack was great is that it was in a retail pressed disc. Once the disc is sold on the market the bug in the game can’t be patched (only in new discs). Millions of copies with the bug had already been sold.

  • 4 esposch // Mar 29, 2009 at 3:10 am

    Would it be fair to say that you regret hacking the Wii and are ashamed at what “Homebrew” has now become?

    On the flip side, Nintendo ould have stopped this whole thing from ever happening by releasing an an offical method to run homebrew (from the NAND?) or stopped Waninkoko when they had the chance (Around the time when WAD manager came out). The only word which can be used to sum up his latest project is disgusting.


  • 5 bushing // Mar 29, 2009 at 4:26 am

    @Bladeforce: I tried to contact Nintendo privately for several weeks. They never responded until I posted the message to them, publicly. When they DID respond, they replied to the first email I sent them, proving that they had just been ignoring me and hoping I would go away.

    @sgwiiboy: Part of it was naivety, sure. That being said, I only half-expected to hear back from them. Segher once said (on tmbinc’s blog) that he would have told Nintendo about the fakesigning bug, if he had known how to do so. I wouldn’t have done that, but this was a bug that we really didn’t care about (in the sense that it wouldn’t cramp our style if they fixed it), and so I figured that it would be an interesting experiment. Put another way, “we’ll try our hardest to make contact with them, and if they aren’t receptive, then they can go fuck themselves”.

  • 6 Shonty // Mar 29, 2009 at 10:52 am

    you would generaly write after at length about this special correspondence with Nintendo and you.
    …Will you?

  • 7 emmo // Mar 29, 2009 at 11:05 am


    I hope Twiizer Team will find a new way to hack the Wii. Because I just want my wii to read DVD (video), CD (music) and to serve as a Wiitop (like Eeetop) with a nice linux.
    But are there some way to hack wii by opera or using some built from scratch HBC on SD card with the new ystem menu 4.0 fonction ?

    Because I was offered a wii yesterday but it had been updated before. Yes I will use it with games, but if it can does the other things i listed it will be nice.

  • 8 Shonty // Mar 29, 2009 at 11:48 am


    The Nintendo Wii is not compatible with “CD”

  • 9 Distant Thunder // Mar 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    >> Hi there, new on the blog , in coding and at least in english ! Really interested on marcan & Bushing work, just wanted to present myself after having followed this blog so long… (off topic i know, but wasn’t able to find the right place for that so…)

  • 10 Bladeforce // Mar 29, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    @Bushing when all is said and done there are plenty of ways to get nintendos attention to such activities rather than publicly. If you are so pro Nintendo why the hell release anything that could harm them? Surely it doesnt take a genius to know it would be abused just the same way the Wii has been abused. It’s just so full of contradictions and hence why after browsing through all these petty arguments and rants that “homebrew” has brought up (usb loader etc) you shouldnt be surprised by it at all.
    I personally hope you (or friends) do find another hack and live with fantastic egos as previously.

  • 11 Distant Thunder // Mar 30, 2009 at 11:04 am


    hmm, i fully understand what sayin but… do you think by example that some tools like Wireshark (previously Ethereal) should stop to be released just because there’s a “risk” that some people would use it to hack private networks ? Or simply would Linus Torval license the core of LinuX and declare he would stop any further work on his OS pretending that it might be used to hack Windows-based systems ? HBC enables its users ti use some cool stuff like reading DVDs, transforming their consol into a media center and fully make profit of their purchase, none of the developpers may be blamed for the illegal use some fake are doing with it… Eventhough they added the task lister, Nintendo shouldn’t had released the WII, since this is an evidence that children will spend their time in playing while they should be learning their lessons…

  • 12 bytor // Mar 30, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Firstly, I thought I’d convey my thanks to marcan and bushing for sorting out the Homebrew Channel. Quake on the Wii can’t be beaten imo, and puts the majority of FPS games released nowadays to shame (as does Duke Nukem 3D, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that someone with greater programming skills than myself – haven’t coded anything for years lol – will start work on one if it isn’t being worked on already!)

    Secondly I thought this statement “Time and time again, Waninkoko’s apps have just been thin wrappers around existing code or tools written by others.” was a bit odd if you don’t mind me saying so, given that this is the entire point of Object Oriented Programming. :o/

    Not too sure how this malarkey has been developed but are you upset that he’s used the existing code/tools or just that (and I don’t know whether he has or not) he hasn’t given you or others credit of any sort for the code/tools he’s used..?

    Go easy on me, it’s my first post…so apologies if I’ve upset anyone by bringing it up…I just couldn’t bung a comment in on the 6 hours thingummybob where the question was more relevant.. ;o)

    I’m also looking forward to any news of BootMii…might be worth getting a few bricked Wiis on Ebay in preparation lol ;oP

    Keep up the good work anyway chaps ;oD

  • 13 Musturd // Mar 30, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Marcan, reading your rant really opened my eyes. I (along with most others) have thought of Waninkoko as some sort of god, always creating the “best” software (from what I hear).

    I don’t really participate in the WiiBrew community (I have homebrew channel installed, but I don’t use my wii much (I love ScummVM though)), but I like knowing whenever homebrew breakthroughs occur for any consoles.

    I have lost all respect for Waninkoko, and now respect you. You are an honest homebrew coder, one who does not condone piracy, and you did what took the “famous” Waninkoko 22 days in 6 hours.

    I plan on studying computer engineering in college, and I just want to ask you, how you learned how to reverse engineer things on your own. I’m really interested, but not sure where to start. Really the only things I know are C, a bit of assembly, and basic software reversing (interested in it, but haven’t really done anything with it).
    Please help me get started.
    I bow down to your awesomeness Marcan.

  • 14 rajnika // Mar 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Why comments are “off” on the 6 hours drama ticket ?

  • 15 rt1982 // Mar 31, 2009 at 4:19 am

    Wow you guys are great.
    I love homebrew the only thing is I got a wii last thursday and updated it through nintendo thinking I would get 3.4 i was realy ticked off when i saw 4.0 and coulden’t load TW hack I tried “backing up” the homebrew off one of my other wii’s with 3.2 no avail after reading this forum you made it clear to me why it woulden’t work with the tickets thing so looks like im stuck with a wii with 3.2 witch can play dvd’s and a wii with 4.0 witch can’t play dvd’s. I have to ask will i need a new exploit to use boot mii or will i be ok?

    Is thier no way of tricking the wii into updateing the firmware of my pc rather than nintendo’s server’s or takeing the chip off the board and reflashing the firmware some how? Mabe that is a stupid question.

    Also some times when i play house of the dead 2&3 some times house of the dead 2 will crash hmm. I was looking on the net at wii games that crash and found one with Nfl 07 that froze don’t know if this is any help to you like but thought i would just tell you.

    I will be looking for game’s with bugs in them as I use to allways look for bugs in games on the pc.
    I think your usb loader is great I would love to know how to do that sort of stuff.

    R.I.P TW Hack

    Boot Mii Bring it on

    Big Respect to Marcan and Bushing.
    Your work is amazing and i realy didn’t know the level of involvment you had on the scene untill reading this forum i have been fooled by wanikoko and thought it was him who made homebrew.

  • 16 me.yahoo.com/a/aTJ2Nr8Nz… // Mar 31, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    @ Cactusjack901
    Thanks man for the explanation it really helped.

    @ everyone
    OK what i have been trying to find out recently is that in this new awesome update what prevents Virtual Console files from being put on another wii and more importantly what is preventing it from being put on the computer. From their maybe it is possible to see how the wii differentiates an “illegal” rom with a “virtual console Rom. I don’t think its impossible to edit the code from Rom games. Then MAYBE we can create a buffer overflow and blablabla. I have seen GBA Pokemon Roms that have been edited and have the characters say dirty words and stuff.

    Also you said that there could be buffer overflow in wiiware games. I’m not sure if this is a buffer overflow in fact im pretty sure its not but in “Lost Winds”( very good game) at the last boss level sometimes i would go through a wall able wouldn’t be able to come out. This happened more than once on frequent occasions. I’m not sure if its possible to take advantage of this.

  • 17 me.yahoo.com/a/aTJ2Nr8Nz… // Mar 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    *looks back at comment*

    Sorry for horrible grammar

  • 18 cactusjack901 // Mar 31, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    @ yahoo guy…again

    The Virtual Console files can not be put on another wii because of DRM, that’s really all there is to it. The Wii writes tickets to it’s NAND, which gives you authorization to play said Virtual Console games, and Wiiware games.

    Look man, I don’t wanna sound like an asshole or anything, and I know you’re just trying to help, but you’re in way over your head and really don’t know what you’re talking about, so I would suggest that you either don’t bother trying to help or anything, OR, you take some computer classes, and learn how things work, before trying your hand at any of this. I mean, an example of your lack of understanding comes in this quote of yours
    “I’m not sure if this is a buffer overflow in fact im pretty sure its not but in “Lost Winds”( very good game) at the last boss level sometimes i would go through a wall able wouldn’t be able to come out. This happened more than once on frequent occasions. I’m not sure if its possible to take advantage of this.”.

    You’re right, in saying it’s not a buffer overflow, it’s just a glitch, no more, no less, it’s a bug in the game, a buffer overflow is usually signified by a lock-up, and even then, you can’t tell right away if it’s caused by a buffer overflow without a little bit of debugging.

    Good job on trying to help, I really do commend you on that effort, but sometimes, you just have to leave some things alone, I mean, I’ve been trying my hand at this for a few years now (PSP hacking), and I realized, that it’s not as simple as it sounds… in fact, it’s A LOT more complicated.

    Final comment on this (and sorry about kinda rambling on here, I’m a wee bit tired), in my opinion, don’t stop trying to help like one of my two suggestions said, take the computer classes, learn how things actually work, that’s where computers get interesting, when you get into how they work. Knowing HTML isn’t as fun as knowing how HTML works, same thing applies to everything with computers, so try your hand at it in a computer class, and keep trying to learn.

  • 19 lanjoe9 // Apr 2, 2009 at 8:18 am

    A small OT comment to your Spanish article about your 6 hour ‘Darth Vader’ trip.
    Your typo about the “_cagador_ de warez” at the end seems highly appropriate :)

  • 20 John // Apr 3, 2009 at 12:12 am

    I wanted to point something out.

    Nintendo has not purged the Homebrew channel yet hmm i wonder why, they have the technology, the people, the computers why wouldnt they?
    well its because the updates that they were using weren’t ment to kill the Homebrew channel it was ment to observe how you would fix it, now there waiting until Bootmii is released so they can reverse Bootmii so that everybody who gets it (which will likely be every Homebrew user) wont be able to use Homebrew on the Wii anymore, think about it, Nintendo hasn’t done shit to stop it the homebrew.
    And they are legally allowed to stop all Homebrew at anytime they want as written in there many emails to me.

    Lol Nintendo isn’t as dumb as you think. that’s all i have to say.


  • 21 HyperHacker // Apr 3, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Basically you’ll never find a buffer overflow by just playing the game. You’d find one by modifying some data (save file or network packets) going into it and seeing if the game crashes when you do.

    Once you’ve injected your code into the game you can take right over, typically removing the game code from memory and just running your own. So you essentially replace the game program with your own program without the system realizing it.

    There are supposed to be checks to prevent games from modifying files that don’t belong to them (i.e. installing channels) just in case someone finds an exploit, but those checks don’t work properly. It’s possible to fool the system into letting you do whatever you want.

    VC/Wiiware games aren’t good candidates for exploits because they can be fixed. Discs can’t be. As for copying from one system to another, it can’t be done normally because the game is encrypted with that console’s keys, which means only that console can read it. If you have the keys then you could bypass that, but you’d need another exploit to get them, and then there’d be no point looking for one in a VC game.

    The best way to learn about this is to learn C. (I dunno what the person above thinks HTML has to do with it.) Take some programming courses or even just read up on how software works.

    “Why comments are “off” on the 6 hours drama ticket ?”
    I agree. I mean I can see the logic, not wanting to get spammed with “zOMG WHERE CAN I GET IT”, but I don’t see the point in disabling comments entirely. I would have expected two or three big “THIS WILL NEVER BE RELEASED” screens in the video (but instead, something about Juicy Fruit? O_o) and at the beginning and end of the article. That would probably stop 95% of the idiots asking. The remaining 5% will just ask somewhere else. Meanwhile people who have something worthwhile to say can’t.

  • 22 Sephiroth // Apr 5, 2009 at 6:52 am

    @ John:

    you’re wrong because nintendo actually stopped the homebrewchannel from working properly with the october 23. update (3.3v2). with this update nintendo tried to prevent invalid channels from being installed or used (INCLUDING the homebrewchannel).

    with this move nintendo proved that they are trying to get rid of homebrew entirely, not to mention the 4 attempts to stop the twilight hack from working…let’s see if there will be the “rise of the dead nr. 2” for the twilight hack; if not rest in peace, you served us well!

    btw. good luck on bootmii and other exploits for 4.0 @ team twiizers 😉

  • 23 caitsith2 // Apr 7, 2009 at 12:07 am

    @Sephiroth: If nintendo really wanted to stop homebrew entirely, they would have also looked for and deleted the homebrew channel off of your system. They have not done that so far. The only thing they seem to be doing is stopping its installation, not stopping it from running if it is already installed one way or another.

  • 24 Sephiroth // Apr 7, 2009 at 10:03 am


    but that doesn’t make much sense either…why would nintendo stop the installation of the homebrewchannel but won’t mind people using an already installed one??? and as i said before, with the 23 october update nintendo actually managed to delete illegal wad’s AND the homebrewchannel…so after beta9 came out, they changed there mind and stop bothering about the homebrewchannel??

    i don’t know but nintendos reactions to the homebrew scene on the wii doesn’t make much sense to me -.-

  • 25 cactusjack901 // Apr 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm


    Sorry if I miscommunicated my thought, I wasn’t stating that HTML had anything to do with hacking the wii, I brought it up as I think HTML is a good starting point for any wannabe programmer, and I was also using it as an example that simply knowing HTML isn’t as fun as knowing how/why it works. HTML in my previous comment, is meant in a way that it can be substituted with C, C+, Perl, D, Delphi. Anything, get what I mean?

  • 26 db420 // Apr 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I just did a downgrade from 4.0e to 3.2e using regionfree, this is after a brick of my wii. Have you guys done this yet if not i would like to tell you guys what I did. I would post it here but I dont want any one to brick there wii like I did.

  • 27 ieatchocolate // Apr 12, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Pointless talking to marcan, db420. He’s left the scene.

    Sad to see you go, Marcan. After the help you did with the Twilight Hack and everything, people just start disrespecting you… Don’t you think leaving the scene is a little far, though?

    I’ve got an idea for a comeback mod if you’re interested marcan. I have no technical knowledge, just an idea. Not sure if it could be counted as warez or not… If you’re interested, email me. I’m sure you’ll be able to find it out…

  • 28 Pickle1212 // Apr 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    How did you manage to unbrick your 4.0 wii?
    I just bricked mine and haven’t found a way to unbrick it.

  • 29 Kashkas // Apr 19, 2009 at 1:30 am

    anyword about bootmii being installed in an already bricked wii (directly hacked into de boot1 in the flash)

  • 30 Chief // Apr 21, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Just wondering: I (stupidly) upgraded my Wii to 4.0 BEFORE installing HBC (yes I know it was stupid). Anyways, how well will BootMii work on 4.0?

  • 31 HyperHacker // Apr 22, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    So why no comments on the Updates article?

  • 32 keybounce // Jun 8, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Here is a question on a backup tool (I do NOT mean piracy).

    I know that Wii’s have console specific codes. If a backup copy of a program was made by tagging it with the console specific code, then the backup copy would not run directly on any Wii, and would only be loadable by the backup recovery tool on the one specific Wii it was made on.

    Would such a tool be considered a “good thing”?
    1. It solves most of the needs/desires of people who want legitimate backups as protection from dead CD’s — it gives a way to create a backup to run your programs if your CD dies.
    2. It prevents piracy — the data files created are worthless on other Wii’s.
    3. It doesn’t solve 100% of the concerns — if my Wii dies, then my backups are of no use to me on the new console. It requires that the backup restoration/launching tool be installed (and not interfere with the game). But it’s a good step.

    I noticed that you yourself indicated that you use a backup copy of Zelda. So I know that you are not against backups per se; I’m hoping that tying the backup copy to the specific console will be considered acceptable as a compromise, and be considered for creation as a standard tool.

  • 33 bushing // Jun 11, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    It’s just not technically feasible.

  • 34 ezurus // Jun 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I’m late in on this discussion, but I want to add my $.02.

    I think it is silly to actively work to take control of the Wii and also want to not have other people take control of it for nepharious purposes. It’s like wanted to have no speed limits, then getting mad when people speed. Oh well, keep up the good work 😉

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