In 2014 a key feature for the Nintendo Wii and DS was tragically lost through a shutdown of the old Gamespy servers. That feature being Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection; it was one of the big selling points for the DS and it was only further amplified when implemented for the Wii. The ability to play games online on Nintendo consoles for the first time was nothing more than momentous for fans that got to experience it. Although online play for the Big N lives on through Nintendo Network, every single Wii and DS game that had that small blue “Nintendo Wi-Fi” logo on its box can no longer be played over the Internet. No online Mario Kart matches, no Smash Bros. battles, no Guitar Hero competitions… nothing.
But right before Nintendo Wi-Fi connection was out, Wiimmfi surfaced. Originally developed to be a way to have moderation on Mario Kart Wii servers, it evolved over time to be a backup server of its own. And for the longest time, the only way anyone’s been able to actually use the server is through homebrew trickery and methods that would be frowned upon by Nintendo themselves. As such, I’ve never really gotten the chance to try it out for myself…until recently. It just so happens that less than a year ago, there’s a newer exploit that allows players to access Wiimmfi very easily.
Literally all you need to use it is the Wii’s Internet Channel. If you want to try it for yourself, just go to “chadsoft.co.uk/wiimmfi” on the Internet Channel. Add the page to your Favorites, then revisit it through that directory. The page would then read the game disc you have in your Wii, and the game would boot up like normal.
If you’re playing Mario Kart Wii, however, there is a slight catch – You’ll need to wait a week after your first attempt connecting online before you actually can (Before then, it’ll just spit an in-game error screen).
I was a tad skeptical at first when I tried this over the summer. I had no idea how a third-party server would ever be able to keep track of time on the Wii’s internal clock. Yet, it worked. As soon as the week passed and Mario Kart Wii connected online like it’s supposed to, I had the biggest grin on my face. For the first time in several years, I have a reason to play Mario Kart Wii again!
Getting reacquainted with the game obviously took some getting used to since I had been playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ridiculously often on the Switch. But you know what? I forgot how much fun this one was. It’s so nice to play the Wii-exclusive tracks again, and the retro remakes of courses from past games are some of my favorites in the series. I haven’t touched on the battle mode nearly as much since it’s all team-based (therefore, you better hope you have good teammates).
To be fair, the community on MKWii nowadays is fierce and persistent. You can jump in at nearly any time, but you’ll always have the inevitable fate of racing against a crowd of Funky Kongs (Funky is to this game as Fox is to Smash Bros. Melee in terms of the “best” character). It isn’t exactly as casual of an environment as Mario Kart 8‘s, but if you’re a go-getter, you’ll find a lot to enjoy about the racing scene here. The fact that the game’s online scoring system is a lot riskier/more rewarding than 8‘s is a fun touch.
The best part about playing the game through the server is that, unlike back in the day, there is legit moderation. You will be punished if you try using any hacks or cheats during races. Mario Kart Wii‘s races in the Wi-Fi Connection days got plagued all too much when homebrew was at its peak, so I can’t express how much I appreciate this.
It goes without saying at this point that Mario Kart Wii is the star of the show when it comes to using Wiimmfi. There are many other games you can play using the server, but Mario Kart is the only game where you can guarantee you’ll be playing with other people. You can look here to see who’s playing what for a good idea of what to expect.
The only game to amass hundreds of people daily is Mario Kart. The closest to that? Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with a whopping total of….less than 20 people. Even then, not every one of those players may be playing the genuine game – those that play the Project M mod are also factored in. So unless you have Wii-owning friends you could play with over the Internet, the best you could do is refresh the statistics page to see if anyone’s playing a game you’re interested in playing.
If you want to see what games can work with Wiimmfi, they actually have a handy compatibility list you could use for reference.
Here are the ones I’ve gotten around to trying out:
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Oh my God, the online in this game is just as dreadful as it was back in the day. Rarely can you finish a single two-minute match, and the action ceases to sync up properly after about twenty seconds. Why is anybody even playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl? The 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. 4 have a vastly improved take on this online setup.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
The best fighting game on Wii that isn’t Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom has an infinitely better online mode. Although its performance is dependent on how well your Internet holds up, the game plays out as it should in both its freeplay and ranked matches.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
Although nowhere as popular as Mario Kart Wii, Sonic‘s racing crossover is still good fun when you have enough people joining in on it. Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing runs consistently and is a different enough game to get into if you feel like having a break from Nintendo’s karting giant.
We Love Golf
I actually never owned this game until recently. Given that this can be bought at Gamestop for $2.99, it’s an easy recommendation for the video golfers out there. We Love Golf is by the same development team that did the Mario Golf and Mario Tennis games, and its online play is also at a consistent performance.
Tetris Party Deluxe
Although it doesn’t have the same kind of punch Puyo Puyo Tetris packs, you can’t really knock any opportunity to play Tetris online. I used to be obsessed with playing Tetris DS online through Wi-Fi Connection, and with that gone, I may as well take what I could get. Either way, Tetris Party Deluxe has a colorfully inviting presentation in its own right.