Friday, May 27, 2011


Well, if you have been wondering why I haven't posted anything for the last several months, it is because I have moved to a new blog host! It was mainly for visibility reasons; the new site is a dedicated gaming website, so I thought that I could get more people to see it there as opposed to the vast wasteland that is Blogger. Anyway, here is the new address:

This is Lisalover1, and I hope to see you on the other side. ;)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Epic Creation!

Hello, all you crazy Gamecube fans out there; sorry I haven't updated this blog in a while; I guess I just temporarily lost interest. Trust me, it happens. Anyway, I thought today, I would bring you something special; it's not a game review, or an examination article. In fact, it has little if anything to do with electronics at all, yet it is still Gamecube-related.

I have been taking a ceramics class at my school, and I had some leftover clay and leftover time from my last project, so I decided to make something cool. It didn't take long to decide what to make; I took out some tools and started molding the shape of a Gamecube controller. After about 3 class periods, I finished sculpting, firing, and painting my controller, and while it is still a noticeably rushed job, I am pretty proud of it. :) Unfortunately, it is just a decoration at this point; I'm not skilled enough to hollow it out, and make it into a real controller, but it is something totally unique that I can add to my Gamecube collection.

So, without further ado, I give you my epic creation!

Before painting:

After painting and sanding/smoothing:

After glossing:

Now that I look at it, the left grip is quite deformed. I wasn't able to fit on the Gamecube logo [let's just call it a 3rd-party controller ;)], or the convex formations around the Control Stick or face buttons. Oh, well. I didn't have all the time in the world, but I am happy with what I got in the end.

This is Lisalover1, liberating the world from bland, plastic Dualshock controllers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Nintendo is well known for taking Mario and putting him into games of unexpected genres, and usually adding their own unique twist to that genre. One of the best examples is the Paper Mario series, a simplified take on RPGs that has secured a distinct following in the gaming community. Starting out on the Nintendo 64, it became one of the few RPGs for the system, which continued with a sequel on the Gamecube. Unfortunately, the latest entry in the series has abandoned the RPG elements in lieu of standard 2D platforming. So today, I'm going to review the last RPG in the series, and one of the most fun games for the Gamecube.


Paper Mario 2 [or Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, if you're not into the whole brevity thing] is a very different kind of RPG. It is still turn-based, like most games in the genre, but it includes much more user input than most. During battle, you can press buttons at certain times in order to make an attack more powerful. Most attacks actually depend on precisely-timed button presses for maximum damage. This works very well for keeping you interested and engaged in the battles, as you have to pay close attention as to how you execute your moves. You're not just going through menus; it really feels like you are doing the actual fighting. Another abnormal aspect of the battle system is the low scoring, in that even late in the game, you probably won't reach a maximum of 100 HP. In fact, the toughest boss in the game, which is a hidden one, at that, only has 200 HP. If you're used to playing RPGs with comically-high status numbers like Disgaea, get ready for a bit of a shock. But, after getting used to the system, I came to the conclusion that it works just fine for this type of game. Paper Mario 2 is meant to be a simple, entry-level RPG, and it succeeds greatly on this level. A nice touch to the battles is that you can see enemies on the screen, and launching a preemptive attack on them gives you an edge in the coming battle, much like in the Persona series, only much more lenient. You can tell that a heavy emphasis was put on interactivity in the battles, and that Nintendo wanted to stay as far away from the stereotypically dull battles of most turn-based RPGs. The world map is also atypical, in that it is not an actual map; just an overall collection of normal screens. It is an odd, but effective way to make the world seem big. Instead of conveying it artificially by a world map, it really makes you move across the world by yourself, if you can see what I mean. There are warp pipes that let you go long distances, but that is about it. The gameplay in Paper Mario 2 is best described as unique, and is much better for it. It always keeps you interested, and coming back for more.

Gameplay: 10/10


Since Paper Mario 2 is an RPG, I can't use the standard cop-out here. Luckily, there is actually a very good story, but, in true Mario fashion, in anything but an ordinary way. Instead of telling a dramatic, epic tale like in most games of the genre, it goes for a much more lighthearted and humorous approach that is quite refreshing. The characters are witty, colorful, and interesting; the villains in particular are a total riot, and it is almost a shame you have to fight them! Another nice part about the game is the fantastic locations you visit. A floating vegas-esque city, a monochromatic giant tree, and even the moon! There is an unbridled sense of creativity in the game, making it always a joy to play. As I said, the dialogue is entertaining, the locations are unique and interesting, and everything is just plain fun. Kudos to Nintendo for doing something different, and making it work.

Story: 9/10


As you might expect, the audio in Paper Mario 2 has a perky, whimsical quality. It's anything but serious, and suits the game nicely. Nintendo gave it a whole lot of personality, even in the [relatively] dramatic moments, it still sounds funny, in a good way. The sound effects are also humorous, making the entire audio experience in Paper Mario 2 to be something humorous and quite fun. Few of the tracks feel truly out of place, so for most of the areas you will encounter will be accompanied by a suitable tune. The only bad thing I can say about the audio seems awfully low-fidelity for a Gamecube game; sounding more like its Nintendo 64 predecessor than other disc-based games. Other than that, you are in for some nice tunes in Paper Mario 2.

Sound: 8.5/10


The Paper Mario series employs a unique art style that can best be described as faux-3D: 3D models that look like 2D sprites. It gives the game a certain charm that few other games can match, and allows for some incredibly expressive animations, mostly from Mario himself. Everything looks full of life and is vibrant and colorful, and even the one level that is intentionally monochromatic is still infinitely more interesting than most games that are unintentionally so. I cannot overstate how great the animations are in Paper Mario 2; they give a great amount of characterization, and can describe a character just as well as dialogue. Since the game supports progressive scan 480p, the faux-2D visuals look especially nice at a higher resolution. Yet another reason too seek out a Gamecube Component Cable. ;) Another excellent aspect of the graphics is the amount of models that can be on the screen at once; the game obviously borrowed some ideas from the famous 'Mario 128" Gamecube tech demo, as some scenes can have around 100 models on screen at once! I was very proud that the 'Cube could handle such a feat.

Graphics: 9/10


Sidequests are the name of the game in Paper Mario 2, with over half a game still left after you finish the game. Among other things, you can participate in a cooking minigame with dozens of recipes to find, take personal requests at the hub city's "Trouble Center", searching for all the hidden star pieces and shine sprites in the game, or undergo the "Pit of 100 Trials", a hidden dungeon in the game that is exactly what it sounds like. Standard RPG fare, but it is appreciated to have so much of it in the game. Also, most of the sidequests are actually enjoyable, as opposed to endless and boring rare monster hunts seen in other games. Finally, and possibly the most fun, are the missions that take place at the end of each chapter, in which you play a short stage with Bowser, who mostly retraces Mario's steps about 1 chapter behind the plumber. The stages are quite varied, and the dialogue is some of the best anywhere in the game. In other words, you will be looking forward to them, in particular. The game is currently going for $15 at Gamestop; not bad at all for a Role-Playing Game AND a First-Party Gamecube title. I would highly recommend picking it up if you enjoy RPGs, or are just Nintendo fans.

Extras/Value: 9/10


The Gamecube was pretty starved for RPGs, but in all honesty, it got some of the best ones of the generation, and Paper Mario 2 is a great example. It had buckets of personality, dashing visuals, and simple-yet-fun gameplay that is unconventional for the genre. It is an awesome game that deserves to be played by every Gamecube fan, and at least tried out by every Gamecube owner. If you care about RPGs and have some spare cash, put this near the top of your purchase list. You won't regret it.

Overall: 9/10

This is Lisalover1, folding some origami to simulate a boss fight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gamecube Controller Adapters

The Gamecube was blessed with a great controller, a topic that I have gone into detail about before. But, the trouble is, it's only for the Gamecube. It's restricted to one console, and you can't use it on other consoles, or more importantly, your computer. Thankfully, there's a solution for that. Various adapters have been made to do this, so whether you are emulating the Gamecube on your PC, or just prefer to use it for games, a USB adapter is a good solution [your only solution, really, as opposed to building a custom controller, or a dedicated Gamecube USB controller].

As I said before, a USB adapter for a Gamecube controller is particularly useful for Gamecube emulation on the PC, and hopefully soon, on the PS3. If you have a powerful enough computer to handle it, and don't mind emulation, then you have what is effectively a portable Gamecube. You can even use retail Gamecube discs in your DVD drive, if you're touchy about piracy. The secondary purpose of the USB adapter is to use the Gamecube controller for other systems. While this is normally achieved via emulation, but the PS3 can also use USB controllers. Unfortunately, it doesn't work very often or very well for most Gamecube controllers, but it is fun when it does work. Using the GC controller for emulators in other systems is a delight, for the Nintendo 64 in particular, where you can substitute the C-Buttons for the C-stick, and on the PS1, where you can use the GC's analog sticks in place of the Dualshock.

So, if you're interested in using a Gamceube controller on your computer or your PS3, then give the adapter a shot. If not, then no need to go out of your way. I would only get it if you can think of a good use for it.

This is Lisalover1, hoping this didn't sound like an advertisement.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Animal Crossing

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in America [and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to Canada]! You're probably going to be with family a lot over the holidays, so I'm going to review a classic Gamecube game that you can show everyone. Every now and then, we need a break from all the action that most games give us. We need a break from the high-octane power fantasies that are most prevalent in gaming today, and simply try something more soothing. We just need something to calm our nerves. I heard someone say once [although I don't quite remember who] that Animal Crossing is not just relaxing; it's practically healing, which is why it is good that games like it exist. Animal Crossing fills a much-needed gap in the gaming world, and it is appreciated for that. So, what exactly makes Animal Crossing not just a good game, but a necessary game?


Animal Crossing is a Life Simulator, in the same vein as titles like Harvest Moon or The Sims. You go about the game day-to-day, talking with neighbors, collecting items/furniture, making money, decorating your house, etc. There's always something to do, so you're sure not to get bored for some time. The game was first advertised as "the game that keeps playing, even when you're not", and it really lives up to that idea. Everything in the game happens in real-time, so when the sun rises/sets in real life, it will probably also do so in the game. Certain activities are only available at certain times on certain days, while many very rare events happen randomly, in which case, you just have to keep looking for them every day. Holidays in Animal Crossing generally involve some sort of festival in which every member of the community participates. It's actually quite fun to play on these days; some of the outcomes of festivals may even get you a really rare item. And therein lies the core of the gameplay; item collection. Your ultimate "goal" in Animal Crossing is to pay off your debts, expand your house, and decorate it. There are other goals to accomplish, such as completing every entry in the town museum, but as I said, the main goal is to make your house awesome. There are hundreds of different items and pieces of furniture to collect, and you can make your house look like whatever your imagination and pocketbook will allow. You can even collect miniature NES systems that include certain games, which is a really nice touch. Some items can only be obtained through extensively complicated and difficult means [more than one has you participate in an event on the Animal Crossing website!], but usually these items are really interesting and fun. As with all Life Sim games, Animal Crossing is extremely addictive, meaning you can easily log months of game time in, seeing everything the game has to offer. Also, when you're done in your town, you can visit a friend's town, too. All you need is their memory card, and you can visit, meet your friend's neighbors, check what is available in their shop, etc. These things add infinite replay value to the game [if you could call it replay value; the game never really ends]. Animal Crossing also features a certain level of multiplayer; up to 4 players can live in the same town, so if you'll forgive the horrendously-overused cliche, it really is a game for the whole family. I do wish Nintendo would have incorporated direct online features into the game. The Gamecube needed to prove its worth in this area very badly during its life, and it was never utilized very well. A feature where you could download new holidays, events, items, or neighbors would have been a great feature, and would have given the game even more play time, and always give you something new to do. The sequel, Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS had online functionality, but only to visit other player's towns in multiplayer. This was still a great idea, but I just wish it, along with the DLC, would have been with the series from the start. It would be the final piece in the puzzle of a truly living, breathing world in your 'Cube.

Gameplay: 9/10


In Animal Crossing, you play as [insert name here], a new citizen in the quiet town of [insert name here]. As you progress though the game, you meet new neighbors, such as [various] or the ever-cheerful [to be determined]. Okay, enough with that joke. As you can see, a lot of the game's story is either nonexistent, random, or player-determined. The only things that remain predetermined are certain NPCs that stay in town regardless of what events happen, like the extortionist asshole shopkeeper, Tom Nook [to whom you must pay back your SUBSTANTIAL house debt], the incredibly lazy museum curator, Blathers, and the absolute bane of my existence, Resetti, an unbelievably long-winded mole that shows up every single time you neglect to save your game, and whose lectures get exponentially longer and more irritating each time you do so. Your normal neighbors are much more manageable, and are actually nice to you. There's really not much else to say about the story in the game; there is none. This doesn't mean that the Life Sim genre is universally devoid of story, though. Certain games in the Harvest Moon series have completely demolished this barrier. Once again, a game like this doesn't need a story, because the gameplay is more than enough. I'm starting to sound like a broken record, aren't I?

Story: 8/10


I'm going to be honest; I din't like the music in Animal Crossing. It came across as bland, repetitive, and even irritating at times. The sequel's music was actually much better, and conveyed a more soothing, pleasant tone. I don't know what happened with the Gamecube version, though. The whole thing just feels wrong. It feels like Nintendo wanted to create an almost comical effect with the audio, but it really falls flat for such a slow-paced game. The one good thing I will say is that each tune seems to fit the situation well; they are just for the most part not very good songs. There a few nice ones in there, like the rainy day song, which I posted here, but overall, it's just not very good. As I said, the music in Wild World is leaps and bounds better, so don't get too discouraged. Nintendo should have gone back and taken another look on what this series is really about to make good music for it. As it stands, the music is mostly tolerable, but certainly not great.

Audio: 5/10


Animal Crossing actually originally debuted on the Nintendo 64 in Japan, where it was called Doubutsu no Mori, translated into Animal Forest. There were several differences between Forest and Crossing, but the core game remained the same. The good news was that Animal Forest was a really great-looking N64 game, which translated into a good-looking Gamecube game. Also, the updated Gamecube version supports 480p, a higher resolution than the N64 version offered. But realism isn't everything. Far from it; the best thing about the game's graphics is its charming art style. Everything in the game is presented in a cartoony fashion, with basic, pastel textures and definite angles, which are all very easy on the eyes. While the game failed in finding suitable audio, it greatly succeeds in a suitable art style. Some of the objects in the game, particularly background objects, are in 2D, which help even more with the game's aesthetic. While the game's graphics won't blow you away, they certainly fit the gameplay like a glove.

Graphics: 7.5/10


I mentioned before that there are a bunch of neat easter eggs in Animal Crossing, like the collectible NES games, for example. There is a bunch of hidden furniture to collect, which gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you collect a whole set. There is also an island that you can visit off the coast of your town, which can only be accessed on a Game Boy Advance via a Gamecube-to-GBA Link Cable. It's a nice little bonus feature, and there are some special items that can only be obtained on the island, so if you want to get something really rare, you might have to hook up your GBA. There's another function that the GBA has in the game, though. You can use the E-Reader device for the system, and scan cards on it to unlock even more things in the game. While the E-Reader may have been a commercial flop, it is still a cool idea, and demonstrates Nintendo's resourcefulness. There is so much to unlock in this game that I don't think anyone has ever legitimately unlocked everything. Even if it has been done, it might take a couple years of play. You're really going to get your money's worth with Animal Crossing. Speaking of which, the game is currently $10 at Gamestop; not too shabby.

Extras/Value: 9/10


Animal Crossing is not meant to be a game that is played constantly [although many people do so]; it is meant to be played in short bursts, and is designed around that style. It is a game that you can put countless cumulative hours into, perfecting and completing everything over time. Nintendo really made a good move in localizing this oddball title, because it is really something unique and fun. Of course, it has now become a lucrative series, but it was a bit of a risk back when it was first released. I can now honestly say that this is one of the 'Cube's best time-wasters, and is a joy to play. If you haven't tried Animal Crossing before, you should probably try Wild World first, but the Gamecube version holds up well, too.

Overall: 7.5/10

This is Lisalover1, and I know you cried a little at that last image.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Star Fox Assault

Star Fox has caught a lot of flak from gamers over the recent years, for very little good reason, besides the derivative Star Fox Adventures, also on the Gamecube, which was negatively received. But Assault is different; it has the same rail-based 3D shooting that the series is famous for, along with several other modes. So, why did nobody give Assault a chance? Why is it never included in people's lists of best 1st-party Gamecube games? To be honest, I'm not sure. Keep reading to find out why Star Fox Assault is worth your time.


Star Fox Assault starts out with an intense rail-shooter space battle, much like the previous games in the series, and certainly shows that it is out to prove that the franchise is still alive and kicking in what it does best. The control is smooth and responsive, and all the standard attacks [Shot, Charge Shot, Bomb], so anyone who has played a Rail Shooter before will know what to do. The only issue I had with the controls while piloting were that the Y-Axis control was inverted, and not the X-Axis, but you can change that in the options menu. The piloting sections are cool, and if any of you Gamecube owners out there were ever jealous that Panzer Dragoon Orta was an Xbox exclusive, then these stages will ease your pain. There are also missions that take place on-foot, that allow you to use multiple weapons or a tank to shoot your way through enemies. These levels are very fast-paced and have a fair bit of diversity among equipping weapons; Pistols, Rocket launchers, Sniper Rifles, Grenades, etc. You wouldn't expect to find more than one or two extra weapons in a game like this, and to be honest, you don't really need them, unless required by mission parameters, but they are a ton of fun to use. As I said, you can also drive a tank, if you like. The tank cannot use the extra weapons, but has better defense, can hover for a brief period, and can kill weaker enemies by running over them. These missions reminded me a lot of Capcom's PN-03, another Gamecube exclusive, which is a very good thing. The third type of mission is an aerial dogfight mission, which is like the pilot missions, but gives you total freedom of movement. This mode is nice, too, and is on par with many other aerial combat games, but doesn't bring anything really new to the table; it just does the essentials notably well. There are also a couple of different sub-missions that occasionally take place after a main one, and sometimes ground and dogfight missions are combined, having you hop in and out of your Arwing to manage enemies in the air and ground. The worst part about the game, though, is its length. There are only 10 missions, so you can finish it in a day, which is a real shame, because this game has a lot of great ideas, and the gameplay is just fun in its purest form, but you only get a few short hours of it. I would have loved to see at least another 10 levels; more if possible, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Gameplay: 8/10


I was seriously surprised by Star Fox Assault's story; it was much deeper than I expected from an action game. I have never gotten very far in a Star Fox game before, but I always assumed it had little story, and didn't really need one, but this game's story totally came out of left field. I'm not saying it's anywhere near what you might find in an RPG or an Adventure game, but it stands heads and shoulders above other action and shooter games, making it feel more like an action movie. Now, don't get me wrong; I don't want to make this out to be any more than it is, but I still think Nintendo should be commended for writing up something quite different. I had some issues with awkward dialogue in the game; mostly from the fact that it was written with kids as the primary audience, so it is jarring [and kind of funny] to hear frequent profanity substitute words. It just feels really out of place. Other than that, I think Star Fox Assault has a relatively good story when compared to the rest of the genre, but once again, it is crippled by the disappointingly short length of the game.

Story: 8.5/10


What do you know? I was surprised yet again by Star Fox Assault. Since this is a science fiction game, I expected a soundtrack heavy with rock and techno tunes, but all the music in the game is actually orchestral! It sounds very good, too; I can tell that a fair bit of work was put into the music. I thought the orchestra music would sound out of place in a game like this, but with all the huge battles going on in each mission, it fits like a glove. The sound effects, on the other hand, sound pretty generic and basic, but in retrospect, it's probably better that they didn't interfere with the background music. The voice actors for the characters seem different than the ones I remember in Star Fox 64, but then again, I remember them being much more annoying in that game. All the actors are well-suited for the characters they represent, so no complaints there. Overall, I seriously enjoyed Star Fox Assault's soundtrack; maybe not enough so that I would put it on my MP3 player, but enough to make me come back to the game.

Sound: 8/10


The graphics in Star Fox Assault are all right when doing ground missions, and are great when doing pilot missions. All the chaos going on in the background of the latter mission type really gives you the sense of an epic battle in space. That, and the detail on each ship looks nice, making it all the more shocking to see all of this happening at a quick, steady framerate, especially on missions where two both aerial dogfights and ground combat are going on at once. Thus, it isn't the game's graphical detail that is impressive; it is the amount of action going on at any given time that makes you wonder how it is possible. It just all comes together to a game that has much more technical than visual prowess. The graphics are still above average, though, especially during cutscenes, where everything is bumped up to a much higher level of detail. I would still say that the in-game graphics are a step down from its predecessor, Star Fox Adventures, but it is likely just to allow for faster action and a better framerate; because of this, I think it is a fair trade-off.

Graphics: 7/10


In order to offset the disappointing length, a 4-player battle mode was included that, honestly, is one of the best multiplayer experiences I have had the chance to play on the 'Cube. The mode is fun and addictive, and move along at a speedy pace, like the rest of the game. Unfortunately, there is no option for CPU-based multiplayer, so you're going to actually need some friends with you to play. But, it isn't that big of a deal; it is worth getting everyone over for some good shooting action. Just like the main game, Dogfight mode, Ground mode, and a mode that combines the two are available for multiplayer, which can lead to some really interesting and clever strategies that add a lot of depth to the game. I'm going to go so far as to say it may be worth it to buy this game just for the multiplayer, as it is just that much fun. I haven't had such a good time with a local 4-player game since Super Smash Bros. Melee. A lot of people don't know this, but it was actually Namco that did most of the development work on Star Fox Assault; Nintendo only did a bit of the development work, and all the publishing work. Thus, completing the game on Normal mode unlocks Namco's classic SHMUP, Xevious, for you to play. It's just a nice little extra cherry on top that isn't necessary, but is appreciated nonetheless. Star Fox Assault is currently selling for $15 at Gamestop. Despite how much fun this game is, I'm still going to have to recommend that you try and find it cheaper; maybe around $10 or so, due to the game's length. I have seen many copies sell for about $5, so you should have no trouble finding one. But when you do see the game, by all means, buy it, especially if you are planning a game night with some of your friends, and need to stock up on good 4-player games.

Extras/Value: 7.5/10


Star Fox Assault, at its core, is a great game with a ton of neat and creative ideas, but all of that is cut short by its terribly brief length. The multiplayer mode offsets this, but there is no excuse for a short single-player mode. If Namco and Nintendo had put a bit more time into this game to add at least 10 more levels, this would be less of a problem, but as it stands, this game was too much crammed into too little of time. It is still an extremely fun game, and is definitely worth a purchase, but unless you frequently play games with your friends, you will just beat the game and move on, which is just a tragedy for such an otherwise good game. But, as I said, I am pretty sure you will still love Star Fox Assault, with its fast, furious, and exciting gameplay, so give the game a shot when you happen to see it for sale.

Overall: 7.5/10

This is Lisalover1, repeatedly shooting the obvious glowing weak spot.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gamecube Audio/Visual Choices

There are a lot of ways to get A/V output from an electronic device. Tons of different cables, connection setups, television inputs, sound systems, etc. If you don't know what you're doing, things can get confusing in a hurry. After hearing some requests for clarification on Gamecube A/V setups on Racketboy Forums, I decided to make a post that goes through the many options that a Gamecube owner has to get the Audio and Video connections that bet suits their needs. So, let's see what the good old 'Cube has to offer!

RF Adapter

We're starting with the most basic connection available; RF [Radio Frequency]. This gives the worst-quality video and audio, only offering Monoral sound and a very blurry picture. In my opinion, the RF Adapter should only be used when all you have is an old TV. Using RF cables on an old Tube TV will make the image tolerable, but using them on a new, flat-screen TV, especially on a big screen, will look terrible, so avoid an RF Adapter at all costs if you have a television that supports better connections. If you have a Super Nintendo or Nintendo 64, it probably came with an RF Adapter. Since the latter consoles and the Gamecube all use the same A/V connection, you can use the same RF Adapter across all the systems. Anyway, like I said, avoid this cable whenever possible.

Composite Cable

Composite is the standard Audio/Video connection in use today; it comes bundled with most devices that require A/V output, as most TVs support it. It offers slightly better video quality over RF, and much better audio quality, as it supports stereo audio. This is the cable that came with the Gamecube, so it is likely the one you are using. It uses 480i as its highest resolution, which is relatively low on the scale of resolutions. That's the bad news. The good news is that all Gamecube games, and modern games in general require support for at least 480i, so there is no chance of incompatibility. Also, some developers use this low resolution to hide graphical impurities, like what Konami did with Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation. This is less common these days, but crafty [or just lazy] developers can still make use of this technique to make games look better to the eye than they do to the machine. That doesn't mean that games will look worse with better connections; game developers know that they should institute backup plans for higher resolutions; they just might look different. Composite video's most infamous failing is dull, washed-out colors. Here's an example of Tales of Symphonia's Title Screen via Composite, S-Video, and Component cables. Note that this game does not support 480p, so this image is purely the result of cable types' effect on an image:
As you can see, there is quite a difference between them. The image in the Composite and S-Video pictures is noticeably darker and blurrier than the Component image. Composite video is certainly not optimal, but it is a step up from RF, so if you're comfortable with the standard resolution, then stick with Composite.


S-video, while still set at a 480i resolution, delivers a much clearer image than Composite, and is the preferred connection type for older consoles, because it is common, yet still a definite graphical enhancement. I can't say I would normally recommend S-Video for a Gamecube A/V setup. If you want a better image, in my opinion, you should just find a Component Cable. The only two reasons I could recommend it is if the most advanced connection your TV takes is S-Video, or you are unsure about buying a component cable, due to the prohibitive cost. I can understand that, but S-Video isn't really that much of a graphical leap up to justify a new cable purchase. Trust me, it's worth it to go for the Component Cable. Get an S-Video cable if you want the best video signal available for a North American Gamecube, without buying the former.


This one is for European and Japanese Gamecube-owners only. SCART is more or less the international version of S-Video, although that may be an oversimplification. Technically, SCART is superior to S-Video in image quality, but still inferior to Component. It is the best-quality 480i image you can get, and is cheap. As I understand it, European Gamecubes do not have a Digital Video port, so this is the best connection available to them. A SCART connection carries both audio and video, so you don't need a separate cable for audio. Because of this, many regard it as the precursor to the more modern HDMI cable.

Component Cable

Gccab.jpg gc cable image by mazda_zzz

This is arguably the best video cable available for the Gamecube, given the factors of quality, rarity, region, and game support. The Gamecube Component Cable was released only in Japan, but it works just fine on North American televisions. It supports 480p resolutions, and many games released in the NTSC-U regions still support it, despite never seeing an official release. Games that support it tend to see a dramatic increase in image quality over Composite, so I wholeheartedly recommend it if you want to see the Gamecube pushed to its graphical limits. Here is a picture showing the difference between Component and Composite video for the game The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess:
As you can see, the difference is night and day. The only drawback to this great accessory is that it is ridiculously expensive; it can easily go for around $50. If you're patient, you could surely find one for less [I got mine for $15], but you may be waiting a while. But, if you really care about image quality, then it is my opinion that the Gamecube has the best-quality 480p graphics of its generation, and it is worth every penny. An absolute must for any GC collector. Plus, it upscales games played via the Game Boy Player to 480p! Two very important things to remember, however: 1. DO NOT GET A 3RD-PARTY COMPONENT CABLE. Only the official Nintendo cable supports 480p and uses the Digital Video port, so any others are just a waste of money. 2. If your Gamecube lacks a Digital Video port, then you cannot use the Component Cable. You can check your Gamecube by looking to see if there are 3 ports in the back of it. If there are, then you can use the cable. If not, then too bad; I'm very sorry for you.


Getting even more region-specific, D-Terminal cables are only available in Japan, and only for Japanese TVs. It supports both 480i and 480p, so it is as good as a component cable, but only a fraction of Gamecube-owners will have a TV that supports the connection. D-Terminal actually supports up to 1080p resolution, so technically, it is superior to Component, but not on the Gamecube, where both are capped at a 480p resolution. It should be noted that this cable is as expensive, if not more expensive, than the GC Component Cable, so unless you're a 'Cube collector or own a Japanese TV, I would recommend skipping out on this one.

VGA Cable

This is where you have to be more careful. VGA is the connection generally used to connect a computer to a computer monitor, but it can also be used for game consoles. The trouble is, there was never an official VGA Cable released for the Gamecube, so you are going to have to rely on 3rd-party solutions. Unfortunately, not all VGA solutions are the same. The most common type you will find are VGA boxes, which, while still allowing you to connect to a monitor, do not use the Digital Video port, and thus, cannot do 480p. Fortunately, VGA boxes are cheap and plentiful. I have not had good experiences with the image quality of VGA boxes, but if you absolutely must connect your Gamecube to your monitor... keep reading. The other solution takes a bit more time and effort, but may be worth it. It is possible to modify an official Component Cable into a VGA Cable; you just need to have a bit of experience in console mods to make it happen. Since the official Component Cable costs so much, and this is a bit of a risky procedure, I would recommend having someone else who is more experienced handle the project. It will cost more than a VGA box, but if you are in a situation where you need to connect your GC to a monitor, and still want the best image quality, consider this route.

Portable Screen

There are two available types of the Portable Gamecube Screen. Most of them use the standard Composite connection, but I believe the screen made by Interact supports the Digital Video port, so you should be able to get 480p video on that screen. Now, be warned; most portable screens are very low-quality, regardless of the type of connection you use. Still, it is a great solution for those who want to play their Gamecube on the go. For those who want to go a step further in their quest for a mobile 'Cube, you can get the Gamecube Rechargeable Battery Pack, which plugs into the bottom of the system, like a Game Boy Player. It only gives two hours of battery life, but by combining the screen, battery pack, and a wavebird, you will have a completely wireless setup! Finally, for those just wishing to show off, there is the Gamecube Hip Screen. Ever wish your GC had VMU functionality like the Dreamcast? Well, this is probably the closest you are ever going to get. The Hip Screen is a special controller with its own tiny monitor on top of it. It is insanely expensive, and not worth it at all for the non-collector. But it still is quite awesome; that, you cannot deny.

Video Capture Device

Blackmagic Design Video Recorder USB Capture Device for Mac OS X

If you want to play your Gamecube on your laptop without emulation, this is your only option, and it's a doozy. A video capture device is technically only supposed to record video from a device, but it can be used to view it, too. You can get a USB video capture device for most connection types; a Component one is shown above. These capture devices can be really expensive; the one shown above is about $150. I honestly can't recommend the latter to anyone because of this, unless you absolutely, positively have to connect your Gamecube to your laptop screen. There are cheaper capture devices out there that only support S-Video/Composite, so you can save some money there, but, as I said, I would avoid this route altogether, if I were you.

Optical Audio

Get out your soldering irons again, because this is another one that will require a mod. Optical audio, also known as SPDIF, is currently the highest-quality method for getting Gamecube audio, but no cable ever supported it, and technically, the Gamecube shouldn't support it; the Digital port on the system is for Video only. But, through the magic of console mods, you can get perfectly clear audio from your purple lunchbox. Once again, I suggest sending your Gamecube to someone more experienced with this mod if you plan to do this. I can't say I have tried this myself, but I have heard from others that the sound is gorgeous, compared to standard stereo. Oddly enough, many games in the GC library support Dolby Pro Logic I/II for surround sound, such as Resident Evil 4 and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. This is a necessary mod for all you audiophiles out there, so if you're interested in the best sound possible from the system, get cracking! [Or hacking, as it would seem]. Before you start on this, though, you should know that you can only use optical audio if you have a compatible speaker system and reciever. You can't just plug the cable into your TV.

There you have it; those are pretty much all the ways to get Audio/Video signals out of a Gamecube. The best possible setup would be a combination of a Component Cable and an Optical Audio mod, but I have a feeling that few Gamecube owners have actually done this. If you do, you might just have the most enviable Gamecube around, and you will certainly have the best-looking and sounding one. I hope I helped clear up some confusion about possible A/V setups, and now it is up to you to decide which one best fits your needs. I am including a couple links below about some of the more unusual things I mentioned in the article.

Gamecube A/V Mods:
Gamecube Hip Screen:
Video Capture Tutorial:

This is Lisalover1, exploring the vast jungle of cables behind my TV.