With the release of the Wii U, used game retailers like EB Games have been inundated with trade-ins (now closed, apparently) that are no longer worth all that much. A while back I saw a sign advertising $50 pre-owned Wii systems, but we didn't have any spare cash to do anything about it. I happened to wander into EB Games in Maryborough the other day and learned that while that promotion isn't going on any more, they're now $47 for a system.
So we picked one up, since the pre-owned games aren't much and we figured we'd probably be able to find something he could handle. After swapping a few games around, I started looking into modding it. Our original plan was we'd spend about a hundred bucks on gear that we'd not be able to take back with us because of region locks (an incredibly stupid idea that I am happy to hear appears to be going the way of the dodo next generation). With a modded Wii, that's no longer an issue, as PAL games can be forced to run on an NTSC unit and vice versa. In fact we can run an NTSC game on our PAL Wii, on an NTSC TV as well.
Soft-modding the thing was a bit of a pain in the arse. Most sets of instructions are quite thorough, but are often missing steps or making assumptions that you know what they're talking about already. If I already knew what a cIOS or a DOP-Mii or a Priiloader was, I wouldn't be reading an all-in-one guide I'd be reading the guides for those versions.
For some reason, the Letterbomb exploit worked on our Wii first go, but DOP-Mii wasn't able to install the cIOSes we needed to run games region-free, claiming that there was no vulnerable IOSes to be used. The guide I was reading mentioned installing vulnerable IOSes, but it appeared to be an exercise in circular dependencies.
Finally after several hours of messing around, I managed to use the exploit again to run Wiimod and install only two cIOSes and the launcher we were using began working. The other great thing about the launchers is I can run games off a USB hard drive, which should be good because I'm planning on getting a 12v DC-DC converter, putting the Wii power plug end on it and running it in the van. The idea of having to get up and swap out discs for him while driving just seems like a terrible idea (optical media in an automotive environment is an awful idea at the best of times).
We've not let him play it that much in the two days we've had it, but already it's made a huge improvement in his hand-eye coordination. It's very much an exercise in frustration for him, but it may help him improve his patience too.
The games are quite cheap here (Sabriena and Duncan both enjoyed playing "Boogie" last night which cost a whopping $4AUD) and I imagine by the time we go back to the USA they'll be even cheaper there on Half.com (something I miss immensely here, cheap console games).
The Homebrew Channel in the softmod was interesting - if this were a few years ago I'd probably have looked into it, but I have a list of things to do as long as my arm so adding yet another programming challenge is probably not worth it.