Last Updated on June 3, 2023
Bad news if you’re holding onto a Nintendo Wii U console: it might be dead. Various Google searches and a key thread on NeoGAF indicate that Wii Us that are left unplayed for some time can developer a memory error, with no obvious means of recovery.
At first, the problem of a Wii U console dying appears anecdotal:
A friend on another forum has tried using his Wii U after several years of it being in the box. And he gets a memory error. He can reach the main menu, but errors will occur etc…
Happily, the poster expands:
As I was searching the internet about this issue, I found tons of similar issues, with people never being able to make their console work again.
The poster is then able to summarise various aspects to the problem, stating that the console was not used for several years, not hacked/softmodded, and that even those that are can have the issue. The error 160-0103 appears on the Nintendo Wii U Gamepad when the device is affected.
Sadly, it seems that a factory reset will brick the console, and is not the fix for this issue, which is related to NAND corruption. The post summarises the issues he’s researched:
Here are some details :
– Console was not used for several years
– Console was not hacked
– Hacked consoles can also have the issue
– Memory error 160-0103 on the Gamepad
– Trying to factory reset WILL brick the console definitely
– This is a NAND corruption issue that is impossible to restore if you have not saved your NAND through softmod
– Even with a NAND backup, it seems pretty complicated to restore it
– I believe that NAND is encrypted with encryption keys that are of course different for each console, and also need to be extracted
I took the time to research these claims and found a collection of articles, posts, and discussions on:
- Nintendo Wii U Nand corruption
- Error code 160-0103 (for which Nintendo has a fix that relies on downloading the game, a solution whose days are numbered…)
The only devices not affected by this problem appear to be the ones that are still regularly used. My son’s Nintendo Wii U console has not – to date – shown any sign of this error, but has been in regular use since around 2014.
Nintendo has yet to respond to this issue, but the chances of a hotfix are slim. The takeaway: if you have a Nintendo Wii U, switch it on, check, and if still viable play on it once a month.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.