The build began with a Revision C GameCube motherboard, which comes without the digital video port and the second serial port. It also comes with an integrated power supply on the motherboard which makes it much easier to slim down into a smaller form factor. The main space saving, though, came from removing the rarely-used ports on the bottom of the console and the DVD drive. The latter was replaced with PicoBoot, which allows ISOs to be loaded from an SD card.
Once trimmed down and fitted with a replacement cooling fan, the console then got a custom half-height 3D-printed case. It’s tidy and functional, but we’d love to see a more finished resin-printed version more accurately aping the traditional GameCube aesthetic.
If you want something even more portable, consider building a pocket-sized Wii. Video after the break.
In terms of units sold, it’s no secret that the GameCube was one of Nintendo’s poorest performing home consoles. You could argue increased competition meant sales of the quirky little machine were destined to fall short of the system’s legendary predecessors, but that didn’t keep the Wii from outselling it by a factor of five a few years later. Still, enough incredible games were released for the GameCube that the system still enjoys a considerable fanbase.
Now, with the release of PicoBoot by [webhdx], we suspect the GameCube is about to gain a whole new generation of fans. With just a Raspberry Pi Pico, some jumper wires, and a widely available third-party SD card adapter, this open source project bypasses the console’s original BIOS so it can boot directly into whatever homebrew application the user selects. With how cheap and easy to perform this modification is, we wouldn’t be surprised if it kicked off something of a renaissance for GameCube homebrew development.
In the video after the break, [Tito] of Macho Nacho Productionsprovides a rundown of this new project, including a fantastic step-by-step installation guide that covers everything from soldering the jumper wires to the console’s motherboard to getting the firmware installed on the Pico. He then demonstrates booting the console into various community developed front-ends and tools, showing just how versatile the modification is. While some will see this as little more than an easier way to run bootleg games, we can’t help but be excited about what the future holds now that getting your own code to run on the system is so easy.
Alright, maybe it’s not so easy. To solder on the five wires that will eventually snake their way to the GPIO pins of the Pi Pico, you’ll need to strip the console all the way down to the main board. That wouldn’t be too bad itself, but unfortunately to reach two of the connections you’ll need to remove the system’s massive heatsink — which means you’ll need to clean up the old sticky thermal pads and apply new ones if you don’t want your GameCube to turn into a GameCrisp. It’s nothing that would scare off the average Hackaday reader, but it might give pause to those less handy with an iron.
The release of PicoBoot comes hot on the heels of the revelation that the Raspberry Pi Pico can be used not only as an N64 flash cart but as a supercharged PlayStation Memory Card. These projects would all be significantly improved with a custom RP2040 board, and no doubt that’s the direction they’ll eventually head, but it’s hard not to be impressed by what the low-cost microcontroller development board is capable of in its native form. Especially now that it comes in WiFi flavor.
If reading Hackaday teaches us anything, it’s that there is a subset of hackers who take things like emulator builds a step farther than most. [RetroModder] is very clearly one such hacker. Enter the GamecubePC, which you can read about on Hackaday.io. The GamecubePC is a multi-year project that aims to stuff an entire Windows 10 PC into a GameCube shell while still being able to play Wii and GameCube titles at native resolution and performance.
Although it only takes a spare computer and the Dolphin emulator to make a GameCube and Wii emulator, great attention has been paid to keeping the GameCube at the forefront. Contributing to the illusion is the preservation of the original GameCube power switch and reset buttons by way of custom PCB’s that interface the parts to the mSTX motherboard.
The bottom of the GameCube shell is replaced with a 3D printed base that mounts the motherboard while smartly giving access to the motherboard’s front panel. The minuscule motherboard sports an Intel Core™ i5-7600 with 8GB memory, and SSD storage. Topping off the experience are four functional controller ports that can be switched to be used with the emulator or with PC games too. Surely the GamecubePC will be the subject of many double takes!
Would it have been too obvious to call a game about soccer playing RC cars, Soc-Car? Well [Martin] thought so and opted to call his Nintendo GameCube homebrew game, Retro League GX. The game clearly takes inspiration from Rocket League developed by Psyonix, as it pits teams of cars on a pitch plus comes complete with boosts to boot. There are some impressive physics on display here, and according to Krista over at GBATemp everything is playable on original hardware. Though those without a GameCube can certainly get a match in via the Dolphin emulator.
There are a number of ways to boot homebrew on a Nintendo GameCube, however, the most essential piece of software would be Swiss. Swiss is a homebrew utility that interfaces with all the myriad of ways to load code onto a GameCube these days. Common ways loading homebrew include saving files onto an SD card then using a SDGecko device that plugs into the memory card ports, or a SD2SP2 device that plugs into one of the GameCube’s expansion ports located on the bottom of the console. Those who prefer ditching the disc drive entirely can load homebrew via a optical disc emulator device like the GC Loader.
Still on the roadmap Retro League GX are ports for 3DS, PSP, Wii, and Linux. LAN and Online multiplayer are in the works as well. So at least that way GameCube broadband adapter owners may get to branch out beyond Phantasy Star Online for once. Best of all, [Martin] stated that the code for Retro League GX will be open sourced sometime next year.
It’s fair to say that the Nintendo 64 and GameCube both had the most unique controllers of their respective console generations. The latter’s gamepads are still in high demand today as the Smash Bros. community continues to favor its traditional control scheme. However, both controllers can easily be repurposed for musical means, thanks to work by [po8aster].
Both versions come complete with a synth mode and drum mode, in order to allow the user to effectively play melodies or percussion. There’s also a special mapping for playing drums using the Donkey Konga Bongo controller with the GameCube version. For those eager to buy a working unit rather than building their own, they’re available for purchase on [po8aster’s] website.
The result is a gloriously colorful keyboard and controller set up to work with a PC. The stock membrane keyboard was removed entirely, which is possible without interfering with the gamepad hardware inside the controller shell. It was replaced with a Preonic keyboard PCB, fitted with Lubed Glorious Panda switches and those wonderful pastel DSA Vilebloom keycaps. The keyboard also features a Durock screw-in stabilizer to make sure the space key has a nice smooth action. The controller itself received a set of colored buttons to match the theme, setting off the aesthetic. It’s still fully functional, and can be used with an adapter to play games on the attached PC.
Overall, it’s a tidy controller casemod and one hell of a conversation starter when the crew are scoping out your battlestation. The added weight might make it a little straining for long gaming sessions in controller mode, but it looks so pretty we’re sure we wouldn’t notice.
While the PlayStation 3 and Gamecube come from opposing sides of the aisle, and in fact aren’t even from the same generation of hardware, this DIY adapter built by [Jeannot] allows Nintendo’s console to use Sony’s Bluetooth controllers with surprisingly little fuss. This might seem unnecessary given the fact that Nintendo put out an official wireless controller for the system, but given how expensive they are on the second-hand market, you’d need to have pretty deep pockets for an untethered four-player session. Plus, there’s plenty of people who simply prefer the more traditional control layout offered by Sony’s pad.
The internals of the 3D printed adapter are actually quite straightforward, consisting of nothing more than an Arduino Nano wired to a MAX3421E USB host shield. A common USB Bluetooth adapter is plugged into the shield, and the enclosure has an opening so it can be swapped out easily; which is important since that’s what the PS3 controller is actually paired to.
A Gamecube controller extension cable must be sacrificed to source the male connector, though if you wanted to fully commit to using Bluetooth controllers, it seems like you could turn this into an internal modification fairly easily. That would let you solder right to the controller port’s pads on the PCB, cutting the bill of materials down ever further.
[Jeannot] says the firmware is the product of combining a few existing libraries with a fair amount of experimentation, but as demonstrated in the video below, it works well enough to navigate the console’s built-in menu system. Future enhancements include getting the stick sensitivity closer to the values for the Gamecube’s standard controller, and adapting the code to work with newer PS4 controllers.