Want to play emulated games on your Wii?  How about DVD playback?  Here’s how to use the SmashStack exploit to hack your Wii with the latest system menu and enable all of that and more!

And yes, in case you are wondering, this does work with the latest version 4.3 firmware update.

Before we get started, it’s important to mention that this guide will modify the software on your Wii, which will void the warranty, and there’s a chance that you could make your Wii console unusable if things go wrong. We didn’t have any problems hacking our own Wiis, but your mileage may vary. Be sure to read the entire process carefully before starting.

What You’ll Need

The SmashStack exploit requires — you guessed it — Super Smash Bros Brawl in order to execute it, as well as one GameCube controller, and you can borrow both from a friend or find them cheap online.

You’ll also need an SD/SDHC card for all of the homebrew (“home brewed” apps) you want download—I’d recommend at least a 1 GB card to make sure you have enough space. It’s also a good idea to check out the Wiibrew Compatibility Page for your SD card, in case you want to ensure maximum compatibility.

Let’s Get Started with Hacking the Wii

There’s quite a few stages in this process, and you should read through everything before beginning to make sure that you’ve got a full understanding of everything that needs to be done.

Update Your Wii Firmware

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you update your Wii to the latest version, which as of this writing is version 4.3, through the System Menu. Do it now, so you don’t have any issues with the rest of the process.

Prepare Smash Bros

In order for the SmashStack exploit to work, you need to make sure you don’t have any custom stages in Super Smash Bros Brawl saved.

If you play Brawl, you can backup all of your stages onto an SD Card, then move all of its contents onto your computer for safe keeping until after we’re done.  This includes the default custom stages and downloaded stages, so if you don’t play Brawl normally, you will still need to either delete or move those stages.

Make sure that your Wii is stage-free before continuing.

Get the Hack Ready

To actually perform this hack, you’ll need to download, extract, and move the hack onto your SD card using your PC. Here’s the file that you need to download, and we’ve provided multiple mirrors just in case one of them goes down:

Download SmashStack Hack: [mirror 1] [mirror 2] [mirror 3] [mirror 4]

Pop the SD card into your computer and download the SmashStack exploit and the HackMii Installer (version 0.8 at the time of this article), both included in the zip file. Then you’ll need to move the files like this:

  • Unzip the Smashstack.zip file and copy the Private folder to the root of your SD card.
  • Unzip the hackmii_installer.zip file, and copy the wiiload folder and the boot.elf files to the root of your SD card.

It should look like this once you’re done:

Perform the Actual Hack

Time to get things started!  Put in the SD card into your Wii and load up Super Smash Bros Brawl.

All you have to do is open up the stage editor, and it automatically executes the exploit!  You should see a black screen with text that will eventually look like this:

Press the 1 button when prompted and you’ll see what you can install onto your system.

BootMii is a boot loader, and is primarily only useful for Wii’s that were bought sometime before mid-2008. In concept, it’s similar to GRUB/LiLo, but the shining quality is that it allows you to backup your Wii’s system memory so that you can restore it if things take a turn for the worse.  It’s primarily for more advanced functions that most people don’t actually need, so we’ll skip this.

Either way, hit continue and go ahead and select the option to install the Homebrew Channel. Let it do its thing and you should see the following screen:

Hit continue, and then hit exit.  It’ll load up the Homebrew Channel, but it’s looking mighty bare right now, isn’t it?

Install the HomeBrew Browser

Pop that SD card back into your computer, and let’s install the Homebrew Browser, which is a graphical repository that will allow you to browse for various apps, download, and install them right from your Wii console!  You’ll need to perform the following two steps, using the files that you downloaded earlier:

  • On your SD card, create a folder entitled “apps” (without the quotes, of course).
  • Unzip the homebrew_browser_v0.3.9.zip file (from the zip file we provided earlier) and move everything into the apps folder you just created.

Now stick the SD card back into your Wii. Be sure your Wii is able to connect to your Wireless network, then launch the Homebrew Channel. You should see something like this:

Click on the Homebrew browser with your Wii remote, and you’ll get a screen that looks like this:

Don’t panic.  The Homebrew Browser is just caching some images for the apps you can browse and download.  Once it’s done, you’ll be able to browse lists of apps.

Click on any app to see more information about it and install it.

Setup DVD Playback

To play back DVDs and other media files, we’ll take a look at MPlayer CE, which can play back media files from your SD card as well as standard DVDs. Click on Media to open up the media category, scroll down until you find it, and select it.

Here you can see details like the author, the version number, the version date, and ratings.  Click on Download to begin the installation process.

To quit the Homebrew Browser, bring up the menu by hitting the Home button on your Wii remote.  Here’s a screenshot of MPlayer CE in action:

Other Applications You Can Install

You aren’t limited to just playing back DVDs with the HomeBrew channel—there are quite a few other apps you can install. Here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Brawl+ Updater:  Installer/updater for a custom mod for Super Smash Bros Brawl.  I suggest taking a look if you really like Brawl.
  • Quake:  Wii Quake port
  • WiiDoom:  Wii Doom port
  • Wii Web Server: Very light-weight, and despite alpha status is very stable
  • Wii2600: An Atari 2600 VCS emulator
  • FCE Ultra GX: An NES emulator
  • Snes9xGX: An SNES emulator

Most of the emulators will require copying ROM files into a roms folder within the emulator folder on your SD card, but every emulator will be different, and you should read the WiiBrew Application page to understand more about how each one works.

Just to show you that it does in fact work, here’s an action shot running The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:

Photos by Kay Walling Photography, image editing by fellow author Eric Goodnight.

Important Note: Don’t Update Your Wii

It’s very important to note that once you’ve hacked your Wii, you probably shouldn’t allow the firmware to be updated anymore, or else your system could stop functioning or have problems.

Head into the System Menu and make sure that your console isn’t going to check for updates, and don’t install any if you are prompted to—at least not without reading through the WiiBrew site to make sure the hack will continue to work.

Have you tried hacking your own Wii to play emulated games and applications? Would you recommend it to others? Share your experiences with your fellow readers in the comments.