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January 19, 2009 6:05 PM   Subscribe

What are the consequences/difficulties in the US of running a modded Wii purchased in China?

I'm in China, and buying an unmodded Wii is just about impossible. If I buy a Wii here, will I be able to use it in the US? Furthermore, will there be any hiccups in trying to use the online features of the Wii (such as buying and playing some of the classic games). I've heard about some problems people encountered with buying an Xbox360 in China and being unable to play the games online, but perhaps that's a problem with pirated games and not a modchip. Also, it seems that many of the Wii's here are Japanese, which will provide a language barrier.

So, are there dvd-like region restrictions on Wii consoles? Will a modded Wii have any problems with legitimately purchase games or online content when I return to the US? And will I be able to load English as the default language of the system?
posted by msbrauer to Technology (10 answers total)
I'm not an expert on this, but there are region restrictions on the Wii. I'm not sure what region Chinese Wiis are, but I'd guess probably Japan. If so, they would not be able to play USA region games, or even illegally downloaded backups of US games. You'd be stuck with importing or downloading Japanese games, and then, yup, language barrier.

I'd wager you'd run into similar problems with online services. There might be workarounds on this, a friend had a modded Wii and managed to get Super Smash Brothers Brawl (Japanese version) running before it came out here. But that involved a risky workaround, and his Wii eventually bricked itself.

Really, I'd wait until you were back in the states, or make sure that the one you are buying is North American region.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:37 PM on January 19, 2009

There are region restrictions on Wiis. Our Japanese Wii will only play Wii games purchased in Japan (although you can mod your Wii to play games from any region).
posted by KokuRyu at 6:40 PM on January 19, 2009

Best answer: With all of the region-free tools out there, both open source and commercial, you should be able to use your modded Chinese Wii just fine. For more information, check out http://wiibrew.org

In my experience, which is fairly limited as I don't play many games online, even a backup (legal or otherwise) will work online.

As far as using the Wii legitimately is concerned, referring to US titles, the aforementioned region-free tools will help. Having the modchip most likely means that you are already configured to run homebrew .elf/.dol files.

Xbox30 is a different story, as Microsoft actively seeks out modded consoles whereas Nintendo doesn't appear to care very much with the exception of closing exploitable holes in their software through 'mandatory' system updates.

Again, a great deal of information is available on http://wiibrew.org
posted by dinx2582 at 6:44 PM on January 19, 2009

Chances are, like most Chinese electronics, it's been modded out to play whatever the hell you can put into it, but doesn't have the necessary voltage converter, etc. to run it.
posted by taschenrechner at 6:53 PM on January 19, 2009

yes, yes, yes.
posted by Oktober at 7:01 PM on January 19, 2009

There are three types of Wii: NTSC-US, NTSC-Japan and PAL. The Wii mods I've seen allow some and perhaps even most games from other regions to be played from other regions, but not all.

Assuming the ones there are Japanese as you suggest, this will give you an idea of which games from other regions would work.

One thing that will cause problems is that some US games will come with US system updates on them that will need to be installed before the game will play. Some of these will brick a non-US console. You might find yourself needing to rip your own US, legitimately bought games and re-burning them to remove updates.
posted by markr at 7:02 PM on January 19, 2009

markr: Starfall can be installed on a Wii to bypass the required System Update screens.
posted by dcjd at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2009

If you want answers from first hand experience, you might try posting your question on Shanghai Expat's forum or search around on the site.
Two of my friends using Wii in China purchased the console in the states, brought it over, and then had it chipped to de-regionalize it so they could play games purchased in China. Not sure if the chips would be a problem when you go home. The internet is so slow in China, it'll suck all the fun out of the online games anyway.
posted by MuckWeh at 10:15 PM on January 19, 2009

Caveat only: Purchased Wii in South Africa, where no online stuff was available. Moved to Switzerland, now online and no problems over region. However, I will note, South Africa tends to be included in things as European.
posted by Goofyy at 7:13 AM on January 20, 2009

Your modded wii is most likely capable of playing games from any region. The only issue you might run into are electrical differences, which can usually be remedied with the appropriate adapter.
posted by sid at 8:29 AM on September 30, 2009

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