Whether you’re a veteran gamer or you just love Nintendo hardware, there’s a good chance you’ll run into some old stuff. You can give away those old consoles… or you can hack them.

Here are five ways you can hack old Nintendo hardware into something new and useful.

1. Wii Homebrew

Let’s start with the simplest option: turn your old Nintendo Wii into a media center capable of playing media on your network, retro games, and even DVDs.

While the early hacks required some fiddling around, more recently the LetterBomb utility has made things a lot easier. By using this hack, you get access to the Wii Homebrew Channel, where you can find an extensive library of free software. Most of them are games made both at home and ported from other platforms (for example, Doom).

All you need to make this hack work — and turn your Nintendo Wii into a system that fully exploits its potential — is a suitable SD card.

Check out our complete guide to hacking the Nintendo Wii. . Note that this will void the device’s warranty, which shouldn’t be a problem since most Wii warranties expired many years ago.


You can hack not only the Nintendo Wii console. The innovative Wiimote is also reusable. Even if you don’t have a Wii, you can buy these old controllers (and preferably a sensor) for pennies on eBay, thrift stores, yard sales, etc.

But how can you use the Nintendo Wiimote?

We have previously listed several ways to hack the Wiimote. including pairing with an Arduino to control an RC car (guide for should help), using the Wiimote as a PC controller, as an interactive whiteboard, for finger tracking, and even desktop VR.

Note that the Wiimote not only has an infrared transmitter and receiver, but is also compatible with Bluetooth. Having a nunchuck peripheral will make several of these Wiimote (and others) hacks easier to complete.

3. Wii Fit Board

One of the most popular peripherals that came with the early Nintendo Wiis was the Wii balance board. This device uses a Bluetooth radio and has four pressure sensors that are designed to measure the user’s center of balance. The device was most commonly used with the Wii Fit game and is capable of measuring body position (when paired with WiiMote) and weight.

Despite supporting over 150 games, chances are your Wii Fit Board is hidden under your bed. So how can you hack this?

Option 1: Check Your Wii8 (Weight)

The first option is to reuse the Wii Balance Board as it was meant to be, as a set of weights. Thanks to four AA batteries, the board (which you can pick up for just a few dollars) should last 60 hours. You should get some benefit from this!

Designed by Stavros Korokitakis, this internet-enabled bathroom scale runs on Ubuntu and can record your weight. He uses the software in this Github repository.

Option 2: how much beer?

Alternatively, you can connect your Raspberry Pi to the Wii Balance Board and use it to tell you how much beer is left in your fridge.

Admittedly, this is probably not in the spirit of initial use of the device, but hey, it could be useful during the summer months. Follow the video above from John’s DIY Playground YouTube channel for the full tutorial.

4. Nintendo SNES Classic Mini (more games)

Admittedly not the original Nintendo SNES console, the SNES Classic Mini is designed specifically for retro gamers. Whether you’re playing for the first time or you love old games, these devices only come with a limited selection of games.

But what if you want to add some of your favorites?

The answer is covered in this video which explains how to use the Haxchi2 hack (available on GitHub) to import ROM files into SNES Classic Mini. Compatible ROMs are listed in this table.

Remember to follow the law and only use ROM files for games you already own.

5. Lego Dimensions Toy Pad (Wii U)

Admittedly, a non-Nintendo-created Lego Dimensions toypad can be connected to the Nintendo Wii U. When used with an appropriate game, NFC tags on Lego figures (and other NFC-enabled toys) fire LEDs (which are also dependent on game events). This panel is basically a USB device with a triple NFC reader and a few built-in LEDs, with Lego bits molded into the case.

The toy mat can be used in a variety of ways. Here it is connected to a Lego Mindstorms EV3 computer:

More information on this particular approach can be found on the EV3Dev website. This site is all about learning about the EV3 computer, so you’ll probably find quite a bit of interest if you’re a big Lego fan.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have an EV3 computer, there are other Lego Dimensions Toy Pad hack options. For example, the base color changer application runs on Windows and allows you to customize the colors displayed by the LEDs.

Start Hacking Your Nintendo Hardware!

If you’re short on a project and have old hardware that you want to reuse, then old Nintendo hardware is a good place to start. Soon you could get a refrigerator that speaks its weight or an NFC-triggered LED alert system…

The possibilities are endless. However, if you don’t know how to get started with DIY, try these easy projects and designs. to make it easier for you.

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