How to Hack Your Wii U to Run Homebrew Games and Apps

Wii U Gamepadtxking / Shutterstock

Homebrew allows your Wii U to run apps Nintendo didn’t intend for you to run. This includes emulators, custom games, and mods. You can even install backup copies of your games on a hard drive and run them from there.

This process is long, but isn’t overly complicated and can be completed by the average user. You don’t run any risk of damaging or bricking your console with normal homebrew, so it’s entirely safe.

Why Homebrew?

Homebrew is a great way to breath new life into an old console. There’s plenty of cool things you can do with a modded console.

  • Emulators: Want to run Nintendo 64 games on your Wii U? With emulators, the Wii U can play almost any Nintendo game that isn’t a 3DS or Switch exclusive.
  • USB game loading: You only have a measly 16-32 GB of space on your Wii U, which is only enough to install a few games to the fast internal storage. Homebrew enables loading hundreds of games from USB storage, which you can dump yourself from the disc. This does enable piracy, but that’s not the primary focus.
  • Cemu: Homebrewing your Wii U is the only way to play Wii U games on PC legally, and with Breath of The Wild now running much better on Cemu than it does on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch, there’s plenty of reason to.
  • GameCube games: Nintendo simply flipped a switch to disable running GameCube games on your Wii U. The functionality is still there but disabled from within Wii mode. You can turn it back on and make full use of your console.
  • Modding games: There’s an active scene for Smash 4 mods, including one called Melee HD which completely changes the gameplay. Homebrew is the only way to mod games.

There’s far too much content to show everything in detail here, but we’ll outline how to get your console homebrewed and to a point where you can begin installing whatever you’d like.

Prep Your SD Card

You’ll need to get the homebrew files onto your Nintendo Wii U. To do that, you’ll need an SD card reader. If your computer doesn’t have one, you can get an adapter on Amazon for less than $10.

There are two paths you can take with the homebrew process. The first uses a browser exploit to run arbitrary code and load the homebrew launcher. From there, you can install a custom firmware package called Mocha CFW, which removes code signing and lets you install the homebrew channel as an app on your Wii U. After that’s done, you can go in and out of homebrew apps without any issues.

The problem is, if you reboot your Wii U, you’ll have to redo the browser exploit. This is annoying, especially on the latest firmware, where the exploit has a lower success rate. The solution to this is another exploit called Haxchi to overwrite a Virtual Console DS game and turn it into a makeshift homebrew launcher, replacing the browser exploit entirely. But you’ll need a legitimate DS game—no way to pirate it, even with homebrew magic. Currently, the cheapest DS game on the Nintendo eShop is Brain Age, at $6.99, though others are supported. You can also make your Wii U run the exploit on boot, called Coldboot Haxchi, but it’s not necessary and is one of the few things that run the risk of bricking your console—in other words, making your Wii U hardware unusable.

Initial Setup

You’ll need a few files, regardless of which path you choose:

Download all the .zip files, put them in a new folder, like this:

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Anthony Heddings

Author: Droolin' Dog News Team