The Spice of Life – Adding a Spice Orange GameCube to my Collection

My birthday came early this year. Abby has had a rather gracious track record of letting me buy what I want before my birthday. Usually because I find something I’ve wanted for years on eBay that adds some sort of time crunch. If I could only wait until June…

Anyway, my present showed up last week all the way from Japan. I finally have my own Spice Orange GameCube! I have always wanted this variant of my favorite Nintendo home console. It is so slick and just pops! Totally catches your eye. I bought the set-up piece meal, instead of all-in-one order. I got the GameCube and controller together, while I ordered the Game Boy Player separately. Abby even let me buy a matching Spice Orange Game Boy Advance, which is currently on a boat (I think).

When I took the GameCube out of its packaging, it was in great shape. It was wrapped in its own sleeve of bubble wrap. The outer shell looked great and even the front plate hadn’t suffered terrible yellowing over the years. Then I pressed the “Open” button. My newly acquired birthday present had a gummy “Open” button. Thankfully, I had watched a few tear down videos while waiting for the shipment. I was considering swapping the guts of a US console with the Japanese guts inside this Spice Orange console (but have since decided against it) and I wanted to be educated. It only took two types of screwdrivers, both of which I had.

Gummy, gunk-filled “Open” buttons is a semi-typical issue with GameCube consoles. Thankfully, all I needed to do was remove the screws on the bottom of the console and the outer shell slid right off. The “Open” button is right there and i was able to pop it out and remove the build-up of gunk. But while the GameCube was open, I noticed all the dust and hair the had collected inside. I already had it open, might as well clean it all.

All that is required to lift the main guts off and over the heat sink and motherboard is removing 18~ Phillips head screws. Some are tucked underneath the fan and there a four longer, skinner ones behind the memory card slots, but all things considered, it is an easy tear down. I used cotton swaps with isopropyl alcohol to clean off areas with caked on dirt and grime. I wanted that spice orange color to shine. Once I removed all the screws I was able to use my trusty can of air to blow off all the dust to make sure it didn’t too toasty inside my new GameCube.

I took it back inside and hooked it up to my small TV with the EON GCHD-MKII and my US power supply. People online claim it is cool to use the Japanese power supply, but I didn’t feel like that was the safest thing. Currently, the monitor is in my closet (a story for another time), so the set-up was a bit awkward. I grabbed my Japanese copy of Wind Waker and booted it up. The game looked absolutely gorgeous, both inside the GameCube and on the screen. No Action Replay required to play a region-locked disc on a US system. That’s why I decided against swapping the internals. I could play my small Japanese collection with no fuss and my US system still works perfectly. Speaking of which, I decided to see how dusty my childhood GameCube was.

Yikes. I was already in the “disassemble GameCube and clean it” mindset. So I took it apart as well and really cleaned it out well. That dust has been built up over almost 20 years.

Later in the day, the Game Boy Player arrived as well. Unlike the main console, the Game Boy Player is not region-locked, likely due to the fact that the Game Boy itself was not. The unit had some gunk stuck to the side near the ejection trigger, so I scrubbed that off with a wipe and then some cotton swaps. I attached it to the bottom of the Spice Orange GameCube and it looked perfect. Childhood Max’s dream come true.

The next day, I wanted to make sure that the Game Boy Player actually worked though. So I swapped it to the bottom of my US Game Cube where I could use either the official software or the Game Boy Interface to test it out. The first game I tried was Minish Cap and it did not boot properly. Not a good sign. I then tried Link’s Awakening, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Super Mario Bros. 3: They all worked correctly. I also tried a Game Boy game—Super Mario Land 2—and it did not load. So I grabbed my Game Boy Micro to test Minish Cap. It didn’t work, so I knew that the game was the problem there. I cleaned the contacts and it worked in the Micro, but it still would not load in the Game Boy Player. The eject trigger was also not removing the cartridges all the way with that satisfying launch. I was worried that maybe the external gunk and gotten inside and was messing with the eject mechanism and possibly the cartridge slot itself. So I decided to take it apart as well.

This was a bit more frustrating. Not due to the ease of access, still had the required screwdrivers, but just my lack of paying attention to screw placement. Plus, I hadn’t had the best breakfast and was on the phone while trying to do this. My bad. There was no gunk inside the unit or anything visible that would interfere with the cartridges. The only possible area that could have any issue now is the actual cartridge slot and I don’t have the tools for cleaning that yet. I put it all back together and place it back underneath the new GameCube.

In the end, I am super happy with the present. It is exactly what I wanted! I now have two perfectly working DOL-001 GameCubes in the colors I like the most for the system. I have a much simpler way to play the few Japanese games I own and I have a great condition GameCube controller, which is the best controller ever. I am super happy with it all. I can’t wait to get the Spice Orange Game Boy Advance to complete the set! Thanks Abby! 26 has never looked so spicy (or orange).

My Wife Reviews Animal Crossing: New Horizons – The Best Game Ever!

Editor/Husband Note: Since I have been busy with Chasing the Stick and replaying all of the PS4 Naughty Dog games, I have a measly  10ish hours in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. My wife Abby has over 130 hours. She is the clear expert in the family, so we thought it would be fun if she reviewed the game. All I did was edit for grammar and formatted the review. The words, story, and pictures are all her. Enjoy!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Review


By Abigail Roberts

Okay, so I’ve been on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons hype train since day one of even knowing this game was going to exist. I’ve played Animal Crossing games in the past and loved them, but I could tell this one had a whole different feel to it. I mean, c’mon, having the opportunity to start up a village on a deserted island is pretty dope.

A little background about me, I am not much of a video game person. I typically find a game I really like and become obsessed with it. I don’t like to jump from game to game or invest too much time in games that I know I don’t thoroughly enjoy. The only games in my life that I have wholeheartedly jumped into are the Sims series (Sims 2 specifically), Stardew Valley, and Job Simulator. Casual life sim are my jam, so knowing that there was a new Animal Crossing game in the works got me super hyped. I have never been so excited about a game in my entire life, nor have I ever been the person that waits in line day one of the release.

Before the game came out, I was already scouring the internet for spoilers. Was Blathers still in the game? What about the Able Sisters? Our good friend Resetti? How about that random café guy? Can I swim? Which characters have transferred over from old games? Are there new villagers? How would the online platform work? I joined Animal Crossing groups on Facebook and researched the best starter packs for the game. Target was giving out a journal. GameStop gave out a poster. Best Buy gave out a bell bag and Tom Nook travel badge – BINGO! Best Buy was where I’d buy the game. I was an Animal Crossing sponge. I wanted to soak up as much as I possibly can before this game was released. I even pre-ordered the special edition Animal Crossing edition Switch and the travel case. I watched a few unboxing videos of the Animal Crossing switch. I cried watching them because I was so excited. When I tell you I was all in… I was ALL IN.

Unfortunately, there were two big bummers before receiving the game:

  1. I received the special edition Switch system a week before the game even came out. Not the biggest deal in the world, but such a tease! My husband gave me a few of his Switch games to tide me over – I played some of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and Super Mario Odyssey to fill up my time. Pretty cool games, but not what I bought the system for.
  2. My husband bought a copy of DOOM Eternal, which, due to COVID-19, was released the day before Animal Crossing. We dragged our butts to the Best Buy 20 minutes from our house to grab his copy of DOOM Eternal and what sits there taunting me behind the register? MY COPY OF ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS! IT. WAS. RIGHT. THERE. Just out of reach. The employee told us she could not give it to us and we had to come back the next morning to pick it up. Understandable, but a huge bummer.

Luckily during this time, as a middle school teacher, I was coming off my Spring Break. It was the weekend before I had to go back to work and I planned to live it up. Little did I know, COVID-19 would sweep across the world and cause us all to be homebound for an indefinite amount of time. In a time of absolute uncertainty, fear, loneliness, and anxiety in the world, this adorable game that connects people, creates friendships, and embraces creativity was released. It could not have come at a better time.


It was finally here. After a few restless nights, it was finally here.  I wore my Tom Nook inspired sweatshirt that said “Loan Sweet Loan” to celebrate the occasion. Best Buy opened up at 11 am and I planned to be there as soon as it opened. Now, keep in mind, this was at the beginning of the COVID-19 breakout. We were instructed to be 6 feet apart, so it was kind of surreal when I approached Best Buy and they had employees directing us to stay 6 feet apart. Realistically, everyone there piled into the room to wait in line. We were willing to risk the virus for the game. I loved being surrounded by fellow soon-to-be-islanders geeking out about the game. Enjoy this picture of me about to cry from excitement after picking up my loot.


As soon as I got home, I ripped open the packaging for all my items and immediately started playing the game. Emotions overcame me as I heard the music, saw familiar characters, and got to pick my island layout. Every time something cute appeared on the screen, I shouted out to my husband what it was. He had to wait until 4 pm to play since he was working from home due to COVID-19, but I wanted him to know about the experience. Me, on the other hand, played for the ENTIRE day.





The list goes on and on. I immediately began speaking to Tom Nook, Timmy, Tommy, and my two starting villagers. I got pretty lucky in getting the airport color and fruit I wanted. I even got two super cute starter villagers, Dom and Hazel. Dom is a colorful male sheep who is into sports. He wears a tie dye shirt, has pink horns, and ends his sentences with “indeedaroo.” Hazel is in the category of an ugly-cute villager, kind of like a pug. She is an orange female squirrel with a unibrow. Her personality type is considered “Uchi,” meaning very caring. She gets along with all the other villagers.

The beginning of this game is pretty slow and restrictive because it tries to ease you into what you can do. Tom Nook, being the dictator he is, puts you straight to work. You are required to collect tree branches and gather fruit for a campfire and party drinks. While this isn’t exactly what I wanted to do to start the game, it immediately boosts a sense of community between the villagers. When the campfire starts, you’re like a little family, considering you are the only ones on this deserted island.

For the first few days of this game, you have to complete basic tasks for Tom Nook and start establishing the general store, museum, and upgrading your house. Each day, depending on your accomplishments from the previous day, you unlock exciting new features.

I don’t want to give away all the exciting things you can do, but just know that even after 130+ hours of game play, I still haven’t unlocked everything. The cool thing about this game is after the basic tutorial type stuff is over, it’s free reign! You can create and do whatever you choose to do.

One of my first tasks was to make eyebrows for my girl because duh. You can see my design below. Feel free to steal it when you unlock the customizing feature using a mirror.


My favorite thing about this game is that you can either make your own goals or you can follow set goals in the game. Not only does Tom Nook have a special dialogue called “what do I do now?”, but he also introduces Nook Miles early in the game. Let’s break down my favorite things in this game.

Nook Miles

This is a goal-setting system that gives you points based on tasks you complete. It could be anything from having a certain number of people visit your island to selling a certain amount of weeds or chopping some wood. The more I’ve gotten into the game, the less attention I’ve paid to completing the harder tasks. There’s just so much to do in this game, I’ve been setting my own goals! You can cash in the miles you receive to buy special items, DIY recipes to craft, and even visit random islands for crafting materials or to convince a villager to come live on your island.

Catalog Items/Creativity

The amount of items in this game is bonkers! One of my favorite things to do is see what other people do with their island. People are so creative and it’s so easy to create your own themes for rooms or special spots on the island. After upgrading my house a few times, I even created a room where I placed everything that could be in a classroom. It is complete with a whiteboard, chalkboard, office chair, student desks, document papers, chemistry set, Newton’s cradle, class pets, microscope, skeleton, anatomical body model, periodic table poster, and so much more.

Recently, I started a carnival setup on part of my island. I’ve got different themed booths, a ticket desk, popcorn machine, cotton candy maker, teacup ride, kiddie pool, and lots more. I keep adding to it every time I find something that fits the theme. For example, I recently got a trophy from the Happy Home Academy and a teddy bear from a friend in the mail.

Visitors and Friends

Friends can come visit your island! I’ve had multiple people come visit my island, including my sister and cousins. This is not only a fun way to connect with people, but also a way you can trade items and grow trees that aren’t native to your island. I started with apples. My husband has pears. My cousins had peaches and cherries. My sister has oranges. I was able to collect all the different types of fruit pretty early in the game, lastly collecting coconuts from a random island using a Nook Miles ticket.

I recently convinced my best friend to buy a Switch system specifically for this game. She came to visit me so she could collect some of the fruit she didn’t have on her island. We had the opportunity to talk through the voice chat on the Nintendo Switch app. During quarantine, it’s so nice to be able to hang out with my best friend and play this game with her.

Above: My twin sister visiting my island, dressing like me, then hitting me with a net.

Free Bells

Though this game can be challenging with trying to pay off house loans or a new bridge/incline, there are always ways to get free bells. You can’t beat the feeling of shaking a tree or hitting a rock and seeing bells fly out of it. Sometimes you can even shoot a present out of the sky and get thousands of bells (like the present balloon I drew below).

Open World

There are just so many things to do in this game and it’s created in a way where these things aren’t meant to feel overwhelming. Every day, I wake up, check my mail, hit the rocks for bells or crafting materials, collect the shells from the beach, collect the DIY bottle from the beach and a random villager, shake the trees, water my flowers, talk to my villagers, fish, collect bugs, visit Timmy and Tommy, and check in at the Nook Miles Kiosk. Once I get the Able Sisters, I’ll be sure to talk to Mable every day as well. All these daily tasks keep me coming back to the game. I feel a responsibility and ownership in keeping my island running and keeping up my friendships with my villagers.

This game has kept me feeling connected in a world that feels so disconnected right now. I am so thankful for this game.

But y’all…..If I see another sea bass pun….

PS. Time traveling is cheating and I refuse to engage in it.

Super Mario Maker 2’s Final Update with GrandPOOBear’s Reaction and Breakdown

New HUGE Mario Maker 2 UPDATE Trailer Breakdown!! – GrandPOOBear via YouTube

Last night, Nintendo revealed the final update for Super Mario Maker 2. It looks like a massive update and it comes out tomorrow. Instead of sharing the trailer, I’m sharing Mario speedrunner GrandPOOBear’s reaction and breakdown. It’s way more fun this way.

If the breakdown isn’t your thing, at least watch right before the two minute mark. Poo’s enthusiasm is electrifying. I actually interviewed him back in 2017. While the podcast is no longer up on podcast services, you can still listen on YouTube.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Themed Switch Finally Announced

A #NintendoSwitch system inspired by #AnimalCrossing: New Horizons is on the way! With unique Joy-Con controllers, a custom design on the back, and a special Nintendo Switch dock, it’s the perfect way to start your island life. Available 3/13 for $299.99.

Nintendo of America on Twitter on January 30, 2020

Once the next Animal Crossing game was announced for the Switch, I knew I would have to buy a second Switch for the house. I just knew Abby would take over my Switch to tend to her village (now we know its an island this time). I want to look after my own little island too!

We saved up enough for the new console for when the game comes out in March, but we were not sure if Nintendo would do a specially themed console and whether or not it would be the full-sized Switch or the Switch Lite.

Our questions have been answered by Nintendo of America at 7:08 PM EST on a Thursday night. A full-sized Switch is incoming a week before the game’s launch. It features mint-colored Joy-cons and a beachy Dock. I have never been more jealous of my wife. Pre-order locked in; love you Abby.

The History of Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is nearly upon us. Hyrule is in danger once again and in mere days we will set out to find the Master Sword, aid Zelda, and defeat Calamity Ganon.

It has been a long, winding journey just to get to the game’s launch on March 3, 2017 though. Zelda fans love timelines, so I thought it would be worthwhile and interesting to look back at the history of the development of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is easy to forget where a game has come from and exactly what it took to get to a launch.

Breath of the Wild mirrors The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by launching across two game systems and promises to be the largest Zelda game to date. Since hindsight is 20/20, let’s take a look back and see how Nintendo’s foray into open world game design came to be. Continue reading “The History of Breath of the Wild”

Everything You Need to Know About Nintendo Switch

Nintendo’s brand new home console is upon us. I have written quite a bit about the Switch these past few days. I have already written one blog post about my diagnosis of the negativity surrounding the Switch. For this article, I wanted to present a more through and rounded look at the Switch itself and what Nintendo announced last week. Now that the dust has settled from the event and consequent live streams, here is everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.

Continue reading “Everything You Need to Know About Nintendo Switch”

What Nintendo Needs to do for the Switch to Succeed

It is an incredibly exciting time to be a gamer. Virtual reality is taking off and the market is in the golden years of two home systems with more powerful iterations out or on the horizon. What amps me up the most though, is impending launch of a new Nintendo console. Nintendo is where quite a few people cut their teeth on gaming and a new generation is gearing up. It’s hard not to be excited.

The Switch touts the ability to take home console game experiences on the go. The entire system is portable and playable on the go. The promise of playing the new, open-world Zelda game or a full-fledged 3D Mario adventure on the big screen or on the go is enticing. It is the fusion of Nintendo’s home and portable market.


Continue reading “What Nintendo Needs to do for the Switch to Succeed”

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Preview

On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at E3, Nintendo revealed to the world just what exactly they had been cooking up for the brand new Legend of Zelda game. After the initial 45 second reveal wet the appetites of fans during E3 2014, Nintendo has remained strangely quiet on the latest iteration for one of their tentpole franchises. Only leaving the fortress known as the Treehouse to announce unfortunate delays and a dual platform launch (like Twilight Princess on the Gamecube and Wii) many were left to speculate what the future of Zelda would be.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the 17 game for the series, based off the timeline Nintendo made by throwing all the games in a blender and serving it up to thirsty fans. With a 30 year legacy, Nintendo has tried lately to mix up the formula, while staying in touch with its roots. It is an odd and difficult balance to achieve.

Continue reading “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Preview”