Virtual Console Release: Karnov for NES

July 31, 2009

Here’s another release I injected today: Karnov.  Like I said, I’m first trying to do all of the games that I had as a kid, and that includes the really weird games too.  Karnov is the epitome of a weird NES game.  My mom gave me this game as a gift when I was a kid, and just by looking at the box art, I knew it was going to be really off the wall.  As soon as I put it in to try it out, my hunch was right.  This game makes absolutely no sense.  Why does Karnov ride in and out of levels on a lightning bolt?  Why can you only get hit twice before you die? When you get hit, you turn blue — is Karnov suffocating when you get hit?  Why are so many things in this game orange?  Why does Karnov jump like he’s on the moon?  Why is there zero gravity when you fall from a cliff?  Why are animated statues and snake/dinosaur hybrids trying to kill you?  This game makes no sense.

Includes official-like manual and all the custom images to make this a proper release.  Enjoy.

Download:  HERE

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Virtual Console Release: Clash at Demonhead for NES

July 31, 2009

Here’s my second injected WAD release.  This time around, I have included a better, more official-like, custom manual.  For these injected WAD releases, I’ll first be releasing all of the games that I had as a kid.  As you’ll see by this one, I had some pretty wild stuff.  Clash at Demonhead was a really weird game that I bought from the video store when I was about seven or eight years old.  It’s an adventure platformer that has elements of Mega Man and Legend of Zelda, with a Japanese anime twist.  I personally never got very far into it, but reviewers on the internet have recently given it a lot of hype that is probably well-deserved.  See for yourself:

Download:  HERE

Oh, and for anyone interested, I’ve changed my handle to the Random College Student so that none of the activities on this blog are in any way misconstrued as somehow representing my university.


Virtual Console Release: Aero the Acro-Bat 2 for SNES

July 30, 2009

My Wii softmodding guide has so far been a huge success!  Now I’m going to start releasing injected WADs for great Virtual Console games that aren’t out yet and thus far haven’t been injected.  My first release is Aero the Acro-Bat 2, widely considered by many reviewers to be one of the best platformers for the SNES.  Unfortunately, however, not many people played it and the game didn’t have very good sales.

After this game was released in 1994, Aero became Sunsoft’s mascot for a short while.  Then stuff happened and Sunsoft had to close all of its overseas offices.  The company now no longer operates outside of Japan.

Download:  HERE

Install it like any other WAD by placing the file in your SD card’s wad folder and installing it to IOS249 with WAD Manager.  Enjoy!


Complete Wii Softmodding / Hacking Guide, Part 5: The Fruits of Your Labor

July 27, 2009

This is the fifth and final part of my Wii softmodding guide.  If you haven’t already, please go through parts one, two, three, and four to get up to speed.  In this part of the guide, we won’t be doing any hacking at all — we finished all of that stuff in part four.  Your Wii is hacked, now let’s run awesome homebrew software on it!

Earthbound Zero.  By the time youre done with this section, itll be installed on your Wii.

Earthbound Zero. By the time you're done with this section, it'll be installed on your Wii.

In this section, we’ll run a Gameboy Advance emulator, install an English Virtual Console version of Earthbound Zero, get familiar with the Homebrew Browser, and learn how to burn a backed up disc.  I will also provide invaluable links that no will doubt help you in the near future.  I have prepared a third SD pack for you so that you can get started, so go ahead and wipe out your SD card again and extract the files from the pack to it.

SD Pack 3

Once all that business is done, start up your Wii with your SD card inserted and boot up the Homebrew Channel.  You’ll see the familiar WAD Manager, but we’ve got a few new programs here as well:  Visual Boy Advance GX, Homebrew Browser, NeoGamma, and USB Loader GX.  I’ll discuss what each of these do.

Homebrew Browser — Lets you download new homebrew software directly onto your Wii from the internet.  You don’t have to remove your SD card or anything.  You can download everything from a PlayStation emulator to a Wii port of Doom using this program.  Once downloaded, these programs can then be launched from the Homebrew Channel.

Visual Boy Advance GX — A very good Gameboy Advance emulator for the Wii.  You can now play your games on the big screen at full speed with no hassle.

NeoGamma — A popular game backup loader that can launch games from DVD, USB drive, and even SD/SDHC card.

USB Loader GX — Another popular backup loader that specializes in launching games from a USB drive.

Why don’t we go ahead and launch VBAgx?  Load it from the Homebrew Channel.  Once it has loaded, you will immediately be prompted with a game select screen.  For convenience, I have put several popular Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance games in SD Pack 3.  Why don’t you go ahead and pick one?  My favorite is probably Link’s Awakening DX.

VBAgx will faithfully emulate any GB, GBC, or GBA game.

VBAgx will faithfully emulate any GB, GBC, or GBA game.

Once you’re done playing, you can exit out of VBAgx just like you would anything else on the Wii by pressing the Home button and closing out.  If you later want to add more ROMs to VBAgx, all you need to do is insert your SD card back to your computer and place your ROMs in the X:\VBAgx\ROMS folder (X: represents the drive letter of your card).

Let’s try the Homebrew Browser now.  Once you boot it up, it will connect to its servers and download whatever content it needs to download.  This application automatically updates itself nearly every day to keep up with the latest homebrew releases.  If you want to download something from the Homebrew Browser, all you need to do is just click it and press Download.  You can play with that for a little bit if you like 🙂

USB Loader GX has a very user-friendly GUI.

USB Loader GX has a very user-friendly GUI.

Now I’m going to talk about NeoGamma and USB Loader GX.  These programs both have the capability of launching game images (.ISO files) from USB drives formatted in a WBFS partition.  Yes, WBFS is very unusual and probably Wii-specific.  You can format your drive to WBFS using a program called WBFS Manager (Google it.)  You also use WBFS Manager to move ISO files to the drive.  I haven’t seen an operating system yet that can natively access a WBFS partition.  Once your ISO files are on the drive, just connect your drive to the Wii (if it doesn’t work, try the other USB port.. it has two of them) and the loader you use should detect the games.  USB Loader GX is prettier, but I added NeoGamma because some people just prefer it.

Okay, how about we install Earthbound Zero onto your Wii?  Open WAD Manager, use IOS249 and your SD card as the device.  Select the WAD and install it like you would any other WAD.  Exit WAD Manager and then exit the Homebrew Channel to return to the System Menu.  A new game should be on your system menu: Earthbound Zero for the NES.  Pretty neat, isn’t it?  Oh, one last thing.  In order to download new WADs and have them appear in your WAD Manager install list, all you need to do is put them in the “wad” folder on your SD card.

Alright, now as far as playing backed up Wii and GameCube games goes… first you’ll need to get your hands on an ISO file.  Once you have that file, you can burn it to a DVD-R using ImgBurn (Google it).  I recommend burning at 4X speed.  Once the burn is done, all you have to do is put the disc in your Wii, and thanks to our cIOSCORP hack we did in part four, it should pop up and work great!

If you’re interested in playing import games that were released outside of your region, click here.

Alright, to close out this tutorial, I’m going to provide a collection of my favorite places to go for Wii stuff, including where to download Virtual Console/WiiWare WADs and where to download Wii ISO’s.  Enjoy.

Huge Virtual Console/WiiWare WAD Library

AfterDawn Wii Section — Home to a lot of great tutorials, including the ones that some of this guide was based on

TehParadox Console Games Section — Sticky thread here has links to nearly every Wii ISO in existence

WiiHacks.com — A great Wii resource

GBAtemp.net — An all-around great Nintendo hacking resource

WiiBrew.org — A great Wii homebrew wiki.  You can learn a lot just from reading the articles here.

Here! — I’ll keep posting Wii stuff as I get more into homebrew development and my own personal projects!

I hope my series of tutorials has helped you!  Please post comments of your success stories, or if you have questions post them as a comment too.  I’d love to get feedback from people who made it all the way through 🙂


Complete Wii Softmodding / Hacking Guide, Part 4: The Last Big Hacks

July 27, 2009

Welcome to part four of my Wii hacking guide.  I hope you’ve had success following me so far.  In this part of the guide, we’ll set up our last big hacks, which will be cIOSCORP and Preloader 0.29.  We will also use another SD Pack which will be dependant on what region of the world you live in.  Also, I must again state that this part of the guide is based on larrylje’s guide which can be found on AfterDawn.  Credit goes to him as the source.

Firstly, if you’re just now getting in on this guide, you will need to read parts one, two, and three before doing this part.

The Wii awaits your backup disc.

Okay, let’s pick up right where we left off.  Remove your SD card from your Wii and put it back into your computer.  Reformat it, once again using the FAT32 file system.  Now, you will need to download the second SD Pack, which will be dependant on your region.  If you live in the United States, download the NTSC SD Pack 2.  If you live in Europe, download the PAL SD Pack 2.  If you don’t know whether your country uses NTSC or PAL, a quick Google search will yield the answer.

NTSC SD Pack 2

PAL SD Pack 2

Once the appropriate version has been downloaded, extract the files to your SD card.  Ensure your Wii still has network connectivity.  Also, during these few steps DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR SYSTEM UNLESS I TELL YOU TO.  Now, follow these steps:

  1. Put the SD card back into your Wii.  Turn the system on and launch the Homebrew Channel.
  2. From the Homebrew Channel, load IOS Downgrader.  Follow the instructions on the screen and make sure all files give you an “OK” message.  If for some reason one or more of them doesn’t give you an “OK”, keep running IOS Downgrader until they ALL give the “OK.”  I have never had a failed IOS downgrade using this application, but I’ve heard reports that some people have.
  3. From the Homebrew Channel, load AnyRegionChanger 1.1 M5.  Once you’re in the main menu of this program, go nearly all the way down to “Install System Menu 3.2 (or 3.3 for k)” and select it.
  4. When it asks if you’re sure, click Yes.  After a little while it’ll ask you about Korean Disc Support, click No.  After another short while, it’ll ask you about installing special system menu functions or hooks or tweaks or something along that line, click Yes.
  5. Once that is done, and it will probably be a lengthy process, you will be back on the program’s main menu.  Go down and click on Reboot to System Menu.
  6. You’ll now be back in the Wii’s system menu on firmware 3.2.  Use the official updater to update back to version 4.1.
  7. After you have updated to version 4.1 and your Wii has restarted, launch the Homebrew Channel.
  8. Load WAD Manager.  Use IOS249 for the installer and Wii SD Slot as the device.  Install IOS60Patched.wad.  Now, press Home on the WAD selection menu to get out of WAD Manager.  If it takes you to the Homebrew Channel, press Home and then choose Exit to get back to the System Menu.
  9. You now have to run IOS Downgrader again.  Run it just like you did previously and let it finish.
  10. Now, from the Homebrew Channel launch Preloader .29.
  11. Wait a few seconds and then press 1 to have it install.
  12. The system will now reboot into the Preloader menu.  Go down to Systemmenu Hacks.  On this options screen, find “Skip disc update check” and click it so that it goes from disabled to enabled.  Go down to “save settings” and click that.  Now press the B button (the button on the back of your Wii remote) to go to the previous screen.  Now go down to “settings” and change where it says “auto boot:” to “Systemmenu”.  Then go down to “save settings”, click that, and then press the B button.
  13. Now that you are back on the preloader main menu, go up to where it says “Systemmenu” and press A.  You’ll now be back on your Wii’s familiar systemmenu screen.
  14. Launch the Homebrew Channel and run cIOSCORP Installer.  Let it install what it needs to install.
  15. Back in the Homebrew Channel, load WAD Manager.  Use IOS249 for the installer and the SD card as the device.
  16. Install CIOS60BF.wad.
  17. After it is done, press the Home button to get out of WAD Manager.  Exit the Homebrew Channel to a corrupted System Menu (which we will, of course, fix).

The infamous black screen of death.

The infamous black screen of death. Fortunately, if you've followed the guide here you can easily fix this.

DON’T FREAK OUT when you see the funky looking screen that comes up.  There is nothing to be afraid of!  Your system is not dead, I promise!  Follow these steps to manually launch Preloader and you’ll be finished with this part of the guide:

  1. We’re going to have to manually launch Preloader to fix that corrupted screen, so turn off your system.
  2. Have one of your fingers holding down the Reset button, and then press the Power button with another finger.  Keep holding down the Reset button until Preloader appears.
  3. When Preloader pops up, you can first stop sweating :).  Next, click on “Launch the Homebrew Channel”.  Go to the Preloader .29 installer and install it again just like you did before.
  4. Once it’s done installing, the evil screen should be gone and your Wii should now be 100% hacked and working!  Congrats!

If you have any questions about anything above or something didn’t work out right, just post a comment or catch me on the Live Chat on the right side of the page.  If I’m not online on the Live Chat, I typically respond to comments pretty quickly.

In part five I will provide a third SD Pack crammed with homebrew software that will let you see the capabilities of the hacks you have just installed!  I will also provide links to places where you can download Wii disc images to burn directly to those DVD-R’s that you have prepared.  You can continue to part five by clicking here!


Complete Wii Softmodding / Hacking Guide, Part 3: Start Hacking ^_^

July 27, 2009

The Homebrew Channel's banner

I apologize for the delay on updating this guide, but rest assured it is on its way to completion.  If you haven’t read part two or part one, you need to do so before continuing.  I also want to state that this part of the guide is based on larrylje’s excellent Wii softmodding guide, which can be found here on the AfterDawn forums. This was the guide that I first used to softmod my Wii, and was a VERY good resource.  These steps are virtually identical to the ones on that guide, and I give larrylje credit for that!

Let’s get on with it.  I’m going to assume that you followed part two and now have your SD card set up correctly.  The very first thing we’re going to do is install the Homebrew Channel.  To do that, follow these simple steps:

  1. If you already put your SD card in your Wii’s SD card slot, take it out.
  2. Turn on your Wii and press A to get past the health warning so you are at the front of the System Menu.
  3. Make sure your Wii has been updated to 4.1 through the official Nintendo updater.  If you’re not running 4.1, update to it.
  4. On the bottom left, you will see the Wii logo.  This takes you to the Wii Options screen.  Click it.
  5. On the Wii Options screen, click the first box, which is Data Management.
  6. On this screen, click the second box, Channels.
  7. On the top right of your screen you will see two tabs: Wii and SD Card.  Click the SD Card tab.
  8. Once you see the message saying that nothing is inserted in the SD card slot, insert your SD card.  The SD card slot can be found right by the disc tray, near the same place where the red sync button is.
  9. A popup will appear asking you to load the Boot dol/elf.  Say yes.
  10. A warning screen will now appear.  After a few seconds, press the 1 button to continue.
  11. You should now see another screen that shows what can be installed.  Select Continue to move on.
  12. Go up to where it says Install Homebrew Channel.
  13. Select YES, Continue.
  14. After it has finished, select Continue again.
  15. Now go down and exit.  Your Wii should restart with the Homebrew Channel installed.

Congrats!  You’ve just used Bannerbomb to install the Homebrew Channel on your Wii!

WAD Manager, a commonly used homebrew application.

Now that the Homebrew Channel is installed, we will downgrade IOS35, which will enable us to install our cIOS.  I assume you have everything properly set up as instructed previously (including your network connection).  Follow these steps:

  1. Turn on your Wii and launch the newly installed Homebrew Channel.
  2. We want to run an app called DowngradeIOS35, so select it from the menu and Load it.
  3. From the menu that appears, select Downgrade IOS35.
  4. After it is done, you should either be able to exit the menu, or you should just appear back in the Homebrew Channel.
  5. From the Homebrew Channel, load WAD Manager.
  6. Select IOS35 as the IOS to use.  Your source device will be your Wii SD Slot.
  7. Move the cursor to IOS35.wad and press the A button.
  8. Install the WAD.
  9. After it is installed, press A to get back to your list of WAD files.  Press the Home button to return to restart your system.

Now we’ll install the latest Revision 14 cIOS from Waninkoko.  Follow these steps:

  1. From the Homebrew Channel, find cIOS38_rev14 Installer and run it.
  2. Select IOS35 as the IOS for installation.
  3. Perform a network installation.

After it’s done, your Wii will either go back to the System Menu or the Homebrew Channel.  If it goes back to the System Menu, then launch the Homebrew Channel again so we can continue with the next steps.

We’ll now install IOS60patched.wad.  To do this:

  1. Load WAD Manager from the Homebrew Channel.
  2. We won’t be using IOS35 for installation this time around.  For this and probably every WAD install after this, we’ll use IOS249.
  3. The source device is still the Wii SD Slot.
  4. Select IOS60patched.wad and install it like we installed the WAD earlier.
  5. After that is done, get out of WAD Manager by pressing Home on the WAD selection screen.

Now we’ll install your cMIOS.  Follow these steps:

  1. From the Homebrew Channel, load cMIOS_rev3.
  2. Do a network installation just like we did with the cIOS.

Your Wii should now be able to load Homebrew software from the Homebrew Channel, and now has the basic ability to launch game backups from custom loaders such as USB Loader GX and NeoGamma (there will be extended information on both of these in part five).

We covered a lot of stuff in this part, and we’re almost done.  In the next part, we’ll hack your Wii so that it can launch backups from the ordinary Disc Channel without having to use a custom loader (that’s why we didn’t go ahead and install NeoGamma — again, more info on that in part five).  You can now continue to part four by clicking here!


Complete Wii Softmodding / Hacking Guide, Part 2: Setting Up

July 20, 2009

Welcome to the second part of my softmodding guide for the Nintendo Wii.  If you have not completely read the first part, please do so before continuing on.  In this part of the guide, we’re going to get all of our files together and prepare the Wii for a proper softmod.

If you have already attempted to hack your Wii to some degree, you will need to do everything you can to put it back to a virgin state.  I can only provide a few suggestions to doing that, as it’s impossible to completely remove all of your hacks once you’ve done something to it.  If you haven’t hacked anything on your Wii before, you can skip all of the following steps. I attribute credit on this part of the guide to Dogeggs, Tona, bsmalley23, and Davi92 of http://www.wiihacks.com.

  1. Download the cleanup tools here and extract them to the root of your SD card. Don’t use an SDHC card.
  2. If you are running system menu 4.0 or earlier, do an official Nintendo update to 4.1.  This will delete a lot of your hacks.  You can also skip step three.
  3. If you are running system menu 4.1, downgrade to 3.2 using cIOS Downgrader 1.2 and then do an official Nintendo update.
  4. If you have preloader or DVDx on your Wii, run NAND Clean (part of the cleanup tools).  Say yes to everything it asks you to delete.  Do NOT run this until you have done an official update from Nintendo.
  5. Now, load AnyTitle Deleter (also part of the cleanup tools) and delete any IOS you have installed with a number higher than 200.  Do not delete any others along with those or you will most likely brick your Wii.
  6. If you have Bootmii, run the installer and uninstall it.
  7. Again in AnyTitle Deleter, go to Installed Channels and delete any channels that you have custom installed (backup launchers, pirated virtual console/wiiware, injected wads, etc.)

As an alternative, if you don’t have Bootmii and are not on 4.1, just delete all of your installed non-default channels (including the Homebrew channel) and then update to 4.1.  The update should overwrite any preloader you have installed (including preloader 0.28 and 0.29) and you should theoretically be clean.

Your previously hacked Wii should now be clean and running System Menu 4.1, but I’m not responsible for any unlikely damage that may result from trying to undo your hacks.  Most likely, everything will still work, as I’ve done this myself.

If you haven’t already hacked your Wii and read over that, don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed.  There’s a lot of material to cover, and that’s why this guide is split into different parts.

The next thing we’re going to do is check the serial number on your Wii to ensure that we can softmod it.  You can find your serial number on the side (or bottom) of your Wii… you’ll know it once you see it.  It’ll look something like this:

Wii Serial Number

Wii Serial Number

The model number in this picture is an LU10.  There are many many different model numbers floating around out there.  My personal Wii, for example, is an LU37, and I’ve seen members on various forums who have had numbers all the way up to LU90. Nintendo released the LU64 line around the middle of March 2009, and since that batch was released, there have been protections in place to stop a hacker from installing a cIOS.  These protections have since been circumvented, but only with about a 50% or less success rate.  The other 50% end up with a bricked Wii, and because of that, this guide will not support LU64+ models.

If you have an LU64+, however, there is still hope.  Your safest route would be to install a no-solder modchip.  As the name implies, these chips do not require any type of soldering and are designed with ease-of-installation in mind.  Plus, you will still be able to do everything that any softmodded Wii can do… you’ll just have to spend money on the chip.  The most popular Wii modchip by far is the WiiKey, but as you can see for yourself in the picture below, they are hardly simple to install and can be rather intimidating to a beginner.  The chip that I would recommend for LU64+ users is the DriveKey, which you can find here for 50$.  Also on this page is an illustration of how easy they are to set up.

An installed WiiKey

An installed WiiKey. Scary, eh?

Okay, now for those of you doing a clean install who have never tweaked your Wii, let’s get prepared:

  1. Back up everything on your SD card to your computer.
  2. Format your SD card to FAT32.
  3. Make sure your network access to your Wii is working.
  4. Disconnect any Gamecube controller or memory card you have connected to your system.
  5. Download the SD Pack I put together by clicking here.
  6. Extract the SD Pack to your empty SD card.
  7. Free up as much memory on your Wii as possible.  I’d recommend having at least 400-500 blocks free.

You can now continue to part three by clicking here, where we’ll finally get our feet wet and start doing some hacking.