How To: Fix Wii Virtual Console Black Screen Problems

If you’ve tried some Wii Virtual Console stuff out and the game appears to start – you hear things happening, but there’s just a black screen, and if you pause the game using the Home button on the Wiimote you can see the game screen – this is the problem we’re talking about.

The reason for this is that you’re using Component cables (likely to connect your Wii to a LCD or Plasma TV) and for bizarre Virtual Console-y reasons, the game isn’t set to use, or doesn’t support, Wii Component Cable Interlace Mode. Some games do, some games don’t – you can find a list of Component Interlace Mode Compatible titles here.

The bad news is that if your game doesn’t support interlace mode, the only way you’re going to be able to play it Wii VC style is to use your composite cables.

The good news is that if your game does support interlace mode you can switch it over as follows:

– Pause the game by hitting the Home button on the Wiimote
– Go to the Operations Manual for the game
– Plug a Nunchuk into your Wiimote
– To enable Component Interlace mode, hold down: Z, A and the 2 button at the same time
– To disable Component Interlace mode, hold down: Z, A and the 1 button at the same time

If the game supports it, and you’ve done it right, you should hear a chime-type sound indicating the game has switched modes. Now just get out of the operations manual and unpause and you should be able to play away to your hearts content.

Update 2013: Another option, as pointed out by The Dude in the comments below is to change your Wii display settings from 480i to 480p. You might consider doing this anyway (if you haven’t already) to get the best picture quality as possible out of your Wii.

14 thoughts on “How To: Fix Wii Virtual Console Black Screen Problems”

  1. Works wonderfully. I did zillions of google searches for this, but alas did not find this until I got off the phone with Wii’s phone support (which did the job, but the person that helped me was kind of annoying)… then I searched z, a, and 2 and this page came up.

    I thought it was a problem with my new denon avr-790 receiver, but it was a communication problem with the wii. In hopes to make this article more searchable, I’m putting in the next few lines…

    wiiware game video problem
    wii emulation video problem
    wii video jumping
    wii jumpy video

    I hope more of you find it! Although, I did only spend about 1/2hr fixing it with Wii support there may be others who are not so fortunate.

    1. Thanks, Jim!

      I wouldn’t have thought to put “jumpy” video anywhere in the post because on my setup (straight component cables to a Samsung 6 Series 42″ LCD), there are only two outcomes; it either displays properly or displays nothing at all.

      I’ll add in your jumpy/jumping keywords to the page tags to try to boost the page SEO, too.



  2. Thanks for this – I too took ages to find a solution, and got linked to this page from thedvdforums –

    It’s such an annoying problem!

    1. If your virtual console stuff displays a black screen and you can’t fix it with this method, then the game doesn’t support component cable interlace mode, and there’s nothing you can do about that.

      However, what you could perhaps try would be to get a different region version of the virtual console title – I’ve seen it before where I couldn’t use a PAL version of a virtual console title (I think it might have been Sonic or SFII on the Megadrive) because it didn’t support component interlace, but if it would work just fine if I installed the NTSC version.

      Worth a shot before giving up, assuming the title was released in multiple regions.


  3. Seems this is the consensus solution everywhere I look, but when I get the blank screen after launching starting the VC game, I can’t even see the home menu to get to the Operations Manual setting.

    When I blindly hit Z+A+2 anyway, the Wii restarts, but still won’t display the game, but seemingly pressing those buttons does do something, because when I get the blank screen again, it now will only respond (by restarting) when I hold Z+A+1 (which according to internet changes the setting back to not displaying VC games)

    Game in question: Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3
    Connection: Component into Samsung HDTV
    Region PAL

  4. I have the same problem as Gearoid – although I’m using a Vdigi HDMI upscaler and not the component cables. Starting Super Mario World gives me a black screen, Z+A+2 does nothing except restart the console… does anyone have any other suggestions? Is there a way to make interlace mode work via the Vdigi cable?


  5. I have the HDMI upscaler also and wasn’t able to play Super Mario World. I would get a black screen with Invalid Format on it. I saw some posts to change tv resolution in wii settings to 480i. Mine was already set to this so I set it to 480p and I’m now able to play Super Mario World. I don’t have to do anything with Z+A+1/2, it just works natively. Hope that helps someone.

  6. Changing the resolution worked for me. I was at 480i and switched to 480p. Everything is perfectly fine now!
    Thank you for the other suggestion, it helped.

  7. I’m having this problem with some VC games (mine is a bit different, I get a scrambled screen intermittently through play) and I just bought Super Mario World, and the classic controller to play it, and of course it’s happening with this one. I got the Z A 2 fix to work on Mario 2 and 3, but not 1 or Super Mario World, or Zelda 2. I’m using the composite cables that came with the Wii, and don’t have the option to try 480p, so I’m thinking maybe I should get a set of component cables, or an HDMI upscaler to see if that works.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?? I’ve called support twice and they don’t have any answers

  8. Hi Amy,

    I am running my wii on an LCD monitor using an hdmi upscaler from vdigi. It works well for wii games but super mario world (which is the only vc game I downloaded) doesn’t work at all. Black screen, “no signal” message… It sounds like that particular game can be awkward, but I would do some more research before buying the hdmi upscaler if you want it to help you run cv games.


  9. This worked for me on a Euro Wii connected via component. It was already set to “EDTV/HDTV”, which should be progressive, but curiously my TV reports a 576i50 signal. Z+A+2 did the trick in any case.

    Slightly offtopic: Despite this issue I highly recommend getting the component cable over composite. The picture quality in moving scenes is clearly improved — worth the 5-10$. Makes playing the classics a joy. :)

    Also, here’s the official troubleshooting instructions, in case anyone is still stuck:

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