I am rewriting this question from scratch because I feel that I need to be clear and concise.

When I play Donkey Kong Country Returns on my Wii, I experience controller lag during the gameplay. There seems to be a very consistent .1 to .2 second delay between when I press the 'jump' button on the controller and when Donkey Kong jumps.

I don't know what is causing this. The controls seem to be much more responsive in navigating the on-screen menus, but perhaps it's just perception.

I really wanted to enjoy this game, but every time I've tried to play, I get so irritated with the controls. I just listed it for sale on eBay. However, I imagine that perhaps Nintendo thought that a small amount of lag wouldn't be noticed by most players.

Can anyone tell me if this controller lag is just part of the game, or is there something wrong with the way my Wii is set up?

  • Is there a delay when you play any other games?
    – Kalamane
    Feb 1, 2012 at 18:20
  • I played all the way through Super Mario Galaxy 2 and noticed no problems at all with the controls. Feb 1, 2012 at 23:55
  • I just decided to buy a classic controller in the near future (to play some old SNES games on the Wii), and maybe DK returns can be played with one. I would assume that this would significantly reduce lag.
    – bitmask
    Feb 3, 2012 at 22:33
  • There will be some lag, but one-two seconds is unusually high.
    – Hiccup
    Jul 10, 2020 at 10:16

3 Answers 3


The wii's controls are laggy in most games. If you go and play COD on a PC then go back to a wii you'll see it. You hit a button and a slight moment later it responds. Theres lag with all wireless controllers though, and Nintendo needed to have a wired option. Me and my friends tried doing a Super Mario Bros. 1 competition but we all were baffled when we tried doing some fast maneuvering, we all noticed the lag bad. We hit jump and almost .4-.5 sec later mario jumped. We couldnt compensate so we gave up. If you dont notice lag then you need to play on a different system. I wonder if the gamecube controllers would work in these games even though nintendo does not list them as compatible with the game? Also - game mode on your TV only adjusts colors and contrast.

  • Just broke out my Wii and this latency indeed ruins every game I tried.
    – Steve Clay
    Jul 9, 2016 at 18:01
  • There's no inherent reason for wireless controllers to be more laggy than wired (other than dropped inputs in a noisy environment). In fact, the PS4 controller has lower latency than most wired controllers when used wirelessly, but not when wired, due to having such a high poll rate when wireless!! Source Feb 12, 2021 at 8:02

Since you mentioned you had latency in two games, I suspect the issue is with the sync itself. Try re-syncing your Wii Remote(s) with the console in the following way:

  1. Press the Power button on the Wii console to turn it on.
  2. Remove the battery cover on the back of the Wii Remote to be synced. Open the SD Card Slot cover on the front of the Wii console.
  3. Press and release the SYNC button just below the batteries on the Wii Remote; the Player LED on the front of the Wii Remote will blink. While the lights are still blinking, quickly press and release the red SYNC button on the front of the Wii console.


As a general precaution, I would also check if there are other devices in the vicinity which might interfere with the Wii Remote's Bluetooth connection. I had an issue where a Bluetooth headset caused control lag for my PS3's controllers, this could be the case for you as well.

  • 1
    I've tried these suggestions to no avail. I've also noticed that the problem seems to happen during game play, but not while navigating the game's title menu. Jan 31, 2012 at 1:03

Try to set your TV to "Game mode" (or something similar). I had exactly the same problem with Donkey Kong Country returns. Setting the game mode on my Philips TV solved the problem.

After that you should recognize no lag anymore.

  • My TV does have "Game Mode", but setting the TV to game mode doesn't seem to accomplish anything. Can you please explain why this could help? Feb 1, 2012 at 23:54
  • 2
    There might be some kind of postprocessing which adds, due to recalculating the picture for better quality, some latency starting from the moment you push a button.
    – Snipem
    Feb 3, 2012 at 10:47

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