Very recently, I posted a brief article outlining the basics of emulating Wii games on your PC or Mac. Unfortunately, it turns out that the method of ripping games I described requires specific disc drives capable of reading the game discs, which I was fortunate enough to have already. These are the following disc drives that I’ve found to work with the method in that previous article (please comment if you have any additions to make to this list):

LG 8161B

LG 8162B

LG 8163B

LG 8164B

LG GH20NS15

Optiarc DVD RW AD-7203A

HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8161B.

I’m sure the actual list is bigger, but that is what I was able to find out. Don’t have one of the drives listed? Don’t worry, there’s another piece of hardware that you own that I can guarantee is able to read Wii discs: the Nintendo Wii itself. To convert the discs to .iso files (the format the emulator needs in order to run correctly), you’ll need to jailbreak your Wii.

[box_info]Note: Jailbreaking, or “homebrewing” as the community calls it, is not endorsed by Nintendo. There is some slight risk to using this method.[/box_info]

1. Updating Your Wii’s System Settings

This may seem like counterproductive, but this makes explaining the process easier. With each update that Nintendo has made, a new method for jailbreaking systems is necessary, so now there are many ways to go about doing it. I just updated my Wii today (07/27/12) to System 4.3 and everything worked, so there’s no need to worry.

2. Necessary Materials

First, you need a properly formatted,  empty SD card and SD card reader (obvious I know, but I like being thorough). Formatting it is different depending on your OS and the version of the OS you’re using. Some general guidelines follow, but may be slightly different from your actual steps:

For Windows:

  • Open “My Computer”
  • Right-click on the drive that contains your SD card
  • In the drop-down menu click “Format…”
  • Under “File System,” make sure that “FAT” is selected.
  • Click “Start”

For Mac OS:

  • Open “Disc Utility”
  • Find and click on your SD card
  • Click the “Erase” tab
  • Change the “Volume Format” to “MS-DOS”
  • Click the “Erase” button on the bottom of the menu.

Next, you’ll need your Wii’s MAC address. You can find this in Wii Options –> Wii Settings -> (click the right arrow) -> Internet -> Console Information. Write the address down for later.

3. Necessary Software

First, you need to download the latest version of the HackMii Installer. Unzip the files,  find the “boot.elf” file, and copy it to your SD card.  Remember, make sure the SD had been properly formatted ahead of time.

Then, go to please.hackmii.com. Enter your MAC address (and the captcha). Be sure to deselect the bundle option. Click either button on the bottom of the page, it doesn’t make a difference. Unzip the file (LetterBomb) that downloads, and move the entire folder named “private” to your SD card.

Lastly, download and unzip CleanRip, the program that rips your games for you.

4. The Long Part

You’re probably wondering what all this is about. The file “boot.elf” loads a channel onto your Wii called “Homebrew Channel.” It’s this that “jailbreaks” the Wii, and allows you to exploit it at your leisure. But for now, we’ll just be ripping game discs.

Obviously though, the Wii is protected against such things happening. That’s where LetterBomb comes in. It’ll trick your Wii into allowing Homebrew Channel to install itself.

Plug the SD card into your Wii and turn it on.  Click on your messages (the icon on the bottom right that no one uses). It might say that you don’t have any messages, but go forward or back a few days until you see this:

It’s the same icon that you saw when you downloaded the LetterBomb program. Click on it, and you’ll be shown this screen:

(Click to enlarge)

…quickly followed by this:

(Click to enlarge)

From this menu is where we hack our Wii and install programs it was never meant to run. First, install “BootMii.” This is necessary to install “Homebrew Channel” afterwards. Install Homebrew Channel and exit the HackMiiInstaller. You will immediately be taken to the Homebrew Channel:

You’ll see CleanRip at the top of the screen. Click it, and you’ll see several on-screen prompts. Make sure to follow each of them depending on your preferences. The simplest way is to use your SD card again, then set Dual Layer to”No,” Chunk Size to “MAX,” and New device per chunk to “No.”

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

If it all went well, you have the completed .iso file! Yes, this was a bit tedious, but that’s mostly because I went through step by step. After it’s all taken care of, open Dolphin, click “Open” and find the newly made .iso file! For controller configurations, see my original article. For any questions, be sure to visit the Dolphin forums for help. Like I said in the first article, emulation is touch-and-go. Don’t be frustrated if things don’t work out perfectly, or at all, the first time. It might take a bit more work, but you can see the result:

Twilight Princess in HD? Definitely worth the wait.
(Click to enlarge HD goodness)

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