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Turn your Wii into a fantastic emulation machine

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I recently started using my Wii over VGA which has been a revelation. The image is so good, way better than any other type of connection on my TVs.

 

It's quite astonishing to be able to see everything how it was intended to be. Single pixel borders, pixel perfect alignment, crisp edges, extra detail otherwise lost to scaling. 

 

On my TVs Component or even HDMI connections have overscan, scaling and image processing that I can't turn off applied to it. In VGA mode the signal is kept pure and untouched by the TV. Plus, my TV is a 20" 640x480 LCD and this is an exact match for Wii 480p output. 

 

Anyway, there are a number of ways you can go about getting VGA output. The method you choose, and cost, depends on the capabilities of your TV. 

 

TV supports Component over VGA

- use a simple (3xRCA) Component to VGA adapter. Cost ~£4

- note: check your TV does not apply overscan for this type of signal (mine did — boo!)

 

TV only supports regular VGA

One of:

1. Use a Wii to HDMI adapter plus a HDMI to VGA adapter. Lag approx ~25ms. Cost: ~£8 (£4x2) this is what I currently use

2. Use a Wii to VGA cable. Hard to find and mixed reviews. Cost: ~£25

3. Use a Component to VGA transcoder. A good one will not scale or introduce lag. Cost: ~£50

4. Use a video scaler. Good ones cost a lot. Cost: ?

5. Hardmod your Wii. Requires serious soldering skills and use of a specific launcher to avoid the system menu. See BitBuilt.net website. Cost: ?

 

After connecting

The key thing after getting things connected is that you need to set the VGA adjustments for your TV in the correct way: using a full screen signal from the Wii.

 

What isn't widely known is that games, and even the system menu, don't use the full screen area of the Wii. Each uses their own chosen smaller area from the middle of the full screen, basically a custom internal resolution. 

 

But one app I know of that uses the full screen area of a Wii is Not64. So load that emulator and leave it on its menu, then do Auto Adjust in the PC/VGA menu on your TV. 

 

The result is pixel perfect Wii output.

 

Note: there will be small black borders top/btm, or left/right, or both, on most games because each uses a different internal resolution. That's normal and to be expected. 

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Thanks for the info, the Wii output can be somewhat muddy sometimes. What TV are you using? 

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Good question!

 

I have two similar Philips, each of which cost me £20 (plus delivery). One from Gumtree UK and one imported from Germany's equivalent, eBay Kleinanzeigen.

 

If you're using VGA there's not much between them.

 

I'm currently using the 4122, cos I have two devices connected. But waiting on a switch box, adapters, extra cables and then I will use the 4121.

 

20PF4121

https://www.philips.co.uk/c-p/20PF4121_05/4000-series-20-inch-lcd

From UK

 

Pros

  • IPS 640x480
  • 240p support
  • better sound separation and quality
  • DVI-I (accepts VGA and Component over VGA, but see below)
  • RGB SCART, S-Video, Composite
  • remembers last input after standby

Cons

  • excessive overscan on any signal input other than pure VGA (so Component over VGA is affected)
  • sluggish OSD/menu
  • no indication of input signal type (in non-VGA modes)

 

20PFL4122

https://www.philips.co.uk/c-p/20PFL4122_10/flat-tv-with-crystal-clear-iii

From Germany

 

Pros

  • IPS 640x480
  • VGA (but not Component over VGA)
  • HDMI, Component (but see below)
  • RGB SCART, S-Video, Composite
  • very good OSD/menu
  • displays input signal type (in non-VGA modes)

Cons

  • no 240p support
  • worse sound separation and quality
  • excessive image processing ("Crystal Clear III") on any signal input other than pure VGA
  • does not remember PC input after standby

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Here's a photo of the boss enemy bar in Wii Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz to show 1:1 pixel perfection.

 

IMG_9353.jpg

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On 25/03/2020 at 13:17, matt! said:

20PFL4122

That's ace! The only monitor that I thought could do 640x480 as native was the Pioneer PDP V402 and sorta resigned myself to never owning one. Had a look on Ebay and got the same model but 15" for £50 delivered just now. DC should look glorious. Have you tried gamecube games on this? 

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Well, I don't have a fancy monitor but the Wii has stepped in to be the lockdown console of choice in the Lumpy household. Can't beat the library - there's a load of active sporty things for the fam, and a bunch of fantastic games for me to contend with, including Mega/Master stuff, S/NES stuff, GBA, a pile of GC games (LOVING F-Zero GX and Mario Sunshine at the moment) and stellar Wii stuff too. Spoilt for choice, but have started Metroid Prime Trilogy again. That'll keep me going. So many amazing games in one place. I love my modded Wii.

 

Component cables luckily rather than composite and it looks fine, though not as sharp as your monitor dude! I still think many of the graphics are so impressive and haven't really dated imho.

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Anyone got any ideas why Klonoa won't work via USB Loader?

 

It's one of the few games I have as an ISO, most are wbfs and they all work.

It previews fine, gives the music when you select it but when you actually load it (via USB loader) just goes to a black screen.

 

edit - got it working by turning on some of the video hacks in the config menu. Why can’t Namco still make them like they used to?

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18 hours ago, cubik said:

Anyone got any ideas why Klonoa won't work via USB Loader?

 

It's one of the few games I have as an ISO, most are wbfs and they all work.

It previews fine, gives the music when you select it but when you actually load it (via USB loader) just goes to a black screen.

 

edit - got it working by turning on some of the video hacks in the config menu. Why can’t Namco still make them like they used to?

 

Hmm I didn't have to do that and my PAL copy installed to the drive and works fine. Wonder what that's all about?

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I just tried the softmod as I thought I could use the Wii in place of my Jap/US Gamecube and save a powerport/component input.  I did the homebrew channel install and then the Priloader thing, and set it to Region free everything.  I stuck in a game to quickly test it (Resi 4) and noticed that the Wii version seemed to be playing in a much thinner section of screen like it had gone into ultra-widescreen or something.  Sure enough when I stuck the game in the GameCube we had a lot more vertical screen on display.  Did I miss something obvious here ?

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1 hour ago, CurryKitten said:

I just tried the softmod as I thought I could use the Wii in place of my Jap/US Gamecube and save a powerport/component input.  I did the homebrew channel install and then the Priloader thing, and set it to Region free everything.  I stuck in a game to quickly test it (Resi 4) and noticed that the Wii version seemed to be playing in a much thinner section of screen like it had gone into ultra-widescreen or something.  Sure enough when I stuck the game in the GameCube we had a lot more vertical screen on display.  Did I miss something obvious here ?

 

Resi 4 has some differences between the two versions and some particular weirdness with how it does widescreen - however I would have expected it to be the other way around. On Gamecube it's letterboxed widescreen only, so on a 16:9 display it would stretch it. The Wii version was anamorphic widescreen, so it would look normal. I can't think why you'd get it the other way around.

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11 hours ago, Sprite Machine said:

 

Resi 4 has some differences between the two versions and some particular weirdness with how it does widescreen - however I would have expected it to be the other way around. On Gamecube it's letterboxed widescreen only, so on a 16:9 display it would stretch it. The Wii version was anamorphic widescreen, so it would look normal. I can't think why you'd get it the other way around.

 

Oops - I realised the way I worded that sounded like I tried the Wii version of Resi 4 against the Gamecube version - when what I actually did was use the US GC version in my UK Wii and NTSC Gamecube.  But iff we think RE4 is a bit weird, I'll try a few more titles today and see if there's a difference.  I'll snap some photos if so.

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It's just RE4 so far.  I guess one thing I forgot about was that most GC games didn't really do widescreen, and some of those that did just really used letter boxed 4:3 which kind of looked like widescreen when stretched to 16:9.  So what I found was that RE4 on the GC looks like this

 

re4-gc.thumb.jpg.1cac4d4e95b8125afd0803f845a28b87.jpg

 

But when taking the same RE4 GC disk and sticking it in the (now region free) Wii it then looks like this -

 

re4-wii.thumb.jpg.ecb1429afbb9b3155cd68883df96e46b.jpg

 

But then when I take another GC game like Skies of Arcadia and do the comparison, we have the GC  putting out 

 

skies-gc.thumb.jpg.a7e970e3b02c4770c57f6883d69f8255.jpg

 

...and then the same GC disk on the wii doing much the same

 

skies-wii.thumb.jpg.5d35c06fd5ddc9a57e5770931b0b55c2.jpg

 

Annoyingly, I am finding that my GC output is much nicer than the Wii over component... or I should say less fussy - I've only got one component input on my TV and if I go through a switch box then the Wii signal gets some noise in it, while the GC remains super clean.

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^ That is very weird and I can only think there's some specific issue with that game or the signal that the TV is getting from it that is causing the problem. In both cases, the game is being stretched and actually what you should be doing even on Gamecube is using your TV's 'zoom' feature to chop off the black bars. It's the only game I know of that used letterboxing for its widescreen mode - other games either used anamorphic or didn't bother at all.

Sorry, don't know what to suggest on the Wii - other than acquiring the Wii version of the game instead!

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Not to worry - I've played RE4 a lot and my Cube isn't going anywhere - but I might look for it on the Wii if I want to play it again.   I've been messing around with the USB loader getting it looking as I want it and getting games on here and there, and I'm really happy with what it can do.  Really nicely put together guide from the original post.

 

wii.thumb.jpg.4446132fc328ef7c5fd6311ec1474ab0.jpg

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On 26/03/2020 at 17:03, ucci said:

Had a look on Ebay and got the same model but 15" for £50 delivered just now. 

 

OH! the 15" model is 1024x768. So things won't look very good. Sorry. :'(

 

Only the 20" model is 640x480. Very rare to find smaller LCD TVs at the right resolution. 

 

GameCube (via Wii) looks great. You can force progressive through Nintendont.

 

I've tested Wii (480p games), DC (VGA games), PS2 (games that have proper 480p support) all looks great. 

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Damn. The monitor arrived and I am waiting to go to back to Nottm to get a Wii to play on it. 

 

If you fancy moving on one of your 20" please give me a shout. 

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I've dusted off the Wii for the dual purposes of some unexpected family time and generally catching up on some GC and Wii titles I missed. I swear everything was working ok before but now I have an error message when trying to run GC games through USB Loader GX:

 

'to run GameCube games with Nintendont you need the boot.dol file in your Nintendont loader path.'

 

It's there. What could I be missing? 

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Spanner. The file was indeed there, but the switch on the SD card had been locked. :facepalm:

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On 10/04/2020 at 14:13, Ninja Doctor said:

Hdmi to DVI should be a single cable, it’s the same bitstream 

Thanks for that, but not in this case as we're using DVI-A (analog) as you'll see if you read this page of the thread. 

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Anyone have any experience of playing CPS2 ROMs via Retroarch? I don't know if it's the romset or what but I'm not having any luck, they all go to a black screen and then quit straight back to the HBL. I don't have much experience of arcade emulation so I don't really know where to start. 

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I half-modded my Wii years ago before LetterBomb, it has Homebrew Channel and can just about play GC backups, but I've never got Wii backups to work. BootMii is installed. If I Letterbomb it will that install everything else and update the softmod?

 

Also, can the Wii power USB-powered external hard-drives?

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33 minutes ago, Vimster said:

I half-modded my Wii years ago before LetterBomb, it has Homebrew Channel and can just about play GC backups, but I've never got Wii backups to work. BootMii is installed. If I Letterbomb it will that install everything else and update the softmod?

 

Also, can the Wii power USB-powered external hard-drives?

Follow the OP, the first step will overwrite your old softmod with official latest firmware, and then you'll continue to to the full mod.  

 

The Wii works fine with usb powered hard drives.  I've only ever used ones with 1 USB connector but they have all worked.

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On 01/05/2020 at 00:05, Yobo Ahoy said:

Anyone have any experience of playing CPS2 ROMs via Retroarch? I don't know if it's the romset or what but I'm not having any luck, they all go to a black screen and then quit straight back to the HBL. I don't have much experience of arcade emulation so I don't really know where to start. 

 

Are you using the dedicated Retroarch Final Burn CPS2 core? The Wii version uses a stripped down Final Burn core so the games can fit into the Wii's tiny amount of RAM. 

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