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Wii's GameCube region lock busted

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  • Wii's GameCube region lock busted

    No Freeloader required for region free backwards compatibility.
    Sometimes, fiddling with your new toy can be useful. And it seems that by fiddling with their PAL Wii, some clever chaps have achieved something not thought possible with an un-modified console. A user of a certain forum (that we won't name because of some questionable activities there, legally speaking) who goes by the handle 'dolqube' apparently decided to experiment with his Wii console's GameCube boot function. And he found that it's actually possible to run original NTSC GameCube discs on a PAL Wii console without modification, and without the use of Datel's Freeloader software.

    The method goes like this: Pop a PAL GameCube disc into the Wii, and head to the 'Disc Channel'. A GameCube logo should be up on the screen. Point the Wii Remote's cursor over the 'Start' option so it's highlighted, and while keeping your hand steady, press the eject button on the Wii. For about one second, the 'Start' option will remain active. In this window of time, hit the A button on the Wii Remote and then swap out your ejected PAL GCN disc with an NTSC (Japanese or USA) disc, which the Wii will accept into the drive.

    If you get it right, the Wii should boot up in GameCube mode and run your NTSC game! We've tried it with several different games from both the USA and Japan, and after learning the timing, we got every game running on our PAL Wii first time.

    What's great about this trick is that unlike many 'disc swap' import tricks in the past (such as those that worked on the Sega Saturn and the original PlayStation) this one doesn't require any physical modification of your console, and probably won't even harm it since the Wii is simply using its own disc loading mechanism the whole time. Apparently the reason it works is that the Wii takes a couple of seconds to power itself down to GameCube mode, but for the sake of brevity it tells the disc to boot before the transformation is complete. It is the window between the two that allows this trick to work.

    But will it work with imported Wii discs? PALGN's resident 'import crazy man' Chris Sell has tried and can't get it to work. So it seems not for now, but we'll keep you updated.
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