How to Troubleshoot a Wii That is Black & White

Updated April 17, 2017

The Nintendo Wii is a hugely popular gaming console that has brought video games into the lives and living rooms of many people who never knew they liked video games. However, with this large intake of new adopters come technical issues that may be new to many players. One of these issues is black and white display on some or all games. A variety of factors can cause your Nintendo Wii to display pictures in black and white, but these can be easily troubleshooted.

Check to ensure that all cables connecting the Nintendo Wii to your television are securely plugged in. A weak connection can cause colour information to transmit sporadically or not at all. Unplug the Stereo A/V cable from the back of your Wii and from the A/V or Component plugs of your television, then reconnect.

Check your television's "System" menu to ensure that the screen is set to correctly display the picture from your make of Nintendo Wii. If your Wii was purchased in North America or Asia, ensure that your television is set to "NTSC." If it was purchased in Europe or the Pacific, your television must be set to "PAL."

Ensure that your Wii is set to display a picture your television can process. If you are using a composite video cable (one yellow video plug with red and white audio plugs), the console must be set to "Standard TV (480i)." If you are using component video (red, blue and green video plugs with red and white audio plugs), the console should be set to "EDTV or HDTV (480p)." Check this setting by clicking the "Wii" button at the lower left corner of the main menu then selecting the "Wrench" icon. Choose "Screen," then "Screen Resolution." If your television displays colour in "Standard TV" but not "EDTV or HDTV" mode, the set cannot support the higher resolution and must be used in "Standard TV" mode.

Ensure the slider box on the Wii's component video cables is set to the right setting. If you are using five-plug component video cables, follow them behind the television to the slider box near the cables' end. There will be a switch marked "TV/HDTV." This should be set to "HDTV" unless you have determined that your television does not support this format using the procedure outlined in Step 3.

Ensure you are playing a game with colour output. Some Wii games, such as "MadWorld" and "Bit.Trip," use colour sparingly or not at all. If you can see colour in all but a few Wii games, the issue may not be a technical issue of the console but a feature of the game.


If none of these steps solve your Wii's black and white display problem, try using the console on a second television. If the second television does not display a colour picture, your console may be defective. Contact Nintendo's Customer Service department on 1-800-255-3700, or arrange a repair at the website (see Resources).

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About the Author

Nick Grimes was first published in 1998. Since then his work has appeared in the New Zealand Listener, Evening Post, City Voice, Turbine,, and Gamesradar. He has a master's degree in creative writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, New Zealand.