The Wii has become one of the most hackable and moddable consoles Nintendo has ever released. From the same person who brought you the Altoids tin Wii comes this Wii input card, complete with controller slots, which can be inserted into the back of a Sony broadcast quality CRT monitor for an all-in-one retro gaming experience that’s a real treat for the eyes.
If you assumed that connecting an older, standard definition gaming console to a modern 4K TV would vastly improve the look of its games, you’d be completely wrong. The truth is that developers creating games to be played on classic CRT TVs actually took into account the technical limitations of the display hardware and used it to their advantage, including the tendency for CRTs to soften an image.
So if you want as authentic a retro gaming experience as possible, and for classic games to look exactly how their developers originally intended, you really should stick to playing them on an old-school CRT TV, or even better, a Sony broadcast video monitor. Designed for use in professional broadcast studios, Sony BVMs are higher quality versions of the tube TVs of yesteryear, with a sharp and perfectly color balanced image and numerous manual controls for adjusting and calibrating their output. What they lacked were the standard inputs you’d find on consumer-ready TVs. Sony BVMs instead relied on swappable input cards on the back to equip the TV with the specific video and data connections a professional facility needed.
Instead of hunting down a Sony broadcast monitor input card that would allow a Wii to be connected to it, YouTube’s Shank Mods, previously known for a custom handheld version of the Nintendo Virtual Boy, designed and built their own input card, based on open source plans, that was itself a functional Wii console.
What’s especially great about this hack is that the Wii input card is completely self-contained, and even includes four ports on the back for connecting wired GameCube controllers. It automatically interfaces with the broadcast monitor’s video connections when inserted, and draws all the power it needs from the monitor, so only a single power cable is needed. When powered up, the Wii card boots into a custom user-interface, and can play the entire roster of GameCube and Wii games, including virtual console titles.
YouTube commenters are pleading for a longer version of this video that explains in detail how the Wii card was created, but the bigger challenge might be securing a Sony BVM. Even models with tiny screens sold for over $10,000 decades ago, and while prices for smaller used BMVs are closer to $1,000 these days, actually finding one in good working order isn’t easy.