Arguably one of the most underrated of all Nintendo consoles, the GameCube was a fantastic device. It had many great hits, including Metroid Prime, Super Mario Sunshine, Time Splitters, Super Smash Bros. Melee, The Legend of Zelda Windwaker and Twilight Princess, and many more. The GameCube also featured a small box shaped design, as well as one of the most beloved controllers in gaming history.
The problem is that time hasn’t served the GameCube well. Games simply don’t look as good on an HD Television with composite cables as they did on a rounded CRT. It was possible to up the resolution to a clean 480p image. All you need to own is one of the early DOL-001 (USA) models that featured a digital input. Then, you could get your hands on an incredibly rare Nintendo distributed component digital cable (those of which now go for over $300 on sites like eBay).
Enter EON Gaming, a group out of New Jersey that is known for their masterful creation, the GCHD. The GCHD has been embraced worldwide by die hard GameCube fans. It is a simple plug in device that not only allows you to convert AV to HDMI, but also brings out the GameCube’s ability to display games in true 480 progressive scan.
Here’s a little Q/A I was able to have with EON on their product.
COG: Obviously the GameCube is still considered to be one of Nintendo’s more underrated consoles. Was this something that influenced the project?
EON: Definitely, but it wasn’t the underlying influence. The underlying influence was that the GameCube was the first ever console we (my partners and I) bought with our own money. It’s very precious to us!
COG: The design of the GCHD Mk 1 and 2 are quite cleverly designed. Can you share some details on that development process?
EON: Absolutely! There were a few things that came into play when building out the designs for the first GCHD. I’m not sure how deep you want me to go into it, so I’ll just go into it!
Since we had been watching the GCvideo solutions development so intently, we were fortunate enough to see how others were going about solving the plug and play challenge. We saw products come out (or not come out) and heard how the community responded to those solutions. It wasn’t until MetalJesusRock’s YouTube video that we learned these solutions could easily damage your GameCubes and, with our childhood consoles being so precious, we wanted to make sure that whatever solution we made instilled confidence in the community. Hence the dual prong approach!
Additionally, there were a few other factors that had to be considered. These factors came in the form of how heavy high quality HDMI cables could be and how high the digital AV port sits on the GameCube. Due to that weight and height, some HDMI cords would actually apply excess strain on both the plug and the port. So, to alleviate that problem and make it as safe as possible, we went with the dual pronged design, the HDMI out on the side of the adapter, and added an ever so slightly upwards angle to the connectors to act as a counter lever. Tons of iterations and HDMI cords later, we finally made something we were happy with!
COG: One of your slogans under the about us tab on your website is ‘when it comes to quality, accept no substitutes’. Can you elaborate on the importance of quality in your work, and the attention to detail that goes into every GCHD unit?
EON: We want everyone, our customers and beyond, to understand that nothing can substitute hard work, effort, and meticulous consideration. Our journey from 2016 to our first product was a testament to those very words. Some products came out, others never came out, and unfortunately, a lot of people suffered from it.
We’ve put a lot of time, consideration, and effort into these products and we want everyone to understand that we, like them, only consider the best when making our products. An example is our newest GCHD Mk-II digital plug. We tested, round after round, different materials that would hold onto the digital connector securely while also being flexible enough to withstand countless number of uses (plugging and unplugging from the console). We landed on our ballistic nylon material because it was just that: flexible, resilient to wear and tear, and ensured a secure connection to your console. Another example is the inclusion of some of the most knowledgeable experts in the retro modding scene, such as Citrus3000psi (Dan Kunz) and My Life in Gaming’s Marc and Coury. We actually stopped production mid-way after receiving some feedback on the Wii component video output to ensure that our solution was the absolute best in class, even better than the OEM $300 GameCube Component cables. Additionally, the added mini TOSLINK that pulls audio from either the analog or the digital av ports as well as the enhanced firmware changes to help make the digital sound even better than before were all answers to requests from our friends in the Super Smash Bros. Melee community.
Just as our slogan says, “when it comes to quality, accept no substitutes,” and you better believe that, regardless of time and costs, we’ll make that jump. The community is worth it.
COG: Original GameCube component cables are somewhat of a rare item to find these days. On Ebay, these go for an average of $300+ each. The GCHD however cost half that, and offers even more display options. Can we expect any more retro gaming projects in the future aimed at improving visual fidelity and gameplay experiences?
EON: Oh yeah. We can’t comment on it just yet, but it’s coming. The next thing will be here sooner than you think. 🙂
For more on the GCHD, be sure to visit their website. Keep it right here at Culture of Gaming for an in depth review of the GCHD Mk-II in the coming week.