Gamecube: A guide

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Just a few hints about what to look for when buying Gamecubes, games and accessories.

  • Firstly, if the auction mentions frayed wires: do not buy. A frayed wire on a controller can damage the Gamecube. A damaged wire on the PSU is obviously unsafe. If no picture is supplied or the seller will not accept wary!
  • The links in this guide will search eBay for the item highlighted. If you then fill the box "Include all items including eBay shops", search by cheapest first and adjust your search settings to include postage prices you'll get more results and it'll be easier to figure out the best prices. If you found this guide helpful I'd appreciate it if you would vote at the bottom of the guide. If there's anything that needs adding to it then please let me know!
  • Check that all of the cables are supplied. That includes the AV lead, scart adaptor and the Power Supply Unit (psu). If you have an older TV without AV or scart sockets you will need an RF Adaptor .
  • RGB scart leads will give a better picture than standard AV leads, and official Nintendo RGB leads give a better picture still.
  • Component cables will give the best quality picture and allow you to use the GameCube with an HDTV. You'll need an older Gamecube with a digital out socket on the back. Don't worry, most Gamecubes have them, but if in doubt, ask the seller. Component leads are rare and will cost you about £45, only buy the official ones, the others are a false economy.
  • Nearly all used Gamecubes have cosmetic marks on the centre disc at the top. A few marks is nothing to worry about but it's worth bearing in mind that when a seller describes a Gamecube as new or mint there should be no marks on that disc whatsoever. It is also a good indicator of how well a Gamecube has been treated, so have a look in the pic to see what condition it's in.
  • Gamecubes have good lasers in them when compared to similar consoles. I test all of my games on an old and battered Gamecube. If a game doesn't work on that then it is binned, but heavily scratched discs will often play without skipping. So don't be put off too much if a description says that a disc has a few scratches; of course it's preferable to have a scratch-free disc, but as long as the seller offers a refund policy and states the game is working the game is probably fine and you might get it that bit cheaper. If the seller says that the disc has cracks around the middle of the disc then avoid it, the disc is on the way out even if it plays fine now.
  • Check the format of the Gamecube. This works in a simlar fashion to DVD regions. All UK Gamecubes are PAL and will only play PAL games. NTSC Gamecubes from Japan and the US will not play PAL UK games without a Freeloader convertor(a disc that temporarily switches the region of a Gamecube). PAL UK Gamecubes will also play Japanese or American games with the use of a Freeloader. You can buy a Freeloader on eBay for about ten pounds and it's a wise investment as NTSC games are often a good few pounds cheaper.
  • If a Gamecube is described as "Switched" this means that it is an NTSC Gamecube that is able to play both US and Japanese games with the flick of a switch on the rear. They are also able to play PAL games with the use of a Freeloader.
  • When buying software for your Gamecube, always check that it is compatible. It is likely that the seller won't accept returns if you make a mistake. It's worth repeating: if you have a PAL Gamecube , unless you use a Freeloader,you should buy a PAL game! Check that the instructions and box are explicitly mentioned in the auction. Most games have tutorials, and instructions can be found on the internet, but some sellers will try to let you assume the instructions are included by simply not mentioning them so check the pics and text.
  • Check that the Freeloader you buy is suitable. Version 1.06b and Version 1.06B are the latest versions and will allow the use of any game on any Gamecube. Version 1.0 will allow the use of NTSC games on a PAL Gamecube, the use of JAP games on a US Gamecube and vice versa, but Version 1.0 will not allow the use of PAL games on an NTSC Gamecube . Expect to pay around a tenner.
  • NTSC Gamecubes/games and some PAL games are displayed in 60hz, older British televisions only display in 50hz. This is just a reference to the rate that a TV updates the picture. All modern televisions will be fine, but some older televisions are not capable of displaying an NTSC 60hz picture so if you have an older television(older than around ten years) then it's worth checking the game out first.
  • Memory Cards  come in all shapes and sizes, 4mb up to128mb, sometimes described by the number of "blocks" that they have. A 4mb card has 59 blocks, a 16mb card has 251 blocks etc. Memory is a necessary purchase as you won't be able to save your progress in a game without one, so if it's included with the Gamecube it's a bit of a bonus. As always, the official cards are the best. Some games will take a lot of memory so it is worth buying  large capacity cards rather than lots of smaller cards as it'll be cheaper and easier in the long run. I would recommend the Official 251 block 16mb memory card, it's ultra reliable and probably large enough hold all of your game saves on it with ease. Expect to pay about £10, you can get cheaper, but some are unreliable and there's nothing more frustrating than losing all your game saves!.
  • Official Gamecube Controllers are generally higher quality than 3rd party pads and predictably have a higher cost(though there are a few exceptions). Check the picture to see that the rubbers are intact on the thumbsticks as it's surprising how many sellers will fail to mention this. I actually prefer controllers with the rubber removed as it feels more immediate and responsive. Again, if the auction says the wire is frayed or chewed: do not buy. A frayed wire on a controller can short circuit your Gamecube.
  • Wavebird wireless controllers work upto 20ft away from the Gamecube and are considered one of the best joypads on any console. Make sure the receiver is pictured and included with the sale. Pay no more twenty pounds for a Wavebird. A great alternative to the Wavebird is a Hipgear wireless controller. I use one myself; they are more suited to adult hands because of the size. Solid build quality with a rumble facility; they're cheaper than Wavebirds at about £15 delivered.
  • Portable screens  vary in quality and size. From the screens I've tested, I would recommend a Joytech screen, the 5.6" model being the biggest and best. You can pick one up for about £35. They have multiple headphone sockets, decent built in speakers and the picture quality is excellent. Don't worry too much if the screen has a few scratches as most do and they are difficult to see when in use. Check that the power adaptor, av connector and in-car adaptor are included with the sale.
  • Gameboy Player is a handy device that fits onto the bottom of your Gamecube and allows you to play GameBoy games through your GameCube. Always check that the Boot Disc(start-up disc) is supplied with the Gameboy Player as it will not work without it. Also, if the Gameboy Player is not PAL then you will need to buy a Freeloader in order to use it. If unsure it is always worth asking first.
  • Gameboy Advance(GBA) can be linked to a Gamecube with a Gameboy to Gamecube connector cable . With certain games such as Pokemon and Metroid Prime this can open up new levels and characters and act as an extra mini screen in games such as Splinter Cell. As always, official leads are better quality, though 3rd party leads will do the trick too. A GBA can also be used to control games when used with the Gameboy Player.
  • If a Gamecube is modified this means that it will play all regions without the need for a Freeloader. They're a rare find on eBay. Modified Gamecubes can also play homebrew and copied games, though of course in many circumstances this is illegal. Gamecubes with a chip fitted are sometimes described as Hard Modded, because it makes a change to your hardware. Some chips have built in memory and can hold small emulator programs. This means that with the right software you can play SNES and Megadrive games on your Gamecube! Certain chips such as the Viper Extreme allow you to backup your original games to your computer. You can then write them to discs and use those instead of your precious originals. You can download complete Gamecube games from the internet, though the legality of this is dubious.
  • A Soft Mod is a modification to your Gamecube that is temporary and software based. This generally takes the form of running an alternative BIOS(Basic Input/Output System) to the one you normally see when you use your Gamecube. Devices such as the Max Drive Pro allow you to transfer software such as GCOS(GameCubeOperatingSystem) to a Gamecube memory card to boot backups or stream games via the Broadband adaptor to your PC. This can also be achieved with canny use of an Action Replay. Max Drive Pros are very limited in numbers and availability and it's not unusual for them to fetch more than their retail price of £30.
  • An Action Replay is a cheats device for the Gamecube. It comes in the form of a memory card and a disc. Running the disc will allow you to enter codes that will change the game, it might offer extra lives for instance, and you can then save your progress and cheats to the memory card. Action Replays act as large memory cards and include the Freeloader software too so they are very good value at about fifteen pounds. Codes can be quite lengthy to input into the Action Replay, a Gamecube Keyboard can save you a lot of time and can also be used with online games.
  • Broadband Adaptor will allow you to go online with your gaming with games such as Mario Kart or Phantasy Star Online I & II. There's an exploit in Phantasy Star Online I & II that allows the backing up of games to the PC via the Broadband Adaptor, hence the persistently high price of the game and adaptor. The adaptor simply slots into the bottom of the Gamecube and you then connect it up to your router/modem. Don't worry if it's Japanese, all broadband adaptors are compatible with all Gamecubes.
  • Gamecube controllers, memory cards & games are fully compatible with the new Nintendo Wii, released on the 8th December 2006.

I hope somebody somewhere found this helpful :-)

If you have then please vote below!

This is not meant to be an exhaustive guide, I'll keep adding to it as I think of more.

If you need any help with anything GameCube related then you're welcome to ask me .

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