Sunday, July 9, 2017

Frustration, Cubed

What to discuss, what to discuss...

Well, there's the Castlevania series which recently debuted on Netflix. Word on the street is that it's very good (and very brief), cementing Netflix as the preferred streaming service for original animated series. It's also very violent, but you can't make an omelet without whipping a few zombies into undead goo. Or something.

Blah! BLAH! (Not blah at all, actually.)
(image from Screen Rant)
On a personal note, I've pulled my GameCube out of retirement to install a mod chip. It's not like I needed to do this... my Wii U plays Cube games just fine using the Nintendont app. However, I just wanted to be prepared in case I ever found a GameBoy Player without the disc. That tends to happen, but you can substitute it with a homebrew app called the GameBoy Interface, which is said to run GameBoy games even better than Nintendo's official disc.

What was that? You said I could just as easily play GameBoy Advance games using my Android TV? Well, uh... the mod chip was cheap, and I was bored. So there.

Just a couple of notes about the install... normally, you need a special tool to open the case on your GameCube, but that's not really necessary. I found that the bit extender on a screwdriver sold for about seven dollars at Wal-Mart works just as well. Set the extender (without a bit on the end) into the screwdriver, stick it down the screw hole, then turn left until you hear a click. Bingo bango, the screw releases, and you can keep unscrewing it until it's loose enough to shake out of the bottom of the console. Here's the tool set you'll need, by the way. It's got a lot of bits that'll probably help you with the rest of the mod job, too.

Second thing. YouTube users have described this mod as "extremely easy," but I beg to differ. Just getting the GameCube open is a bit of a challenge (hint: try this teardown guide by iFixit), but once you reach its creamy middle, you've got to solder six points on a chip the size of a small postage stamp. It's got to be placed precisely on the drive controller board, and you've got to make sure you're binding the chip to the Cube's PCB. Just filling the holes on the chip isn't enough... you'll have to poke the iron through them a few times to ensure there's a love connection.

Wait, wait... I haven't gotten to the best part! There are LED indicators which tell you if the installation is successful. The first one blinks off, then a second one turns on if you've done it right. Seems easy enough, but the LEDs are tiny, packed closely together, and (you're going to love this) the same color. Once you insulate the chip with black tape, you're not going to have the figgiest idea which LED is lit, if you can see them at all. So maybe my GameCube's been properly modded, but maybe it hasn't... the only way to know for sure is to nuke it from orbit pop in a burned mini DVD and hope for the best.

On an even more personal note, I tried Zima for the first time in nine years. Holy hell, I liked this stuff? Maybe my tastes have dulled in the past decade, but to this steadily graying member of Generation X, it tastes like slightly sweetened rubbing alcohol. Flavored malt beverage technology must have advanced by leaps and bounds during the Obama administration, because I'd rather have a Mike's Hard anything than another Zima. Okay, my curiosity's been satisfied... back to the 1990s with you!

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