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Raspberry Pi Pico Modchip Plays Homebrew on GameCube

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Maciej Kobus, Webhdx)

Developer Maciej Kobus is a huge fan of Nintendo consoles and has developed a Raspberry Pi Pico-powered modchip for the Nintendo GameCube called the PicoBoot (opens in new tab). This modchip is an initial program loader (IPL) replacement that tells your GameCube to boot into whatever system you like. Of course, the most popular platform chosen by most modders is Swiss (opens in new tab), a homebrew system for the GameCube that can run other emulators.

The modchip is run entirely on the Pico, but you will need a secondary chip for storage. According to Kobus, it can replace or run in tandem with the XenoGC modchip—another popular modchip used for running homebrew on the Nintendo GameCube. Once installed, users can boot into Swiss and launch anything from GameCube titles to GameBoy Advance ROMs.

Maciej Kobus is an electrical engineer known online as Webhdx and regularly shares his projects under that handle. You can find a history of his work on both Twitter (opens in new tab) and GitHub (opens in new tab). Kobus is a self-proclaimed enthusiast for the Wii and GameCube, so it should be no surprise that he’s developed this Pico-powered mod for the GC.

Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: Maciej Kobus, Webhdx)

Kobus explains that the PicoBoot is easy to install, requiring the user to solder only five wires to the GameCube. As far as the SD adapter cart goes, he recommends an SD Gecko or an SD2SP2 which can be hard to find but are ultimately a necessary component to the mod as their function is to store the ROMs. This mod works with the DOL-001 model GameCubes— you can confirm the model by checking the bottom label on the console.

The software for the modchip is available for free on GitHub on the PicoBoot (opens in new tab) project page. You can flash the application to the Pico via USB, and once installed, updating is as easy as opening the GameCube and connecting the cable to the Pico.

The project was developed before the release of the new Raspberry Pi Pico W. Kobus has confirmed he already has some orders to look at the potential for wireless support for the PicoBoot. If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project for yourself, visit the official PicoBoot GitHub (opens in new tab) page for more details and future updates.

Ash Hill
Ash Hill

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.