So I bought a Wii recently at a thrift store for 25 bucks. What’s the worse thing that could happen? I waste 25 bucks on something worth 150 bucks (or so I thought at the time)? No Wii remote? No sensor bar? No games? No problem. I could not have been more wrong. The following is a telling of how disappointing it is to buy a used Wii, especially when you don’t do your research.
So I get home and excitedly sit down with a pile of Wii cables to untangle them. First: make sure the power works. Okay, thank god it does. Weird, widescreen SD resolution cables also work on my (thankfully old) TV. Safety warning comes up on the screen and we’re good to go.
Except I don’t have a remote. Or the sensor bar needed to use the remote. Okay, no biggie, how much could Wii remotes actually cost? Turns out, forty bucks. That is, unless you’re willing to buy one of the millions of really insanely crappy-looking third party remotes. Which I was not. I did, however, buy a third party sensor bar, largely due to the crushing blow of having to shell out so much for the remote.
“Wii games can still sell for exorbitant prices.”
What’s next? Other than waiting a thousand years for my packages to arrive because Canada, I have to shop for some games, right? The Wii has been out for so long, games must be insanely cheap, no? I mean, the Wii came out NINE years ago; that’s plenty of time for the good games to get super cheap. Turns out, no.
Unless they’ve been added to the prestigious Nintendo Selects catalogue (think Sony’s Greatest Hits editions, i.e. cash grabs but also an excuse to sell an old game for cheap), Wii games can still sell for exorbitant prices. I swear to god I saw Metroid: Other M selling for eighty bucks at Wal-Mart. WHAT? That game wasn’t exactly popular even when it was NEW. Why??
Anyhow, after some bargain bin digging, I managed to pick up some titles that looked mildly legitimate. Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess, some Star Wars game (Force Unleased 2 I think?), and a few others. Most Wii games still on shelves are third party serials like the Lego games (think Batman and Lord of the Rings) or the more “party” type Wii games like Just Dance and even Wii Sports Resort in some stores.
After waiting for three ice ages to come and go, my Wii remote finally shows up with the sensor bar. Both work fine, only required a little calibration tweaking and that gloved hand was swooping around the screen no problem. Next step: games.
I throw in Twilight Princess because it’s the one I’m most excited to play. I’ve been playing Ocarina of Time on 3DS for the past little while and I’ve been loving it so much I don’t want it to end (except that Epona race: fuck that race).
Disc starts spinning, I can hear it whirring. Good, good. BLAM. Can’t read disc. Oh god, please no. Tried each and every one of the games I bought after that. Same thing. Cannot read disc. Do some quick research as I sit shaking with rage on my couch. Oh. This is an extremely common issue that usually requires BUYING A CLEANING DISC. WHAT YEAR IS THIS. WHEN’S THE LAST TIME ANYTHING HAS NEEDED A CLEANING DISC.
So this is basically where I’m at right now. I’m seriously debating just doing a “soft mod” on the Wii to get access to all these games for free (illegal, of course. Any cops reading this should stop now). Apparently it’s not that hard, you just need an old-style SD card like they used in early digital cameras.
The thing is…those memory cards are so cheap and the cleaning disc is like 25 bucks. At this point, I haven’t made any real decision, especially because I have all those game discs that I can’t return because I bought them used. Hmmm.
There are two lessons to be learned from all of this, people. Number one: don’t ever buy a used console without knowing EXACTLY EVERYTHING that’s wrong with it. Number two: check to see if the console you’re buying still has user/corporate support. Thankfully the Wii was a freakishly huge success–especially compared to the Wii U–so there’s a lot of community-run sites that can help in dealing with all the strange problems that might crop up. In fact, my Plan C is to actually bust open the box itself and replace the drive, all because I saw it on a modding site and it looks fun.
I will likely report back in to this post once I land on a solution that lets me actually play games on the damn thing.