I came across the GC-Loader while browsing the Gamecube subreddit for some cheap nostalgia thrills. It’s a little daughter board for the Gamecube that replaces the disk drive and allows you to boot directly from an SD card. This makes running homebrew incredibly easy and unlike modchips the PNP version doesn’t even require any soldering. I was actually up for a bit of soldering but given this is my first time modding a console the easier the setup the better.

I ordered one a few months a go thinking it would make a cool little project to let me play native gamecube games. It arrived last week and last night I had a go at installing it.

The GC-Loader comes with the board itself, a security screwdriver and some little screws for mounting the unit. Opening the gamecube is really easy, it’s a very nicely designed bit of hardware, a few screws and the entire top lifts away. I had to have a quick look at the iFixit guide but other than that installation was entirely smooth.

Once you have the drive assembly off you just remove the screws holding it to it’s mounting plate and replace it with the tiny little GC-Loader board. Then you slot it back into place, replace the screws and that’s about it.

To prepare an SD card you first have to format it to FAT32, something I missed the first time around. It will then boot any disk image named boot.iso, the best way to use this is to use the homebrew utility Swiss as your boot image so you use it to load other applications.

All in all it’s an impressive bit of hardware if you can get your hands on one. Gamecubes are looking to be a really nice sweet spot for retro gaming at the moment, the hardware is cheap, the homebrew scene is strong and hardware mods make it easy to run them on modern TV’s.

I’ve got a Carby HDMI on order, another plug and play mod, so once that arrives I think a Luigi’s Mansion playthrough is in order.


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