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Nintendo's Homebrew-Blocking Update Hacked 157

ElementC writes "Team Twiizers, the group behind almost all of the Wii Homebrew scene, has released an update to the Homebrew Channel (and installer) that allows for installation on a Wii with the most recent update installed. While the team still recommends against installing the Nintendo update, those who accidentally updated or purchase games that require the update are no longer left out to dry. This update to the Homebrew Channel also adds SDHC support, a feature Nintendo has not implemented in vanilla Wiis. The community has also created an app that updates just the Wii Shop Channel — allowing users to purchase Wiiware and Virtual Console games without losing their homebrew. It took the team only two days to get the fix out."
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Nintendo's Homebrew-Blocking Update Hacked

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  • by Centurix ( 249778 ) <> on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:30AM (#25525083) Homepage

    Like when Nintendo doesn't condone it, but leave little bits of stuff "open" for someone to find and break to keep a scene healthy?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      no, it's one of these "stupid security holes in all their software" thing where just glancing in the general direction of a function reveals 20 exploits :-)

      • Anatomii of a Hack [] - The Daily WTF.

        Short explanation on how one of the first hacks worked. Lazy coding.

        • by Moryath ( 553296 )

          Now the remaining things that need to be done:

          - Upgrading the installer channel to let other software bits be installed
          - Updating the firmware downgrader (SOMETHING Nintendo did causes their 3.3 firmware not to like my Cisco wi-fi router under any security option other than "none", but the previous versions ran just fine with WPA-PSK).

          Here's hoping the homebrew community manages to get those done soon.

        • Anatomii? Is that, like, multiple anatomuses?
    • by WK2 ( 1072560 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:40AM (#25525125) Homepage

      No. They're writing DRM. You don't have to try to make DRM breakable. They all come that way.

  • Cool. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RiffRafff ( 234408 )

    Insert obligatory "the more you tighten your grip....etc.

  • Hooray... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:40AM (#25525133)

    Both Wii homebrew users are reported to be delighted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dintech ( 998802 )
      You're right though, the homebrew scene really does suck compared to the last generation of consoles. I was truly amazed at the things a modded xbox could do a few years ago. There doesn't seem to be anything close to that now which is a shame really.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by anubis7733 ( 1377725 )
        Despite the fact that the homebrew can't do a lot of crazy things, it does allow users to replay some old games that they may not have had played years without having to repurchase them. Sometimes people just want to be able to play through A Link to the Past again without having to rebuy the game. Also there's a lot of crappy WiiWare out there that may sound interesting but absolutely suck. Homebrew is a way to try out those games without losing any money on the bad ones like Pop.
        • by Haeleth ( 414428 )

          Despite the fact that the homebrew can't do a lot of crazy things, it does allow users to replay some old games that they may not have had played years without having to repurchase them. Sometimes people just want to be able to play through A Link to the Past again without having to rebuy the game.

          And, what, the homebrew magically adds a SNES port to your Wii? Or are you just downloading a ROM and playing the game in an emulator, in which case why the heck do you need to go to such lengths when you can jus

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by marcansoft ( 727665 )

        You do need to consider that almost all of the Xbox homebrew (minus linux) was illegal to distribute in binary form due to the use of the official SDK. If we had the latest version of the Ninty SDK, I'm sure we could produce higher quality illegal homebrew in a shorter amount of time. Instead we're "stuck" with an entirely legal homebrew SDK that happens not to be as good as Nintendo's.

        Then there's also the thing where the Xbox was an entirely familiar platform. x86, DirectX, etc. Porting stuff to it was pr

        • First off, existing GameCube libraries were expanded to support the Wii's few extra features. Secondly, the entire power of the hardware (full 3D and everything) is available to homebrew, but it just so happens that Joe Hacker in his basement doesn't usually come up with the same high-quality games you expect from the store.

          • Personally I think the real benefit of the homebrew is to unleash the full potential of your hardware, if the Wii can be used as a lan video player, alarm clock, net jukebox, or just a simple file manager then you should be able to make it do so.

  • SDHC support? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Loibisch ( 964797 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:41AM (#25525137)

    The biggest news out of the whole thing for me is that they have added SDHC support through a _channel_ in the Wii dashboard. People have been speculating why the Wii would not support SDHC and if it was some hardware limitation...well, it seems like it isn't. Which really makes me wonder why Nintendo has not added it, this day and age it's almost getting hard to find a non-SDHC card...

    Seriously...WTF. This isn't the first time some 3rd party tool squeezes more functionality out of hardware. But this should really be a no-brainer to implement for the big N.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The Wii still doesn't support SDHC. The homebrew channel does and homebrew apps will be able to.

      This doesn't affect the Wii itself in anyway, so you won't be able to use it to copy save files to etc.
      • I never said I could. But if it can be done with the Home Brew Channel, it could also be done with the vanilla Wii itself. Missing SDHC support is not a hardware limitation (as we can see now), it's merely the unwillingness of Nintendo.

        • Re:SDHC support? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by lorenzo.boccaccia ( 1263310 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:55AM (#25525213)
          who holds the sdhc patent? could be a patent related issue, they may use the standard hardware (which supports sdhc) to lower costs, but couldn't allow user to use it for licensing issues, also to lower costs.

          just speculation, obviously
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sockatume ( 732728 )
            Yes, it's almost certainly a licencing issue IMO. I imagine licence costs also provoked the switch from MP3 to AAC. If people are still complaining about the hideous space limits after next year's update (and I expect they will be) then I could see Nintendo ponying up for SDHC support. Maybe as a paid-for update as a way of recovering the licencing cost (see also Apple's 802.11n).
            • No. This isn't about patents, its about Nintendo being like Apple and Doing Whats Best For You (TM). They don't think that anyone would dare exceed the 512 MB system memory of the Wii, nor would anyone even think of filling up a 2 GB SD card with downloaded content. Honestly, who cares about SDHC support when Nintendo has 2 perfectly good USB ports that could be used for flash drives (and again, have with homebrew)
              • Nope, I'm still pretty sure it's a licencing issue.
                • Given that the Wii has an SD slot, wouldn't they already have the SD consortium patent licenses needed for SDHC?

                  • Not necessarily. SDHC is licenced seperately. If it's not using it right now, I doubt they bothered to get the licence. No point in spending 5c extra per unit on disabled functionality.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      My guess is that Nintendo is pissed that everyone hasn't been buying their branded SD cards, and if they don't support SDHC, at some point when you can't buy SD cards from other vendors, Nintendo will start making even more money selling you their cards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by The MAZZTer ( 911996 )

      According to the blog, SDHC support can be done entirely in software []. So it's just a matter of coding it in, both for homebrew creators (there will probably be a lib for it, if not one already) and for Nintendo.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by anthonyfk ( 1394881 )
      I think the biggest reason why SDHC support is not added by default was to try and prevent ways for people to stick Wii ROMs (which are >2GB) onto SD cards and access them from that way somehow. Of course, since the HBC and any other application can now do so natively, I guess this isn't a risk anymore.
    • What's SDHC?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chyeld ( 713439 )

        The most recent revision to the SD flash card specification (SD High Capacity), it allows SD cards to break the size barriers that existed for the old standard.

        • So it's not a physical limitation of the Wii to support them?

          • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

            Nope, which is why the 'hack' that was just released included the code allowing programs written to use it to access and use SDHC cards.

  • by Idaho ( 12907 ) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:57AM (#25525231)

    Check this article [] to find out why this is not really surprising.

    Yup, that is indeed Nintendo featuring on TheDailyWTF.

  • by NoNeeeed ( 157503 ) <> on Monday October 27, 2008 @08:29AM (#25525407)

    Anything that opens up the Wii platform is good news, so a hearty cheer from me.

    If Nintendo created a proper home-brew platform, making it easier and cheaper to make small games and apps, the Wii could become a killer home entertainment platform (especially if they add DVD and local storage support). Something along the lines of the iPhone/Android apps store, where you can sell cheap games and they take a small cut. Currently the selection on WiiWare is pretty limited unless you want old NES games.

    If they did that, I'd become a Wii developer overnight.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      If Nintendo created a proper home-brew platform, making it easier and cheaper to make small games and apps

      According to WiiWare proponents, it already is. They say a Wii developer needs three things to get a license:

      • A corporation, partnership, or other business entity
      • Office space for a Wii developer unit, separate from any residence
      • A playable game for Windows (using OpenGL), Mac OS X, or Linux, ready to be ported

      But have you considered developing for a slim PC instead? I've seen PCs from the major national OEMs that aren't much bigger than an Xbox 360, with two front panel USB ports for gamepads, ready to con

    • Currently the selection on WiiWare is pretty limited unless you want old NES games.

      First, WiiWare is all new games (that may look strikingly similar to various DS games). What you're talking about is the Virtual Console.
      Second, it's not just old NES games, or even just old Nintendo games. It's all kinds of old games from a variety of consoles.
      Now why aren't you excited about this ?!?!

      P.S. Honestly, not even half serious.

  • by eagee ( 1308589 )
    These guys are nothing short of awesome :). Only two days after the update. For those of us who couldn't possibly afford a Nintendo dev kit (or get one if we could since we're not publishers) this is the only way we're able to write games on an actual Wii. Thanks Team TWiizers!
  • But why doesn't Nintendo just license the ScummVM and drop it as a small $ purchase on their online store?
    That way anyone who has an old scumm game can play it for free (by copying it to the SD card), and anyone else
    can buy a copy via the store. Seems like win/win for everyone. I know there are hacks to enable mplayer, and DVD playback
    and those are separate issues, probably more due to licensing the underlying patents for various compression technologies
    than anything.

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer