Are You a Power Gamer?
Did you know that the circular-lid insertion on top of your GameCube could be easily removed and replaced? It’s true; soon companies will begin to promote this aesthetic modification en masse. How cool would it be to replace that boring default Nintendo lid insert with a custom-made Sonic the Hedgehog design? Keep an eye out, they’re coming. There are tons of customization options available for all major video game platforms that not only provide mad bragging rights but can also increase the functionality of your lean, mean, gaming machine. One thing I think we can all agree on is that video games are fun — a 5-year-old playing Pokemon can tell you that. The question is; are you a standard-issue gamer or are you a power-gamer?
What is a power-gamer you ask? A power-gamer is someone who goes above and beyond the realm of retail game outlets, laughs in the face of ‘Legandary Mode’, and refuses to be content with playing games months after the title is already released in a foreign country. A power-gamer quite simply squeezes the last drop of functionality out of their console system that is humanly possible. There is a vast world of customization and modification options out there for video game systems, more so then most people may realize; everything from writable GBA carts that allow you to copy multiple games directly onto one cartridge to tissue holders in the shape of a Dreamcast. With this in mind, I saw it fit to purport a few of the more useful and interesting options out there for those power-gamers who like to differentiate themselves from the masses of Pokemon-raising, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen game-buying, teeny-boppers who don’t know the difference between a mod-chip and a potato-chip.
Region-Free NGC & PS2 mods – Feel like getting your hands on top-quality games like RE: Biohazard and Head Hunter three months before they are released in America? Well, it is possible with a simple modification that will allow your console to play import PS2, NGC, or DC games. These modifications normally entail some soldering, although there are a few mod-kits that simply plug into your system or use optical-media to bypass the copyright encryption algorithms that prevent out-of-country software from being initiated. Some on-line retailers even sell systems with the modification pre-installed.
GBA backup units – At around $160, the Flash Advance Linker allows you to copy your GBA games to your computer and vice versa, it also comes with a 128-512meg writable GBA cart that you can copy your games onto. This allows you to copy your collection of GBA games onto one writable cartridge, you no longer need to worry about losing those tiny-plastic GBA games when you got this thing. These backup devices have the potential to be used for unauthorized copying and you can bet it won’t be long before the big N attempts to strong-arm them out of existence, so snatch’em up while you can.
After Burner GBA light modification – Another cool little hack for the GBA is the Afterburner kit, which transforms the GBA’s most glaring problem into a non-issue. What this product does is light up your GBA screen without having to use any external devices that can create a annoying glare on the reflective screen or in some cases serve little purpose outside of getting in your way and perpetuating frustration. The Afterburner consists of 2 lights that are placed inside of the unit in front of the GBA’s screen, and reportedly only consumes around 30% additional power. The unit sells for $35 and requires some simple soldering. If you aren’t up to the task of modifying the system yourself, there are a few companies on the net that will be more then happy to install the Afterburner on your system, but it’ll cost you.
Case alternatives – Wish you could spruce up the look of your console to separate yourself from the masses and declare your hardcore gaming dedication? It Seems like Japanese gamers receive a new GBA and NGC color every week, while American gamers have been stuck with only a handful of alternative colors. Well you need not sit idly by any longer, colorconsoles.com has the answer to your fan-boy prayers. They offer 12 unique colors ranging from Emerald-green to Ionic-gold, you can even specify which parts of your system you want recolorized – and for 10 additional clams they will even install a region-free switch on your cube so you can play import titles. Colorconsoles.com will customize your GBA, GCN, N64, PSX and come summer; Xbox. They are currently in the processes of filling demand and are extremely backlogged so if this sounds like something you want to go through with then you’ll have to get in line.
RCA switch-boxes can be an invaluable tool to extreme gamers who own more consoles then they do pairs of socks. With a switch-box, you can plug all your consoles into one dedicated hub that will allow you to switch the RCA output signal from any console that is plugged into it on the fly. The price for this item ranges anywhere from 15-50 bucks and are available at your local video game outlet.
Emulators – Ever wanted to jam old-school styli’ on your 20-times-more-powerful-then-the-moon-landing-computer-equipment console? Dig this; Dreamcast users everywhere have the ability to play tons of old arcade games via a nifty little software program called MAME. Look it up. In addition, keep an eye out for Xbox emulation software, comprised mainly of off-the-shelf technology, someone will inevitably figure out how to put that hardware to more�.err� interesting uses. In fact, IBVA Technologies has rustled up a way to interface the ‘Box to your brain. Puts new meaning to the term “thinking outside the box” eh? Using a plastic, rectangular, ‘brain tracking’ device that sits comfortably on the back-side of your dome you can influence various aspects of games using your brain waves. As more people become interested in the potential of the hardware humming under the hoods of popular console devices new original functionality will begin to surface.
And it doesn’t stop there, Lik-Sang.com even sells a tissue-holder in the shape of a Dreamcast for those who want to carry on that Sega spirit into the crapper (“Irony, it seams, is not without a sense of humor”). For those who spent all their money on the console there is not much in the way of customizations or modifications that are available, the rotatable PS logo on the front of the PS2 is about your only option.
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