Optical drives are often the first thing to fail on retro consoles, which is why so many people choose to swap out their disc drives for an Optical Disc Emulator – effectively, a device which replaces the drive and allows you to load games from solid-state media. We've seen the GC Loader in the past, and been very impressed.
However, there's a growing trend for ODEs which allow users to retain the original drive and have the best of both worlds; the ability to load games from a MicroSD card and use their discs.
The FlippyDrive is one such product; it requires you to mod your console (there's no soldering required, though), but, once installed, it gives you two means of booting up games on Nintendo's boxy beauty.
FlippyDrive essentially aims to replace the disk drive in your Nintendo GameCube and will be able to load games from either an SD card or a Wi-Fi connection, in addition to being able to stream audio. It is being built with the Raspberry Pi Pico W and will feature Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), file, and in-menu configuration, which ChrisPVille has claimed will make it faster than pre-existing alternatives like SD2SP, Broadband adapters, and memory card loaders.
Like other GameCube ODEs, FlippyDrive uses the freeware 'Swiss' program to load up games, but the team behind it have developed their own software, named CubeBoot, which boasts an especially attractive design. The best news, however, is that it will cost just $38.
Here's the feature list, taken from the official website:
- No-solder install
- Use with or without OEM drive
- 2.8x-10x faster than all EXI devices (SD2SP2, BBA, any memory card/SP1/SP2 device, etc.) in non-WiFi mode
- Real drive interface, no software hacks required
- One-button disk passthrough
- OTA software updates
- Rescue USB port for brick recovery
- No disk drives are scrapped to make this mod
- Stock-like menu using Cubeboot (pre-installed)
Our friends over at Macho Nacho Productions were lucky enough to go hands-on with the FlippyDrive, so check out the video and let us know if you're interested in picking one up.