There are so far 3 methods of playing Neogeo games on the Wii: The Virtual Console versions, GxGeo and FBA’s NeoGeo core from Retroarch. While the first can be easier to install and the second can be slightly more straightfoward, the FBA core allows for more customization on the settings, including controls and resolution. However, an issue that the latter 2 had was that they couldn’t support large NEOGEO games, and while VC got some large ones, you can be limited to whatever was released on it (as injections are very hit-or-miss).
However, thanks to Wiimpathy’s and tuedj’s efforts, an version of the FBA core with Virtual Memory support allows for the larger games to be run, among those SVC Chaos, KOF 98-2003, Real Bout Fatal Fury 2, Shocktroopers 2, Garou MOTW, the later Metal Slug games, etc. The following tutorial will cover what’s needed to use tis version of the FBA core with these games, mostly because of preference with the setup (and an issue that GxGeo has that I will cover later on).
In order to run these games on your Wii, you need to have the following things avaliable:
- An Nintendo Wii (duh) with Homebrew Channel installed. If you don’t have Homebrew Channel installed, refer to this guide.
- An SD Card or USB flash drive
- The rom converter (romcnv_R2.zip)
- The FBA archive/emulator for the Wii
- The FBA rom files and neogeo.zip
Step 1. Having the right romset
Before doing anything, it is to be noted that this emulator needs specific FinalBurn Alpha roms, like from a FB Alpha (0.2.97.40) romset, and by this I mean that you CANNOT use the same roms that you use for MAME. The easiest way to know if you are using the right ROMs or not, is knowing if the source is for FBA roms and NOT MAME roms, and opening the .zip file to check the extension for the ROMs. For example, in the KOF2002 ROM for FBA, the file extensions are related to the filename (265-c1.c1), while extensions on the MAME ROM often end in .bin (265-c1.bin). Note that you also need the NEOGEO bios to run the games, and they have to be in the same folder as where the roms are going to be added.
In any case, there’s an partial gallery of screenshots I took from the correct ROMs contents, but this should give an insight of how some of the game .zip files should look like inside to be compatible.
About the BIOS file, you need as well to have an neogeo.zip file with Unibios included, or else loading times will be longer, and there will be some things you won’t be able to do. However, as long as the bios does look like the below screenshot (which, as you can see, has several Unibios roms included), it should be fine.
Step 2. Cache converting
An necessary step to run larger games with the VM FBA core is to create an cache for each ROM. By using the romcnv_R2 app, you can create the cache for an single .zip ROM file, or for an folder filled with ROMs, creating one for each rom inside.
Extract the archive somewhere handy, and you should find what you need inside the folder where it was extracted (the Windows folder). mvsconv.bat opens an window that will ask you for an single rom you want to convert, while mvsconv_all.bat asks you to pick an folder instead, in which it will scan the folder for any roms and convert whichever ones it finds there. After you have converted the ROMs, the cache files should be inside an “cache” folder on the same place where the mvsconv.bat file is. However, you don’t need to take any folders or anything outside of the created cache folder, as we will need it as-is on the next step.
Step 3. Setting up the drive
Here is where our handy SD card or USB drive comes to play. It doesn’t matter which one you use for homebrew, just that it has enough space to put the stuff in; as I had my SD Card without enough space, I used the emulator and games from my USB drive and worked well enough.
Anyways, just extract the FBA-VM_R6 contents into your SD or USB, so that the apps and retroarch folders are on the root of it. While that the folders inside “retroarch” are all empty, there is an “system” folder with an empty “cache” folder; you have to paste the “cache” folder with your created caches from the previous step into that system folder, merging the contents with the empty cache folder.
After that is done, you just need to copy the .zip files for your games into anywhere on your SD/USB; doesn’t need to be anywhere specific, but of course it could be nice to create an folder for your NEOGEO roms either on the root or inside the retroarch folder.
Step 4. Plug and play!
Insert your SD card or USB into your Wii, enter the Homebrew Channel, and select the Retroarch 1.7.6VM icon that should appear on the list of homebrew. Now this should send you to Retroarch first screen. Note that if you are using an Gamecube controller, you will have to use the D-Pad at first to navigate the menus (the analog stick can be configured to be used too, but that’s shown after this section).
Select the “Load Content” option, select sd: or usb: depending of what you used to put your games, and find the ROM you want to load. If it asks you to either “Browse Archive” or “Load Archive”, pick “Load Archive” and pick the only core it shows. If everything was done right and the cache is in the right place, there should be an loading screen with an progress bar, and after that, your game will be loaded!
Tweaking your experience
Alright, now that you have finished setting up everything to run your games on the Wii, now I’m going to talk about some things to improve the experience/usablity of this emulator, configuring some settings and explaining certain shortcuts.
- First and foremost, to get the best image, go to Settings > Video, set the Screen resolution to 384×224 and Aspect Ratio to 16:9 (unless you don’t like to stretch the screen) and you’ll get an very crisp 240p image. I also like to disable the Soft Filter Enable option.
- To enable using the Gamecube analog stick, go to Settings > Input > Input User 1 Binds/Input User 2 Binds and set “User X Analog to Digital Type” to Left Analog, and voilá!
- Speaking of the Gamecube stick, if you test it as-is, you will note that there are issues with the diagonals. However, in the Settings > Input screen, if you lower the Analog Stick Deadzone enough (I lower it from 0.5 to 0.35), this issue gets fixed. It would have been really noticeable in fighting games and Metal Slug.
- If trying to open the game sends you back to an “No items” menu, that means that either the ROM is incorrect, or the neogeo.zip file isn’t present in the same place as the ROM you are trying to load. (Missing cache error looks like something else)
- To change the Region/Console mode (MVS or AES), you can do so by holding A+B+C during the Unibios splash screen (which buttons are these depend of what controller you are using).
- To access the test menu in MVS mode, hold B+C+D in the Unibios splash screen instead.
- To access the Unibios ingame menu, you can press either A+B+C+Start, or Select+Start (And note that Select is used as the insert coin button if it is in arcade/MVS mode)
- If you like to play in console/AES mode but prefer to have infinite attempts/credits, there is always one or two cheats for Infinite AES credits on the Cheat Menu at the bottom of the lists.
If this guide was useful to you, make sure to share it with your friends, and also check out the other posts I have made here; while they aren’t guides, I may do more guides if it is needed (or requested, but who knows). Shoutouts to Wiimpathy and tuedj for this awesome build of FBA, Arnold1985 for making the process less confusing for me to understand when I first attempted this, and shoutouts to the r/emulation community and FBA devs for all the cool stuff.
Until next time!
Thank you, this helped me out a ton!!
I works fine and all but how do I do to play other arcades such cps-1 and cps-2?
It wasn’t too long ago when I also figured out how to get CPS2 working; for some reason its a similar yet worse case than NeoGeo: Latest Retroarch CPS2 cores for Wii refused to work for me but an older version did work out; but also needed FBA roms (probably the ones you used for fightcade). In any case I will see if I can try making a guide for that too.
great!!! thanks dude