My Wii has been the source of some embarrassment and ridicule this year. While it is a wonderful machine with endless capabilities for entertaining my friends, myself, and my family, there is one game that it had trouble playing. It is the most important game that I own, and perhaps the greatest game ever made. I refer to none other than Super Smash Bros. Brawl, or 大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズＸ. My nephew is into it, and I hated to disappoint him when I loaded the disc and the Wii refused to recognize it. We would eject, reinsert, reset the system, pop it in from the main menu, pop it in from the disc drive window, put another game in, start playing it, then eject the disc, replace it with the Smash Bros. disc, reset, slide it in at different angles, push it with varying force, blow on the disc, blow in the disc drive, and after about 10 minutes, the fucking thing would finally load up. This also happened last month when I brought the Wii to a friend’s house to do some really hardcore Smashing, and the festivities were delayed as we propped up the Wii at different angles, wiped down the disc, held the disc back as the Wii tried to suck it in, shook the Wii, performed cunnilingus on the Wii, spoke dirty to the Wii, and just as we gave up on the Wii, it finally began working and we were able to Smash.
Something occurred to me as I was dealing with a separate non-play issue I was having on another system – have you tried cleaning the Wii? That is, do a lens clean on it? And no, I hadn’t, hadn’t even thought to even though I bought the Nintendo-issued Wii lens cleaning kit over a year ago and it was there in my fucking house the whole time. So this weekend, after some really excellent Smash at my friend’s place (he finally acquired his own copy), I was itching to get back into Smash training, but of course the disc wasn’t loading, so I busted out the cleaning kit.
It’s unlike any disc drive cleaner I’ve ever seen. You’ve basically got a CD with a handle sticking out of the side, and after applying some cleaning fluid to it, you put it in, and use the handle to toggle it up and down, which scrubs the lens in the most gentle way imaginable. The contact point for the cleaning fluid is on a disposable sticker that covers a tiny sponge. The sticker has a finely woven cleaning pad on it, and the cleaning kit comes with a bunch of them. I followed the instructions, replaced the sticker with a new one, put the cleaning kit away, and when I placed the Smash Bros. disc in the Wii – what in the fuck do you know?
It worked perfectly. There’s something to be said about such an obvious solution to a problem so easily diagnosed. But I’m not going to say it, and instead, I’m going to show you a picture of my Wii’s used Maxi-Pad.