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The Wii Shop Chrome extension eases online shopping boredom

The Wii Shop Channel music is iconic. It’s a meme of itself, with the first hits conjuring up images of Drake dancing in Hotline Bling and the robotic machinations of Mr. Krabs, but for good reason. The Wii Shop Channel music is beloved, and underneath the memes and 10-hour YouTube loops are memories of browsing the Virtual Console selection for hours on end.

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

While you’re stocking up on the best Chrome extensions and gathering the browser extensions you need to install on your relative’s laptop, make sure to grab the Wii Shop Channel Music — you’ll thank me later.

The Wii Shop, everywhere

The eShop on the Nintendo Wii U.

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

It will automatically play the Wii Shop music on most retail websites. That’s by default, but you can also select a handful of other tracks — the shop music for the Wii U, 3DS, and DSi, along with 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 extension.

The music only plays when you’re shopping, but you can hijack it by selecting a song and waiting a few seconds on any website. It’s tied to your tab, so as soon as you tab away or go a different website, the track will end. The only exception is if you go from one shopping website to another. It’ll continue playing through the transition.

I was shocked just 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 is a future update, is the list of sites. There are a lot of sites missing.

Major retail is fine — Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and even Micro Center worked great. Direct sellers usually don’t work, though. The extension didn’t pick up Apple, Samsung, or Steam. A bummer, maybe, but the Wii Shop Channel Music has already been putting in plenty of work for me.

Clicking or browsing?

The Wii Shop Channel Music extension on Amazon.

I’ve been trained to stay on Amazon for as long as possible. I go to the site to find something I want, flick down on my scroll wheel twice, and land in the dreaded “products related to this item” section. What follows is a minimum of 20 minutes of clicking through knockoff products that I will never buy, occasionally adding them to an abandoned cart or wish list.

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

It would be silly to pull up a 10-hour Wii Shop music loop every time I wanted to shop online, but when the music automatically turns on? That’s a different story. It immediately separates shopping online from everything else I do online, and I do a lot online. It was a little cue telling me to focus on my tab, to focus on shopping.

A related products page on Amazon.
I’m never going to buy any of this, but I still look.

This isn’t a crazy idea. Every physical retail store has music playing in a some form, much unlike the acoustic void of the internet (which I typically fill with a podcast or YouTube video). The main difference is that you get to listen to the Wii Shop music, not whatever Pandora playlist some manager dreamt up.

The extension didn’t revolutionize my online shopping experience, but it doesn’t need to. It’s silly, fun, and, frankly, awesome. The Wii Shop music is iconic for a reason, and there was never a moment of it that felt out of place on Amazon, Walmart, or the dozen other shopping websites I visited for, erm, research.

Be quick

The Wii Shop Channel Music extension on Chrome.

We have to take a break from the high of the Wii Shop Channel clouds and come crashing back down to Earth. There’s no way Nintendo lets this extension live. It’s open source, so you can just download the music files if you want. Sure, the music comes from a console that’s coming up on ten years old, but this is Nintendo we’re talking about.

Download it from the store or fork it on Github, but I imagine the extension isn’t long for this world. I hope that it escapes the intellectual property gaze of Nintendo, but there’s no way to tell, and this extension is too incredible to miss. It’s living unpinned in my extension bar, and I hope it can stay there.

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