Gamer Claims Wii U Consoles Can Be Bricked By Not Playing Them Enough

An unfortunate Wii U owner takes online to bemoan a bizarre bricking bug that renders Nintendo’s ill-fated console useless if it’s not played enough.

A tech-savvy tinkerer has taken online to share an account of a bizarre Wii U bug that can leave the console bricked and hence entirely useless if it isn’t played enough. The emergence of this report coincided with Nintendo’s decision to take some popular Wii U games’ servers offline due to a major security issue.

With approximately 13.5 million in lifetime sales, the Wii U is one of Nintendo’s least successful consoles of all time. There’s no one single reason why it failed to capture a significant audience, although some of the most common consumer complaints about the system centered on its lackluster third-party library, gimmicky controller setup, and absence of an internal hard drive. Combined with the success of the Switch, this resulted in a speedy demise for the system, which Nintendo intends to finalize by shutting down the Wii U eShop later this month.


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More evidence suggesting that the Wii U simply cannot catch a break has now arrived in the form of a user report claiming the console can essentially brick itself if left unused long enough. Booting it after a prolonged period can supposedly lead to an unrecoverable system failure indicated by a 160-0103 Gamepad error. The code itself denotes a critical NAND memory corruption issue that renders the console unusable, but attempting a factory reset of an affected Wii U will also permanently brick it, as per the same source.

Cireza Wii U memory error 160-0103 NeoGAF report

While the reporting user discovered that it’s possible to recover from this state with a NAND backup created on a hacked console, they claimed the affected hardware they inspected was not modified in any way, implying all Wii U systems are potentially exposed to this issue. And once the console throws the dreaded 160-0103 error, it’s already too late to go the homebrew route. Searching the web for user reports mentioning the said error code yields at least several hundred results from social media and traditional forums as of March 3, 2023, suggesting this account is not describing an isolated incident.

Nintendo’s history of hardware defects predates the Wii U; one former Retro Studios employee recently recalled how a bad batch of consoles forced the team to keep their GameCube in a freezer while debugging Metroid Prime. In more recent times, the Switch had well-documented issues with its controllers since releasing in 2017.

The problems with its hit hybrid console were so prevalent that they even prompted a class-action lawsuit over Switch Joy-Con drift seeking $5 million in damages. Nintendo argued that the Switch EULA requires any such disputes to be handled through private arbitration instead of a courtroom. Combined with the fact it’s been offering free Joy-Con repairs outside the warranty period since 2019, this ended up being enough to get the lawsuit thrown out on technical grounds in February 2023.

MORE: Wii U 10 Years Later: Nintendo’s Usual Innovation Was Stifled by an Uncharacteristically Poor Execution

Source: cireza / NeoGAF, eXputer

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