Bits & Bytes: Mint

Robert talks about a brand spanking new GameCube he got his hands on!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 06/27/2021 23:20 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

I write about video games, but I’m also an avid collector. Games, memorabilia, books, comics—and hardware. When it comes to the consoles I’m not super picky. I don’t have the money to go for perfection. If the system works and doesn’t look terrible, I’ll buy it. If I can track down an original box to throw it in, I consider that icing on the cake.

Part of my collecting is about playing consoles and games that I’ve never gotten to try in the past. Our home was a Nintendo home. I did get to play other systems that my cousins and uncles owned, but as far as what I actually had in my possession, it was Nintendo all the way. When college started, rather than gravitate towards drugs and alcohol, my “experimentation” phase revolved around video games. I tried all sorts of games and consoles I’d never had the chance to before.

While I do own just about every Nintendo console there is, I’ll pick up extras when and where I can. It’s impossible to know when a system is going to give up the ghost and stop functioning. So I was more than a little curious the other day when I saw a lady plopping a GameCube onto the counter of a local GameStop. Immediately, I realized it was in its original box. Cardboard like new. Everything still in plastic. As the clerk said that the store doesn’t take the system in trade anymore, I immediately pounced and offered to buy it from her for straight cash. We worked out a sum and it was mine.

As I walked through the door of my house, I recalled that she had said the GameCube was new. “New” is more subjective than one might think when it comes to selling stuff—maybe it was played once or twice or perhaps the kids threw it back in the box and that categorized it as “new” in her opinion. All I knew was that the thing looked new. It was gorgeous. Its black plastic smooth and pristine, the box itself unblemished and fresh. When I removed the system itself from the box, however, is when I started to realize that this GameCube really might be brand new.

The first hint was the controller. Still in its plastic bag, the cable was coiled exactly as it would have been straight from the factory. The same with the power brick and the AV cables. Deciding I wanted to leave things as untouched as possible, I took the plugs and power brick from one of my other GameCubes and used them on this new one, instead. When I fired the console up, I was greeted by a sight that I hadn’t seen since I started up my first GameCube back in the day: a message stating “You must first set the calendar and other options. Press any button.” Whoa!

It was so exciting. Yes, exciting to a nerd, but exciting nonetheless. It was a total geek out moment. I was the first person turning this machine on. A 20-year old console. It was this odd, weirdly poignant moment. I consider games and systems to be like time capsules from the eras in which they were manufactured, but this GameCube was on another level. I sat and played Metroid Prime for about 30 minutes before turning it off and returning the console to its box. It’s still going to be my backup, although I’ll fire it up every so often to keep it from atrophying. I treasure all of my collection, but this GameCube has become something special. It might not seem like much to some, but to me I feel this… responsibility, I suppose, to treat this stuff right and preserve it. Once it’s all gone, it’s gone for good, after all.

With that, I say welcome to the family, Mr. Jet Black GameCube. Indigo and Platinum Silver say hi.

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