Nintendo Wii: how it works

You are getting bored and you have decided to take back from the closet the old Nintendo Wii you played with now years ago. Or, finally, you have managed to get a second-hand one and want to understand how to configure it optimally and what differences there are between the various models of this glorious video game console.

No problem: whatever the situation, I’m here to explain to you in detail how the Nintendo Wii works . This Nintendo-branded console was released in 2006, revolutionizing the gaming market with its innovative motion sensor controllers. To date there are really many Nintendo Wii games that you can play, although the console is dated and new games are now coming out with the dropper.

In any case, it remains a good solution to have fun in the company of friends, if you do not have big graphic demands, especially thanks to the numerous catalog of “party” themed games available. Over the years, other versions of the Wii have been developed, such as the Wii Mini and the Wii U, while in 2017 the sale was definitively stopped following the release of the new hybrid console , both fixed and portable, the Nintendo Switch. To find out more, keep reading: everything is explained below.


  • Nintendo Wii models
    • Wii
    • Wii Mini
    • Wii U
  • How Nintendo Wii Works
    • How to connect Wii to the TV
    • How Wii Remote Works
    • How to connect Wii to the Internet
    • How to set up Nintendo Wii
    • How to buy Wii games

Nintendo Wii models

Over the years, several models of Nintendo Wii have been developed , which I’ll go over to you below. In particular, I’m talking about the Wii Mini , a more compact and cheaper console than the first Wii, less sold than the classic counterpart, and the Wii U , a real update of the original Wii and progenitor of the modern Nintendo Switch , which has not met the favor of the public and therefore was soon “forgotten”.


The original Nintendo Wii was first released in 2006 and features some unique accessories and features compared to other consoles of the same generation. First of all, the Wii is characterized by a completely wireless type of control , which uses infrared technology .

Among the accessories that are always distributed in the Wii package, there are the famous infrared controllers, the WiiMote , distributed together with a nunchuck , or a second mini-controller that, when connected to the WiiMote, is used in games that require the use of both hands.

In the most recent packages are distributed the Wii MotionPlus , accessories that can be connected to the controllers, which give them a more accurate precision in movement. Some games, such as Wii Sports Resort , cannot be played without Wii MotionPlus.

In the box there is always an infrared bar , which connects to the back of the Wii and is placed on or in front of the TV to allow connectivity with controllers and other input accessories (such as steering wheel or scale for Wii Fit ), as well as power supply and composite cable . The internet connection is guaranteed by the console’s built  in Wi-Fi .

As for memory, the standard Wii model features an SD and SDHC card slot up to 32GB and 512MB internal memory . This model is fully backwards compatible with GameCube games and accessories via hardware and with older generation consoles via software, through the internal Virtual Console emulator .

Wii Mini

The Nintendo Wii Mini was released in Europe in 2013 , with the aim of reducing the price of the Wii and making it accessible to a wider audience. The reception, however, was really lukewarm, as the console records several really important shortcomings.

Unlike the standard Wii, in fact, the Wi-Fi internet connection is completely absent (and consequently all the channels connected to it, such as the Wii Shop or WiiConnect24 ), as well as the slot to expand the console’s memory via SD cards. , which makes the Photo channel unusable .

Also, there is no backward compatibility with GameCube games and accessories . I recommend that you only get a Wii Mini if ​​you intend to play offline and only want to use the console to play a few games at home with your friends.

In any case, the console comes with a WiiMote and a nunchuck , and is only available in black and red .

Wii U

The Nintendo Wii U represents a real upgrade of the standard Wii, as it introduces a new control system, called the Wii U Pad . Together with the console, in fact, a proprietary tablet is distributed , which allows you to support some games for the portable mode and to use additional menus for others.

The need to update the Nintendo Wii to make it competitive with the consoles of its generation, such as PS4 and Xbox One , has led Nintendo to adopt some hardware- level upgrades for Wii U , such as the HDMI connection standard , display in Full HD 1080p. and four USB ports that can be used to expand memory via hard disk .

The development of a new disc reading system has allowed the creation of some exclusive titles for Wii U, while full backward compatibility with games developed for Wii Standard remains . The console was discontinued in 2017 after a very lukewarm reception from critics and the public, following the launch of the Nintendo Switch , which instead had an overwhelming success.

In this guide I will mainly focus on the most popular of the models, namely the classic Wii .

How Nintendo Wii Works

Nintendo Wii is a very simple console to use. In the next paragraphs I will show you the best methods to connect it to the TV and set it up . Also, I’ll show you how you can get new games, even though they are no longer in production.

How to connect Wii to the TV

There are so many ways to connect the Wii to the TV . In case you have the standard version of the console, I invite you to refer to the composite cable that was supplied with the console.

First take the RCA cable and check on the back of your TV if there are the typical yellow , red and white inputs to which the ends are connected. If they are not present, you can use any SCART socket , to which the cable can be connected using the adapter supplied.

You can recognize it by the squat and rectangular shape. Whatever the connection on the back of the TV, you must connect the cable to the console via the input labeled AV MULTI OUT , which is located on the back of the Nintendo Wii.

Once the first end is connected to the Wii, connect the RCA cable to the TV , using the three output cables or the supplied SCART socket, respecting the order of the colors. This will allow viewing in 720p , through the SCART or AV channel of your TV.

If you want to connect the Nintendo Wii via HDMI cable , due to the absence of other inputs on your TV, you can refer to some adapters sold in the main online stores. Some of these adapters allow 1080p viewing (be aware that the image quality should be the same, but the black bands will be eliminated).


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To connect the Nintendo Wii to the TV with an HDMI cable , first connect the adapter via one end to the AV MULTI OUT input on the back of the console, then get a common HDMI cable.


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Once this is done, connect one end of the HDMI cable to the adapter , while another end to the input on the side or back of your TV . At this point, the signal will be transmitted in one of the HDMI channels of the TV.

Once the console is connected to the TV, all you have to do is take the power supply cable and connect the first end of the same to the 12V IN input of the Wii. So, plug the power supply into a power outlet .

Remember to also connect the infrared bar to the appropriate Sensor Bar input , before turning on the console with the power button on the front of the console . For questions or further information, read my tutorial on how to connect Wii to TV .

How Wii Remote Works

The Wii Remote, or WiiMote , is one of the simplest controllers to use. First, insert the AA batteries into the battery compartment of the controller, then connect the lanyard that comes with it by sliding it into the hole on the back.

Turn on the Wii , then press the red button in the battery compartment. The controller LEDs will begin to flash, indicating it has entered pairing mode . At this point, open the door on the front of the console and press the red SYNC button .

Wait a few seconds, until a single blue LED on the controller lights up . In this way, the controller will be permanently connected to the Wii and the next time you turn it on, all you have to do is press any button to successfully pair it to the console.

Move the controller to display the selection cursor and press the A button to access the Wii main screen. If you want to connect a second controller temporarily, go to the Wii Remote Settings menu , reachable by pressing the Home button on the controller (the one in the shape of a house).

Once this is done, press on the Reset item , then press on the controllers to be synchronized keys 1 and 2 at the same time. Wait until the controllers are connected and the LEDs on the front stop flashing.

If you are asked on-screen to use a nunchuck , or the Wii MotionPlus extension , take a look at the bottom of the controller. In the input you can see, it is possible to connect the output end of the accessories, which will be automatically recognized by the console.

Using the directional arrows on the controller, it is possible to navigate the menus even without using the motion sensor, while, generally, the A and B keys are used to confirm or cancel a selection. The + and  keys are used according to the game you want to play, while those 1 and 2 are related to synchronization.

With the Home button you can return to the home screen, close a game or retune the controllers, by accessing a special menu. Finally, with the POWER button , you can turn off or put the console in standby. In case you want to learn more, I suggest you take a look at my guide on how to synchronize the Wii remote .

How to connect Wii to the Internet

Connecting the Wii to the Internet is really very simple. Know that there are two connection methods: one via Wi-Fi connection and one via LAN cable , through special adapters, as the console does not have an Ethernet input port . Remember that you cannot connect the Wii Mini to the Internet.

The first method, certainly more immediate, is the one concerning the wireless connection. Once the console is turned on, go to the main menu and select the Wii item at the bottom left. Once this is done, choose the Wii Console Settings option , then navigate to the right in the menu by pressing the appropriate arrow.

Select, therefore, the Internet item and press the Connection Settings button . Once this is done, press on one of the free connection slots (for example the Connection 1 one ), then select the Wi-Fi connection item .

In the menu that appeared on the screen, press the Search Access Point option to start scanning the networks, then select the Internet network to connect the console to and press Enter the key or password to enter the access key, if present.

Type the password for the access point you are connecting to in the appropriate box that appears on the screen, then press OK to confirm. Wait a few seconds and, if you have entered all the data correctly, the warning The connection test has finished successfully will appear on the screen .

If you want to connect the console via LAN cable , you will need to refer to some adapters present in the most important online stores on the Web. The cost is not high and they allow connection through the USB input of the Wii.


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Once you have obtained the adapter, all you have to do is connect the USB end of the same to the one on the back of the console, then connect the Ethernet cable for one side to the output of the adapter and for the other to the input on the router.

Once this is done, go to the Wii Console Settings and navigate to the right of the menu until you reach the Internet option . Press on the item Connection settings , then select one of the free connection slots.

In the menu that appeared on the screen, this time, press on the item Connection via LAN cable and then on the OK button to start a connection test. If everything went well, the message Connection test completed successfully will be displayed on the screen .

In case you have any doubts, or want to deepen the procedure, I suggest you take a look at the tutorial I have dedicated to connecting the Wii to the Internet .

How to set up Nintendo Wii

In case you were to turn on the Nintendo Wii for the first time , know that it is really very simple to set it up successfully . First, press the power button located on the front of the console, at the top. Do not confuse it with the button located slightly lower, which is used to eject discs .

Once the Wii is turned on, connect the remotes and press the A button to access the language setting screen. Use the directional buttons or the motion sensor to select the language you prefer, then press the Confirm button .

On the next screen, you need to indicate the Sensor Bar Position , telling the system whether you place it Under TV or Over TV . Once you have chosen the option corresponding to the position of your bar, press the Confirm button to continue with the configuration.

Then set the Date , according to the format DD / MM / YYYY , going forward or backward with the numbers through the up or down arrows that you find positioned at the margins of the dates. Once the date has been set, press the Confirm key and repeat the procedure for the Time .

Once this is done, the system prompts you to set the Aspect Ratio , which is the screen size of your TV. If you have a TV with a 4: 3 aspect ratio , select the Standard option , otherwise set the aspect ratio to Wide for a 16: 9 display .

Choose the Nickname of your Wii through the box that appeared on the next screen, then, press the Confirm item , and indicate your country of residence in the menu that appeared on the screen. Press the OK button to confirm, then you will be asked whether or not to activate the Family Filter .

Press the OK button twice , then finally access the Wii Home screen by pressing the A button . The main console screen shows the installed channels , which relate to additional console functions.

The channels include installed games and applications while the first slot is reserved for disc games . Via the SD card, you can move channels on it to save space in the internal memory.

The Wii settings are available on the lower left of the Home screen, next to the Wii icon . Press on it, then on Wii console settings to access further configuration options.

In particular, in this menu you will be able to connect the console to the Internet , change the time and date, the Nickname and change all the settings I mentioned earlier, which you configured when you first turned on the console.

How to buy Wii games

In case you intend to get hold of any Nintendo Wii games , please be aware that it is no longer possible to download them from the Wii Shop channel , as it was closed on January 30, 2019 . On the other hand, copies of Wii games to buy, both new and used, are still available on the main online stores.

The first games I would recommend are those developed directly by Nintendo , such as Wii Sports , Wii Party and Wii Fit Plus (which requires a Wii MotionPlus remote ). While the first two are games you can play with friends, Wii Fit is useful for keeping fit by integrating exercises using the Wii Balance Board accessory .


Nintendo Wii Sports

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Nintendo Wii Party

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Among the best Nintendo videogame sagas there are certainly the Mario games , which are characterized by an incredible variety of sub-genres. Among the best platformers are certainly Mario Galaxy and his sequel and New Super Mario Bros Wii , while Mario Party 8 allows you to play with friends and family.


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Super Mario: Galaxy 2

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Mario Party 8 – Nintendo Selects

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If you want to play games with the compelling storyline, I can only advise you The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword , RPG of high quality and real must-play if you’re a fan of the genre.


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If you want to learn more, I recommend my guide on the best Wii games .


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