With over 100 million units sold since its 2006 debut, there’s no denying the Wii’s popularity, but two Nintendo consoles later, people still find smart ways to expand the possibilities of the console. This hack focuses more on productivity than gaming, though turns the Wii into a Mac.
Apple doesn’t like its operating systems running on non-Apple hardware, so getting the Wii to run Mac OS 9 isn’t as simple as popping an installation disc into the console’s disc slot and letting it run. Not easy, but not impossible, as it turns out the PowerPC processor inside the Nintendo Wii is close enough to the PowerPC chips Apple used in its Power Macintosh G3 machines for this to work.
Pierre Dandumont explains how they managed to get Mac OS 9.2 running on a Wii on their website (with permission from Google Translate) and as clever as the hack is, there are layers of complexity that result in the operating system running less than perfectly.
Mac OS on Wii with Mac-On-Linux
Making Nincintosh (Mactendo? MacinWii?) relies on a hacked Wii’s ability to run a Linux-based OS through the unofficial Homebrew Channel, which in turn facilitates Mac on Linux, which allows Mac OS to run under Linux. A disc image of Mac OS 9.2 on an SD card is inserted into the Wii, and after booting up the console and opening the Homebrew Channel, BootMii used to boot Linux and then Mac OS, minus the iconic boot sound – one of many issues when running the OS on a gaming console.
Resolution issues make Mac OS 9.2 look extremely ugly on the Wii, but Dandumont was able to get Internet Explorer 5 to load, minus a working internet connection, iTunes, with crackling sound before the application quickly crashes, and even Doomwhich just collects a single frame every minute, making it completely unplayable.
Mac OS 9 debuted seven years before the Wii did, and Dandumont wondered if a newer version of Apple’s desktop and laptop OS would be more successful. Unfortunately, Mac OS X requires at least 64MB of RAM to function, and the Wii cannot offer more than 52MB, causing the OS to crash on startup. So as impressive as it is to watch the Wii learn new tricks, it’s not a replacement for Apple’s hardware.