How do you play forced-widescreen Wii games?


So, at some point in the Wii’s lifecycle, games stopped getting a 4:3 option and, instead, started letterboxing a 16:9 image in 4:3 screens. Examples of these games include Kirby games, Skyward Sword, and Xenoblade Chronicles.

When played on a large enough 1080p screen, obviously, this will introduce some very pronounced aliasing from scaling. I assume the effect at 4K is even more pronounced. And unless you play on a Wii U, your image is at the mercy of your HDTV’s scaling abilities - many of which are poor.

Although widescreen multisync monitors exist which can handle such resolution with pixel-perfection, I assume most of us don’t have one. And those of us that do… well, you are super lucky.

So, how do you handle these games?

Letterbox on a 4:3 screen at 480i or 480p?

Play on a widescreen multisync crt?

Play on a Wii and let your HDTV scale it?

Play on a Wii U and let the system scale the image?

Play on Wii and let an OSSC or Framemeister to do some magic?

Or do you just emulate and enjoy higher resolution rendering?

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I can’t speak for the other games, but I have my Wii set to 4:3 in the settings, and this game looks normal on my SD CRT. No letterboxing.



I’ve mentioned this before but I run with an OSSC doing 2x scaling with upsample2x on and light scanlines, with the output 1440x960 scaled (fullscreen 16:9) to 4K by my TV. The result is absolutely beautiful, it looks pretty similar to a native 480p TV:

Anecdotal but I feel like HDTV/4KTV has gotten better in recent years than it used to be. Even 480p direct looks nicer than it did on my 2011 TV.

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Good to know. Editing OP.



That does look superb. Got any more pictures of a polygonal game like Xenoblade?



I can try to take some later.



@Peltz Gecko Cheat Codes (courtesy of the Dolphin wiki) can be used to remove letterbox/force 4:3 for some games.

Regular cheats codes can be downloaded through your game launcher. You may have to enter these dolphin wiki codes yourself.'s_Return_to_Dream_Land#Enhancements

…there may be more, I only spent a brief time searching the Dolphin wiki.

Some games can only be changed in Dolphin:'s_Epic_Yarn#Remove_4:3_Borders



Fortunately I have a 16:9 widescreen EDTV CRT…

But if I couldn’t use that I’d probably use the OSSC!



pics please :face_with_hand_over_mouth:



I’ve only got this one of a widescreen GC game but I’ll make an excuse to get a few Wii games up and running this weekend :slight_smile:



Yeah it’s a pain. Even the games that had a 4:3 option were often mainly designed around 16:9 too, the framing is clearly better for the UI etc.

A widescreen CRT is a very rare animal in Australia, I had a second hand one for a while but it had all sorts of geometry and screen defects.

I think that OSSC option might genuinely be the best option.



Just use cheat codes to enable 4:3 surely?



Not if the games are designed for 16:9 with their framing. Resident Evil 4 was letterboxed for a reason, it was designed with that frame of view.

Similar issues with forcing 16:9 on Gamecube game etc, but at least in that case you see more in the frame than was designed, in a way that makes sense for humans (wider horizontal vision)



Ah, RE4 seems to be a bit of a special case.



Yea it’s a good theory, but I wouldn’t want to force a game to show less than intended, especially for a game like Xenoblade that has a ton of UI that is integral to the gameplay:

That’s not even a menu screen :confused:. Squishing all of that into a 4:3 play space would be too cramped I think.



Oh, all this time I misunderstood the thread title. I thought it asked “how can I play these games in 4:3” but now I see it’s more subtle a question than that.

If I were to play them I’d use either a 16:9 EDTV LCD or my projector that supports 16:9 480p. Maybe I’d use cheat codes on my 4:3 EDTV LCD.

I’d be interested to see how Xenoblade Chronicles looks in 4:3 just for kicks. Sadly I don’t own the game to try.

Interesting list of all 14 of these widescreen-only games:

  • Another Code R
  • Arc Rise Fantasia
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns
  • Kirby’s Return to Dream Land
  • Metroid: Other M
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  • Pandora’s Tower
  • Rayman Origins
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Trauma Center: New Blood
  • Trauma Team
  • Xenoblade Chronicles


Those are heavy hitters for the system. Such a shame they didn’t include a 4:3 mode for them.



I wonder why? Had they already moved to the much-publicised unified development environment that forced them to 16:9?



Probably just wanted to reduce development expenses in an age where every new TV sold was widescreen. They dropped 4:3 as society dropped it.



Yep. Wii was always a transitionary system.

As I often complain, consoles never even consistently used all of standard definition (99% of PS2 games are sub-SD) before the jump straight to HD, which they didn’t use all of (all those 540p PS3 games), then ‘Full HD’, which to this day they don’t consistently use all of (Xbone and Switch full of 900p games), and now 4K which they mostly don’t use all of either (checkerboarding etc).

And in 2006 HD adoption was still very low. Wii was a bridge.

Unfortunately Nintendo held on too long. By 2010 they had to focus on widescreen as most people had started playing their games that way. But the Wii should have had more juice from the start, and a Wii HD should have launched in 2011 with Skyward Sword and Wii Sports 2.

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