Both the Wii and N64 are unique consoles, that defied mainstream trends and created their niche. The N64 was Nintendo’s first proper 3D console and the last console to use cartridges. It also has the distinction of being the first major console to feature a controller with an integrated analog stick.
Since it was discontinued long ago, can play Nintendo 64 games on Wii? Until recently, you could use its Virtual Console feature to download and play N64 games- but there was a very limited selection. Plus, you needed to purchase these Virtual Console N64 games with Wii Points, or real currency (prices were quite low).
Nintendo closed the Wii Shop Channel in 2019, but users who have already purchased games on it can redownload content. They can also transfer data over to the Wii U using a Transfer Tool (the Wii U is an 8th gen console and predecessor to the Switch). The Wii U’s eShop still works, but I’ve got a better solution for those of you who own an original Wii console- read on to find out.
Can You Play Nintendo 64 Games On Wii?
If you’re someone who has never done this before and is only starting now, the Virtual Console feature will be inaccessible. If you own a Wii U, you can open up the eShop and download ports of NES, SNES, N64, and even TurboGrafx-16 games. These are available at heavily discounted prices, but the downside is that you have to pay for them even if you already own the original physical copy.
Sure, you could switch your Wii U into Wii mode and play Virtual console games that already bought before the shop closed in 2019. But there’s a much better way to play your old collection of N64 disks. It’s called emulation, and you can do it with any modded Wii.
The process of modding is straightforward and requires no hardware changes. All you need is an SD card, and a Wii with firmware version 4.3 (if you don’t have it, update your Wii by connecting it to the internet). I won’t go into the specifics of the modding process in this article, but here’s an excellent tutorial video that tells you everything you need to know.
Once you’ve installed the homebrew software manager, all you need are WiiWare game files. These have the .wad extension and can be found online (you’ll have to search for these yourself). I’m not advocating for piracy here, so I suggest you only download .wad files for N64 games you already own.
Obviously, your old N64 has broken down, otherwise, you wouldn’t be looking to play its games on the Wii. Now, once you’ve got the homebrew software running you can also install emulators for other old consoles (like the TurboGrafx-16). And yes, the original Virtual Console also used software emulation to run games for older systems on the Wii.
How Do I Get Old Nintendo Games On My Wii?
If you own the original Wii instead of the 8th gen Wii U, you’re pretty much out of luck. Because Nintendo closed down WiiWare in favor of their “eShop” service which works on both the Wii U and Switch. WiiWare acted as a companion service to Virtual Console.
And it allowed users to download digital copies of old games released for previous-gen Nintendo consoles (Like the N64). However, that service was shut down in 2019. So right now, the only way to get old Nintendo games on your Wii is by downloading ROMs from the internet.
You can mod your Wii using one of the many guides available online, and install a homebrew app launcher. Then you load up the .wad files for retro games into an SD card and start gaming. It’s that simple.
What Controller Do I Need To Play N64 Games On Wii?
The Wii remote works just fine, and Virtual Console games are designed to work with it. But you might be wondering if you can use your old Nintendo 64 controller to play Virtual Console games on the Wii. After all, playing Golden Eye 007 or Super Smash Bros. with an original Nintendo 64 controller is an unforgettable experience.
But you can’t because the Nintendo 64 was released two generations before the Wii. Hence, Nintendo’s designers didn’t include a custom port for that specific controller (which makes no commercial sense).
Here’s the interesting thing- Wii does support GameCube controllers. You just have to make sure your Wii model is version RVL-001. Now, let me explain how you can use this feature to connect a Nintendo 64 controller.
What Else Can I Do With My Old Wii?
Think of the Wii as a cool piece of retro hardware. It packs a PowerPC CPU running at 729MHz, and an ATI GPU clocked at 243MHz. The total amount of memory available to these chips is a mere 88MB.
It’s no computing powerhouse and was very underpowered, even by 2006 standards. However, you’ll be surprised how much mileage you can extract from this little economy box when you run homebrew software. It’s especially good at emulating old console games.
First things first- you need to jailbreak your Wii by installing the Homebrew Channel. Next, you can turn your Wii into a media center. Hook it up to a TV, and use it to play movies, music, retro games, etc. (it can even run internet browsers).
Using A Wii For N64 Emulation
The Wii is surprisingly good at emulating Nintendo 64 games (and Nintendo 64 is a tough console to emulate). Emulators like the Wii64 use dynamic recompilation to transform N64 machine code into PowerPC machine code. Interestingly, the official Nintendo 64 Virtual Console emulator is the most efficient of the lot- it delivers smooth performance and retains original graphics/ audio quality.
Evaluating The Wii’s Sales Figures
Sony’s PS3 and Microsoft’s Xbox hogged up all the media hype among the more “serious” gamers who are primarily interested in AAA games with top-notch graphics. However, Nintendo won the 7th generation console war. Both in terms of hardware, and software sales.
The Wii trounces the Xbox 360 and PS3 with over 101 million units shipped (as of 2019). In comparison, Microsoft sold 84 million Xbox 360s, and Sony sold 87 million PS3s. Nintendo also won the software race, with titles like Wii Sports and Mario Kart Wii (its top ten best-sellers have each sold over 10 million copies).
When Was The Last Wii Game Made?
The last Wii game was Just Dance 2020 (released in November 2020). It is an 8th gen console game, available on the PS4 and Xbox One. The Wii port was made because of its excellent motion control interface (and Just Dance can run on old hardware due to its stylized graphical style).
Why Did Nintendo Discontinue The Wii?
The Wii U marked Nintendo’s entry into the 8th generation of video game consoles in 2012. And the end of the Wii’s dominance at the top of every sales chart. While the console was summarily “discontinued” in 2013, new units kept getting made until 2017.
And online services were supported until 2019. The Wii wasn’t all that powerful even in 2006, and it was starting to struggle with a lot of the newer AAA titles around 2012. Hence, Nintendo decided to shift the focus of their development team towards the more powerful Wii U which could handle a more diverse genre of games.
It would also allow third-party AAA developers to release ports of their games on Nintendo’s consoles, rather than just Microsoft and Sony consoles. A more diverse game library means a wider audience will be attracted to the console (at least in theory). In reality, the Wii U didn’t come anywhere close to replicating the commercial success of the Wii.
I hope this article gave you some insight into how you can run old Nintendo 64 games on your Wii. If your Nintendo 64 broke down, don’t worry- the Wii works as an excellent emulation platform. It’s a shame Nintendo closed the Wii Shop because their Virtual Console emulation service was excellent.
However, open-source emulators and a passionate community of developers from around the world have ensured that these classics won’t be lost to time. Even if Nintendo doesn’t care, you can still play N64 games through emulation on the Wii.