At this year’s 30th Chaos Communication Congress (30c3), a small team of hackers showcased a reverse-engineered Wii U GamePad that can play streamed video games from a localized PC.
The Chaos Communication Congress is an annual event in the international hacking scene hosted by the Chaos Computer Club wherein teams and hackers across the globe come to meet. The conventions hold numerous workshops and on-stage affairs wherein talented tecchies share their knowledge and showcase their creations.
At this year’s 30c3 event, one small group of hackers revealed their newest accomplishment: a reverse-engineered Wii U GamePad that could play games streamed by a PC, avoiding the primary console altogether.
While on stage, the group discussed how they managed to achieve this feat through an extremely technical lecture filled with highlights on integral subjects like firmware and code streams. The announcement was intriguing, but the magic didn’t happen until the theoretical applications became real; when the crowd got to see the streaming in action.
When the team started up an emulated GameCube version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, the room burst out in fanfare. Here was one of the most celebrated Zelda games being streamed from a nearby laptop to the GamePad itself, without the need of the bulky console.
The footage below contains the full on-stage presentation, and the gameplay demo starts around the 47 minute mark.
The gameplay session was a bit buggy here and there, and the demo itself was accompanied by a few crashes, but all-in-all was a solid display of the hacked GamePad. The key here is that it worked, and while the tech is in its early stages, there is a staggering amount of potential for it to carry over to future projects.
While Nintendo may not be happy about this application, it was merely a demonstration of their breakthrough, and the team affirms that the released source code is aimed at developers. Furthermore the group of tech-savvy hackers have future plans to make the tools available on Windows and OSX, and they’re even working on fashioning an Android version which will allow gamers to substitute their Wii U GamePad for an Android tablet.
We won’t see this replace other handheld game-streaming devices like the Nvidia Shield, but this is an interesting breakthrough that has a multitude of possibilities within the hacking/modding realm.
It would be interesting to see more on the specific logistics of the streaming capabilities; whether or not the video is dependent upon the host computer’s specs or those of the Wii U GamePad–but the accomplishment of turning the tablet-like controller into its own stand-alone gaming peripheral is an impressive feat to say the least.