Online shopping

Wii Shop Chrome Extension Eases Online Shopping Anxiety

The music from the Wii Shop Channel is iconic. It’s a meme unto itself, with early hits conjuring up images of Drake dancing in Helpline bling and the robotic machinations of Mr. Krabs, but for good reason. Music from the Wii Shop Channel is beloved, and beneath the memes and 10-hour YouTube loops lie memories of browsing through the Virtual Console selection for hours.

And you can have the same experience in your browser. The Wii Shop Channel Music extension adds the theme to any retail website and helps ease the anxiety of endlessly clicking to fill time. And let’s be honest, it’s downright cool.

While you’re stocking up on the best Chrome extensions and rounding up the browser extensions you need to install on your parent’s laptop, be sure to grab some music from the Wii Shop Channel – you’ll thank me later.

The Wii Shop, Everywhere

The aptly named Wii Shop Channel Music extension is available on Chrome and Firefox, and if you’re a developer you can dig into the source code on GitHub. I spotted the extension online (thanks, Kotaku), and it’s pure bliss.

It will automatically play music from the Wii Shop on most retail websites. That’s the default, but you can also select a handful of other tracks – store music for the Wii U, 3DS, and DSi, as well as Coconut Mall from Mario Kart Wii. Presumably, with enough technical knowledge, you could even add your own music.

Music options in the Wii Shop Channel expansion.

The music only plays when you’re shopping, but you can hijack it by selecting a song and waiting for a few seconds on any website. It’s tied to your tab, so as soon as you leave the tab or go to another website, the track will end. The only exception is if you are moving from one merchant site to another. He will continue to play during the transition.

I was shocked at how responsive the extension was, kicking off the track the moment the page finished loading. The main issue, which I hope the developer will address in a future update, is the list of sites. There are a lot of sites missing.

Retail is doing well – Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and even Micro Center have done very well. However, direct sellers usually don’t work. The extension did not support Apple, Samsung or Steam. A disappointment, perhaps, but the music from the Wii Shop Channel has already worked a lot for me.

Click or navigate?

The music expansion for the Wii Shop Channel on Amazon.

I was trained to stay on Amazon for as long as possible. I go to the site to find something I want, double-press my scroll wheel, and land in the dreaded “products related to this article” section. What follows is a minimum of 20 minutes of clicks on counterfeit products that I will never purchase, occasionally adding them to an abandoned cart or wishlist.

But then I installed the Wii Shop Channel Music expansion. Right away, I noticed I was clicking less frequently, each considering dozens of products on any given page and reading product descriptions past the bullet points. I wasn’t stupidly clicking to fill 20 minutes of boredom. I was browsing.

It would be silly to run a 10 hour music loop on the Wii Shop every time I wanted to shop online, but when does the music automatically turn on? This is an other story. It immediately separates online shopping from everything I do online, and I do many in line. It was a little cue telling me to focus on my tab, to focus on shopping.

A related products page on Amazon.
I’ll never buy any of this, but I’m watching anyway.

It’s not a crazy idea. Every brick-and-mortar retail store plays music in some form, unlike the acoustic vacuum of the internet (which I typically fill with a podcast or YouTube video). The main difference is that you can listen to music from the Wii Shop, not the Pandora playlist thought up by a manager.

The extension hasn’t revolutionized my online shopping experience, but it doesn’t have to. It’s silly, fun and, frankly, awesome. The Wii Shop music is iconic for a reason, and there’s never been a time when it felt out of place on Amazon, Walmart, or the dozen other shopping websites I love. visited for, uh, research.

To be fast

The Wii Shop Channel music extension on Chrome.

We need to take a break from the high clouds of the Wii Shop Channel and come back down to Earth. There’s no way Nintendo is letting this expansion live. It’s open source, so you can just download the music files if you want. Sure, the music comes from a console that just turned ten, but it’s Nintendo we’re talking about.

Download it from the store or fork it over to Github, but I imagine the extension isn’t long for this world. Hopefully it escapes Nintendo’s IP scrutiny, but there’s no way to tell, and this expansion is too amazing to miss. It lives unpinned in my extension bar, and I hope it can stay there.

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