Friday, June 26, 2015

Gleaming the Cube

I feel like anything I've got to say today is going to be eclipsed by the two recent Supreme Court decisions. Marriage is now defined by the love between two consenting adults rather than crippling religious dogma! People can go to a hospital without going straight to the poorhouse afterward! Not everyone is happy about this- I'm sure somewhere a Koch brother is grinding his dentures in frustration- but it's good news for most Americans.

I'm still posting a blog entry, though, no matter how trivial it may be in the grand scheme of things! Remember that crusty GameCube I bought at a Goodwill store in southern Arizona?

Like, totally grody to the max! But it was not beyond help. After giving it a thorough cleaning and buying a handful of cables from Bookman's, I discovered that the Cube works just fine, as you can see from the image below:

Between this miraculous revival and a demonstration by "Morgan Von Webb" on the late, lamented X-Play, I'm convinced that the GameCube could survive a nuclear strike. The apocalypse may spell the end of us all, but at least the mutant roaches will have something to keep them entertained after we're gone!

But why settle for a GameCube when you can have four GameCubes duct-taped together? It turns out that the Wii U, the third generation of the hardware that powered Nintendo's purple lunchbox, can play its games as well. It just needs a little persuasion, provided by Crediar and the makers of Nintendont.

Unlike the bulk of homebrew software for the Wii and Wii U, Nintendont isn't an emulator. It lets the Wii U run GameCube games natively, with only a little extra code to handle memory cards and USB controllers. However, several of the Wii U's next generation features are retained... you won't need discs because the games are stored on an SD card or thumbdrive, and you won't even need a television set because the Wii U can display the picture on its game pad. Observe!

The best part is that GameCube games run just as well on the Wii U as they do the original hardware. More demanding titles like Bloody Roar: Primal Fury are intolerably slow on Dolphin, the GameCube emulator for home computers, but they're buttery smooth here. Why wouldn't they be? The Wii U uses the GameCube architecture as its foundation... it just needed a little code to remind it of its ancestry.

Here's one more image before I jet. This is the Wii U running Mario Kart: Double Dash. It takes some time to get used to the tag-team gameplay, but awkwardness aside I can understand why this is a fan favorite. It still looks sharp a decade later- arguably better than Mario Kart Wii- and it's tons of fun to race on each cleverly designed course.

I'm gonna dig through the GameCube library over the weekend and see what I can turn up. I'm already having a blast with Bloody Roar and Mario Kart: Double Dash, but I'm sure I can find other worthwhile titles with just a little effort.


  1. If you're seeking out GameCube games, I highly recommend Chibi-Robo! if you haven't played it already. It's like a hybrid of cleaning sim and adventure game, but much better than that sounds.

    Anyway, if I wanted to make use of Nintendont, how much of a hassle would I be looking at to get it to actually work? I would like to play my old GC games without having to use the old Wii...

  2. You're gonna have to hack your Wii U first. Do you have Smash Bros. Brawl? That's an essential ingredient. An exploit called "Smash Stack" opens the Wii U up to the Homebrew Channel, but you'll need to go through several steps first.

    BTW, I take no responsibility for damage done to your system as a result of this hack. All I can say is that it worked for me, and *should* work for you as well. I will say that the hack requires a small SD card (2 gigs or less) and that ALL SD cards must be formatted as FAT32, or else the Wii U won't recognize them. Once you've got the Homebrew Channel on your system, you can take out the small SD card and replace it with something roomier.

    Nose around a bit, try to find several guides online so you'll know exactly what you're doing. If you're not sure, try it out on an early Wii model first. The trick will work there too, and with Wiis being so common, it won't be a calamity if you make a mistake.

  3. Hacking? Tutorials? Damaged systems? FAT32? Copy of Brawl?

    Well I'm out. I can figure out game-related programs well enough to get Sega CD emulation working on a Genesis emulator, but anything nearing the complexity of M.A.M.E. or DoSBox is all Greek to me.

    But seriously play Chibi-Robo when you have the chance.

    1. Ah, where's your sense of adventure? :D

      I actually used to OWN Chibi-Robo, so it's gonna be familiar territory for me. I remember going down into the basement and cleaning the bird turds out of a cage inhabited by a parrot skeleton. When I came back the next day, the turds were back too. Uh, maybe that bird's not as dead as it looks...

    2. Parrot...skeleton?! I recall the bird cage having regenerating poop, but I'm pretty sure I would remember if there was a skeleton in the cage.

      Maybe it's a ghost bird leaving the poop? Or seeing that it's also on the rafters, maybe there's an unseen lizard infestation?

    3. I thought there was. I could be misremembering... it HAS been a while since I played it.

  4. How interesting! I had no idea this was even possible. That said, I'd probably still prefer to play GC games on real GC hardware. It's just so darn pretty :) (BTW, this has reminded me that I still need to pick up one of those "spice orange" JP GCs that I've been wanting for ages...)

    1. Jeremy Parish has one of those. It looks pretty spiffy! Me, I'd like to have one of the translucent "fire orange" Nintendo 64s they made back in 1999. Not that I'm a fan of the N64, but that particular model is so pretty. It looks just like an orange Tootsie Roll Pop after the first five licks!

    2. He does? Well, shoot. Anyway, I'm now on the lookout for one--along with some JP GC games that have been on my "buy ASAP" list (like Mr. Driller Drill Land). As for the translucent N64s, I like them, but not as much as the different colored GCs. Still, I agree they're pretty--and look a lot like slightly licked Tootsie Pops!