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Home » Gamecube, Nintendo Wii, Wii Virtual Console, WTF?

Gamecube functionality in Wii lacking.

Submitted by on December 30, 2006 – 12:13 am10 Comments

memcard.pngI’ve spent a few days playing Wii Sports, Zelda, Castlevania IV and Columns on my Wii and I’ve been mostly thrilled with the experience. Zelda in particular keeps surprising me with brilliant turns in the design that are pretty far removed from the rest of the series.

Tonight, after playing some Zelda, I decided to try out the reverse compatibility with Gamecube discs.


Of course, the most important thing is, does it play the games? And so far, it looks like yes. You pop in the disc, start it in the disc channel, and the system runs the game. There are two doors on the top of the Wii (or the left side, depending on whether you have it standing up like I do or laying down), one of which hides four Gamecube controller ports and the other hides two memory card slots. They’re flush with the edge of the system when the doors are open, so larger plugs, like those on the Wavebird, fit without issue.

I wanted to copy my Gamecube’s memory card onto the Wii’s flash memory, and then to an SD Card so I could back them up onto my computer and erase most of them. Turns out you can’t do that. The Wii interface will only let you copy Gamecube saves to one place: another Gamecube memory card. Which means I have to keep the old memory card as long as I plan to play Gamecube games, unless we get a software change from Nintendo.

Why do they continue to thwart my (less than) evil plans? I’d bet it has something to do with piracy prevention. They might think people will find a way to run Gamecube ROM images from an SD card or something.

I am hopeful. Launch day firmware updates enabled the copying of Wii game saves to SD Card, according to early console impressions, so they could be working on something for this.

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  • Nathan

    The overly immense stupidity of these game companies and piracy issues astounds me. I mean they know, the absolutely have to know there is no way, without costing them millions, to stop piracy. You would have to have something like the Valve system to completely lock up piracy, but not even valve is perfect. So really there is no way to stop piracy so why don’t they save their money and let us expand our abilities. We should be able to put anything on our SD cards. We should not be limited to keeping our saves on one Wii or not moving our games to other people’s houses. Nintendo should maintain an XBL type system if they ever expect a future in gaming.

    You simply can’t offer all of the things that Wii does and then limit your usability. It’s not only offensive it’s nearly illegal. The issue here is ownership of logical information. I paid for the game therefor I own it, but I can’t play it on any other Wii but mine. I own the gamesave but I can’t use it anywhere else. That’s barely legal. That just like making it so you can’t take your MP3s with you on your portable device even though you own the CD. These ideals are still being fought in court by big corporations and they are losing big time.

    It’s time for companies, especially Nintendo, to realize… hey you can’t just give us something and then define limits of use. None of these things are legally defined but they can do what they want because it’s their system. There is no user agreement. This shouldn’t be legal. The disgrace of gamesave limits really put Nintendo on my hate list right next to Sony. That’s a wicked thing to do to gamers. I don’t even have rights to my own save. That’s sick. I hope someone cracks this so we can port any save to any system. I don’t intend on pirating VC games but I have every right to do with my gamesave what I please.

    Don’t get your hopes up on saving to SD anytime soon. No current games support it and Elebits doesn’t even allow you to copy or move your file. Wii only has around 2000 blocks of storage. Opera takes over 200 and Elebits save takes over 100. I see that storage space disappearing quickly.

  • http://www.consolecolors.com Kat

    Wikipedia says that you can save VC games – the whole game – to SD card, but they’re locked to your Wii. That would help with memory, seeing as the console only has 512MB of flash memory. (Also according to Wikipedia.) Is this information incorrect?

    If Nintendo releases a new model of the Wii next year, one of the smartest things they could do is add more storage space. I don’t see why they didn’t use a micro hard drive like the iPods use. Probably just one more thing to break/go bad.

    I *am* glad the Wii plays GC games, because I never had a GC and there are a couple of games I’d like to play (Eternal Darkness for one). I’m not happy about the fact that I’ll have to purchase a GC controller and memory card for it, though.

  • Subnet6

    Whoa Whoa Whoa!

    Holy crap. Lets all settle down, take a breather and think about this for a second.

    So, what you’re saying, Stephen, is that you think Nintendo is restricting your ability to copy your gamecube save games to SD card as a piracy preventative?

    That makes no sense whatsoever. Why would they enact a piracy prevention technique and not impliment it on the Wii gamesaves? Do you think they are more worried about pirating gamecube games than Wii games?

    And how exactly does restricting the copy of save data do anything to keep you from hacking the Wii to run a ROM from the SD card? The Wii is not running gamecube games from the GC memory card, its running them from the disc channel. So yeah, piracy prevention makes no sense to explain this.

    Ok, that being said, I totally agree that the fact that we can’t copy GC saves to the SD card is LAME.

    I’ll even add a further complaint. I’m pissed that the Wii games won’t access a save on your SD card. It actually has to be IN the Wii internal memory. WTF, is this 1990 computing? Logically, it should be able to access the SD card memory just the same. I wouldn’t care AT ALL how small the internal Wii memory was if the SD card actually acted as an expansion of that memory, but it doesn’t. It only acts as a transport medium since the games have no access to SD card data.

    Now, with regard to elebits not allowing you to copy the save data to the SD card, I don’t know because I don’t have the game, but from my experience, I would say that was an ubisoft choice, not nintendo. I had a few non-nintendo games on the cube that would not allow you to copy your saves from one GC memory card to another and that really chapped my ass. Medal of Honor frontline was one. You couldn’t move or copyn your saves. WTF is up with that?

    Now, while a find this inability to copy GC saves to SD card annoying, I don’t see it as some horrible move pulled by Nintendo. The Wii is still fully backward compatible as promised. Nintendo didn’t promise to expand the capabilities of the gamecube with their back compat, such that the cube emulator would now support SD cards. If you want to use it like a gamecube you can and nothing more. Period. My understanding of the BCompat was different than the way it turned out. I didn’t realize that by booting a GC game, you would lose all Wii functionality. The remote can’t be used, etc. Once you boot that GC game, the Wii BECOMES a gamecube. Pure and simple. In my mind, it’s this design decision that explains why we can’t copy the GC saves to the Wii SD card. I think they are somehow separated in software if not in hardware as well. They may be able to change this with a software update. I haven’t studied the internals of the Wii enough to know if this is likely or not. Lets hope they do.

  • John H.

    What you, in your condescending, smarmy response, Subnet6, are failing to see is that the author saying that the failure to include a GC memory card-to-Wii-or-SD copy feature is actually giving Nintendo a bit of unmerited credit.

    By assuming that it is a misguided copy protection measure, it says that he considers that there must BE a reason, however bad, that Gamecube saves can’t be copied over. Instead of what is likely the reality: that Nintendo doesn’t allow it to happen for no reason other than bloody-minded, idiotic, corporate “because we say so.”

    (Which is also the reason why a PS2 will only let PS1 games save to PS1 memory cards.)

  • Subnet6

    Holy Plasticman JohnH,

    To use the word “stretch” to describe your appraisal of the article, would be an understatement.

    I totally didn’t get any flavor from this article that Stephen was somehow giving nintendo a pat on the shoulder for having a legit reason for implimenting such a draconian measure.

    If he was, props to him and props to you for seeing it, and my bad for not. I’m still not convinced though. If stephen says that was his point, I’ll believe it.

    Oh, and I’m smarmy because thats my job as an anonymous internet blog poster. Not just because a smarmy tone elicits more responses from passionate readers (like yourself, who are the most rewarding to discuss things with) who might otherwise remain silent, but also because it makes posting on blogs more entertaining. And, after information, the reason I blog is for entertainment. Hope nobodies feelings were hurt here. That wasn’t my intention.

  • Stephen

    JohnH does have an accurate sense of what I meant in my article, Subnet6. I also have to kind of agree that your response to my article was pretty rough. In actuality I was grasping for some kind of an explanation for the omission of that function in the data management system. Even the PS2 let us store PS1 saves on the PS2 cards, you just couldn’t use them there. So it’s last-generation functionality at this point, and I’m hoping the reason it’s not there now is Nintendo’s often staggering attention to security. They may see a loophole in the software they may or may not be working on and wish to close it as much as possible before rolling out an update.

    I really think I expected Cube games to run as older games do on Virtual Console, so they’d save on the Wii and stuff, but you could read from your old memory cards and use your old controllers, hit Home and you’re back at the menu, you know what I mean? I was shocked and disappointed and I think my article reflected that initial frustration.

  • biggos

    Nathan said: “I paid for the game therefor I own it.”

    Well, no you don’t. From music to movies to software the consumer buys a license to use the media how the copywright owner sees fit. You do not own anything. How can you not know that given vast attention DRM and digital music have been getting over the past few years. In the case of music you don’t have the right to rip a cd and distribute it to your friends because it is not yours to distribute by law. Whether or not you agree with it is not the issue the issue is that under the law it is illegal. So stop bitchin about what you bought and you own, blah blah blah.

  • Subnet6

    @Stephen,

    Doh!

    Ok, I’ll take that. I deserve it. I am not one unable to step back and reevaluate myself in the light of others comments. My sincere apologies.

    Looking back, I realize the candor of my response was over the top, not so much because of YOUR article, but moreso because of Nathans vehement response (Nintendo engaging in “illegal” activities by constraining our use of the Wii?). I ended up leveling my overreactionary finger at you though it seems, which was inadvertent and undeserving. For that, I would like to humbly offer a retraction of my tone.

    That being said, I stand by my conclusion that Nintendo is not omitting this functionality out of a desire for anti-piracy. That still doesn’t stand up to the smell test for me.

    I heart Nintendo more than most (as I’m sure you’ve gleaned from my many comments here at Aeropause) but I fall short of being able to call decisions such as this anything more than over zealous control at worst, or lack of foresite at best.

    Let me reiterate that I am in full agreement with your complaints about these features. I too hope to see some changes in the future with regard to memory management, not the least of which is USB drive support. Oh, Nintendo, how you tease us with those USB ports and Iwatas one time comments about using “all types” of storage media!

    Anyway, Stephen, don’t let my overreaction sully what is really a fervent desire to participate in what is rapidly becoming a fantastic gaming site in Aeropause. I’ve been really happy here and I hope to continue to engage posters and readers alike, even if sometimes I get a bit carries away.
    I’m a passionate gamer and I enjoy others who are as well. Thank you for your responses and I look forward to many more.

  • H-H

    “Now, while a find this inability to copy GC saves to SD card annoying, I don't see it as some horrible move pulled by Nintendo. The Wii is still fully backward compatible as promised. Nintendo didn't promise to expand the capabilities of the gamecube with their back compat, such that the cube emulator would now support SD cards. If you want to use it like a gamecube you can and nothing more. Period. My understanding of the BCompat was different than the way it turned out. I didn't realize that by booting a GC game, you would lose all Wii functionality. The remote can't be used, etc. Once you boot that GC game, the Wii BECOMES a gamecube. Pure and simple. In my mind, it's this design decision that explains why we can't copy the GC saves to the Wii SD card. I think they are somehow separated in software if not in hardware as well.”

    Sorry, but that makes NO SENSE whatsoever. You can copy and delete GC saves between GC memory cards from the Wii menu, so you should totally be able to copy GC saves to a SD card. The only thing your argument excuses is not being to write GC saves in a SD from GC GAMES.

  • H-H

    “Now, while a find this inability to copy GC saves to SD card annoying, I don't see it as some horrible move pulled by Nintendo. The Wii is still fully backward compatible as promised. Nintendo didn't promise to expand the capabilities of the gamecube with their back compat, such that the cube emulator would now support SD cards. If you want to use it like a gamecube you can and nothing more. Period. My understanding of the BCompat was different than the way it turned out. I didn't realize that by booting a GC game, you would lose all Wii functionality. The remote can't be used, etc. Once you boot that GC game, the Wii BECOMES a gamecube. Pure and simple. In my mind, it's this design decision that explains why we can't copy the GC saves to the Wii SD card. I think they are somehow separated in software if not in hardware as well.”

    Sorry, but that makes NO SENSE whatsoever. You can copy and delete GC saves between GC memory cards from the Wii menu, so you should totally be able to copy GC saves to a SD card. The only thing your argument excuses is not being to write GC saves in a SD from GC GAMES.