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The Machine

The gamecube is being hyped as very cool and small looking piece of hardware. Truth is that the gamecube is small, very small and it even looks like a gaming console – rather than pretending to be some other entertainment component in disguise. As for the general look, I think the colors are a disappointment – spice looks great! But the others are a little too standard, and stop the console from really looking like a conversation starter sitting beside your TV.

Unfortunately all gamecubes were under lock and key in fabulous little glass cases (I don’t know why, but I really wanted to touch one… nothing perverted… honest), however they did have a good display of them around. Black, violet and spice gamecubes, as well as Panasonic’s silver DVD machine took pride of place in a central bank, with more of those little glass cases housing accessories.

The accessories themselves all looked pretty stock standard (nothing to see here folks, move along) – until you stumbled across the power adapter for the gamecube, which really should have been made smaller. It comes in at close to ¼ of the size of the unit! The wireless controller looked harmless enough, but probably a little bulky for smaller hands. Broadband and Modem adapters, AV cables, and memory cards were all exactly as they look on all of your usual gamecube infosites. The gameboy advance adapter was unfortunately not seen in action, and the Pokemon e-card reader for the GBA – well, I saw it, even pushed my little promotional card through it, stuff happened, but all in Japanese – so I still have no idea what the story is with these things.

The controller feels a lot more comfortable to me than the n64 pad ever did. Shoulder buttons almost feel like they have an amount of resistance (you get that feeling of knowing you’ve actually pushed a button, rather than just tapped some mysterious object). The rumble is pretty good too, a more subtle movement and a lot less audible noise than we’ve become accustomed to in rumble packs and dual shock controllers. The controllers feel lighter than the n64 pad, but more durable.

The Panasonic DVD incarnation of the gamecube looks a lot better in person. The ultra-mirrored look is still something I’d shy away from purchasing, but it does look a lot less tacky than photos project it as. It’s bigger (of course) than the original gamecube, and perhaps loses some of the appeal with the little bit of extra size. There’s just nothing particularly special about it – is it a strange looking console? Or is it perhaps a chunky and hard-to-situate DVD player? When it comes to gameplay, however, the Panasonic big-brother loses nothing. I spent a total of 3 hours in line to play Wave Race on both console types (as the only 2 playable Panasonic’s were at one of the Wave Race stands). There was (as hoped and expected) no difference between the 2, in either controller or graphics (edges, color etc). On movies big-brother was an interesting one to try and rate, much like the ps2 as a DVD player – very standard, a few ‘jaggies’ on the edges every now and then, but probably nothing you’d notice unless you were actually looking for a quality DVD player (in which case you probably wouldn’t be purchasing one lumped in with a games console).

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