You can run Mac OS on the Nintendo Wii

You can run Mac OS on the Nintendo Wii

With over 100 million units sold since its debut in 2006, there’s no denying the Wii’s popularity, but two Nintendo consoles later, people are still finding clever ways to expand capabilities from the console. This hack focuses more on productivity than gaming, however, in turn wii into mac.

Apple doesn’t like its operating systems to run on anything other than Apple hardware, so getting the Wii to work in Mac OS 9 isn’t as simple as inserting an installation disc into the disc slot of the console and let it run. Not easy, but not impossible, as it turns out the PowerPC processor inside the Nintendo Wii is quite similar to PowerPC chips Apple used in its Power Macintosh G3 machines to make this work.

Pierre Dandumont explains how they managed to get Mac OS 9.2 to work on a Wii on their website (courtesy of Google Translate) and as clever as the hack is, there are layers of complexity that cause the operating system to not work perfectly.

Mac OS on Wii with Mac-On-Linux

The making of the Nincintosh (Mactendo? MacinWii?) relies on a pirated Wii’s ability to run a Linux-based operating system through the unofficial Homebrew channel, which in turn facilitates Mac under Linux, which allows Mac OS to run on Linux. A disk image of Mac OS 9.2 on an SD card is inserted into the Wii and after starting the console and opening the Homebrew Channel, BootMii is used to boot Linux and then Mac OS, minus the iconic boot sound – one of the many problems with running the OS on a game console.

Resolution issues make Mac OS 9.2 extremely lousy on the Wii, but Dandumont managed to load Internet Explorer 5, without a working internet connection, iTunes, with a crackling sound before the app crashed quickly, and even Losswhich gathers a single frame per minute, making it completely unplayable.

Mac OS 9 debuted seven years before the Wii, and Dandumont wondered if a newer version of Apple’s desktop and laptop operating system would be more successful. Unfortunately, Mac OS X requires at least 64MB of RAM to run, and the Wii can’t offer more than 52MB, causing the operating system to crash on startup. So, as impressive as it may seem to see the Wii learning new tricks, it’s not a replacement for Apple’s hardware.

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