Homebrew Emulators that can be run on an unlocked Wii U console

What is a Homebrew?

The term homebrew in the gaming world refers to an unauthorized software where Nintendo is concerned. You can run homebrew tools, games and emulators for a wide range of older systems using such software. 
You can run homebrew on your gaming console for free. You only need your system’s browser to enjoy its features.

homebrew emulator nes on wiiu

Console emulators for Wii U


A NES emulator working in user mode. Based off LiteNES. Put the ROM files named correctly in the data folder and compile the boot.elf file. Place it on your webserver that has an elf loader or find the elf file hosted somewhere. Launch games or select EXIT with the B Button on the main menu. When in game, D-PAD for movement, A and B button like on an NES. PLUS button is START and MINUS button is SELECT. Pressing the HOME button while in game will return you to the selection menu.


A Gacubeboy gameboy emulator. Written in 8H00 as coding meme demo. Doesn't have sound. Put the gacubeboy.elf file in the sd:/wiiu/apps/gacubeboy/ folder of your SD card. Put all of your Gameboy roms in the sd:/roms/gb/ folder of the SD card with the .gb extension. Sub-folders are acceptable, but not needed. Keep the number of ROM files less than 200 for best results.

Retroarch WiiU

A Multicore emulator. Port of Retroarch for the WiiU.
Requirements for setup:

  • SD card or USB drive or stick for roms (if you don't want them to be stored on your SD)
  • PC
  • Wii U at least with FW 5.5.1
  • Homebrew Launcher installed on Wii U
  • Custom firmware (either Haxchi, CBHC or Mocha)
  • latest RetroArch Wii U nightly build (rpx) from buildbot
  • optional: WUP Installer GX2
  • optional: RetroArch Launcher channel

Author:Multi developers

wiiu unlocked custom firmware

Title Description Author
WiiU GBiine A Gameboy/color emulator, works on homebrew launcher. Port of Heig-boy for Windows. seagal112
CHIP-8 Emulator A CHIP-8 emulator. rw-r-r_0644
CHIP-8/SCHIP-8 GX2 Emulator A CHIP-8 emulator using the WiiU GX2 graphic engine. rw-r-r_0644, Brienj
Centipede Centipede Arcade emulator seagal112
LiteNESU-16-in-1 NES emulator, port of quarktheawesome's with 16 built-in roms. Runs in userspace, only for 5.5.x Brienj


What is a Custom Firmware?

Abbreviated as CFW, custom firmware enables its users to utilize more sophisticated hacks that a userland homebrew cannot do as easily, aside from its own features and functions. 
CFW is also easy to set up on any of your gaming consoles regardless of your region and on the most recent version. 

What will this guide install?

The ultimate goal is to take a totally unmodified Wii U from its stock firmware to its Coldboot Haxchi- powered Mocha Custom Firmware. While it uses homebrew as its launch point, the end goal is still Custom Firmware. 

What can be done with Custom Firmware?

  • Play every eShop games and game discs no matter the region
  • Make backups as well as restore and edit numerous games
  • Play games available in the older systems using several types of emulators, usually via a standalone emulator like RetroArch
  • Install homebrew titles to virtually any system, said titles of which will then be displayed on the system menu
  • Dump your game discs to an installable format and play the games without using the discs


What must I know first before starting?

  • You have to know and accept the risks of Wii U hacking: Each time your system is modified, the risk for getting an unrecoverable brick will be present. While bricks are extremely rare, as we mentioned before, there’s still the possibility so we strongly suggest following all the directions exactly and completely.
  • Our guide works on all Wii U devices across all regions with the 5.5.0 to 5.5.2 versions.
  • If everything works well, you should retain everything on your system from the games and saves to the NNID, among others. You won’t experience any data loss, in other words.
  • The minimum SD card requirement is from 16GB to 32GB for sufficient space in both dumping and installing your desired games.
  • The SD card should be a MBR instead of a GPT.
  • In case formatting a brand-new SD card is needed, we suggest using guiformat and setting it to 64K Allocation Unit Size.