Diary of a Man Vastly Unqualified to Fix a Wii Going For It Anyway

September 15: Despite the fact that I'm supposed to be doing a series on Final Fantasy XIV I once again delve into Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii because it is still quite possibly the greatest RPG of the last several years. Just as a I go up to yet another helpful townsperson with yet another side quest, the game goes very odd.

Suddenly, everything is super slow. I decide to save real quick and restart. Once the game gets going again I notice that it is even slower. In fact, Colony 9 loads so slowly that for several minutes the entire game is empty except my character wandering the deserted streets. It's a little creepy honestly, in addition to being a terrific metaphor for the sadness of my chosen hobby.

Eventually the game ceases to work at all. I retire to bed and decided to investigate in the morning.

September 16: A little investigation reveals that the Wii has a retention clip in the drive that sags with age and can slow or block the spin of a disc... especially if you leave the discs in the console, which is applicable here because I haven't pushed eject on the Wii since May of 2012. Several online guides assure me that bending it back up is simple for "beginner to intermediate" tinkerers.

Well by golly that's me! I'm the descendant of the people that built Stonehenge and the son of a man with more tools that your average autobody workshop! He was constantly trying to fix our ramshackle house in Jacinto City, and gleefully threw himself, sans instructions, into every possible problem.

I was always more reticent than my dad, but recently I'd brought a laptop back from death after a wine spill, though I figured this was the next step. All I needed, according to the online guide, was a tri-wing #3 screwdriver... whatever the hell that was.

September 21: I go into the closest RadioShack, expecting that they will surely have this magic screwdriver in stock. After all, what is RadioShack for except to supply those who wish to bend electronics to their will?

Has anyone else noticed that RadioShacks have gone totally bro-douche in the last several years? Every single one I go into is empty, but has three frat guys standing around going, "Aw shit, no man, really? Aw shit." My request for the screwdriver is met with derisive laughter, and they send me to Home Depot ("Look on the screwdriver aisle, dude, that's where it'll be.") The folks at Home Depot are nicer, but can't supply it because it's more of an electronics tool... which is why I went to freakin' RadioShack.

I spend the evening complaining about the clerks to a cheap bottle of wine and wondering if anyone has ever been beaten to death with an RC car.

Piece continues on next page.

September 23: After calling several places with no luck, I order the magic screwdriver online. Amazon has it used for $0.01 plus $3.99 shipping. My wife suggests I try her Prime membership, and I net it for $2.99 with free shipping... all because I couldn't find it locally in the fourth largest city in the country. I can't put my finger on it, but capitalism failed somebody in this set-up.

September 25: The screwdriver arrives. I imagine the Zelda treasure jingle as unwrap it... and by imagine I mean hum it loudly to the irritation of my coworkers who wonder why I am holding a screwdriver over my head triumphantly. "Tonight," I whisper, "I nerd."

September 25 (Later): Having fed the family, I tinker while they sit down to watch cartoons until bed. Everything is set up neatly on the desk. Lamp, strips of tape to secure tiny screws and arranged by segment of the Wii to ensure no loss among components, magic screwdriver, normal screw driver, pliers, razor, guide open on the laptop with a tab also containing video walkthroughs, and all the cats secured in the bedroom to reduce incidents of, "Whatcha doing dad?"

Piece by piece, double-checking each step as I do it, I remove the shell of the Wii and expose the disk drive. I plug the console in and insert the disc to check for the scratching noise that indicates a bent retention clip. Sure enough, there it is, and I careful bend it back until the noise dissipates. Elated, I hook the system (Still in pieces) up to the TV and the title screen comes right up.

"Who's your daddy?" I yell triumphantly!

"You are!" yelled my daughter tackling my legs. Celebrations on hold as we prepare her for bed.

September 25 (Still Later): Bedtime accomplished, I carefully, step by step, reverse the taking apart process, again double-checking every step. Every screw and clip goes in perfectly, and within minutes the Wii looks as good as the day my brother gave it to me. I decide to celebrate by fulfilling that nice electric woman's quest.

Disc error... what the hell?

I take the Wii apart again, triple-checking each step again. I don't appear to have cut any wires or unplugged anything, but the disc won't spin at all unless I do it by hand. I start randomly unscrewing things to try and find what the hell I did that rained on my brief Tinker God parade, until I realize that if I screw up the Wii's ability to stream Amazon Instant Video I will probably be divorced within a fortnight. I put the system back together, get drunk, and play Final Fantasy XII instead of the one I should be playing because if the video game industry is going to be contrary to me I'll be contrary right back!

September 26 (Early Morning): Lying in bed I'm unable to sleep for sulking. I had a lot of self esteem invested in fixing the Wii. I thought it would make me feel like a grownup to bend a seventh generation system to my tool-using mammalian will.

As I dropped off, though, I sort of remembered more clearly that house in Jacinto City... that thing was crap because every single time we fixed it something else broke since we never had the cash to just hire a professional. We were always nickel and diming solutions, and that's why nothing worked. In a weird way, this whole thing did actually make me feel closer to my dad.

September 26 (Late Morning): Just checking to see if magic goblins have fixed the Wii while I slept. They have not because, you know, OBAMA!

September 27: Since I already asserted that Xenoblade was totally worth $90 used it feels like hypocrisy not to spend $40 on Amazon to pick up a cheap used console to replace it. Meanwhile, I walked into BrodioShack, laid the magic screwdriver on the counter and said, "This is a symbol of man's hubris, and of your failure," and walked back out into the world propelled by cries of, "Dafuq, dude?"

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >