The Nintendo Wii was released in 2006, bringing a revolutionary new console to the market. While its highlight feature was motion control, the Wii also touted retro gaming capabilities.
Using the Virtual Console, users could download retro video games for a variety of past consoles including the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), the Nintendo 64 (N64), the Sega Master System, the Sega Mega Drive, and more.
However, the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console was limited to a small pool of games. But don’t despair, as thanks to emulation software, you can play virtually any retro video games on the Nintendo Wii!
Note: We don’t condone downloading illegal ROMs from the web. Use this only for games you’ve legally purchased and own.
Running Emulators on Your Nintendo Wii
Between disc-based games and downloadable titles, the Nintendo Wii sports a comprehensive library of software. Nevertheless, emulators provide even more options for gamers.
By installing emulator software on your Nintendo Wii, you can run loads of retro video game ROMs from consoles ranging from the Atari 2600 and NES to PlayStation 1 and N64. Moreover, there’s a ton of homebrew software for homebrew gaming on the Wii.
Before downloading retro video game emulators for your Nintendo Wii, you’ll first need to softmod your Wii console. Just follow the steps outlined in the linked article.
Play Atari Games on the Wii
Because it’s an older console, Atari 2600 titles are easy to emulate on pretty much any hardware. As such, the Nintendo Wii can handle any Atari 2600 ROMs you throw at it. StellaWii provides the functionality to play Atari 2600 games on the Nintendo Wii. For Atari 7800 gaming on the Wii, check out the aptly named Wii7800.
For Atari Lynx handheld gaming, there’s WiiHandy. Atari ST emulation on the Wii comes via Hatari Wii, Hatari, and AtaWii. Further, WiiXL handles Atari 800, XL, 5200, and XE titles. Overall, the Wii is a thriving landscape for Atari emulation.
Play Old Nintendo Games on Your Wii
Despite the abundance of NES, SNES, and N64 games on the Virtual Console, the addition of Nintendo emulators for Wii adds even more opportunity to play retro games on the Wii. FCE Ultra GX is a Wii NES emulator. With FCE Ultra GX, you can revisit the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy III, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
While the NES is a solid console, the Super Nintendo features a bevy of revered classics. There’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, and one of my all-time favorites, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. For an awesome Wii SNES emulator, install Snes9x GX.
As the name suggests, Wii64 lets you play Nintendo 64 games on the Wii. Simply download this Wii N64 emulator for a romp through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Unsurprisingly, Nintendo Wii emulators for NES, SNES, and N64 gaming run well on Wii hardware. Between official Virtual Console downloads and third-party Wii emulators, there’s a massive library of retro gaming content.
Play Gameboy and DS Games on Your Wii
The Wii also runs handheld Nintendo ROMs flawlessly. Visual Boy Advance GX handles Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Advance titles. Gnuboy GX and RIN Wii play Gameboy and Gameboy Color ROMs. For Nintendo DS emulation on the Wii, there’s DeSmuMe Wii. With an array of Wii emulators for Nintendo consoles and handhelds, the Wii provides comprehensive retro gaming with a Nintendo flavor.
Play PlayStation Games on Your Wii
Although a Nintendo device, the Wii is more than capable of running ROMs from other consoles. WiiSX and PCSX-Revolution allow for PS1 gaming on the Nintendo Wii. Install WiiSX or PSCX-Revolution to play classics like Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy VII on your Nintendo Wii.
Play Sega Games on Your Wii
Similarly, Nintendo Wii Sega emulators run ROMs from a variety of consoles. Genesis Plus plays Genesis, Mega Drive, Master System, Game Gear, Sega CD, and SG-1000 titles. Yabause Wii tackles Sega Saturn emulation on the Nintendo Wii. For Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System emulation on the Wii, there’s SMSPlus.
Other Retro Gaming Emulators for Wii
While Wii NES, SNES, N64, and PS1 emulators might be the most popular options, you can play loads of ROMs of other, less popular systems on the Nintendo Wii as well.
For arcade games, SDL MAME and SDL MAME Wii emulate MAME ROMs. GxGeo plays Neo Geo games, while NeoCD-Wii supports Neo Geo CD games. Neo Geo Pocket emulation arrives with Neopop Wii. And you can play MSX games with MiiSX, uMSX, and BlueMSX-Wii.
If you’re like me and love point-and-click games a la TellTale titles, check out ScummVM for the Wii.
Arguably the most comprehensive Nintendo Wii emulator is WiiMednahen. This awesome option supports consoles including the GameBoy, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket, WonderSwan, Genesis, Lynx, and more. Check out the full list of Wii homebrew emulators via WiiBrew.
Emulating the Nintendo Wii Itself
It’s also possible to run Wii games using emulators. However, this requires quite a bit of computing power. Nevertheless, the Dolphin emulator is capable of running ROMs for Wii and GameCube titles.
You’ll need a decent CPU and GPU for proper Wii emulation with the Dolphin emulator. For instance, the Raspberry Pi running RetroPie struggles with N64 emulation. Even the more powerful Odroid XU4 doesn’t provide completely smooth N64 emulator support.
Yet with a beefy device, you can run Wii emulator Android software such as Dolphin. If you plan to run a Nintendo Wii emulator for Android, you’ll need a powerful gadget like the Nvidia Shield TV or Galaxy S8.
Turn Your Wii Into a Retro Games Console
While the Nintendo Wii features an amazing lineup of disc-based games and downloadable content, emulator software further enhances the gaming experience. I enjoy using Wii homebrew emulators to revisit retro games that I’ve ripped, such as my extensive PS1 collection.
Between that and its vast library of Wii games plus backwards compatibility with GameCube titles, my Wii remains regularly used. Though it’s an aging console, the Nintendo Wii is still worth using as a retro gaming arcade and the Wii is easy to connect to any kind of TV.