The 003 brick
What is it? At the end of September 2009, Nintendo pushed the 4.2 update for the Wii. The update message for North America went something like this...
29/09/2009 Wii Menu version 4.2 is now available for your Wii console. To update your Wii Menu to the latest version, please select the Update button at the bottom of the screen or select the System Update option in the Wii System Settings. This update provides behind-the-scenes fixes that will not affect features but will improve the overall system performance. Because unauthorized modifications to save data or program files may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.2 will also check for and automatically remove such save data or program files. **Please note: If you've updated your Wii Menu after 9/29/09, you may not need to update again. Thank you for updating your Wii console! Nintendo
One of the "behind-the-scenes fixes that will not affect features but will improve the overall system performance" is that they added in a check to see if the Wii was originally a Korean model and has since been region changed. If this is the case, the system menu will refuse to do (almost) anything. It just shows the infamous Error 003. And the only way to fix this error is to send your console to Nintendo and pay some outragious fee or hope that your console already had patched/hacked IOS.
All this is fine by me except that they have no idea who region-changed the console or if the user is even aware of it. There are lots of greedy people out there that have bought up a bunch of Korean units, region changed them, and sold them to unsuspecting people. When these unsuspecting people updated their console, it was rendered useless.
I had the opportunity to see this for myself. There is a file used as part of the Wii NAND FS called uid.sys. This file keeps a timeline of all the titles that have been run on the console. Under normal operation, this file starts out with all the titles installed at the factory and the titles used to install those titles. Then come the entries for the titles the user has played. Something like this...
".UPD" for the update partition of Wii Sports;
"RSPE" for Wii Sports
"HADE" for the internet channel
Naturally the first thing somebody does when they get a console is to pop in a game and play it. I was sent a few dumps from various formerly-Korean Wiis. And the uid.sys tells a different story there. Directly after all the titles installed at the factory comes one 00000001-00000000. This is the TID used for "Super User" by some homebrew programs ( AnyTitleDeleter, AnyRegionChanger, ... ). This means that at one time, somebody opened up a brand-spankin-new console and didn't even think about playing a game.
If you consider this uid.sys and the publicly available programs (we'll assume these region-change-a-wii-and-sell-it assholes dont know how to write their own stuff) it tells the story that somebody got a brand new console and the first thing they did is use bannerbomb to start some program to patch an existing IOS (ala TBR) so the SU stuff will work. Then use AnyRegionChanger and switch the Wii to a different region.
This was the case for every one of the former-Korean Wiis I looked at. I think it more likely that somebody is mass-region-changing these consoles and selling them rather than every single one of these people opening up a new console and not even being tempted to play Wii Sports or whatever game came with it. So, somebody buys a region-changed Wii without notice, updates it, and gets bricked. I'm not saying that every single person in possession of a former-Korean Wii is innocent. What I'm saying is that there are many people out there that are fucked over by this "Error" that did nothing wrong.
If Nintendo wanted to, they can push an update that will fix all of these consoles that they have purposefully bricked. But as of yet, they haven't.
It was around September 2010 that I got interested in fixing these Wiis. And at the end of January 2011 I came up with a method that worked. Unless there is some other crap going on with the Wii, this method should work to fix any "Error 003" Wii: 4.2/4.3 U/P/J. This method requires a modchip, a gamecube controller, and a copy of Smash Bros. Brawl.
As part of the method, I ended up writing 2 versions of the SmashStack exploit to work on the PAL version of the game. Not long after that I had written it, but before I had announced it, I was contacted by a Korean user asking about a port of the exploit for the korean version of the game. He kindly mailed me a copy of the game, and my PAL exploits just happened to work for it. -- I believe this is the first exploit that works for any Korean region Wii game.
One of the byproducts of my mission to fix their evil 003 brick was an exploit that will likely lead to more of whatever it was that they were trying to stop with that brick.
"Wii" and "SuperSmash Bros." (c) (R) tm Nintendo / HAL Laboratory Inc.