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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wii playing GameCube discs

Trying to get the bad gaming taste of Ultimate Spider-Man out of my mouth, last night I popped in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door into my Wii. It's a GameCube game, and it sort of baffles me that the fact that the Wii can play GameCube games is rarely ever mentioned, especially by Nintendo.

Out of the 3 "next gen" consoles, the Wii is the *most* backwards compatible of them... early on, the Xbox 360 was heavily criticized for only having backwards compatibility through software emulation-- they had to program it in for EACH GAME-- so there are many original Xbox games that aren't playable on an Xbox 360. And Sony's track record is even worse, though they were able to escape public stupidity notice by timing their backwards compatibility; at first the PS3 was backwards compatible through hardware... then they removed that hardware from subsequent PS3 models and used (the flawed method of) software emulation... and now, I think they have just removed backwards compatibility entirely from their latest PS3s?

The Wii needs a couple things to play GameCube games:

  • A GameCube controller-- I use a Wavebird wireless GameCube controller. It's pretty good, but it doesn't have rumble. That bugs me, actually.
  • The other thing the Wii needs is a GameCube memory card for game saves.

My Wii with Wavebird remote dongle and memory card sticking out the top. Sitting beside my Xbox. Because the cover's up, I cut a comic book cardboard backing board to cover up the exposed controller/memory card ports.

There's a real "separation between Church & State" when it comes to Wii and GameCube modes on the Wii. The Wii has enough memory for GameCube gamesaves, but you still need a seperate GameCube memory card for it. It's like the hardware for the 2 devices is completely autonomous. You put a GameCube disc in, start up the game from the Wii menu like normal, and once the Gamecube disc starts loading, the Wii thinks it is a GameCube. You can't go back to the Wii menu to end the game like you can with Wii games, even the Wii remote turns off. And if you eject the GameCube disc from the Wii, a "cover is open" message appears on the screen. The Wii thinks it has a GameCube disc cover. That's open. Which it isn't. 'Cause it doesn't have one.

So I'm never sure how to end a GameCube game. With my Xbox, I can safely eject a disc as long it's not loading/saving data. I put in another Xbox game, and it starts up again. But with the Wii playing GameCube discs, I eject and it thinks the cover is open and won't do anything. Am I supposed to turn it off and turn it back on every time I need to switch games? (which is what I do) Or do I hit the RESET button on the Wii? (I only use it for emergency freeze ups) I don't really know.


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