The Panda Controller by Panda Hardware — Kickstarter

The Panda Controller by Panda Hardware — Kickstarter

If you had told me back in 2007 that Samurai Panda of Show Me Your News! would make a pro GameCube controller some day, my 13-year-old mind would have been blown. I still remember him talking about removing the springs in the triggers for faster shields/dodge rolls.

This new GameCube controller is smashing through its Kickstarter goals. The customization on display here reminds me of the Xbox Elite Series controller or the SCUF pro controllers. The GameCube controller is one of the longest lasting form-factors and supported controllers ever. Stoked to see this kind of controller entering the market.

Also, the Panda Controller has height-adjustable triggers.

Update (12/29/21): The Panda controller Kickstarter has been cancelled due to supply chain constraints. Panda did not want to take folks’ money without being able to provide a launch window.

Dolphin Emulator Adds Game Boy Support

Dolphin Emulator – mGBA Integration: Introducing the Integrated GBA

Your eyes are not deceiving you. As of 5.0-14690, Dolphin now has mGBA directly built into it as a new way to handle Game Boy Advance connectivity with GameCube titles. For those who don’t know, mGBA is the most renowned and accurate GBA emulator of this era and has been rapidly improving since its inception…

By bringing these two emulators together in one package, GBA connectivity features now work with popular features like savestates, input recordings, and netplay! All of this comes with the added bonus of improved performance and compatibility.

Between this and the recently released 2P GBA core for the MiSTer project, my childhood is getting such love and proper treatment in the emulation scene. I am stoked! I already downloaded the beta and began fiddling around with the functionality.

Dolphin Emulator Ported Natively to Apple’s M1 Processor

Dolphin Emulator – Temptation of the Apple: Dolphin on macOS M1: by JMC47 and Maylmilae for the Dolphin Blog via John Gruber at Daring Fireball

The blog post is technical, but there is a short section with two charts that is insanely clear cut: Apple’s M1 processor is wicked fast, powerful, and efficient.

How does the M1 hardware perform when put up against some of the beasts of the GameCube and Wii library? We also included data from two computers featured in Progress Reports previously for comparison.

There’s no denying it; macOS M1 hardware kicks some serious ass. It absolutely obliterates a two and a half year old Intel MacBook Pro that was over three times its price all while keeping within ARM’s reach of a powerful desktop computer. We were so impressed, we decided to make a second graph to express it.

The efficiency is almost literally off the chart. Compared to an absolute monstrosity of a Desktop PC, it uses less than 1/10th of the energy while providing ~65% of the performance. And the poor Intel MacBook Pro just can’t compare.

Gruber quoted that final line as well. 

To put this is in perspective (and to wrap my head around it), the M1 they are testing is the M1 MacBook Air with the 7-core GPU. The lowest end of the M1 line, costing $999. And the M1 is the consumer-level processor as Apple makes this transition from Intel/x86 to Apple Silicon/ARM. This is only the beginning of macOS with the power of ARM.

The PC the MacBook Air was tested against had an Intel Core i9 9900K processor with the brand new, top of the line Bitcoin mining (and gaming) GPU from Nvidia, the RTX 3090. Those two alone cost $1875~. You’d still require a motherboard, power supply, case, RAM, cooling, monitor, and a hard drive. Casually clicking around PC Part Picker, trying to match certain specs where I could (to help the PC out!), the equivalent build would cost nearly $3000!

Again, the Dolphin team was able to get the performance above on a 13’’ laptop with no fan and 7-integrated GPU cores.

Holy smokes! I cannot wait to get my own Apple Silicon-based Mac and see Apple’s professionally aimed chipset in the coming year. Wow.

GameCube SD2SP2 Thoughts

I’ve been a lifelong GameCube fan. Ever since the kid down the street said his Dad built them (in suburban Indiana), I’ve been hooked on the Cube. Back in 2018, I was fortunate enough to unlock the full visual fidelity of my original Black GameCube with the GCHD MK-II (the unit was provided by EON to DualShockers for review).

When I was tasked with that review, I took it as an opportunity to finally buy an Action Replay and a SD card adapter so I could use the Game Boy Interface I had learned about from My Life in Gaming.

I loved the power that homebrew unlocked for my Game Boy Player, but using the SD card through the Action Replay was incredibly slow. The Action Replay only supports a max of 2GB cards and an older standard. It regularly crashed and wouldn’t load settings.

The SD2SP2 completely changes this dynamic. It’s a small chip board that I bought preassembled from CastleMania Games for $11. It supports micro SD cards up to 1TB and modern speed standards. The SD2SP2 accomplishes this by tapping into the GameCube’s unused Serial Port 2.

I still have to use the older SD adapter and Action Replay to launch the homebrew software called Swiss, but once that boots, Swiss immediately recognizes the SD card in the SD2SP2.

It loads GBI practically in the blink of an eye. This thing is a huge improvement and greatly reduces the fiddly hurdle I had before.

Invisible GameCube – BitHead1000

Invisible GameCube – YouTube by BitHead1000

Another YouTube recommendation winner. While I’m not a fan of how the rest of BitHead1000 presents their videos after scrolling through them, but this one is just a time lapse of a rad construction project.

It actually reminds me of a neighbor kid from down the street when I was in elementary school. It was before I owned my own GameCube and I wanted one extremely bad. He said that his dad worked for the manufacturing company that made GameCubes — in central Indiana. I totally bought the lie and he promised we could get a custom GameCube for myself. I wanted a transparent one. I (obviously) never got it.

The Legend of Zelda– New Year Resolution

A couple of weeks ago, I had an idea for a video game resolution for 2015. The idea may have been late for the start of the new year, but better late than never.

Over the course of the winter break from school, I watched some of AGDQ 2015. Specifically, the Legend of Zelda speed runs. It is safe to say that the skill and knowledge those players possess about their game of choice is bonkers and masterful.
Last year, I started learning to speed run the latest Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds. It is challenging and exciting to learn how to break a game to a point of mastery. I am nowhere close to mastery, but I have fun every time I pick up my 3DS to run it.

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